Last Saturday was the festival premiere of our feature About a Donkey. Kelsey and I flew down for the festival and enjoyed the hell out of it.
The festival was held at the University of North Georgia, and is run by professors at the school. The whole staff was lovely and super welcoming. There’s a real community feel since many of the volunteers are students, and families of those students come out to support the fest.
About a Donkey screened at 2:30pm in a nice theater. We could feel the care put into the setup. The screening started on time and played without tech issues. We had about 35 people in attendance, which was pretty cool considering we don’t have any cast or crew connections to Georgia. With the exception of wonderful filmmaker friend, Lynne Hansen (creator of I Make Films Like a Girl pins & shirts), who drove from Atlanta to finally meet me in person and support our premiere, everyone in attendance was a local who came out of mere interest in the film. We were elated to quickly realize the audience was enjoying the film because laughs started from essentially the first punchline and continued steadily throughout the film. One guy sitting right behind me and Kelsey was a particularly enthusiastic laugher, which made the experience all the more enjoyable for us! The Q&A was well-run and thoughtful. The audience had a lot of questions, and we were relieved and grateful to hear that the film resonated with them and they wanted to learn/see more!
Even after the Q&A, quite a few people stuck around to talk to us and personally tell us that they liked the film. Two teen girls talked to us about their own aspirations in film and were super excited to meet us. That was a really humbling and inspiring moment.
We spent much of the rest of the day hanging out with Lynne, whose work you should definitely check out. She’s a horror fan/filmmaker like me, but had some really positive feedback about the film and how it touched her despite its lack of gore! And a couple strangers even tweeted recommendations of catching the film at future festivals. The afterparty was really fun, held at a local brewery. We chatted with a couple other filmmakers in the festival, but mainly found ourselves in Q&A’s with students who wanted to hear more about what we do and how we do it. It was an awesome experience all around.
I loved being part of the Georgia Film Festival and would definitely like to return. I want to thank them for programming our film. As filmmakers, our goal is to reach people beyond our own network, and festivals are a way to do that. However, festivals often have a goal of filling as many seats as possible, which typically means trying to program only name-driven content and/or local content where cast & crew will heavily market to their local networks. That’s why it’s so wonderful that the Georgia Film Fest programming team enjoyed the film enough to offer it a slot and allow us this audience engagement!
We’ll have more festival news soon! Stay tuned!