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Temecula Valley Film Festival Is Not For Indies…

What a beautiful location and what a great place to bring indie films.

What a pity that the organizer, Ms Jo Moulton is not at all a film lover and has no respect for indie filmmakers.

Unless you are a big star, your film will screen in a storage room with no AC and plastic folding chairs, just like ours did.

This place would kill an inmate, forget about room filled with audience.  After 10 minutes of extreme temperatures and the staff walking back and forth through an old door that always lets in so much light that you see absolutely nothing on the projector screen, almost 1/2 of the audience walked out. This never happened to us before, as we always had packed screenings at other reputable festivals and audience waited way after the screening to take part in Q&As. Of course no Q&A was to take place in Temecula….

Temecula FF only respects filmmakers who can bring in a celebrity. In that case,  you are treated VIP style with wine, photographers and red carpet. Everybody else is pushed to the side and screening room where they screen true indie films is worse than my kid projector in the basement.

Ms Jo Moulton who runs the festival asked me about 8 times during the few days the festival runs who I am and what film I am with. She also told me that one of her worst nightmares just came through, because her daughter has decided to be a filmmaker. Jo doesn’t like films or filmmakers and the festival she runs is not a place for any indie artist.

During our red carpet arrival, every filmmaker is to get some camera time with local TV station. As our turn came, the reporter started uncomfortable looking to the side behind us. We turned around and saw one of the festival volunteers pushing a bigger star through the crowd. We were immediately pushed away as the little starlet was placed right in front of my face. Goodbye our 5 minutes of fame.

The award ceremony is a joke where no awards are given to films screened, unless they are local to Temecula. The rest of the night is filled with honoring of big hollywood filmmakers and bands that have never heard of this place before. There is also and audience award, which, in our case didn’t matter at all, because room we screened in didn’t even have hosts or volunteers to distribute the ballots.
Will never come back to the festival, but will visit the town again for its wineries and really friendly people.

Final evaluation:

Price: very affordable
Perks: lots of free wine

Media: local newspapers and TV that gives attention to big stars and films of the festival
Interaction with filmmaker: interaction with celebrities only

Rating on a scale from 1-10: 5

Website:

http://www.tviff.com/

Final thought: I was so very sad that the events at this festival turned out so unfortunate. I wish we had some big stars, I wish we had big movie to show, because the people in the town are so lovely. The main theater is beautiful and the wine is of course delicious. It is a great place for a day trip and wine tasting,  but don’t bother if you are a filmmaker.

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List of scam festivals for 2009 from our experience

January 7, 2010 1 comment

IndieFest Chicago

Queens Film Festival

Montana Independent Film Festival

La Femme Film Festival

WildSound Feedback

Temecula Valley Film Festival

ReelHeart International Film Festival

More reviews are coming up. Please feel free to add bad experiences that you had.

Filmmakers Avoid La Femme Film Festival

January 7, 2010 1 comment

Terrible and expensive place to screen. For the submission fee of $70, you get a room with a couple of chairs and none of your posters nowhere to be seen. We were also “lucky” enough to have our screening scheduled against the opening party of the festival. Needless to say that nobody had any idea we were showing, besides our friends.
Also needless to say, that there was no effort from the festival organizer to put any attention to our film, because our time slot was in competition with the film crew, that paid huge money to the festival publicist.
During the closing ceremony, we struggled to find parking place, because place dedicated to VIP only was not for us. The parking attendant laughed when we asked and said : “Well, are you a celebrity?” Foolish of us to think that since our film was at the festival, we might have been the VIPs. At that point, we were so upset, that we approached the organizer Ms Leslie La Page to find out what exactly happened with our screening, our posters and her festival. She was very busy standing around carrying a baby, I guess her son…
Upon our approach, she started looking very uncomfortable, claiming she is very busy and cannot talk to us. We did mention we emailed her earlier with no feedback. She started getting more upset, looking for any way out. We left. We didn’t bother to attend award ceremony, that was dedicated to people, who paid thousands of dollars to receive her award.
How does this woman sleep at night? Scamming filmmakers of their money, taking their promotional materials and trashing them right away? If this woman is really a mother, I feel very sorry for the children she will raise. Nothing good comes from family of thieves, liars and con artists. Avoid this place if you are a serious filmmaker. If you film is no good, this place might be a great for you, because for few thousand $, you can buy attention, great screening time, publicity and award. No respect though. That you can only buy with good film.

Final evaluation:
Price: expensive
Perks: some if you have extra
$ to pay for them
Media: Ms Leslie has some friends that lent their names to the festival, they are as interested in indie film as I am in farming
Professionalism: appears good until personal contact
Interaction with filmmaker: only with the rich ones

Rating on a scale from 1-10:  3 (at least the “festival” takes place)

Website:

http://www.lafemme.org/

Final thought: After receiving emails from other filmmakers that attended La Femme, wanting to stop Ms LaPage from running

the festival another year, I realized, that we came out OK. We didn’t pay any additional money besides the submission fee, we didn’t get

scammed into her bogus publicist, we didn’t travel across the country to attend this circus. We came out OK, just smarter. Will you?

Montana Independent Film Festival (MTIFF)

November 17, 2009 6 comments

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)
Website:
http://www.mtiff.com/

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
productions…


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!