Wally: the power of positioning
"Wally." As of this writing it has been in 15 festivals. First a few words about "Wally": it is a documentary that defies definition. It really is more of a human rights film than anything else. Want proof? Look at the varriance of festivals and awards it has won. Award wise... it has won Best Documentary Short, Best International LGBT Short, Best LBGT short, it has been a finalist at one festival, Official Selection for many others. It has been listed as an experimental film, an avant guard film, and has competed in festivals in the U.S.A., England, and China. Quite a lot of accomplishments. But what am I proudest of? Good question. The thing that I am most proud of is that "Wally" has played on opening night as well as has been the last short on the last day, (and a still from "Wally" was used as the still for the block. For those of you unfamiliar with festival, those are pretty coveted positions.
Well, opening night is an important night. This is where you want to play the intriguing pieces that get people interested in the festival. That make them want to come back the next day. This happened to me at San Antonio's Q Fest. True, some excellent pieces were in the mix, but then "Wally" came on. Like most crowds "Wally" is a curious film. They get thrown into a mystery and when the audience thinks they have uncovered all of the layers... the film goes in another direction. If the applause was any indication, he audience really liked it. I smiled, I answered some questions, and then I headed out of the theater. I hadn't seen an old friend and I hoped that I might be able to see her.
I began to hastily write a text, when a small group from the Theater approached me. It was a guy and two girls. Either they had just gotten out of High School, or they were just beginning College. They pressed earnest thanks upon me. They couldn't wait to tell me what a powerful documentary "Wally" was. Other questions began to pepper the conversation. We talked for about five minutes. It was good.
Closing night... now that is when you save your best stuff. Not only did "Wally" play on closing night... but it was the last short shown. An incredible honor. This was at Fort Worth's QCinema Festival. It played at a Community Center in the Museum district. As I approached the center, I was honored to discover that my Photo was on the poster event as one of the highlighted directors. They wanted to take photos of me and excitedly talked to me. We had a fun time in conversing about the festival. I was shown a program. At first glance, "Wally" was playing towards then end of the block. As I arrived a little late, the shorts section was already in progress. In the darkened room and following the dimly lit printed que of films, I waited for "Wally" to make its appearance. It looked like they had skipped over it. I was going to get up and let them know, but the films were playing back to back with very little time in between... so I just waited. That is... until "Wally" made his appearance. Last Short in the block. The crowd was spellbound. They thought the film was brilliant. I answered questions for a time, and then prepared to leave. As I was walking to my car, a documentary crew from New York, ran up to me to tell me what a great job I did on the doc. It was fantastic and I was humbled by there praise.
In it's many showings, and awards, "Wally" the doc that continues to evade definition, made me proud to be an opening and closing documentary.