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  • Emilio Vazquez Reyes

Short film, Big Apple

Updated: Dec 4, 2022

October has been a month filled with eye-opening experiences and areas of growth. More specifically, I had two major opportunities to learn more about film festivals. My short film "Honeybee" was officially selected and nominated for two awards at the All-American High School Film Festival in New York. Abbreviated as AAHSFF, this festival is the largest in the world for high schoolers, meaning there were numerous opportunities for students my age such as a college fair, technology showcase, and scholarship at the award ceremony. During the festival, I was able to learn more about what it's like to be a selected director attending a filmmaking event. Numerous social events with other student filmmakers allowed me to practice my communication and networking skills to make strong connections with artists. Lastly, the glamour of the festival is certainly unlike anything I experienced at the last film festival I attended. Being in Times Square and having a lavish awards ceremony and red carpet photoshoot at the legendary Kings Theater in Brooklyn, I had a taste of what it's like to be celebrated as a director. however, I became curious as to what goes into preparing a film festival.

A week after the festival ended, I was able to interview Mariette Rissenbeek, the executive director of the Berlin International Film Festival. Being one of the largest film festivals in the world, Ms. Rissenbeek gave me valuable insight into how to coordinate a film festival and all of its moving parts. This included reaching out to venue owners, getting city permits, contacting celebrities to attend red carpets, marketing the festival, allowing press accreditation, and other various tedious acts of preparation. With all of this monotonous and time-consuming work, film festival directing can seem like an incredibly stressful occupation that can quickly lead to burnout, which is something I had much difficulty with recently.

My fall semester has consisted of heavy coursework, college applications, and numerous personal project commitments. Having to juggle all of my extracurriculars, coursework, college applications, clubs, film projects, screenplays, and other devotions has led me to unregulated stress and a strong sense of burnout. Because of these setbacks, I plan to make learning about managing stress and how to regulate it as a personal goal. However, for my professional goals, I hope to learn more about film festival strategies, as they are a vital part of film marketing that many filmmakers overlook when completing a project. This could mean talking to other film festival directors, marketing executives, or other filmmakers who were accepted into large and reputable film festivals.

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