A MESSAGE to the 6th SFF-rated ATHENS AUDIENCE
For us, the 2011 event was full of risks. This year we tried a lot of new things – the World Premiere of The Whisperer In Darkness brought with it a guest from LA and a pre-game event -both new experiences. Would you come to the Sean Branney event? We didn’t know. Would he be satisfied with the festival he gave his film’s World Premiere, outside of the big European festivals? We didn’t know. We ran competitions for tickets (sometimes improvising like for instance with the Press Release Typo competition!), and secured presents for you, having not a clue whether you would like the presents, or even the fact that for some of them we asked you to answer questions.
We radically changed our logo and visual approach to our Poster and printed festival material. Would we alienate that part of the Audience that knew us and supported us in the previous five years? We didn’t know. Would this change attract new minds, by succeeding in transmitting the message that SFF-rated ATHENS is not a closed circle of people that create “communication codes” in order to impede communication, but an invocation of intellect, of Fantastic and of Imagination, where those who dare, flare? We didn’t know.
And as if all these were not enough, this year we created much more media buzz so that more could hear us through the city noise and the turmoil of the era. This was the biggest risk of all: because if you heard us and came, you would be a new acquaintance, a blind date, with eyes opening abruptly inside the dark room…
The good thing with us is that we are characterized by a certain degree of …conscious ignorance of danger. If we don’t change, it’s meaningless. The good thing with you -which you did come, almost doubling your numbers- is that you like humour. You like clever ideas. And you like to think. I don’t write these because we happened to have some pleasant meetings in the foyer. You told us these things, by how you voted, evaluated and commented on the shorts and features of the 6th SFF-rated ATHENS. The good thing for all of us, is that these are ideal traits for an SFF-rated festival Audience. It seems that we found our Audience, and you found your festival. For the ultimate joy of the film makers and their films of course, because the other thing you told us through your ballots, is that every year you like more and more what we select to screen with us.
There are no vague promises or specific innuendo about what to expect for 2012. The only thing certain is that your presence and your reactions have set our imagination on fire… to set the new rules for next year.
We are going to lay low for a while -or so we hope. In the meantime, enjoy all those other exciting things that can be found out there.
Chief Festival Officer