Getting rejected, New York, and Moving Forward

– December 11th, 2017 –

Sappy Holidays! The most ridiculous part of submitting to festivals and fellowships is the part of you that thinks you’re really getting in. Sundance is arguably the most popular independent festival and filmmaker support system in the country and when you get to the semi-finals for it you start to think you may have a shot. Statistically, you don’t. The number of entries received vastly outnumber the number of participants allowed in the program. In addition to that, the people that get into Sundance are not only super talented but often have connections and a bit of recognition behind them. There is usually only room for one or two outliers at Sundance, not a large group. You can’t blame Sundance or places like it either. It’s harder to take a chance on something they don’t know is gonna pay off and it’s better to have participants that have been vetted to some extent. Even after knowing all that, I still crossed my fingers when the email popped up in my mailbox and I read the word: “no,” twice. Once for the Screenwriter’s lab and once for the Shorts program.

Sundance says no

Sundance says no again

Sombras has had a great run. I got into the HBO NY Latino Film Festival and had a fall-in-love-with-New-York-cliche moment. I got into the Alameda International Film Festival and enjoyed my all-expenses-paid travel to The Northeast Filmmaker’s Lab and the Caucus Award ceremony in Los Angeles. I took a selfie with Carlton (Antonio Ribero) and I’m not kidding when I thought, that’s it. Regardless of rejection, I’ve statistically enjoyed a lot more than my peers have in regards to the success of a short film. Still, rejection hurts. Even from a long shot. When you get rejected it is easy to reassess your plans and wonder if it was wise to aim for the stars. After all, stargazers usually end up tripping over their own feet. However, after a day or two of moping, I continued my submissions and continued developing my projects. If I dedicate the time and energy to moving forward, I know I’ll get somewhere—eventually—we all do. So, here’s to moving forward, working hard, and finding people to love who will love you back.

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