Acclaim for Film, Fest & Friends

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:
  • Regarding Sarah (Canada)
  • Nachbeben (Going Private, Switzerland)
  • Unspeakable (Canada)
  • Kargaran Mashghool-e Karand (Men at Work, Iran)
  • Sök (Search, Sweden)

    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.

    Debby said...

    Wow! What a thrill it was to take part in the showing of "Strength and Honor"...to be there with you ...it was so exciting!!! What great hospitality ...it was a priveledge to be there!
    April and Gabriel are amazing hosts....and thanks to Cecile for giving up her bed for me! What a sweetheart!
    Glad to hear it was well attended on the second show...wish I could have stayed longer to see it that night!

    Sirdar said...

    Congratulations on the success of the film. I am sure it must give you strength to do another one. I look forward to seeing the film. Again, Congrats!!

    Justin Jeffery said...

    hey, what a great time. so good. Thanks for the opportunity. I will never watch a film the same way again.

    and what a great reason to come to montreal. ah, the croissants, bread, cheese. that city has a hold on me yet again. no hookups yet, but the city certainly has potential.

    let me know when filming will begin on your russo-latino adaptation. safe travels on the way back home.

    Kevin said...

    Zaak, again, congratulations! Not only was it great to see your film (I'm bragging to my friends that I have a friend who is a filmmaker...), it was great to see you too. And thanks a million for spending time at my bachelor party/pool night.

    Justin: sorry we weren't able to hang out more. You are, of course, welcome here again any time. Next time I won't be planning for a wedding, so things should be more calm. The soundtrack was awesome!

    Kurt: hope we can actually talk and hang out next time. Hope the bed was comfortable. :) Your on-screen presence was amazing and riveting. Seems like you anchored the film with your scenes. Excellent!

    Zaak said...

    Thanks again to all, it was a great week.

    Filming on the next major project begins in 2009 in Tactic. I think I'll make a short film this year as we hone the screenplay for the big one.

    Next time, we're hitting Sundance.

    April said...

    Wow, what a great film! I'm so proud to be ta belle soeur! Congrats!!! I had a great week with your son and wife, next time we'll see more movies.