Imagine a world where when you sat down in a theater to watch a film, and the movie didn’t open with four minutes of “brought to you by a Pegasus” or “sponsored by a roaring lion or a kid fishing off of the moon.” You know that these are big name movie studios because we have seen them so much that they have been burned into our retinas. You won’t see these symbols at Indie Festivals. Festivals of many directors, writers and actors showing their creations in hopes of having their film picked up by one of these major studios and adding these iconic symbols in front of the film, almost like a seal of approval.
The documentary, Official Rejection is a discovery of how long and hard it is just to be recognized in the film world today. The film centers around Scott Storm and his film, Ten ’til Noon and the journey of submitting his film to Sundance Film Festival and many other smaller festivals and the rejection that most certainly followed many. Making the movie was the easy part, now they had to get people to watch it. As it was said in the documentary, “It’s all in the networking.”
From postcards to posters to endless phone calls and emails, these guys let you sit in on their endless nights and early mornings and experience what it takes to just get noticed. They also delve into the conspiracies and rumors of Hollywood actually running big name festivals like Sundance along with all the sponsors and how that would in fact make it the very opposite of “Indie.”
I have always loved movies and recently been very interested in attending something like Sundance or Cannes Film Festivals some day and truly experiencing all the glory that comes with it in seeing movies a year before the rest of the world and maybe having the happenstance of bumping into a celebrity. After watching this documentary and having my eyes opened to what goes on backstage at these festivals, I almost feel dirty for wanting to attend said festivals. The reason is explained thoroughly in a portion of the film, from films only making it into big festivals because they know someone or they took out the programmer (they choose what films are shown) to wine and dine them, or celebrities only being there because movie studios have flown them in to semi-promote this or that.
Now being that it’s a documentary shot from one point of view, you have to wonder if they are a little biased and bitter to these festivals and only saying this to put them down. After watching the documentary though, you know that the makers of this film didn’t make a bad film as it was highly recognized in the indie film circuit. They found their crowd and their followers and appear to be happy with the results. This is just a documentary shot around the marketing of their film, Ten ’til Noon showing the triumphs and failures of many movie makers. So, after watching this, I wouldn’t say that my opinion of attending Cannes or Sundance someday has changed, but my eyes have definitely been opened to the struggles of what a movie fights through to get to me. I am also much more interested in attending smaller indie festivals and would suggest that everyone seek out this documentary for an educational perspective of festivals.
I give Official Rejection 3.5 free refrigerators for Kevin Smith out of 5.
by Angela Davis