What a nerve-wracking and exciting weekend! Saying Goodbye had its world premiere on Friday at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival (MBIFF). The day got off to a gloomy start as we drove up the coast in cold, rainy weather – it’s not supposed to be that cold in SC at the end of April! Luckily we had our sister Joanna with us to act as both a cheerleader and a paparazza. Once we arrived in Myrtle Beach, she tried to get us to eat lunch, but we were too nervous to eat more than a few bites even though she kept telling us everything would be fine.
We then headed to the theater, but as go-time quickly approached, our parents were nowhere to be found. Turns out they were stuck in terrible traffic! So as 2:30 came and went, Jerry Dalton (the director of MBIFF) was kind enough to delay the start of our movie; and the audience members were patient with the fact that we were big ol’ dorks who wanted our mommy and daddy to be there for our big screen debut.
Fortunately, they were only about ten minutes late, and soon the opening credits started to play. Carmike Broadway 16 has a fancy digital projection system, so Saying Goodbye looked fantastic on the big screen. We just stared at it in awe – it was hard to believe that was our little movie up there. And the audience reactions took the unseasonable chill right out of the air. They laughed at the right places, and we heard plenty of sniffling and saw tears being wiped away at the sad parts. When the end credits rolled, the applause was enthusiastic and made us all warm and tingly inside.
There was an audience Q&A scheduled at the end of each film block, and since we were the only filmmakers present for our block, we got to monopolize the entire time. The audience members had some great questions, with people especially curious about working with the cats on set. We also introduced everyone to Stuffy the Stand-in, who was along for this adventure and preened at all the attention. The kind words from the audience made all the hard work worthwhile, and we thank everyone who came to our premiere.
With the scary part out of the way, it was time to have fun. First we had a celebratory frozen custard with our parents (yeah, not really walking on the wild side, but it wasn’t even 5:00pm yet!). Then we took Stuffy the Stand-in out exploring Myrtle Beach. At midnight, there was a pancake dinner with the other MBIFF filmmakers, where we met some really great people. No attitudes in the bunch, just super friendly folks passionate about making movies.
The next day we spent time on the beach and then watched some excellent films. After seeing the quality of the shorts playing at the festival, we didn’t think we had a chance to win an award. That’s where Joanna came in putting her power of positive thinking vibes out into the universe. At the awards ceremony that evening, we were thrilled when Saying Goodbye was named the 2nd place winner in the shorts category. Not too shabby for our very first festival!
Then there was an after party at a local restaurant, where we had some delicious food and met even more filmmakers from across North America: Colorado, Austin, Victoria, LA, and Raleigh to name a few places. While seeing our movie on the big screen and winning an award were amazing, the best part of the MBIFF was meeting fellow filmmakers. We hope we run into them at future film festivals, and we’ll certainly be cheering on their projects.
A hearty ‘thank you’ to Jerry and Heather and everyone else who helped with the MBIFF. We also want to thank all of our cast and crew who brought Saying Goodbye to life. We hope y'all are proud of what we accomplished together.
If you want to see more pictures from the weekend, check out our Flickr page.
This post is already morphing into a novella, but there’s one more piece of business… the announcement of the winner of the World Premiere Celebration Contest. We added all the entries from twitter, facebook, and newsletter signups to a spreadsheet and then used randomizer.org to pick the winner. And the lucky winner is… Eddie Barker!! Congratulations, Eddie – we’ll contact you through email about getting your prizes to you. Thank you to everyone who entered and helped spread the word about our premiere!!