WOW! Talk about A LOT of firsts: first film festival, first premier, first public audience, first radio interview, first red carpet event, first after party tent, first interaction with other filmmakers, first awards ceremony, first….you get it. San Luis Obispo International Film Festival was a great time for all of us. We (Conor, Zack, and Bryan) got our feet wet (but not really, the ocean was a few miles away). We learned a lot. We came out with a great experience under our belts.
San Luis Obispo, (or as the locals and now we call it, SLO) is a great little town! The festival crew and other filmmakers made us feel welcome and right at home. We had no idea what to expect when we arrived but managed to make it through the week! After the social event our first night in town we started to make a plan of how to network our film and get people to come see ‘Dirty Laundry’ which included talking to nearly every person we could see. Quite literally. At a Sunglass Hut, bike shops, restaurants, bookstore etc. At one point Zack was soliciting attendance from wine vendors at the festival hospitality tent - which actually led to a radio host overhearing his conversation and him asking us to be on his radio show (Up and Adam in the Morning) to talk about our film.
After a few filmmaker events it was time for our WORLD PREMIER! This was our first time showing our film to an audience outside of our close family and friends. We sat in the back of the theater, nervously awaiting the credits to roll. As they began to play, there was silence for what felt like too long… then applause! The lights came up and we were invited down for a Q&A session. We are confident in the film we have made but we were certainly nervous. It’s impossible to know how a new audience is going to receive your work. To our delight, hands immediately went up. Their questions revealed to us that they connected emotionally to Grandma and the characters we met on our journey. We fielded questions and comments ranging from the current laws regarding asbestos to how did we pull off the ‘one last conversation’ with Grandma concept.
This trend continued through all three of our screenings. Viewers connected to our film and realized asbestos is not just a problem of the past. This showed as we stood outside of the theater post-screening and had a steady flow of conversation with what felt like every single person in the theater. It was such a thrill getting to share our story with each of them!
As a group of first time feature length filmmakers (in the beginning at least) we felt like we were stepping into shoes that were a few sizes too big. By the end of our showing in SLO we realized we belonged and the shoes fit perfectly. Humbled by being amongst all of the talented filmmakers we met, and encouraged by the response of our audiences, we left SLOIFF with excitement and courage about the next festival.
All in all, the San Luis Obispo International Film Festival was a great experience for every one of us. We ate great food, drank incredible SLOCAL wine, and had a great time at our world premier! We are honored to have just been selected for this incredible festival and are very thankful for the guidance and service the festival administrators and volunteers provided.
Even made a few friends in the process.
We can’t wait to show YOU ‘Dirty Laundry’.
Conor, Zack and Bryan