Friends! We know it's been a while... last year was a rough one for us, and unfortunately things didn't pan out quite like we'd hoped. Let's get you all caught up on where we've been and what we have in store for 2019. It's shaping up to be an exciting year! As you can see from the banner above, we've decided to rebrand. But we're getting ahead of ourselves, first...
What Happened in 2018?
Much of the year was spent waiting on festival submissions from around the globe, but unfortunately the festival circuit didn't work out for us. Out of 24 submissions, only seven ( ! ) festivals actually watched our film. We can live with a rejection based on the merits of our submission, but to not even watch our film? It was a heartbreaking experience. We just can't imagine applying to more festivals for 2019... especially when we have the wisdom of the past year to know what we're up against.
The good news? Out of the seven festivals that did watch, we almost always made it to the final round. This in itself is validation that we have a great film, as thousands of films submit each year and the competition is fierce. One festival wrote us that out of 6200 films, their adjudicators recommended 900, out of that 900 they could only place 271, and we just didn’t make the final cut. Another comforting yet bittersweet moment came in the form of a postscript from the Austin Film Festival (snippet below). So. Close.
Why Are We Rebranding?
While we love DRIVEN (it's been our name since the start), there are several reasons why we've decided to rebrand. For starters, while we were waiting on those festival submissions... a Hollywood film premiered using Driven as it's name. Legally there's nothing stopping us from continuing to use Driven, but we just can't compete with a Hollywood marketing budget, so in order to avoid any confusion moving forward, we felt it best to rebrand to "Despite The Loss" before our release.
Notice we said OUR release?! More on that in a minute.
We love Despite The Loss for a few reasons; it makes sense since I crash in the opening of the film and ties into the whole racing theme, it's unique to the limb difference community (instead of the more generic DRIVEN) as so many articles about people with limb differences begin with “Despite the loss of his/her...” and at the same time reframes the intent behind that description, challenging perceptions in the process.
We’re relaunching our website and all social channels under Despite The Loss, and have a new teaser poster we really love (see below) to help promote the new name. We hope you'll continue to follow us under our new name and social channels!
Help us get the word out about the rebrand and share it with your friends!
• Website: despitetheloss.com
• Twitter: @despitetheloss
• Facebook: @despitetheloss
• Instagram: @despitethelossfilm
• YouTube: @despitethelossfilm
Where Do We Go From Here?
While the door may have closed in terms of a "traditional" studio release, we've come too far to stop now. We attended a distribution bootcamp last summer and gained valuable insight into self distribution. One of the special guests said “Why would you just hand over a film you’ve spent years of your life on, literally your baby, to a group of strangers in the hopes they promote and get it out there correctly?” This made total sense to us!
More and more self distribution feels like the route we NEED to take, and we're currently formulating a plan on how to do so. Make no mistake, this is a HUGE undertaking (especially since on most days Despite The Loss is an army of one), so we need your help to try and realize this vision.
How You Can Help
We'll have more specifics and further updates as we get deeper into the process, but for now:
Are you an individual or organization (limb difference, disability, or otherwise) that would like to partner with us on our independent release? We'd love to hear from you!
Please like, share, and show your support for Despite The Loss on social media (#DespiteTheLoss), the more visibility we have, the wider an audience we can reach upon our release.
We need to grow our mailing list. Believe it or not, email is still the best way to stay connected with our supporters. Please encourage others to sign up here: Despite The Loss Email List
To all of our supporters, thank you so much. We're inspired to see there's still so much interest in this film and our journey. The emails and photos we've received from the limb difference community remind us why we're doing this. We can't wait to get it out there for the world to see!
Director, Despite The Loss