I've had the pleasure of participating since 2006, and since we won (under DARKHAWK Productions) in 2008, I have worked with different teams. I had Harvey Robinson (from Monkeywhale Productions) on my International Shootout; I served as a writer and actor under Keen Collaboration (2009); again as a writer and actor with Vision Revealed (2010); and this year (2011) as a writer and actor for Frowned Upon Media. My reason for working with different teams has been to help build community and to make films that would not be made if I worked on my own team. Collaboration is the key.
Eat Me! was the film we made this year. First and foremost, this was a great experience, as a filmmaker. Everyone worked together, synchronously, and made a great little movie. I think this was the best experience I've ever had, working with another team (and I've had some great ones)!
We were honored to take home "Best Writing." This was more than enough recognition for our film, I thought. Especially as the writer, I felt that we had achieved what we wanted.
Yet, I could not enjoy the festival, or the award, or anything else.
My disappointments are two-fold: the improper showing of our film, and inadequate job done by the City Producer.
On the first point, I will be brief. We submitted a copy clearly labeled "Preferred" on time. The 48 requests filmmakers also submit a "Back up" copy, which we did. It was clearly marked as the "Oh Sh*t" copy, because it did not include our final edit with score. At the first screening, the WRONG version of our film was shown. We contacted the City Producer, and we politely notified her of the error. She apologized and promised to rectify the mistake. Yet, when our film showed a second time at the "Best Of" screening, IT WAS WRONG AGAIN! Despite repeated assurances that it had been corrected, the City Producer had failed to do so. As far as I know, the judges may have seen only our rough cut and not our finished film.
But to make matters worse...
It was announced at the Awards Ceremony: the judges for this year's festival included two people who had competed in previous years (and notably, even, the very year before). So, when the announcement of the winner came, with it came accusations of tarnished judging.
Personally, I think the judges attempted to maintain as fair and unbiased an assessment as they could. The winners of all awards should be very proud of their accomplishment.
Nonetheless, the use of previous contestants as judges is an issue of CONFLICT OF INTEREST. This has arisen before in the Greensboro 48. In fact, for the last three years, there has been at least one judge who was a previous contestant, and each time, the filmmakers have expressed concern at having their previous competitors judging their films.
So why City Producer Iris Carter insisted on having TWO judges this year that were previous competitors is incomprehensible.
If you leave the lunatics in charge of the asylum, you can only expect insanity.
So, the insanity ensued. It's an unhealthy insanity: the kind that eats at the soul of the Greensboro 48 Hour Film Project.
I have called for Iris Carter to step down as City Producer. I am not doing this under-handedly or maliciously. I am, however, doing it because it is in the best interest of the Greensboro film scene to have a City Producer who can produce judges that are disconnected from the festival and the participants, to respect the filmmakers by making sure that their CORRECT film is shown, and to provide an even playing field for all participants. Iris Carter has demonstrated for two consecutive years that she can do none of these basic functions.
For the sanity of the Greensboro 48 Hour Film Project, I hope that a new City Producer will step into the position next year.