One of the fun things about being an independent filmmaker and writer these days is the ability to enter film festivals in other parts of the world through the internet thus exposing one’s work to new audiences and potential collaborators for future projects .
It wasn’t that long ago that entering film festivals was a cumbersome, expensive and tiring affair. I remember cranking out stacks out DVDs with my co-producer/editor/DP Tim Labonte as we did our best with The Wrestling With Sanity Short Film Trilogy in the 2007-09 era. At the time, a website called withoutabox was just coming into prominence as the “easy” way to enter a singular film into various festivals. However, the process was still a bit time consuming. We eventually did win three awards for our efforts, yet the aforementioned challenges in just entering festivals probably stunted the growth of that project going further at the time. Without the finances for a marketing team, many independent filmmakers, like myself, are often faced with finding time – and money – to promote their work on their own, with whatever donations of time and efforts we can wrangle from our closest friends and associates.
Flash forward ten years or so later, and this wonderful new platform called FilmFreeway has streamlined and simplified the film festival entry world so even I can – and do – use it often and regularly. In fact, the process now is enjoyable! Although there are still entry fees inherent in the process, it’s a whole lot easier, more interactive, and less time consuming. Withoutabox has upped their game and has also advanced their process. What a time to be alive!
One of the worldwide festivals I have entered through FilmFreeway is MedFF short for Mediterranean Film Festival, which, according to their website takes place “In the beautiful Fontane Bianche, known as George Beach, will screen the best films winners of the monthly prizes. The main venue will be the mysterious VILLA DUNARDI, one of the most sought after web villas and NanoPress recognized as one of the 30 haunted houses in the world. modernized in 2015, this beautiful location will prepare the free event showing only the best winners of each month.”
Luckily for me, MedFF, lead by the festival Director Domenico Cutrona and his esteemed collaborators Danny Caprio and Jennifer De Carolis (also the Director of Red Corner Film Festival ) have enjoyed my work enough to place several projects in various categories. Disregard the Vampire – A Mike Messier Documentary Preview was named a semi-finalist and its sister piece the Distance from Avalon Teaser was named as a finalist in the Best Teaser category.
About a year later, the film’s official movie photo, again featuring Geena and Anna, this time joined with co-star Jose Guns Alves and again photographed by Hunter, won Best Film Poster, with great credit to the poster designer and the doc co-editor/co-producer Tim Labonte of Stand Still Pictures, Also, special thanks again to Geena Matuson for her work as Photo Editor and Kaitlyn Ciampa for her work as on-set Hair and Make up Artist for making the Actresses look “award-winningly beautiful”! (And ‘Guns’ so stoically handsome, I guess.)
MedFF also has a screenplay competition which is currently considering a few of my feature length screenplays for its next Award Season. My coming of age, feature length screenplay Fight or Play Basketball was already honored with Best Social Drama by MedFF. This award, coming all the way from Italy, really encouraged me that the story of a single mom and her sports minded son – which takes place in Rhode Island – is universal in its appeal.
On FilmFreeway, there is a feedback forum from entrants to give their thoughts on the festivals they enter. Screenwriter Robert Cole is quoted as saying “Communication is the key ingredient to a successful festival. Filmmakers thrive on response time. The folks running MedFF get straight A’s from me. Thanks for judging my screenplay “White Corvette” a winner in the latest edition. I’ll be back.” Another filmmaker named Alessia Vegro states “Amazing Italian Festival with a great selection of interesting movies! I loved being part of it! And the staff… they’re all organized and efficient! Hope to come back again!”
I’d like to personally thank Danny, Dom, and Jennifer for their hard work and continued efforts to help independent filmmakers like myself reach bigger audiences.
I hope to meet them someday and talk cinema and possibly collaborate! – MIKE
Photos of the Good People from MedFF: