My most recent film SCAM LIKELY premiered in late March at Filmfort, and then a little over a week later also screened at the Sun Valley Film Festival. Both of those festival experiences were extremely fulfilling. The film got a great response at both screenings, and it felt pretty heady to be rubbing shoulders with and feeling like a peer of filmmakers who, if not exactly household names, are at least operating at a level I’m trying to get to.
Attending Coffee Talks with Amy Poehler and Woody Harrelson, striking up great conversations with Will Madden (Jethica) and Colin West (Linoleum), and being among the first audiences to see NAVALNY, LINOLEUM, MAMA BEARS, and JETHICA were just some of the highlights of those few weeks.
Following the Filmfort and Sun Valley experiences, I received rejection letters from both the Palm Springs International Film Festival as well as HollyShorts. While neither rejection was necessarily surprising, there’s always a level of delusional hope a filmmaker must cling to. Even still, I always had my eye on the late summer, because I knew that I had three more festivals to hear from, and all three felt various degrees of attainable (unless, of course, that was more delusional hope whispering in my ear).
After months of waiting, and checking the notification dates, and holding my breath every time I saw an email come in from FilmFreeway, the congratulatory emails came in rapid fire…
Eastern oregon film festival
I’ve had my eyes on the Eastern Oregon Film Festival for the last few years. It’s a smaller regional fest, but it’s collected an impressive list of alums, including Chloe Zhao, the Safdie Brothers, and Jim Cummings. In addition, it was also just recently named one of the 25 Coolest Film Festivals in the World by MovieMaker Magazine (a distinction also afforded to Filmfort).
tacoma film festival
Another festival listed on the 25 Coolest list (Tacoma made the list in 2020), the Tacoma Film Festival is another fest I’ve had my eyes on for a while. I love that it makes a point of programming the coolest independent films out there alongside a slew of films produced in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve also never been to Tacoma, and am eager to check it out!
Newport beach film festival
A lot of digital ink can be spilled about how much it means to be invited to screen at this festival in particular (and perhaps I will spill that ink, in a separate post), but suffice to say: it feels like both a beautiful beginning and powerful culmination to get to bring my short film home to Newport, to screen in front of what will hopefully be a crowd full of family and friends.
As a filmmaker submitting work to film festivals, I unfortunately have a lot of experience with rejection. It’s just part of the deal. No matter how much you think you’ll get used to it, it will always sting. Just the same, when you get an official selection email, it’s important to take the time to celebrate the wins. They may be few and far between, but they matter. For me, it serves as a reminder for just how far I’ve come, and how much I have to be proud of. It reminds me that I’m on the right track, and it makes me think that maybe, just maybe, it’s not crazy to think that I’ve got what it takes.
Newport, Tacoma, and Eastern Oregon are all in October, and I hope to attend each of them. Keep your eye on this space for more updates, festival recaps, as well as news about upcoming projects.
Born and raised in Southern California and now residing in Boise, ID, Collin is a filmmaker working in both narrative and commercial spaces.He’s also a husband, a father (Homo sapiens and canines), a lover of books and vinyl records, a hockey fan, and a damn fine cook.