By Sharon Katz.
So here I am in Ottawa, and the film I submitted this year to the festival was rejected. Not only this year but none of my films have made competition here. (I once made the Ottawa student film festival - does that count?)
Not only that, but I'm blogging on the festival and my blogs are really positive.
So I'm thinking, maybe I should put in some heavy doses of criticism so the folks at the OIAF won't think I'm kissing their royal Canadian asses. But I don't care if they think that. Let them. I'll blog what I want.
So what's going on for me around the rejection(s).
I can't say that I'm totally indifferent. It would be nice to think I don't care, but it's not true.
On the good news side, it's reassuring that at least I'm not conforming my films to what the festival is looking for. I've heard filmmakers laugh about how they design their films just to get in, that they have an OIAF formula. Good on them. I can't do it.
Some people who come to the festival think if you didn't get in, it's because your film wasn't good. And then they dismiss you, and kind of make you feel like you're insignificant. Some folks actually have that kind of hierarchy. It's like being with grade 5 girls.
And then there's the folks who come but feel really angry and rejected and they don't have a good time because they're too bitter and jealous of those who did get in.
And let's not forget the ones who got into Showcase but are resentful because they didn't get into competition.
So what's really being judged when a festival selects 70 out of some 2000 submitted films. Is it about excellence? Excellent what? (Try to draw up clear criteria of excellence for animation... Good luck. I'm leaving that one to the academics.)
Nobody likes to be judged negatively, but maybe it's just about plain old taste, as in "Hey, I really like that other film and I don't like yours."
If that's a problem, well... as Mordechai Richler wrote, "None of us were drafted; we volunteered."
Sharon Katz is a visual artist working in still and animated imagery. Her award winning animations screen at art and film festivals around the world, and her drawings and paintings are held in art collections in Canada and abroad. You can visit her website at www.sharonkatz.net  and reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org .