Arden Reed 2015 Up&Coming Juror Statment

Granted, I’m a tyro at this sort of thing—having never judged a film festival, and being a consumer rather than a producer. That said, I will hazard a couple of observations:

First, the quality of submissions frankly surprised me, both in terms of technical prowess and overall sophistication. Clearly these students benefit from top-flight mentoring. The Idyllwild School documentary in particular I could imagine seeing on HBO. Second, I was impressed by how students took advantage of local settings to create vastly different stories. Which leads to my third observation—the admirable range of subject matter. Some works were deadly serious (I’m still haunted by My Mother’s Songs’ Pass, others decidedly light-hearted (a film featuring a smart phone), but overall fresh to my jaded eye. Were I to hazard a word or two of advice, I might say: 1/ trust your audiences to grok what you are up to; if it’s a case of being more or less explicit, choose the latter. 2/ to generalize # 1, less is more: at the moment of final editing, ask yourself “what can I cut?” Better yet, ask your cohort. It’s a talented group.