Saturday was the final festival screening of our feature About a Donkey. It was our 10th festival (though 15th public screening) and thankfully a solid way to end our run! I honestly hadn’t heard of CCFF before 2018. I came across them on Moviemaker’s 25 Coolest Film Festivals list, then saw their reviews on FilmFreeway were good, and then their photos looked … well, cool! That and a low submission fee made it worth giving a shot; and I’m so glad I did. The festival itself is fairly small (they expanded this year from just 4 days to 11 days), and seems to have no major funding, so they aren’t able to offer the perks I’ve experienced at other festivals (like filmmaker swag and free accommodations), but they stand out in other ways. For one thing, the programming director and staff are some of the most welcoming people I’ve ever met. They were truly excited to meet Kelsey & me and had such wonderful things to say about our film. Multiple staff members throughout the weekend kept emphasizing how much they loved our movie and the charming world we created with characters they wanted more of. One programmer said that films can sometimes end on such a depressing note, which can be a lot in our current political climate; so it was such a pleasure to watch our film that left him feeling so good. The needed optimism of our story was a frequent comment throughout the weekend, and it was really lovely to hear. The other thing that made the festival standout is how incredibly inclusive it is. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a festival that wasn’t a specifically LGBTQ and/or women-focused festival that was so intentionally inclusive in its programming. I also love that it’s not something they necessarily market or make noise about, they just commit to it in all that they program. Some of my favorite examples of this beyond the films, they had local musicians perform after hours that were overtly intersectionally feminist and they had an interactive, experimental exhibit that was inspired by Black feminist critical theory, as well as a panel devoted to discussing trauma and sexual assault specifically through the lens and voices of women of color.
As for our our actual time there, we unfortunately were only able to be there for a few days and didn’t get to see as much as we would’ve liked; but we enjoyed what we did get to experience. Lansing isn’t the hippest of communities on first glance. Despite having the MSU campus there, it feels a lot like the farm town it apparently is. But there’s a ton of diversity within the community, and a real appreciation for the arts, as witnessed by the turnouts and conversations had at the festival.
Our screening was on Saturday at 5pm in a hot tub warehouse that had been converted into a cool art exhibit and screening space. The sound and picture were solid, and all seats were nearly full with 45 locals in attendance. The film got a lot of laughs and sweet comments afterwards. One woman told us how much she loved the multi-generational approach and only wished that Annie, the pregnant sister, had delivered by the end so that there could’ve been 4 generations of women onscreen at once. And another woman raved about how much the film touched her and that she appreciated our portrayal of how animals can change lives; she told us about how rescuing her dog saved her life after her husband’s death. Overall, it was a sweet way to end our festival run. We’re now excited to start reaching viewers online!
Local Vegan Treat:
For Crepe’s Sake has vegan batter as an option! Their sweet sauces (chocolate, caramel, cinnamon butter) aren’t vegan, but maple syrup with strawberries & bananas was a go-to for me.
Catch the film next at:
I’ll be putting out a blog post about this further, but we’ll be on Vimeo on Demand and VHX on May 7th, with later releases on Amazon Prime and Seed&Spark. Our Vimeo on Demand is already available for pre-order, and we’d love it if you helped spread the word about that as we get closer to officially being available to public!
Thanks for following the run of this film! I hope my recaps have been interesting & informative. And thanks for making it all possible if you were a Seed&Spark supporter who started it all!