Withoutabox and Sundance – Pay Attention Filmmakers!

Posted in festivals, Making Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2009 by Tom McIntire

If you’re like me on Withoutabox, you crank in several festival entries, print out the instructions and mail off one or two DVDs to the festivals of your choice. Easy peasy. But read the instructions! Usually I just check to see how many DVDs they want, burn ’em, label ’em and stuff them in hopefully the right envelope before cycling off to the post office. I noticed that Sundance had lots more instructobabble than the others. I see my chances of getting into Sundance on a par with winning the lottery but you can’t win if you don’t play. The worst thing to do when entering any festival (or submitting your work to an agent, grant agency, production company or management team) is to give them an excuse to toss your entry in the trash. They are getting swamped with entries – your musical version of Citizen Kane may be the next big thing but it won’t be if you don’t follow their instructions. No one will see it except the guys at the landfill. I wound up tearing open my entry and redoing it to meet their standards. Now at least I know that I didn’t just toss that entry fee into the fire.

I’m not going to tell you how Sundance is different because you should read the most up-to-date instructions when you submit your project. What I will say is they use received dates rather than postmark dates AND it is much cheaper to enter now than later – but there’s more that you need to watch. Spend your entry fee money wisely.


“two julias” and “Greenspoke” nominated for awards at the International Film Festival Ireland

Posted in Uncategorized on July 2, 2009 by Tom McIntire
Two of my short films have been nominated!

Two of my short films have been nominated!

My political satire two julias has been nominated for “Best USA Film under 25 minutes” and environmentally themed sci-fi thriller Greenspoke has been nominated for “Best Film International under 50 minutes” at the International Film Festival Ireland. How fun is that? The festival takes place between Sept 6 and Sept 12 in Clonmel, County Tipperary in Ireland. The awards ceremony occurs on Sept 12.

Greenspoke is now available on IndieFlix:

Congratulations to everyone involved in these productions and a big thank you to all of you who have shown your support!

“The Smiling Zombie” advances to the quarterfinals in the 2009 Bluecat Screenplay Competition

Posted in screenwriting with tags , , , , , , , on June 17, 2009 by Tom McIntire

My feature-length script, The Smiling Zombie, has advanced to the quarterfinals in the 2009 Bluecat Screenplay Competition. Coming on the heels of placing as a finalist (along with a second script of mine, The Karma Stone) in the 2009 ReelHeART International Film Festival (RHIFF) in Toronto and advancing to the semifinals in the 2008 Writemovies competition, this is exciting stuff for my drama with dark comedy, music, dancing and yes a few zombies.

The Smiling Zombie is planned to be the first feature produced by nonprofit film studio Smiling Z Studios. We are currently working on the budget and urge you to support the studio if you can. There’s a link on the Web site. Smiling Z Studios provides paid cast and crew positions in quality productions even when budgets are low.

“two julias” to play at the International Film Festival Ireland in Galway, Sept 2009

Posted in festivals, two julias with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 17, 2009 by Tom McIntire

I was excited when Greenspoke was made an official selection of the International Film Festival Ireland. It’s our first festival acceptance (the film was completed in March 2009) and you never forget your first. Galway is also the home town of two julias‘ actress Órla McGovern, so I sent our award-winning short on as well. From the title of this post, you can guess what came next. I’m excited for everyone involved in the two productions and hope to be able to make it to Galway in September for the festival. Thanks to those of you who follow this blog too – your support and encouragement mean a lot.

Seattle locals – save the date for a double feature at the Central Cinema on August 4 at 9:30pm. two julias and Greenspoke will be screened, plus we’ll have hors d’oeuvres and film-related merchandise available. This event will be a fundraiser for the new nonprofit film studio  – Smiling Z Studios.

Heckler – watch this documentary

Posted in Movie reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by Tom McIntire

Anyone else tired of the level of discourse that passes for film and theatre criticism? I am impressed with anyone who has the balls to put themselves out there as a performer, writer, filmmaker or any other kind of artist. When interviewed in Heckler, George Lucas talks about wanting to be around the doers who create things, not the destroyers. I couldn’t agree more.

Heckler is a thoughtful, insightful look at heckling in all its forms, from the drunken assholes who disrupt live performances to the self-anointed film experts who savage performers personally rather than offering any helpful or constructive criticism. Director Mike Addis and Jamie Kennedy created this documentary about heckling but it is about much more than that. The lack of civility and empathy that is rampant in our culture has been magnified a thousand times over by the anonymity and lack of filtering that the internet allows. Jamie Kennedy does what many would like to do – talk face-to-face with some of the critics, most of whom don’t have the courage to stand behind the vile things they wrote. “I wasn’t talking about you personally.”  Really? Kennedy’s restraint in dealing with a couple of these guys is admirable.

An affirming and engrossing documentary, Heckler has great interviews with other doers and some unnerving footage of heckling incidents. Nice work Mike and Jamie!

Fear and Self-Loathing and Festival Programmers

Posted in Greenspoke, Making Movies on May 23, 2009 by Tom McIntire

I was disappointed that Greenspoke wasn’t selected for the 2009 Seattle International Film Festival shorts program. Produced in Seattle with a strong local cast and crew, it’s tough to get rejected by the home town.

Going into this project I knew I had several issues to overcome:

  1. Greenspoke is long for a short – 27 minutes. This makes it difficult to fit into a festival program and will probably limit our distribution options. It also means that in accepting my film a festival potentially could be rejecting several shorter films that might round out the program better.
  2. Greenspoke is a genre piece. The sci-fi nature of the content is a plus in sci-fi  festivals but may actually work against it in more general interest or drama-focused events. SIFF did have a couple of sci-fi selected so I don’t think that is an issue here.
  3. Greenspoke, strong as our cast is, has no name talent attached. While we were one degree of separation away from Sandra Oh, one degree can make all the difference.

Feeling a little bitter about it all, I checked out the list of accepted SIFF shorts and found that most of the shorts that were accepted, are, uh, short. All but a handful are under 20 minutes. Unfortunately rejected films don’t usually get a reason for the rejection from festivals. That’s something that would be nice to have – just the scores from the judges and knowing how far it got can be helpful in tweaking and tuning or planning the next project.

We did get accepted to the 2009 International Film Festival Ireland. This was a pleasant surprise because they responded within a couple of weeks even though their notify date is a couple of months out. The festival happens in September in Galway, where the lovely and talented two julias alum  Órla Mc Govern and her pal Miss Nelly reside. We also got a worldwide distribution offer before Greenspoke has even shown anywhere.

So is it pointless rationalization to try and figure out why a festival programmer rejected your work? Probably, but it does make me feel better in a self-flaggelating sort of way. Especially when another programmer thinks you’re the bee’s pajamas.

Greenspoke an Official Selection at International Film Festival Ireland – Galway

Posted in festivals, Greenspoke, Making Movies with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 18, 2009 by Tom McIntire

Good news – Greenspoke is an official selection of the International Film Festival Ireland (IFFI). The fest runs from Sept 8-12 2009 in beautiful Galway, Ireland.

What’s next? Check out our new nonprofit film studio, Smiling Z Studios.