Festival savvy

mark schilling 0934611501
Sun Jan 27 20:34:34 EST 2002

Stephen answered Markus's question about the meaning of "festival savvy" far
better than I could. From talking with Sento himself and reading his
autobio, I got the sense that, for him, getting the right film to the right
festival was very much a process of basic marketing (He was a salaryman,
remember). In other words, doing the research, pressing the flesh and
setting specific targets. He heaped scorn on companies that simply sent
their films out and hoped for the best or, even worse, waited for
programmers to come to them.

I also had the feeling that, especially in his early years at Wowow, he was
desperate to prove himself to his bosses, who were dubious about the whole
filmmaking enterprise. Winning a festival prize -- any festival prize -- was
a way of justifying his job. Even if the prize winner made no money, at
least Wowow and, by reflection Sento, got the prestige.

Later, when more important festival invitations and awards started to roll
in, he could link the subsequent attention to foreign sales and the box
office. But business-wise Suncent was always a
Lillian-Gish-skipping-over-the-ice act. Sento was smart about wangling
invitations to Cannes, but he had more trouble making audiences fall in love
with his films. One "Amelie" would have been worth a whole shelf of FIPRESCI

Mark Schilling

----- Original Message -----
From: "Mark H Nornes" <amnornes at umich.edu>
To: <KineJapan at lists.acs.ohio-state.edu>
Sent: Monday, January 28, 2002 5:01 AM
Subject: Re: Koroshiya Ichi/Ichi The Killer

> Mark, you called Sento-san "festival-savy" and unusually successful at
> getting his films in the major festivals. It _is_ striking how many of his
> people's films are selected. But what makes someone festival savy? Is it
> simply a strategy he's got, or other qualities about the man?
> Markus

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