Home > Film Festivals, review > Montana Independent Film Festival (MTIFF)

Montana Independent Film Festival (MTIFF)

This was the third year for this “film festival” and we should have known better and save ourselves the $60 submission fee.
Upon receiving the acceptance letter, we were also informed, that if we are planning to make the journey
to Montana for this film-festival, we should absolutely contact the festival organizers.
I have tried this for over 3 weeks without an email or phone call response. Again, we should have known ….
Because we were planning our trip to other film festivals and needed to arrange the plane tickets accordingly, we purchased the flights to Montana before we got any response from the MTIFF organizers. Unfortunately, the day after I was finally able to get in touch with Mr Gil Claveria who runs the MTIFF as well as another festival (also in 3rd year), called Mockfest.
He was very surprised when I told him that we were planning to attend the festival and he tried by all means to change our mind. However, our tickets were non-refundable and we just couldn’t understand why the film festival founder wouldn’t like us to attend, so we decided to check it out. What a terrible waste of money and time!
The festival was to run September 26th and 27th and we have arrived the day of into a small town of Misoula, Montana.
Earlier during the day, we went on checking the town out and finding out the response of the locals to a festival running in their town.
We have found what we expected; nobody in town ever heard of the festival, there were no posters or other promotional material posted anywhere and our hotel had no idea what we were talking about, when we asked if it would be possible to leave our film postcard in the lobby for the film festival.
Upon trying to check in to the festival, we were told by the cash register attendant, that he was not affiliated with the festival and we better wait. And so we did. Finally, a man in a ponytail showed up, only to escort 3 young kids around the theater.
He didn’t look like he was part of the festival, and definitely didn’t acknowledge us while we were the only ones waiting in the lobby.
So we left and went to grab a lunch. The first screening was supposedly already taking place, but since we didn’t see anyone, didn’t meet anyone, we didn’t bother.
We went back after about 1 hour and finally were able to introduce ourselves to the man in ponytail. He laughed and said he didn’t know who we were. Then he said he was joking. Then he said of course he didn’t have any passes or information for us, but we are welcome to go into the theater and see the movie playing.
The auditorium was deserted. Of course. We stayed and watched the movies, that were not bad and left.
As we did, we met with a friend of ours, also a filmmaker. He was very apologetic about MTIFF saying he had no idea why is nobody there.
The festival organizer and his wife did their best to avoid us the whole weekend. We realized, at this point, that it was all a scam, as some locals in town told us, that the building the festival is taking place in, have been closed for years and not in operation. They had no idea you could go and see a movie there, let alone film festival.
We were finally able to meet the founders the night of the “Awards.”
Surprisingly, the auditorium was half full. We had no idea where these dressed up people came from. Then we found out.
The 3 kids from a day earlier are local “filmmakers”, students at local university and this was their first time they showed at film festival. All their friends showed up to see them receive an “award.” Our film and our friend’s film were “nominated.” I guess, just to make up for our trouble, and since there were no other filmmakers there, why not. I have to say, it meant nothing. The festival also means nothing on IMDb, where their awards and nominations are not recognized.
We met Mr Claveria. He claimed to be terribly sick and asked us to keep our distance. He did play with his little daughter the entire time. We left. Bitter feeling left in our mouths. What a scam! What a waste! And what a joke.
With a little effort, this festival could have audience and appear half way decent. The nearby university, the town of friendly locals are all hungry for any entertainment. The beautiful theater and building that nobody knows it exists just goes to waste.

Final evaluation:
Price: expensive
Perks: none

Media: zero
Professionalism: very poor
Interaction with filmmaker: minimal

Rating on a scale from 1-10: 2 (only because the films we have seen there were all excellent)

Final thought: I hear Mr Claveria is making a movie, starring his beautiful wife.
I am glad he doesn’t have troubles like the rest of us filmmakers, that is, finding a budget for his

Please, let me know if reviews of this type are helpful to you.
What other information shall I add?
Shall I be more detailed? Shall I give shoutouts to films that are screened?
Please, leave a comment with your feedback or experience 🙂
Thank you filmmakers. Cheers!

