thought someone was playing a joke on me so I asked the guy to confirm my acceptance
with an email. Then I wrote an apologetic letter to Slamdance.” I was curious about how
that pushed her career? “It got a lot of buzz for a short film. Nothing really happened
immediately. But then I got invited to Full Frame. I’d never heard of them before but they’re
a fantastic, really major documentary film festival. One of their sponsors is HBO. It won the
big jury prize there. After that, the Sundance Channel wanted it. It’s not like they pay a lot
but I was really happy to have any kind of television distribution and agreed to it. Then I
get the call from HBO ‘We liked your film and would like to talk to you.’”
Distribution: HBO or Sundance?
“Then I was worried because I was about to sign a contract with Sundance for
distribution,” notes Laura. What does that really mean? “They pay you a licensing fee in
exchange for the rights to broadcast it for several years.” I ask Laura to reveal more and
she says, “for the shorts you’re lucky to have any sort of broadcast. When I got a call from
HBO, I had to put off the Sundance Channel. Fortunately they were late in getting the paper
work together for the contract. I wanted to get things moving with HBO because I could
only put off the Sundance Channel so long. But the woman from HBO said ‘Let’s talk next
week so you can think it over.’ I’m thinking ‘I really don’t need to think this over!’. Then she
asked, ‘What are your goals for the film?’ For whatever reason I answered, “it’s a long shot
but I’d like to qualify it for an Academy Award.’ She said, ‘I think that’s an excellent
I asked if HBO pays more than Sundance? Laura candidly said, “Yes almost twice as
much and they wanted me to quality for Academy Award consideration.” She was having
a great time reminiscing about calling the Academy and imitates the woman who answered
the phone with a British accent, “Academy whom do you wish to speak to?” Laura
acknowledges that film festival awards and getting into top tier festivals does make a
difference. She says, “It’s really hard to get anyone from HBO to look at your material
unless you already know someone there. They come to you.” The recognition from
festivals helps when it comes to securing grants or work.
Creative Filmmakers Association; Collaboration Is Critical
Creative Filmmakers Association (CFA), founded by Laura Paglin in 1992, was created to
build educational programs and training programs for filmmakers. CFA description reads:
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