Dear Documentary Filmmakers: Promising you’re going to have an amazing party is not the best way to get your film programmed.
Of course, this isn’t limited to just documentary filmmakers, but the doc film world does like its parties, so I’m comfortable with the association here.
This small bit of advice could have been part of my IFP blogposts to filmmakers regarding festival submissions (here and here). Chalk this one up as another bad idea. Sure, everyone likes a good party, but I don’t care if you’re going to have a monkey on a flying trapeze, the hottest go-go boys serving unlimited bacon donuts, or Justin Bieber performing in kd lang drag, you’d better have a good film first of all. Trying to bribe a festival programmer with the promise of excellent promotion when you don’t have a film that holds up is definitely putting the cart before the horse. Focus the energy you’re devoting on planning that party to crafting an engaging film – you can worry about the velvet rope and caterers later.