Well. As it turns out, people love my film! Both screenings of the film at the Montreal World Film Festival went absolutely splendidly.
The first show, on Thursday afternoon, had about 25 spectators. I had the opportunity to present the film and conduct a question and answer period afterward where nearly everyone stayed and participated. The comments were so supportive and the questions displayed a huge interest in the trip. Of course, anyone who was willing to pay $6-$10 to see a film entitled "Strength and Honour: Cycling Canada Coast to Coast" would already have some interest in the matter. A few people had relatives or friends who had done a similar trip.
The second showing was at a better time - 5:30 pm on a Sunday, during rainy weather. The crowd swelled to around 70 people. I really can't express the joy I had at the audience's reaction to the film. So many compliments. One woman said it was the best of many films she had seen at the festival this year. I think the personal and natural way the story unfolds allows the audience to empathize with the characters.
As far as the festival, I had a great time. As a presenter of a feature-length film, I was given a pass to attend any film I wanted throughout the 12 days (I was there for only 7). I was also invited to the film-maker hangout where there was a press gallery and video library and coffee/tea and tables to visit with filmmakers and distributers. I spent a little time there, a bit shy of the whole process, but I got a good idea of how the business works. To my knowledge, no one tried to contact me for distribution, so I'll do it myself with DVD sales and contacting different television and cable stations. I already have 17 pre-orders of the DVD. Kurt is wanting to set up screenings here and there to fundraise for out next project. You can check out the showtimes for updates there.
It was awesome to have Justin along for most of the week. The festival gave him a pass like mine as he did the soundtrack for the film. We went to a lot of films together. Among the better ones:
I have to send a HUGE thanks to the following people how came from far away to share the world premiere with me: Mom (from Alberta), Justin (from Michigan), Kurt (from Alberta), Papa (from New Brunswick), Amber and Blaise (from Guatemala).
And another MASSIVE thanks to those who received us with true Montreal hospitality: April, Gabriel, Kevin, Mati and Cecil (who opened their homes for us to sleep) and Danny, Aimée and Noah (for the terrific Québec meal). It was also great to see Peter, Shari, Tristan, Brenna, Fern, Melanie, Michel, Richard, Claudine (my translator), Gatama, Brent, Jocelyn, Veronique, and everyone else we saw in town. We are so loved. We love them all too.