Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Research Can Sometimes Be Helpful

[The Real Keith Bentley, after I accosted him in my pool room.]

Well. I am so excited about the Heart of England Festival in June, and I am fairly determined to make it there, somehow, though I am pretty strapped for cash. I might have to have a fundraiser or something. It got me thinking about the other festivals I've submitted to, how good a chance "Smalltimore" stands in getting in to them, and if I will be able to afford to go to all or most of the festivals it gets into (hoping that it gets into more than one!).

So I went back through the festivals that I had submitted to and looked at them a little more closely. The St. John's Women's Film Festival kind of jumped out at me. I found this one initially by searching the tag "women" on www.withoutabox.com. I saw it was in Canada, and Bentley is always talking about how gorgeous St-Something-or-Other is, and I thought it was the same place, so I submitted. It sounds like a very cool festival, completely dedicated to promoting women within the field, and they are in their 20th year, so they must know what they are doing. There aren't that many movies that are written, directed, produced, and edited by the same woman. So I figured I had a decent shot.

Later I told Bentley about it and his reaction was, "St. John's?!" I said, yea, isn't that the place you are always going on about? He said no, that is St. Andrew's. Oh. Well, St. John's is still in Canada, right? Yes, but... "It's in NEWFOUNDLAND," he said. His mere tone of inflection let me know that the two Saints were nowhere near each other.

But I knew it was east coast Canada, so it couldn't be that bad, right? Wrong. Very, very wrong. I tried to find a flight from Baltimore to St. John's, but everything had me flying to Toronto first. So I started at St. John's airport and backtracked. There is ONE flight on Continental, out of Newark. And it is $500 minimum round trip (add taxes and fees and I am sure it is closer to $700), and that doesn't include hauling my butt to Newark!

That's absurd, I thought. It's CANADA. I'll drive.

Apparently not.

I google mapped it. One-thousand eight hundred and ninety-six miles. 106 miles of that on a ferry in the North Atlantic. With my car. In October. I really, really think not.

Everybody has google-mapped their own address, you know, when you zoom in closer and closer until you can see your house? Try that with St. John's, Newfoundland. It doesn't look that bad when you are zoomed all the way in. It looks like a beautiful port city, and people have posted some very nice flicker photos on there (the ones of the icebergs floating by is what had me saying, oh HELL no to the idea of the ferry). But zoom out ever so slightly and you will see what I suddenly remembered that I have seen many, many times when flying over Newfoundland going to or from Europe. Tundra. Frozen. Hundreds of barren miles of it. There is like ONE main road, and it starts at the southwest corner of the land mass, goes almost all the way north and then heads due east across the entire thing until it gets to St. John's. No joke, I seriously on more than one occasion have looked down from inside an airplane to this blindingly white piece of land and asked myself, "People LIVE here?!" and then anxiously waited until we came into view of land that was green, or at least brown, and showed signs of civilization. Cuz if we crashed in the middle of Newfoundland, ain't NOBODY coming to get us.

I know from Bentley that winter starts pretty early in Canada, and as the festival there is in late October, I was afraid it would be totally frigid by then. I looked up St. John's on Wikipedia and to my surprise, the average temp is about 52 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows in the high 30s. Not nearly as bad as I thought. But the very last line of the climate chart was what made me do a double-take. "Hours of sunshine (per MONTH): 106."

106 HOURS of sunshine for the whole MONTH! Less than 3 1/2 hours a day. And that's the average, so by the end of the month it is probably less than 3 hours a day! Well, I guess it is the perfect place to have a film festival, though. Doesn't it always feel weird to come out of a theater and it is still daylight?

Honestly, I really hope that, "Smalltimore," gets into the St. John's festival. I would so like to be a part of something that tries to give women a break into the boys' club that is filmmaking. I'd find a way to get there. Bentley said he might even go with me if I do. But my cute little car will stay safely in dry dock here in Baltimore, believe you me.

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