Your average filmmaker dreams of submitting their film to a festival, getting acceptance, and winning awards hand over fist before finally collecting a Hollywood check and on to stardom.
But, as “Official Rejection” shows, it’s not all that easy, and it often has little to do with actually how good your film is.
“Rejection” tells the story of the filmmakers Scott Storm and writer Paul Osborne, who made an independent film called “Ten ‘Till Noon,” and, like any respectable indie filmmaker, started submitting it to film festivals.
Instead of finding an audience, though, they found a series of financial pitfalls, politics and heartache.
Osborne is the film’s narrator, guiding viewers through the festival process, from signup and entry fee (starting at $50, moving upwards of $100). Osborne does a terrific job of walking us through the process and the frustrations it’s certain to cause, as his film is bounced around, rejected unceremoniously (often, he hints, without even being screened first), then, finally accepted.
The twists and turns Osborne and co. endure for the sake of their film is wonderfully squirmy, and his exasperation at one particularly poorly-run fest, where prolonged projector problems led to a delay of several hours, with only a festival volunteer to act as liason while the director apparently was avoiding the problems.
We also get insights from festival veterans, some of whom, like Bryan Singer (“The Usual Suspects,” “Superman Returns”) and Kevin Smith (“Clerks”) have become major players in their own right.
Osborne, though, is still low-profile, often carting around his wife and two kids, and doing it for the love of the game, so to speak. We get to know him on a personal level, though there’s one particular development, played off as a joke, which is very conspicuously lacking in details.
The film is a wonderful look into the world of festivals, which forms, like most other industries, a sort of subculture, complete with weirdos, wack jobs and groupies who make the experience (and this film) all the more interesting.
Rating: 4 Yaps out of 5