Harvard Much Easier Than Sundance!

30 Nov

Well, I received a generic rejection email from Sundance Film Festival today, indicating that Girlfriend 19 was not accepted to its 2012 festival. 

What struck me most in the letter was the claim that Sundance received over 11,700 submissions and accepted only 180 films.

Harvard University accepts around 7% of its undergraduate applicants; however, the Sundance acceptance rate this year was about 1.5%!  That’s unbelievable.  Of course, Sundance is including both short and feature films in its 11,700; nonetheless, the numbers are astronomical.

I don’t regret submitting to Sundance and I fully respect their decision.  Girlfriend 19 is a film I am extremely proud of and our rejection by Sundance does not contradict that; it simply means our film is not a good fit for their 2012 season. 

I’ve got 7 more festivals to hear from, all very prominent with similarly difficult acceptance rates.  Although I dislike rejection, I fully realize it’s part of the nebulous world of independent film.


6 Responses to “Harvard Much Easier Than Sundance!”

  1. Thom January 7, 2012 at 7:49 am #

    Catching up with you here and a bit late to the conversation.

    I can understand how rejection feels and that you, as an artist and filmmaker, can weather that storm. However, doesn’t the feeling of rejection mostly come from the importance we have placed on the venue we submit to? Be it gain of exposure, reputation, legitimacy, acceptance, etc.

    Let’s not let “institutions” like Sundance be the barometer of anything other than larger cultural acceptance (not that you haven’t kept this perspective). It is my feeling that very few films with mass distribution and/or mainstream acceptance actually stir the inner spirit of an individual soul and affect the viewer the way I believe you want to.

    Stan Brakhage firmly believed in the role of the artist within one’s own community. He focused on the smaller collective of people because it tended to be more instrumental in its affect and change.

    I know this isn’t good for the pocket book of an artist but I do believe it offers more profound and lasting change in the world.

    • Christopher January 9, 2012 at 11:42 am #

      Thank you for the very insightful comment, Thom! And it’s never too late to enter into the conversation.

      I strongly agree with many of your points and love your point regarding Brakhage’s thought. It’s so easy to become grandiose and set one’s sights upon the world while ignoring one’s immediate community. Your point is a humble reminder that I ought to look to my left and right more often than gaze upward :)


  2. John December 2, 2011 at 12:34 am #

    Christopher – likewise, I admire your courage bro, keep moving forward and good luck with the other festivals!!! It’ll happen, one way or another…

    • Christopher December 2, 2011 at 8:02 am #

      For sure! Thank you so much – it’s all about discovering the right path :)

  3. Sharon Ewell Foster November 30, 2011 at 6:52 pm #

    I commend your tenacity and your courage, Chris. During this wonderful season of hope, I pray that doors will open and that your work will find favor with those who see, hear, and experience it. Blessings to you!

    • Christopher December 2, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      Thank you, Sharon! Always great hearing from you :) And thank you especially for the prayers and words of encouragement. (Sorry for the late reply – we’ve been out of power for two days due to a wind storm!)

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