As we make our way through the submissions, it is becoming clear that the technical qualities continue to (mostly) impress with each passing year. Indie filmmakers can now make excellent looking and sounding movies. But there is another pattern as well - all focus on the technical without any risks in the storytelling department.
It is always wise to make sure your film looks and sounds competent of course but if it just cold precision without anything to draw in a viewer then it won't distinguish itself from the pack. For the 2016 Film Festival, I remember we programmed a 43-minute film called PAZUZU which was filmed on an inexpensive camcorder. No crew, no lights, no boom mic - two actors, a camcorder and a tripod. But we never saw the zero budget because the two performers were electrifying as they were stuck in a brutally uncomfortable situation. It was exciting and raw. It stood out.
It's something like being a beautiful woman or handsome man trying to find work as an actor/model in Hollywood - gorgeous folks are a dime a dozen there. That is what passes for "ordinary". But when an actor truly has character in their face or passion in their delivery...something to stand out.
What can make your film stand out from the rest of the perfectly shot, perfectly mixed and perfectly derivative indies out there?