Screening a film for a live audience is always a tricky thing or at least it has been in the past for me. There are the questions. Will anyone come? Will they like it? Will they laugh when they're supposed to? Will they feel the screws turn when they're supposed to? I refer to the past because I felt an unusual calm this time around when I privately screened THE EXAM for the first time with an audience at the Anthology Film Archives yesterday. A calm I've never felt before.
Maybe it was because this audience was partly made up of supporters who were already there from the beginning and they just wanted to witness the fruits of our labor. I say our because my film was one of three in the Kickstarter-funded collective, The 3X3 Project. Or maybe it was something different. Maybe it was that for the first time I really felt like I came into my own as a writer and director. There wasn't one minute where I felt this wasn't the film I set out to make or that it was incomplete (something I've definitely felt in the past). I felt confident that I made a really good film and that makes all the difference in the world.
I mentioned this on Facebook but I think it bears repeating:
Seeing it with an audience makes it a real event in the life cycle of the film. It's the final step, releasing it to the world and forfeiting ownership. It will always be my film but now they own it and can interpret it any way they see fit. It's always an extra bonus when people laugh at the uncomfortable moments where they're supposed to laugh. It's like releasing a pressure valve. It truly is a strange and wonderful thing to have the privilege of making a film and having it seen so a big thank you goes out to all the supporters, collaborators, friends and family.