When I was in undergrad, I was obsessed with awards. I wanted to win an Oscar or an Emmy or 6 (seriously... 6 was the number I chose) before I turned 30. I got slightly more realistic once I hit the real world, but I still want a bevy of awards to outfit my mantle or library one day. I haven't talked about it in a while but I made a 15-minute (but expandable) documentary about the grandfather I never met for my MFA thesis. He died 41 years ago, 11 years before I was born and no one ever really talked about him. Not my mom or her four brothers or my grandfather. So I made this film to find out more about him. Really to find out anything other than he was a preacher and a World War II veteran. I'd only ever seen one or two pictures. I found dozens more pictures and learned more than I could have ever imagined including the fact that he fought for civil rights in Mississippi. It was pretty amazing.
Fast forward to last month. I entered my film into the Student Academy Awards. I was terrified. And then shocked when I learned I was one of 10 regional finalists in the documentary category. My region has more than 40 states! Nationwide, more than 500 people sent in their films in multiple categories. At this point, I had a 1/3 chance of making it to the national competition in L.A. I was so nervous. I went back and forth over whether or not I wanted to win. I know! What a nut job!
Once I decided I definitely wanted to win but was scared to hope for it (again... really?), I found out I didn't make it past the regional finals. I was crushed but still pretty proud and amazed that my little old film made it that far. I was so amused thinking of how amused my grandfather probably would've been! Can you imagine that I didn't tell anyone because I didn't want to have to tell them if I didn't make it to the next round? I don't know what's wrong with me. I'll do better the next time I'm up for an award and every time one of my films gets into a festival. My film was a regional finalist! Amazing... Oh I know you're probably going to ask how you can see it. Festivals are funny about people seeing things before they get to screen them so after I scrape up some money to enter it in festivals and screen it, I'll make sure you guys get to see it!