See you in … 2021?
Below is the 2020 Official Trailer for the Denali Film Festival. It’s a beautifully put together trailer, full of lovely images of the great outdoors. You get a strong sense for the festival’s overriding theme, of nature and humanity placed in a diverse, panoramic landscape.
And then you get the exception that proves the rule: me smirking satirically into the camera, the first of three clips edited into the trailer from “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre“, a gothic, interior chamber piece without the slightest bit of sunlight or nature.
When I first saw the trailer, I joked on facebook:
I looked at this really cool trailer and thought “one of these things is not like the others…”
To which the festival directors responded: “You fit right in! Excited to see you in 2021!“
This after they already privately told me “We both really enjoy your work! We sang ‘true, nervous, very very dreadfully nervous’ most days the last month“, establishing them in my mind as among the sweetest festival directors I have interacted with so far.
But however my film fits in to the wider festival, I am still taken with how much the Tell-Tale clips stand out in this trailer – and I mean that as a compliment for how well the trailer is put together, and uses those quick clips as contrasting punctuation.
I get a kick of how the edit follows up my criminal smirk with a close-up of a bird of prey. And how the other two clips from Tell-Tale also appear to be chosen for being of most startling contrast to the rest of the trailer. (I include screenshots of all three at top and just below.)
I’ve now watched the Denali Film Festival trailer almost as much as my own trailer for Tell-Tale, which is another way of saying I really like it, how it represents the Denali Film festival, and how it positions my little gothic musical within its program.
But there’s more to this post, as you might have surmised by the title, and by what one sees at the end of the Denali Film Festival trailer:
The 2020 Denali Film Festival will not take place in 2020, but in 2021. Their intention is to screen the complete 2020 schedule next year, along with films admitted into the official 2021 festival. The reason for that is, of course, Covid 19, the pandemic that is making life very difficult for all of us, including film festivals.
Many film festivals have cancelled altogether, including major ones like Cannes and Telluride. Many have postponed for later in the year, many have moved their screenings on-line (I’ve already posted at least one, two, three examples of this effecting Tell-Tale, and there will be more.) Many are attempting a hybrid of limited in-person screenings and on-line participation (more on that later). Many have cancelled their 2020 iterations altogether.
And some have announced their program for 2020 and then moved it to 2021, promising to not cancel either year but effectively combine them. Like the Denali Film Festival. And Ohio’s International Horror Hotel, which was to show “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre” in September, after first rescheduling the festival from its original June date. But since the nation (except for the Northeast) is doing even worse now with Coronavirus than in the Spring, the Horror Hotel has thrown in the complimentary towel and, like Denali, moved the whole festival to 2020.
I was hoping to attend The International Horror Hotel screening. My Ohio based sound editor Todd Maki and at least one of our cellists were all set to go too. But it won’t be this year. “Ah, bummer”, as Todd succinctly wrote.
Film festivals large and small are just one slice out of the larger world community effected by this strange and difficult new normal. In the mountainous scheme of things just a marshmallow or two, I suppose. Even in my own life, they are possibly not the biggest change or problem – after all I work as a teaching artist in schools, and unlike festivals, which partly moved on-line at least, that work stopped cold for the kids and me rather brutally in March, and who knows whether or what or how I’ll be doing that this fall.
Yet this was to be the year of festival appearances for me. I was planning to get to as many as possible and share “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre” in live screenings, meet audiences and other filmmakers in person, and so on. And just as that process was picking up for me, Covid 19 changed everything. Postponements, cancellations, uncertainties, stretching from weeks to months to possibly longer… “The Tell-Tale Heart – a musicabre” is still being show and seen, but not in the traditional festival landscape. And like with pretty much everything else, things just aren’t the same.
But maybe we can look forward to how things might be, like next year in Alaska…