It's amazing really. My first film, Big Dreams Little Tokyo, premiered at the AFI festival in Los Angeles, which is a wonderful festival. As filmmakers we worked very hard to raise interest for our film. We hired a very competent publicist (who helped us get into the festival) and went to work making sure the seats were full for each of our screenings. Our film had a sumo-wrestling subplot, so we hired a bunch of local sumo wrestlers to walk around outside the Arclight and pass out information about the film. It was a great bit of promotion and we were proud that our film got more better photo coverage than the Penelope Cruz tribute that was going on at the same time.
|Director Dave Boyle, actress Rachel Morihiro and friends on the AFI Fest red carpet.|
We also discovered that your film never gets more love and attention than it does at festivals. At almost every festival everyone goes in wanting to love it. They're cheering for you because they feel somehow connected to you. They are discovering this new film that no one else has seen. But we found that when you finally release in that same city (six months to a year later), all of that love, as well as any promotion you may have done, is long gone.
I'll return to this subject in a bit to talk about what can be done.