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Where is Cinevore?

October 15, 2010

Cinevore Studios was a Presenting Sponsor at the 5th Annual Project Twenty1 Film & Animation Festival last weekend, October 1st-3rd in Philadelphia.

What does this mean? For one thing, we got to put our logo up on the snazzy sponsor wall you see behind all those happy people in the picture. But that logo wall comes with a hefty price tag.

Yes, those of you who know us well know that the brains behind Cinevore are also the brains behind Project Twenty1. Project Twenty1 is also a large part of the reason Cinevore has not been as prolific with its film output as many other indie film groups in Philly.

But if you were at the event, you saw why it is so important to us. Yes, at our hearts, we are filmmakers. But we are also cinephiles, people with a genuine love for film, for filmmaking, and for the passion and connection to other people that film can evoke. That is why presenting Project Twenty1 every year is so important to us. This year, P21 presented nearly 100 films, most of them World Premieres, and received major press coverage across all forms of media – web, print, radio, and TV. And the electricity at the events was palpable, above and beyond any prior year.

Is Project Twenty1’s growth directly related to Cinevore’s contributions? Well, let’s look at it this way. In 2006, the year Project Twenty1 began, Cinevore founder Matt Conant’s gross income (that’s GROSS, people… more than half of it went towards paying crew and equipment) came in just under $80,000. Each year since, the festival grew slightly, adding programming, events, and services, for the benefit of our community, and each year took up even more of his time. In 2010, Matt’s gross income? $9,142.50. Again, that’s gross, not net (and also gross, because it causes him to wretch when he thinks about it). To say that he is poor now is a drastic understatement. It’s tough to make films with $2,000 in the bank and a $1,500 mortgage every month, even WITH roommates.

One day, perhaps, a larger company will come along to take some of the financial and temporal burden of the festival off Cinevore’s shoulders (hint hint, large companies), and with such sponsorship will come the ability for P21 to pay modest salaries for some administrative positions (which are YEAR ROUND tasks, by the way) and for god’s sake, HEALTHCARE. This would also allow Cinevore to put a little more time back into its own filmmaking projects, and produce perhaps more than one short film every year, as we seem to be averaging.

Until the day that mythical Presenting Sponsor or Sponsors come along, we feel it is our solemn duty to keep this festival and organization running, out of our own sweat, tears, and yes, sometimes actual blood. And of course, all our money that would otherwise go to our own films. Yet there is an intense pride that the festival also gives us, that sort of underdog spirit that comes from doing anything so huge on such a grass-roots level. We are intensely proud of this festival we’ve built from scratch in five years with little to no financial support, and the fact that we have one of the strongest festivals in the city – in terms of programming, quality, and most of all, community – feels like our own little indie coup. Just check out the Red Carpet pictures and see! We’ve seen organizations with far more substantial resources throw crappy parties, judiciously crop their pictures to make their crowds look larger than they are, and brag about their awesome events to no end. And they can get away with it, because often, nobody was actually there to prove them wrong.

This year, thanks to a ton of donated time and resources on our part, some incredible volunteers, and all our filmmakers and supporters, Project Twenty1 had no excuses, and all the comments we’ve gotten across the board were that we hit one out of the park.

As for doing more film work of our own, this is already in the planning stages. We have one short slated for production in one day this fall, and we intend to be fundraising for the feature-length neo-noir thriller “Controls” through the fall and winter with the intent to enter production in the next year.

Whether we are still carrying the weight of the festival on our shoulders or not.

For those wondering “where Cinevore is,” we never left. We’re buried in paperwork, we’re tired, and we’re hungry, but we’re stubborn as all hell and as devoted as ever to bringing you some of the most original and entertaining films you’ll ever see.

This can only really go one of two ways; this will be an against-all-odds Cinderella story or a cautionary tale of a few starry-eyed filmmakers completely crashing and burning for their art. Either way, we thank our core group of supporters and welcome you along for the ride.

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