Sunday, August 31, 2008

Dare Not Walk Alone and "Award-Winning"

We recently learned that Dare Not Walk Alone is now eligible for several awards. One of these is the 2009 Cinema Eye Honors for Nonfiction Filmmaking (that's their logo on the left).

Film awards serve many purposes, not least of which is acknowledging the years of struggle and heartache and effort and grit that go into getting a good film made. And believe us when we say that making a film these days takes all of these, even when you are being bankrolled by a studio or star. Want to make a serious film without financial backing and/or star power? Then count on the toil and sweat factor being multiplied many times over.

Thus far, DNWA has won one award: the Audience Award at the Deep Focus Film Festival in Columbus, Ohio. This might not sound like a big deal. You probably never even heard of it. But it meant a lot to us. For a start, it proved that the people who go to see DNWA appreciate the film. As you know, there have been some critics who have not [fully] appreciated the film. But we didn't make this film for the critics, we made it for the people. So winning an award voted on by the audience was like getting a whole bunch of hugs and thank you's (we have in fact received many hugs and thank you's when attending screenings, but we can't get to all the screenings).

However, the value of an award goes way beyond making the filmmaker feel good and reminding him or her that all the toil and sweat was not in vain. Awards help spread the word about a good film. Let's face it, there are loads of films out there these days (e.g. DNWA will be competing against close to 100 films for Cinema Eye Honors). And that makes it very hard just to get people to see your film, even if your film is very good and has a big budget.

Obviously we think DNWA is very good, but we know it has no budget (funny thing a budget, turns out that whatever money we could scrounge together was spent on making the film, and even then a lot of people worked for nothing, just because they believed that the story Jeremy was determined to tell, deserved to be told).

So you won't see ads for DNWA on FaceBook. You won't see DNWA as a featured [paid] video on YouTube. What you may see is the results a guerrilla marketing effort, led by those who support what DNWA is trying to achieve. This includes word-of-mouth, both physical and digital, with emails and link-swaps, and blog posts, and phone calls. Basically, the stuff that's free but takes effort. And we have racked up several thousand trailer views on YouTube, a very respectable rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and a solid IMDB score.

Awards add a lot to such efforts. You can bet that as soon as we won our first award we started referring to DNWA as an award-winning film. It's one more way to get your film noticed, and thus seen, and it's about as honest as marketing can get. So thanks to Cinema Eye for deeming DNWA eligible for an award. Whether it wins or not, every little bit of exposure helps spread the word and get more people to see the film.

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