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Festival Run: 2013 in Review

Festival iShorts - Czech Republic

Screening in the Czech Republic (Festival iShorts).

2014 is upon us, and what better time to reflect on LMJ’s festival run this past year!

Mostly, what did we learn?

Our short film had the pleasure of screening at 12 festivals and 1 film market — but one thing we didn’t predict, was that about half of those screenings were due to the fact that the festival had reached out to invite us.

Therefore, dear filmmakers, never underestimate the value of a website and social media presence!  This is very important when it comes to not only festivals, but your audience finding your film, and (potentially) inviting you to screen.

But with success, also comes rejection.  We had a rather limited budget and festival strategy, but we did shoot for the stars and submitted to some of our “wish-list” festivals.

I have to say, it’s rather humbling when the rejection emails start rolling in, and eye-opening when the occasional feedback comes with that.  You quickly learn who your audience is — and isn’t.

And none of it is predictable.  Not really.  The film was well received by festivals and in countries that we would never dream that it would be (South Korea and the Czech Republic, seriously?)  And rejected by those that we thought it would be great for.  Who knew?

We also had the pleasure of participating in the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival’s Asian Heritage Month tour — in May — in which I was able to travel to different schools/classes in the Greater Toronto Area and screen the film for students.

If you thought festival responses were unpredictable, you have no idea until you screen for youth!  They laughed at different parts, enjoyed the film for a myriad of reasons, but most unexpectedly, it was always a surprise when a student came up to me afterward — excited about the characters and story portrayed.  Excited about pursuing a career in a film.

In essence, the film found a diverse audience despite its niche subject matter, and for that, we’re grateful.  Love it or hate it — if you felt anything after you watched it, then we did our jobs!

What does 2014 hold?  We’ve been invited to screen at the National Screen Institute’s Online Short Film Festival, so look for our film to be up online there sometime in the New Year.

After that, we may just end up sticking the film online somewhere.  The point of making a film is for people to see it.  And that’s always been our goal with this film.

Alas, before we wrap this year up, I just wanted to say another heart-felt thank you to all our supporters and friends who made this film happen.  It’s not lost on me that none of them had to help us.  But they chose to.

Thank you all!

Peace.  Good health.  And happiness for 2014.



2013 Dubai Film Market – Cinetech

2013 Aesthetica Short Film Festival 

2013 Vancouver International South Asian Film Festival

2013 Rebels With A Cause Film Festival @ YORK UNIVERSITY

2013 MOSAIC International South Asian Film Festival

2013 Seoul International Youth Film Festival

2013 Kaliber35 Munich International Short Film Festival

2013 Scarborough Film Festival – Winner Audience Choice Award (Short)

2013 Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

2013 Breakthroughs Film Festival

2013 Festival iShorts (Czech Republic)

2012 Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival 

2012 Seven Islands International Film Festival (India)

Festival’d! (What’s Next?)

LMJ premiered at the 16th Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival on Thursday, November 8th @ 1 p.m. (Art Gallery of Ontario, Jackman Hall).  It capped off a year-long journey since we pitched the project at the 2011 festival, and we couldn’t be more happy about the screening.

Thanks to all our friends, family, and random film lovers who came out to watch it!

Every filmmaker dreams of their work having an audience, and so for the next year or so, we look forward to submitting the film to more festivals.  After that, we’ll decide whether it’s worth just throwing it up online, or trying out other distribution avenues.

In the meantime, we’ll be sending private links to all our major sponsors and crowdfunding contributors, as well as DVD copies for the cast and crew.

My greatest hope for the film is that it entertains.  That it makes you laugh.  That it makes you think.  That you get lost in the story.

Thank you for joining us on our journey!

Post-Production (We’re Finished!)

We finished “Little Miss Jihad” on August 20, 2012!  A big thank you to our entire cast and crew for giving their all.  And incredible gratitude to all our friends, family, and supporters for enabling us to make the best film possible.

We’re also incredibly proud to have raised $2805 through our crowdfunding efforts.  Every single cent went towards supporting emerging artists.  It was so important to us that we do this right, and we’re forever indebted to those who came forward with their support.

In the end, post-production was a fast-paced process.  We locked the picture edit in June.  Worked with genius composer, Maria Molinari, throughout July to get our final score in place.  We finished it just in the knick of time for our sound mix with Steve Ebjick (Post City Sound), and then completed our online with the help of Ahmad Ismail at Urban Post.

Yes, it was a whirlwind!  But we got it done, and have already started submitting to festivals. All you ever want as a filmmaker and storyteller is an audience.  And we’re happy to announce that we will have a world premiere screening in Toronto soon!

This film has been a year in the making… and if you factor in its original conception… years.  Blood, sweat, and the kindness of strangers.

The perfect recipe for a dream come true.

Thank you!

Stephanie & Team LMJ