So… this has happened to me twice now: My film, Purple Heart’s Final Beat, has been exhibited a half dozen times in various film festivals, and yet even though countless people must watch this thing before it gets thrown on up the screen for the public, the version shown is messed up. And I’m not talking about something simple, like a few seconds of film are missing or maybe some digital pixelation. I’m talking about shit that is painfully obvious, even to people who have never seen the film before. Yes, it’s THAT bad. How bad? Well, to give you an example, let’s take my screening at the Artisphere Theater in Rosslyn, Virginia just last night for DC Shorts:
This is what a screen capture from my film is supposed to look like.
And this is how it looked in the theater. (This is not an exaggeration.)
Now… wouldn’t you think that, if the projector being used wasn’t meant for such a theater, they would have tested it out before screening their half of the 145 shorts in the festival? And that, if the projector proved itself to be so painfully inadequate for the job to the point where every film showcased was seen at less than half of their original picture contrast, they might have considered getting a different one?
Even better, why wasn’t the audience made aware? Why did this point have to be brought up by someone from the audience during the damn Q and A?! And then to have the answer to the question about the films’ darkness be: “Yeah, we noticed that, but we couldn’t do anything about it…” Uh… yes, you could. All you’d had to do was get on the horn to a local theater and request a new projector bulb sufficient for the task be donated to the festival. Pop, pop, unscrew, unscrew, twist, twist, clamp, clamp. Done.
This type of unprofessionalism from a film festival that prides itself on being one of the fastest growing and most popular film festivals in the nation is staggering to me. Not only did the piss-poor exhibition of these films deprive the audience of the full experience, but it provided a gigantic distraction and most of all, it’s a spit in the face of the filmmakers who traveled from around the world — literally; one director flew up here from Brazil — to see their work (possibly for the first time) on the big screen. I sat with my head in my hands, my eyes covered half the time, shaking my head in disbelief. I felt anger that my film was being showcased improperly for the second time; I also felt empathy for the other directors, especially the ones whose films were never shown before theatrically.
Bottom line: There was no reason for this. Unless laziness counts. I believe that film is the world’s greatest art form. I traveled here to celebrate that art form with people who are supposed to hold it in the same high regard I do. Although apparently that high regard stops at having to do a little extra leg work to get a brighter light bulb.