Reflections on 19 Years of the $100 Film Festival

The 19th annual $100 Film Festival starts next Thursday March 3, 2011. It is a bit of a shock to realize that it has been over 20 years since I came up with the original idea. At the time I felt I was wildly optimist when I told people it might last five years.

Over the years I have become less and less involved with the festival. After the first festival, I had to cut back my participation because of other commitments. The last time I contributed anything to running the festival was in 2003 when I wrote a History of the $100 Film Festival for the newsletter. I did have all my films shown at the festival. The last one was My Most Difficult Case in 2004. I went to all of the festivals until 2009. Last year in 2010, I went to two screenings.

At some level I feel like I have abandoned the festival. However, a long time ago I realized that the festival had taken on a life of its own. It wasn’t really “my festival” anymore. As the years went by, the festival drew in new people. They each contributed their bit to the festival and kept it alive. I believe that the best thing I ever did for the festival was to step back and let others carry it on. I feel good about the festival now, even if I am not close to it any more.

I do miss the “old days” when the festival energised me and kept me active.

I have been slow to move on to my next film. I don’t mean My Next Film. After My Most Difficult Case I decided I wanted my next film to be a feature. As I look back, I wonder if that was the right decision. The enormity of the challenge has stalled my progress.

The last couple of years I have focused on writing. I’ve done four feature scripts now: The Doorman’s Sacrifice, an untitled detective story, Then the Phone Rang and Bright Freedom. I don’t have a script that I want to make yet, although I do have hopes for Then the Phone Rang. The effort is not wasted though. With everything I write I develop my skills further.

When I think of the films I want to make, I think abut how the $100 Film Festival came alive. I want the same thing to happen with my films.

Note 2015 May 20: I fixed a broken link.

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