In an effort to rid the festival world of festivals that may be teetering on the brink of dishonesty, I feel it’s important to notify the readership of growing concerns with certain film festivals. I have railed against festivals large and small, various screening series’ and the likes, not to mention the whole “submission system” in general. I will relegate this particular entry to warn filmmakers about one festival in particular.
Recently I submitted a short film to the 2013 International Sci-Fi Film Festival of Athens. Usually I do my homework on these festivals as I have grown overly suspicious of many of them. With the advent of WithoutABox, film festivals seem to be popping up left and right and with little to know oversight. Going into another year, the Athens Sci-Fi festival (branded as SFF-rated ATHENS), has begun its film rejection process. Here is a note left on the festivals website (which is a WordPress page):
We will start making our Official Selection for 2013 public – and as usual, the negatives come first. We don’t send out rejection e-mails or (god forbid) rejection letters. So people, check your submission status in our web listings:
-If nothing has changed, it means you are still in the game (it will take us approx. two more weeks to finish this).
-Otherwise you will see or get a “rejected” update. To you, we do thank you (and this one we mean), even if you (naturally) don’t.
We have seen some amazing stuff -meaning stuff that amazed us. Now as you can imagine, one can be amazed for various reasons:
-Because the film and its idea were great
-Because one cannot understand how is it possible that somebody would ever shoot such a thing and thought that it would be viewable by other people (or other sentient species in general)
The 8th SFF-rated ATHENS, will be equally amazing!
Chief Festival Officer
One paragraph caught me by surprise and I’m shocked the idiot would be dumb enough to post it online:
“one cannot understand how is it possible that somebody would ever shoot such a thing and thought that it would be viewable by other people (or other sentient species in general)”
I e-mailed Alecos after discovering my film’s status in WithoutABox, about his notification policy. Alecos, stepping out of character, was generous enough to respond to my inquiry about why they felt that filmmakers didn’t deserve a notice. After all, we did pay a submission fee, the least they could do is let us know it was for nothing. Here was Alecos’ snarky response:
a) SFF-rated ATHENS has stopped sending rejection notifications for years now. Here are three related posts in our blogsite:
In other words, it is a consistent policy of ours – to which you naturally have the absolute right to strongly object, and we the right
to maintain it.
I’m supposed to know? I’ve never submitted until this year! Altert recap: The notice on his site, plus the snarky e-mail, should be a double red flag for filmmakers across the world. I know this part is a little weird since I blog on a WordPress Site, but a major “International” film festival that is supposedly going into it’s eight year should be running a real full balls to the wall website – not some blog where the director rips on rejected filmmakers. This is the third red flag. The forth and final red flag: Alecos is the only individual that seems to be running the show – he is in charge of programming, the festival, e-mail receipt and response, WAB maintenance and of course the WordPress site. If Alecos is the only staffer on hand and is running his site off the very free WordPress service – where is the submission fee going?
The slogan of the Athens Sci-Fi FF is “…where Imagination doesn’t just play the game -it makes the rules” – yes they certainly have made up their own rules as far as this jive goes. This article might come off as if written by a guy who’s pissed about being rejected, but look – I’ve been turned away from three other festivals this month and this is the only one that smells like shit.
You’ve been warned – do what you must.