Filmmakers, ladies, gentlemen, intersex, gender fluid and trans beauties! We're getting down to the tooth-and-nail choices that'll comprise the final films for the Canted Angle Film Festival! Two weeks ago, we began our semi-final processing with right at 180 films. We watched... we JUDGED (ominous, moving, piano swell here)... we labored lovingly at the treasures so many of you have worked your asses off to show us.
We at Canted Angle Media are here, and we are listening, watching, and sculpting our festival show with the mass of the weirdest, culturally stimulating, and bold films of the lot.
We're down to, I think, 43 films. This newsletter has a critique for filmmakers, if you find yourself needing to know more about my perspective as both a filmmaker and festival producer. More on this below.
I feel like writing new movies, like shooting one-minute shorts, and like I'm alive as a filmmaker again. And, that is due in whole to all of you who've submitted films. Thank you so much for the artwork you slaved over, toiled, lamented, and squeezed another hour out of your dry, weary eyes to make!
I've seen some of the weirdest shit I couldn't have envisioned myself. I watched a short where it was just a naked man, shot from top-down, crawling across a tarp, yipping and hawing with his naked ass shining. It haunts me, skittering through my thoughts as my mind slows at the end of my day. I've seen a stoner pizza delivery man and his even-higher mom eating a pizza meant for a customer. I've seen VHS-filtered bog monsters consuming the souls of lake people.
You all are a weird lot, and you are being screened by a friend! I solemnly swear to write notes and open dialogue about your films, selected or not, as the festival winds down. We're getting to the busy, work-y part of the festival; the program needs to be mapped, the clowns dressed, the confetti shredded, the rubber duckies acquired, the bath water drawn. Shit is getting DEEP over here, and I'm so excited for those selected, and the audience, of which haven't the slightest clue the spectacle and surprises they're going to experience at the festival!
I almost forgot! I've seen clowns! As a lifelong owner and purveyor of a strong "whoop whoop", clowns are dear to my heart! If you hate clowns, let's teach you to love 'em! If you love 'em, hey, that's great! You'll be most prepared at the festival!
I think I only have one critique for filmmakers submitting their films ANYWHERE: crediting the artists who helped make your film. Here's where things get fairly blunt. I've denied entry to my festival to over 40 films because they had no credits at the end of their films, or some combination of not properly crediting media they've used. One of my judges denied close to 60 films due to copyright/zero credits.
Do you have clips from CNN in your film? If you do, you need to make sure your credits are appropriately attained, either through permission or creative commons freedoms. Copyright is very strange, stretchy in places, and rigid as hell in others. Make sure you stock up on knowledge so your film isn't getting denied!
Please, understand my criticism is within a broader context. Many films I've screened are made by students, and I know they've likely been showcased at school functions and haven't made it out into the public. We were never too concerned about a copyright slip-up in production classes, though we were taught to remove them at all cost.
I nonetheless once used both The Joker and rapper Wrekonize's likenesses in an early school short. Though I enjoy the film, I pretty much painted myself into a corner by accident through virtue of not having had enough time working with film to know I couldn't use their likenesses without some kind of permission.
Other films I've seen are collages that don't tell us where their imagery comes from. They come off more as editing projects than they do full-on narrative film. However, I still need to see those credits. I contacted one director who'd used the song "Maggot Brain" by funk band Funkadelic in their project.
I have to say, as spacey and ethereal as their film was, and aptly using one bad ass funk song as their soundtrack, they nonetheless revealed to me through questioning that they'd no permission to use the song, thus disqualifying them from my festival.
Y'all, I've seen GREAT movies with zero credits in this festival process. Okay, so allow me to urge you, as I do with my loved ones and my filmmaker pals and collaborators: stay through the credits of a film, any and every film, even if the usher is rushing you out. It is a cardinal sin for ushers to scoot you out of a film once the credits roll. I've tremendous resentment for every facility that told patrons to leave after Avengers: Endgame because the credits were cutting into their scheduling time. TOUGH SHIT, PAL.
15,000 people made that movie, from the person who maintained cables, to the directors and actors. Those people deserve their recognition, in just the same way Benedict Cumberbatch deserves an emphatic kiss for saying like three lines in that movie and making my cry every damned time I lock eyes with him. He's a fucking saint. That was a spoiler. Not sorry. Benny's back from the snap. That's a spoiler, too, if you haven't seen Avengers: Infinity War. Actually, just stop reading and go watch them, if you haven't. I've judged and you've been found guilty of lacking.
You get where I'm headed. If I think you need to stay through the credits of every film as a way of showing reverence for the persons who assembled the project, I most definitely think you should be crediting your actors for crying in your picture. That shit takes a fuckton of brainpower for me to squeeze out in front of camera and backline (humble brag, but sometimes my tears are like fuck you, I'm staying in today). Credit every last soul on your projects. You credit every person because you love them, and gosh darnit, they're worth it!
Credit your mom for sitting in her favorite chair and watching you cry because you've done so damned much on the backline that you're ready to hurl up yesterday's pizza rolls. Credit the house your film was shot in for being fucking awesome, write extensive notes and thank you cards to your staff, even if you never had a dollar to give them for their work on your film. If you're one of those scallywags that takes all credit for your work, I've got your card now. The gig/jig/mustard is up.
You good for another paragraph on why this is important? Good. Neither am I, but my spirit is doing the leading here, or maybe Slipknot's new album has made me an emotional wreck. It's very important to document who's on your projects. I worked on films in school that weren't credited, and it's fucking strange to be working for someone "for the first time" in your mind, only to be reminded that four years ago, they watched you act like a fledgling, newbie zombie and your ass had fallen outta your pants during a take. CREDIT, IF ONLY FOR YOUR DIGNITY. Credit people because you appreciate the work they've done to get your film in front of discerning eyes that don't belong to your cousin who thinks your film work is a hobby, despite you having been a professional filmmaker for three years.
Credit your workers because they deserve the credit. Credit your facilities because you want to shoot in them again in the future. And, the bottom line is, you credit everyone because even before money, your reputation pays for the type of work you'll receive in the future.
I love you crazy kids and your weird movies! Here's to making at least two more for next year!
Filmmakers, please keep your eyes on my Facebook page HERE, for the selection list/winners, which is going to be decided this weekend.
Canted Angle Film Festival is being held at Lyric Theater in downtown Harrison, Arkansas on August 31st, 2019, at 6pm. Get there early because they've got beer and I'll need new friends to slam a few with!