Indie rejects welcome

Fest feasts on second-best pix

What do fledgling filmmakers do when constantly faced with rejection from increasingly competitive fests? Besides accepting dad’s advice to join the family business, they can swallow their pride and enter the Reject Filmfest, a Philadelphia festival where the primary acceptance requirement is that pics must have been rejected by every other fest they’ve been submitted to.

When their film “… clayfest” was denied entry into last year’s Philadelphia Fest of World Cinema, D. Mason Bendewald and Don Argott decided to take matters into their own hands and started the Reject.

Last year’s debut drew more than 2,000 attendees during the three days of screenings, attracting the attention of the Philadelphia Inquirer, which deemed it “deliriously twisted.” The fest was a small success.

Waters roped in

For this year’s installment (Oct.15 -17), Reject will screen more than 100 features, shorts and video projects. Ticket sales are up and eccentric Baltimore-based scripter/helmer John Waters will be the guest speaker.

Co-founder and Reject exec director Bendewald is thrilled about the way it’s developing, despite the lack of interest from distributors in the films. “Cannes and Sundance are festivals where filmmakers hope to get picked up. We’re not concerned with getting picked up, we’re just interested in getting films shown,” Bendewald said.

All rejects who are interested in submitting their unloved films, can call (215) 574-0911. But be warned: The Reject fest is not above rejection itself. It’s a competitive fest, and a lot of submissions get turned away. If that happens, it’s probably time to take advantage of dad’s business connections.

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