Making a film is a real commitment. A commitment that I have rarely been able to make in any other part of my life. It's a commitment that requires more than you could ever have imagined; one that tests your love every step of the way. It exposes you in a way for which you can never prepare; one that shows you for who you really are.
Our film, "the ballad of vicki and jake" did just these things. We have gone over budget, over schedule so many times that I have lost count, and I no longer remember what it was "supposed" to cost or how long it was "supposed" to take. In the end, the audience doesn't care about any of that anyway. All they care about is what they see on the screen.
Before we brought the film to compete in Nyon last month, I had been ready to move on. I had been submitting the film to festivals for a year and was having trouble getting people "to get" the film. I had started to move on to my next project, something the others who worked on the film had already begun to do. I went to Nyon knowing that we had a good film and that we could theorectically win an award, but part of me was also ready to come home unrecognized, having had a good experience but more certain that it was time to move on. Then we won the top prize in our category. The initial euphoria has worn off and now the work on the film has begun again.
There are mistakes in the film that I think need to be fixed, things that can be cleared up in order to make the film more accessible to a bigger audience. The film needs to be shortened. The film's recognition needs to be promoted. A distributor needs to be found. But these things take time and money. And commitment.
The remaining crew, those who are willing to reconfirm their commitment to the film, are looking to me to decide what the next step will be. Am I going to decide to put my limited resources into realizing the potential that I think this film has, or am I going to use that money for my next film? Making documentaries, we always talk about doing what's right, ethical. So I guess it feels kind of bad to have it all. like everything else in this world, come down to money.
Can I renew my commitment to this film and honour all that that entails? This time, I just don't know.