Coney Island Film Festival "Juice It" Recap

Three Saturdays ago "Juice It" premiered at the 14th annual Coney Island Film Festival. I was hoping to do this update earlier, but held off in hopes of getting copies of their professional photos from my screening and Q&A. Unfortunately, they haven't released them and may not anytime soon. So, in the meantime, I post this with my terribly out of focus camera phone pictures and will simply reshare it when the good ones go live! (BTW, there are some nice ones not of me, but of the festival overall on their Facebook page). 


As for how the festival went, it was a ton of fun! The thing about public screenings is that, while they're of course what we live for as filmmakers and are incredibly exhilarating, they're painfully nerve-wracking (at least for me) when it's the first time a piece is being seen publicly, as was the case here. I was terrified no one would laugh. To my delight though, the screening was filled with non-stop laughs, and rumbling, belly laughs at that. Some jokes were missed because people were still laughing at the one before. It felt pretty amazing. What was nice to hear, though I feel bad admitting so, was that they weren't polite, equal opportunity laughers. Most of the films that screened with mine were exceptionally funny, funnier than mine even, and a few had way higher production values. They got just as much laughter from the room. It was an honor to screen with them. However, there was one that was pretty weak. I wont specify which, but it wasn't very well done and it dragged on a lot. It just wasn't quite hitting the comedic beats, and didn't know when to let an attempt at a running joke die. So, to hear the audience not laugh at that one, while did make me feel bad for that filmmaker, felt validating in the sincerity of their amusement over "Juice It." People may tell you "I liked it" or even "I loved it," and if you're lucky they'll specify details that stood out to them and why, or explain actual emotions it provoked in them. For the most part though, you never truly know if people are just being polite to your face. What you can gauge though is the energy in the room and, in the case of comedy, the laughter from the audience. I'll stop rambling now, but needless to say, it was a successful screening and made me feel great (even in spite of the annoying cold I had)! 

As for what's next for "Juice it," well I'm eager to get it online for more people to see. I shot it over a year ago, and finished it about 9 months ago. I had hoped for a much earlier premiere for the film, especially considering it was a somewhat last minute project, shot in 2 days, on less than $500. My dream festival was the NBCU Short Film Festival (formally NBC Short Cuts), which happened in the early summer. It was a long-shot, of course, especially since my actors were non-union and no one involved was commercially known. However, I took a shot and set up my submissions to allow for that to be the potential premiere; and it was rejected. At the end of the day, I'm glad the premiere was at Coney Island because they were so welcoming and warm, the audience reaction was priceless, and the festival just has such character (we watched my film on bleachers in a rusted old sideshow). But since I was crossing my fingers for an NBC premiere, two local festivals I could have submitted to last year, I've only just submitted to this month. So it'll be a while before the film is public on vimeo; I'm thinking by the Spring.

HOWEVER, with that said, there has been some other good news for the film. One being that it was invited to screen in LA at the HollyShorts Screening Series late this month or next (they're still settling on a date for me). And more timely, it was chosen to participate in FirstGlance Film Festival's Online Shorts Contest, which launches tomorrow! The contest is hosted by The way it works is that people register for the site for $2 and they can watch "Juice It" and the other 14 shorts in the contest as many times as they'd like for a month. The film that gets the most votes will screen at their 15th annual festival in LA, and the filmmaker gets a prize valuing $2,500 on top of an additional TBD cash prize (a percentage of the $2 fee everyone pays) based on how many daily votes they get. What's really cool about this is that over 90,000 people have participated in watching the films in past years, so I'll have increased exposure. What's not so cool is that the cash prize is not based on total votes, but daily votes, meaning it resets everyday. So if I want to win, I have to nag everyone I know to not just vote once but vote once a day for 30 days straight. I'm just not inclined to do that. However, please brace yourself for a lot of tweets from me about it for the next month (starting tomorrow). No worries, I wont be nearly as annoying as during my crowdfunding campaigns ;)

But in all honesty, if you enjoy the film and have the time and desire to be super supportive, a vote a day or every other day or once a week would be greatly appreciated. Regardless, I hope you're able to watch it during the contest. Or if not, see it at a festival; or worst case, see it when it goes live on the CongestedCat site in the Spring. 

I can't wait to share it with more people & get further feedback. Thanks for reading & supporting!