Face it, the majority of films that screen at even the most popular film festivals never find distribution. That's just a fact. Usually, there's a window for a film that debuts at, say, Slamdance or SXSW ... and let's say that window is one year. If the film cannot find distribution within one year of its first screening at a major festival then chances are it's not going to happen. The filmmaker(s) who promoted their project at the festival, online and through various other sources will most likely use their festival film as a calling card to land other gigs -- or, they'll just simply make another film, use their prior festival buzz to get into future festivals and keep working their way up into the spotlight.
Of course, there are always exceptions. Four Eyed Monsters first premiered at Slamdance back in 2005, then went on to screen in over 20 festivals. However, before heading to Slamdance, directors Arin Crumley and Susan Buice decided to promote their film (which is about a couple who attempt to carry on a relationship through non-verbal communication) by documenting their journey -- not through words on a screen -- but through a number of video blogs (or podcasts). They called them 'episodes' and each one felt like its own mini-film, complete with conflict, adventure and fantastic music. Needless to say, the film (and the podcasts) quickly found an audience ... who told their friends, who told their friends and so on ...
Now, almost two years after arriving at Slamdance, Four Eyed Monsters has been nominated for two Independent Spirit Awards (Best Cinematography, the John Cassavetes Award) and, as part of indieWIRE's Undiscovered Gems Film Series (which is based on indieWIRE's annual list of the best films from major festivals that fail to find distribution), it screened in a number of cities across the country. Basically, what used to be a list thrown together by the staff at indieWIRE has now turned into a partnership with Emerging Pictures, the California Film Institute, the New York Times and the Sundance Channel. Together, the films featured on the list are brought to a number of cities, screened in theaters and then audiences are asked to vote on their favorite. The winner earns an opportunity for that coveted theatrical release through Emerging Pictures, as well as a premiere on the Sundance Channel.
Today, indieWIRE announced that Four Eyed Monsters had won the 2006 Sundance Channel Audience Award. Pic was featured along with films like Red Road, Chain, The Puffy Chair, Red Doors, Human Touch, Mutual Appreciation, Room and Massaker. On a personal note, we here at Cinematical have been following Crumley and Buice's journey since its early days and congratulate the two on a job well done. It's nice to see all their hard work finally paying off.
For more on Four Eyed Monsters, head on over to their website where you can check out a trailer for the film, as well as some of those amazing video podcasts.