The Film Fest
A little over a year go, Lincoln and I made a short film called “Pillow Talk.” We made it with some our of incredibly talented actor friends and our incredibly talented filmmaking friends. It's a five minute sex comedy. We worked the story together and Lincoln crafted a script.It was the best thing we had created together thus far. It looked great, it was hilarious, and just an overall solid production that we were very proud of and it was a blast to make. So much so I didn't consider either of the two days we shot it work (which is proof this is what living the dream is about) It was a hit among our friends and family and spread a little further outside of our social circle. We were very pleased. Lincoln submitted it to a few festivals here and there but nothing really happened with it until we moved out of New York.Lincoln submitted “Pillow Talk” to the Vermont Filmmakers Showcase in the Vermont International Film Foundation Festival after I saw an email regarding the requirements, saw we qualified and submitting was free. Driving back from Montreal after our anniversary weekend, we got the email we had been accepted. We were absolutely thrilled. Our first festival!We quickly put together a summary and sent a picture for publicity and let our cast and crew know it had been accepted as well as social media for any one who wanted to come join us at the screening.We were in Seven Days in a special film festival pullout section the next week.I was more nervous that I expected. Sitting next to my parents and our close family friends with a few friends scattered in the audience, I was slightly petrified. I don't know why. I guess I am one of those actors who never likes to watch themselves with other people watching at the same time. Also the screen was huge. Ok, not huge but the biggest screen I had ever really seen my face on as doing extra work on features usually gets a quick flash here and there but never like FOCUS BIG ON MY FACE I CAN SEE MY PORES screen situation.“Pillow Talk” is also a sex comedy as I mentioned. I'm in my bra most of the movie and simulating (hilarious) sex with my husband. Slightly awkward.
A bit about the film festival itself: similar to any other film festival, films are screened throughout the week. The films are diverse and come from all over the world. It's an incredible feat and one many Vermonters, including myself, are grateful for because it allows spectacular cinema right in our backyard. VTIFF is an amazing organization that crafted such an entertaining event that not only supports and encourages the local community but also opens our eyes to other worlds we may not have been familiar with and new filmmakers we have never been exposed to. Plus they had all sorts of great themed receptions after screenings featuring local restaurants and tons of Q&As. Both of us were truly impressed and thrilled to be a part of such an accomplishment.
The Vermont Filmmakers Showcase had several different showings throughout the day. Ours was in the last time slot which was filled with short films. Every one was diverse and creative. There was a clever horror short, a beautifully shot abstract piece about a comedian, a silly crime comedy, and an animation designed to educated small villages on Ebola that was paid for by UNICEF (yeah, I had questions about that one). The filmmakers were mostly within our age group and very passionate about their projects. It was reassuring to hear them talk about their films after the screening. We knew we were in the right place.The audience adored “Pillow Talk”. They laughed at the right moments and a lot of them came up to us after and told us how much they enjoyed it. Before the screening, two of the organizers had insisted we come to the reception following the screening. We hadn't planned on going and I was getting hangry but my parents said they would meet us downtown and that we should go. We wandered back in and chatted up the director of the horror short I had loved. He was super friendly and we were proud of ourselves for making a new peer/future friend. There was catered food and beer and wine so we got some snacks and booze and waited around for the award ceremony.We had assumed we were up for the Audience Award. This was an award that is voted on online by attendees and we thought that was the only award we would be up for. The executive director of VTIFF began the award portion by saying the aforementioned award wasn't going to be given out until the end of the festival. Lincoln and I shared a collective sighed and agreed we would leave after the first award was announced quietly to meet my parents and eat more than prosciutto and crackers.As we were saying this, we heard our names over the microphone. We had been awarded the screenplay award for our writing for “Pillow Talk.” To say we were shocked is putting it mildly. At that moment, it felt like a damn Oscar.We walked up and accepted our award which was framed and had both our names on it. Pictures were taken and the award ceremony continued as we accepted congrats from strangers among the crowd. Our new friend who made the horror short “Hurt” won an big award, too as did the well shot “Headliner”.The last award of the evening came with a story about a man who supported the arts and loved the community. The award was created to honor his legacy and a new emerging filmmaker with a clear voice and came with a $500 prize.We won that award.It was exhilarating. Applause rose up as we shook hands with the presenter and executive director. More congratulations surrounded us and questions of where they could watch the film if they missed the showcase. (The executive director did schedule another screening November 21st and featured all the award winning films from Vermont). She also gave us an enormous compliment which was that we made a funny film and comedy is hard.Everyone at VTIFF had loved it, hence why they insisted we attend the reception. They laughed, they found it clever and saw our voice and style shining through. It showed great promise and they were excited to have us involved and part of the community.We walked into the bar on Church Street to find my parents with arms full of framed awards and a new check for our future projects. My parents, beyond supportive, were beaming with pride. Our family friends shared the sentiment. It was like receiving another award.This felt good. Really good. The feeling that we entered this community as newcomers, strangers, and they welcomed us with open arms, encouragement, and awards, I mean, that's kind of the best welcome ever. The support of family and friends is the greatest feeling in the world but to have total strangers love what we made is truly a gift. It was reassuring that we worked on together, with a group of AMAZING talent, was good. It was great. But we knew it was great. It's just really fucking cool to see other people who didn't know us think it was great too.Some people may say 'I mean, it's Vermont, what's the big deal?” Yes, it is a smaller pond than New York so maybe the recognition doesn't seem as highly regarded. But to two actor/filmmakers who are still running towards their dream and trying to tell good stories and made a big move out of the center of the universe, it feels like a push forward. It's an achievement and one I haven't felt in a long time, if ever. I don't remember the last time I did something that was recognized in this manner.We wrote a silly little movie and it was a great two day shoot with friends. I've known for a while that is all I want to do in my life but this was the extra fudge on top of that already delicious sundae. I just want to make movies with my friends. I could do it in the city (I did it in the city) but I'm finding this small pond has a lot to offer in ways of making movies. We just wrapped a parody Lincoln crafted months ago in an hour and a half with a new filmmaking friend and free professional equipment. It finally felt like this can be our job, this can be our life.The dream can be real."Pillow Talk" can be viewed here and our YouTube production page can be viewed hereMore information on the film festival and the great things VTIFF does (and to see our faces on the website) visit hereSpecial thanks to our cast and crew of "Pillow Talk". You all are the brightest stars in our sky.