Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blog gone

The "Behind the Scenes" blog that has been around a few weeks has apparently folded. Although it endeavored to discuss issues pertaining to local films and filmmakers -- a perfectly noble concept -- it was essentially a screed written anonymously and uncritically accepting of other anonymous commenters. It was long on feelings and conspiracies, and short on facts and meaningful analysis.

Not that I don't appreciate its kind mention of my overrated acting abilities. But really. A blog with attitude, absurd accusations and neither credibility nor responsibility doesn't contribute much.

Anyway, before it disappeared this morning, Les Edwards of Indie Memphis Film Festival and Morgan Jon Fox responded to some of the more misinformed commentary. Since their remarks were deleted along with the blog, here they are again:

From Les:
I'm the spokesman for the volunteer group that produces Indie Memphis. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, there are some factual errors in the post and comments:
1. Morgan and Sharon are not related. Morgan has won two awards in ten years at Indie Memphis.
2. Indie Memphis did not provide any financing for (A)way (A)wake. We did (through our parent organization Delta Axis) act as Morgan's fiscal sponsor for that film. Fiscal sponsorships are new to Memphis, but have been a great resource for filmmakers in other cities for a long time. If you want to know more about how fiscal sponsorships work, check out the FAQ section on the website of Film/Video Arts in NY:
3. Each year we have a panel of judges. Local films are judged by out of town judges, and vice versa. The Film Commission does not vote on films. We have never tried to influence or challenge a judge's decision.
4. The Ron Tibbett Excellence in Filmmaking Award is given to a filmmaker, not a film. An important distinction. This is the only category judged by the volunteers who run the festival. Morgan was awarded this honor in 2005. He screened two films that year.
5. Will O'Loughlen was director of the film festival in 2002, and a volunteer in 2003 and 2004. He was not awarded a cash prize for "Ad Man", which screened in 2006.
6. Number of local feature length (over 30 minutes) narrative films accepted: 2004 = 6; 2005 = 5; 2006 = 8; 2007 = 8.
7. Number of local short (30 minutes or less) films and music videos accepted: 2004 = 15; 2005 = 29; 2006 = 33; 2007 = 34. The Live From Memphis Music Video Showcase was added in 2005, which is why the numbers jumped that year.
8. We do not have "unwritten" rules. All of our policies are clearly stated on the entry form that filmmakers submit with their entry. Our policy prior to 2007 stated that we considered prior local public screenings as a factor in deciding what films to accept. In 2007, we changed the policy to state that films with prior local public screenings were not eligible for competition. All of this has been clearly stated on the entry forms.
9. It is industry practice to charge an entry fee to filmmakers. For 2008, we have changed the policy. We will no longer charge an entry fee to local filmmakers for their first submission for that year.
10. The "money grubbing, greedy bastards at Indie Memphis" are volunteers. In 2006, Indie Memphis ran a $5,797 deficit on the festival. The 2007 numbers are still being compiled, but we lost money again. These deficits are covered by Delta Axis.
11. One comment said "... the last two years the feature winner has done just that [had screenings prior to the festival]". "Just the Two of Us" won best feature in 2006, and in fact had a prior screening. "Act One" won in 2005, and premiered at Indie Memphis. "Team Picture" won in 2007, and had its Memphis premiere at Indie Memphis.
12. "This year I think everything submitted got in." Hardly.
13. Another comment: "IM was showing fewer local films a couple of years ago to try and look more international." We screened a film from Italy in 2003, and a film from England in 2006. If memory serves, these were our only foreign films prior to 2007. This year we added an additional screen and devoted it to a program of international films called Global Lens. We are planning to run the Global Lens series again in 2008.

And here are Morgan Fox's comments:
Wut's this thing you thank "anonymous" for, which you refer to as "info"...just curious....and also wut's "stuff like this that needs to come into the open" give anonymous posters a frame of refence can we go here: or did you mean like this:

just curious...

And as far as people being too scared to speak their minds...also i wonder if you mean similar to this:
(that link also applies to being "blackballed")

Last part, about forum like this needed for so so so long, I'm pretty sure the bath room at Murphy's at 3am through puke drenched hair on saturday nights beat you to it, but i dunno.

Naw, but for real...I am not related to Sharon Fox O'Guin, Indie Memphis didn't fund my movie, I don't regularly win cash from da indie memphis, I've won two awards in the 8 years i've been making movies, and for the last 5 or 6 years I've been trying my best to do what i can to help bring together the local film community through various projects, outreach, and resources attempting to give as much as possible...althoughhhh, I am definitely not perfect, and I know that all the organizations, and individuals in this city who make up the film scene have done plenty of things to make people's's just that, it seems like a good way to help all that is by putting time into seeing what you thinks missing and dedicating said time to helping build, and facilitate the actualization of a vision/systems of support/spaces/projects that aid in the transformation of what seems or is unappealing into that which is more fit and desirable.

I've had many complaints over the years with alot of the organizations you've mentioned, I approached it all aggressively from the get go, and then over time I found that most of these people really do want to sit down with you and hear your concerns and that mostly it was my own dumbo-headedness that led me to being pissed off anyways...if you just talk to them instead of being reactionary and overly dramatic about it, it's pretty productive.

I guess the question lies in what the goal is...does one want to complain about things for the sake of doing so...or does one wish to voice complaints because they actually have a certain vision that they think would better work? The funny thing is, even if you have the vision, and you put alll your energy into trying your best to make it happen, as pure and "for the people" as it may be, often what happens is a long, exhausting learning process where you may indeed accomplish alot, however, also you learn alot. I mean, I have. With the Media co-op, several local filmmakers wanted to make a film festival that was alll about showcasing the local people, we did it for two years and then realized, HOLY HELL, putting together a festival is really difficult...blah blah blah. You put yourself in some form of doing and ultimately you open yourself up for so many things...including success, including failure, including (yep, yep) criticism.

In the end...where does it leave us all?

Everyone deserves to be put in check if they be doin bad thangs, but u know, a voice is a voice is a voice to talk about whateverrrrr you want, everyone should use it, however..........


December 6, 2007 1:25 AM


Chris said...

Just goes to show you that 1) it's damn near impossible to make any sort of movie without pissing somebody off, and 2) the cure for bad free speech is more free speech.

But hey, anonymous bitcher about Memphis film, you didn't' have to delete the blog. Just temper your mean-spiritedness a bit. The good news is that you got some rumors out in the open that have been simmering in the scene for a while, and the objects of said rumors got a chance to respond. We're all making this shit up as we go along, and we don't always get it right. You were spot on in your criticism that we need to pay more attention to sound, for example. But if you've got something to say to somebody, like Morgan says, go say it. We've got enough troubles as zero-budget filmmakers without splitting into camps and getting beef.

paper books said...

i agree that it's nice to pull stuff out in the open, but there's a level of anger that accompanied the blog that wasn't justified.

i only read the first posts that were on when sparks pointed it out, and the although i don't know morgan and have only spoken to les three or four times, i know they didn't deserve the lashing they got. both have worked hard to build the indie film community in this town, and should be applauded for their efforts.