Official Rejection Made in: USA Language: English Director: Paul Osborne Year: 2009
Synopsis: Film festivals! They're touted as a great way for indie films to be seen by an audience, to be noticed by industry professionals...and of course, to launch unknown directors to superstardom. Every year, countless short and feature-length films made by amateurs flood the film festival scene.
Director Paul Osborne follows indie filmmaker Scott Storm as he travels the country in hopes of getting his suspense/thriller, Ten 'Til Noon noticed on the film festival circuit. The journey takes us on a long, arduous, and often frustrating (as well as hilarious) quest for commercial recognition.
Along the way, we're treated to amusing and insightful interviews with festival directors, indie and Hollywood filmmakers, and other film-business types that provide a clearer picture of what it takes for a low-budget movie to find success.
There's scathing criticism of the famed Sundance Film Festival and how its submission process has become politicized (and thereby making it harder for truly unknown talent to be recognized).
And at the same time, the sheer number of film festivals and the availability of affordable digital filmmaking equipment has created a flood of totally crappy movies that no one in their right mind would pay money to see.
The Good: Official Rejection is a very well-paced documentary and structured. By following Scott Storm as he navigates his way through various film festivals, the viewer is treated to a focused presentation where a wide variety of festival elements (the application process, selection, screening, travel, etc) are touched upon in an organized way.
Especially entertaining are the interviews from filmmakers and festival organizers who give their thoughts on the whole ordeal. Big names such as Kevin Smith, Bryan Singer, Andy Dick, and others lend some candid opinions which audiences will most likely find amusing.
At times cynical, emotional, and often funny, Official Rejection makes it painfully clear that the laborious act of finishing a film is barely half the battle.
The Bad: Not too much to gripe about. In the first half, the quick editing and some of the hand-held camera shots were a little dizzying. And as much as I enjoyed the interviews of industry insiders, I wish there had been more of them.
Who would like this movie: Official Rejection is for you if you're an aspiring filmmaker and/or if you're really into movies in general. Although I wish it could have been a little longer, it's definitely entertaining, funny, and educational.
For the aspiring filmmaker, this documentary points out some rather harsh realities of getting an indie film noticed. It's a daunting but achievable task. And to succeed as a director, you have to make sure that you really, really, want to be a part of the crazy world of show business. And you better be pretty thick skinned, too.