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Monthly Archives: April 2010

A still from Edvard Munch by Peter Watkins.

So far Robert on his Lunch Break hasn’t been accepted by a single film festival–I’ve been sending it out in various forms (near-complete and finished) for what feels like a while now, and still: nothing.

Thankfully, though, in addition to submitting my film to festivals, I’ve been getting in touch with artists whose work I like, in the hope of getting them in on the ground floor, and also just to see what they make of it.

A DVD was mailed to American expatriate Jon Jost, whose film Frameup I adore, and whose excellent “blogs” (here and here) inspired me to go with the “Chaos Theory” theme on WordPress. Jost is known for being insanely discerning, but as it turns out, “weirdly” he enjoyed the film and wants to screen it for his class at Yonsei University in Seoul. However, he warned me that I’d have trouble getting Robert into festivals–even, he made a point of noting, “experimental” ones.

A while back I also sent a copy of my film to the inimitable Peter Watkins, whose artful biography Edvard Munch I consider one of the most vital films ever made, and whose writing on the global media crisis is nothing short of required reading. Today, from his office in France, I received a kind and encouraging (but cautionary) response:

Dear Dave,

After a rather long time, I have been able to see ‘Robert on his Lunch Break’.  I think this is a very interesting and thought-provoking piece – and very humourous as well – and I certainly wish you luck with it on the film festival circuit. However, my own experience and impression of the festival circuit is not good at all, as too often they are only interested in typical Monoform crowd-pleasers, and indeed the “red carpet” syndrome is spreading to more and more festivals as the media crisis deepens. Hopefully though they will see your film as a highly unusual work, and not feel too challenged by it as it is not long in length. I was very pleased to see the steps away from the Monoform you took with this film, and I was intrigued by the close-up of the silent character. Although I assume this was a photo or a freeze-frame, I could be not entirely sure, as I thought I detected slight shifts of movement in his eyes.  I was waiting for him to say something (on screen, that is), but not knowing if he ever would, and this added another element of suspense to the work!

I will be very interested to hear what happens to the film, and the reactions to it.

Many thanks for sending me ‘Robert on his Lunch Break’

Best wishes,

Peter Watkins

To be honest, this sort of feedback means more to me than any festival.

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