In just three short minutes, Sam Frazier, Jr.’s slideshow short film, Why I Make Movies, perfectly captures the strange dichotomy of the independent filmmaker on the film festival circuit. Regardless of what you, or I, might do as a soul-sucking, money-making day job, or what types of losers we are on a daily basis, create a film that plays a bunch of film festivals and, for at least those events, you can be treated like royalty, uplifted by gracious audiences that appreciate your artistic endeavors. The drinks are often free, swag can be plentiful and you get to travel to new and interesting places. Of course, then the fest ends, you return home, and no one around you has any idea what a film festival is, or why anyone would give you free drinks. It’s a rollercoaster for the elevated then humbled ego, and it’s addictive.
I don’t know that there’s much more to say about this film. It paints its picture so well, utilizing stock imagery to introduce us to the contradictory world of the festival filmmaker. The film’s sense of humor, and disturbing honesty, are what elevate it. Whether a filmmaker (film fest journalist, juror or other privileged attendee) is willing to publicly admit to this scenario is moot; the film is nonetheless easy for many of us to appreciate and relate. And for those of you wondering what your friends are talking about when they mention having a film in a fest, this is a gleeful primer, with the ultimate wink at the end.