  1. Guil Claveria
    February 12, 2010 at 10:49 am

    I’d like to start off by stating that as an American citizen I believe in freedom of speech. So i support your ability to write an opinion pertaining to any film festival including one I am associated with. First off, I was not in charge of the Montana Independent Film Festival this year. Alesha Noice ran the film festival in 2009. So all critiques and statements of libel should be directed to her. Please get your facts straight pertaining to any of the accusations you have made. I am fearlessly writing this because you have made inaccurate claims. I stumbled upon this miserably angry blog today and was offended by it’s inaccuracy. I now thoroughly understand the type of human being YOU ARE based on your blogs and I wish the best for you and your many inner conflicts. I could of easily ran away from this or even avoided it but I decided that it’s worth my time to acknowledge your “ignorance”. Please use the correct person’s name when accusing them of certain actions. Second there is no way I can fund a film when I do not make any money from the Montana Independent Film Festival. I am a full time college teacher! If you like I can tell you how I funded the films i’ve made through the years (and it’s never been through any film festival). Your assumption are deviously driven and reveal a lot about you. I can go on with more of your inaccuracies, but I would rather save my words for a legal battle against your libel.

    First warning: Please get your accusations in order. Start by miserably attacking the correct person. Second, please figure out which is libel and which is opinion and then delete all libelous statements. I don’t mind you attacking the film festival but please be truthful and accurate. I hope you are the type of person who aims to speak TRUTH (which means spreading accurate facts) and not just a tormented soul who rambles with anger and misery to prove a point.

    PS. Thank you for complimenting my wife. She is very beautiful. Unfortunately, she is not starring in any of my current productions. So you are wrong again with the false accusation. This feature I am currently finishing has been in production since 2008 and will be completed this year and has never been funded by any of the festivals i’ve been associated with. The only “f” word used to fund my films were favors and friends that dedicated their time and passion. And like most filmmaker (I’m not sure what kind you are), money was never my driving force needed to make this movie.


  2. Guil Claveria
    February 12, 2010 at 10:56 am

    Please do not erase any of my comments. I strongly believe in freedom of speech. So if you are believer in freedom of speech, you will keep this post up. It is very important for other filmmakers, production companies, anyone in the film industry, especially other film festivals to know the kind of inaccurate accusations you make towards other human beings. Your true personality needs to be revealed not only to the public but to yourself. I am willing to continue your libel dialogue in court.

  3. Guil Claveria
    February 12, 2010 at 11:01 am

    One last request, please leave your original inaccurate accusations against me on your blog. We may need it for evidence.

    Remember, always search for the actual TRUTH and not to prove yourself to be correct.

  4. Guil Claveria
    February 12, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    guil claveria runs scam festivals to finance his films

    Come on now. What kind of conflicted human being are you to make this libel accusation? You wrote this in your meta tag based on what information? I’d love to continue this discussion in court?

    It’s like me writing Ester Brym based on all her youtube videos looks like an evil, angry, miserable, conflicted, insecure & untalented human being who is fooling herself by self promoting herself with all her filmmaking escapade attempts (of course ultimately failing at it). I personally don’t know you, so you could be the most happiest, loving person all the time. Whatever?

    I could spread this around, but I would never. I can’t prove any of the statements i just made. They could be inaccurate. I hope you believe in accuracy.

    Bottom line, I was in charge of selecting the Montana Independent Film Festival’s Official Selections. Meaning I selected the line up, including your movie Butterflies because I believed your film was important to be SEEN by the people of Missoula. It was a great film! That was my job. Then you personally attack me via your BLOG but of course complementing my wife.

    Can you please take off the meta tag that I finance my films with the festivals? Like I’ve told you numerous times before, I do not make money from the film festivals. I am a full time college teacher, that is my profession. And just like YOU and the 1000’s of people with cameras out there, filmmaking is only a slightly profitable hobby that I am hoping will one day turn into a little bit more.

  5. Todd Jones
    February 13, 2010 at 12:28 am

    How was MockFest? We actually applied to that one!

    • March 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm

      I am actually not sure Todd, I have never attended MockFest and don’t know anyone who did. Please, let me know what your experience is…judging from the fact that same person runs it, I am little bit worried for you 😦

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