Are “applications” to film festivals newsworthy?

Ekstra
I read an article on Interaksyon.com reporting that the filmmakers of “Ekstra” submitted their movie to the Cannes Film Festival hoping that their movie will get its world premiere there.

My knee-jerk reaction to the title of the article “Vilma Santos’ indie film ‘Ekstra’ submitted to Cannes filmfest for consideration” was of shock at the presumptuousness of the filmmakers. The saying, “Don’t count your chicks before they hatch” has been redefined to another level. It’s not the first time I encountered a filmmaker jumping the gun in assuming something.

But then after reading the article carefully, I realized I was wrong in my initial reaction. The filmmakers of “Ekstra” did not report or publicized their submission; it was the overeager and overzealous fans of Vilma Santos who did it. Then again maybe the filmmakers actually leaked it online. It’s hard to tell. Either way it was unfortunate that the writer of the article thought the movie’s application to the Cannes Film Festival was newsworthy.

I don’t know if the writer of the article was aware of what he did but the optics of the article and the headline looks bad on the filmmakers of “Ekstra”. The article makes the filmmakers’ appear to be a bunch of presumptuous glory hounds. It’s like someone bragging to the entire neighborhood that he applied for a job at a certain company and already considers his application as an achievement.

I mean, “Who does that in real life?” Normally, people would first make sure they got the job or achieved something before boasting about it. What happens if the movie doesn’t get accepted? That definitely puts an egg on the faces of the filmmakers.

It reminded me of the time when I watched “Babae Sa Septic Tank” at the Vancouver Intl. Film Festival a couple years ago. The director, producer and lead actress, Eugene Domingo, was all there at the screening. Before a sold out theatre they were excited to introduce the movie. I think their excitement was too much that they ended up over hyping the movie before the show. Eugene Domingo was so giddy about the news that “Babae Sa Septic Tank” was selected as the Philippines’ submission to the Academy Awards that she told the audience about it and made it sound like the movie was worthy to be nominated for the award.

She hyped it so much that by the time the movie started, people were expecting a movie that would blow them away. You can imagine the vibe in the theatre when the movie did not meet the audience’s expectations. For me, the movie was OK. But it’s not something I would brag about and say, “It’s an Oscar worthy film”.

Yes, it’s nice to have ambition. But sometimes it is best to keep it to yourself. Don’t promise more than you can provide. It’s better to under-promise and over-deliver than to oversell and over-hype and then disappoint your customers or in this case; your audience.

I figured in the pursuit of exclusivity and the constant demand for content to fill the 24 hour news cycle; reporters now have become too quick to publish stories without first asking themselves if the news they’re reporting is actually “newsworthy”.

A movie winning an award at a film festival is newsworthy. A movie that gets accepted to screen or even participate in competition at an international film festival is newsworthy. But in my opinion, applying to an international film festival doesn’t come close to being newsworthy.