13 April 2011
  yea for comeuppance!

sasha stone at awards daily posted this short documentary today, and everyone should watch it whether or not they are into film simply because it is extremely entertaining. the overwhelming message behind this film is "don't treat people like dirt or it will come back to haunt you." and who doesn't like a story where bad people face some serious comeuppance.

the story is: some guy named bhindi was running this very successful scam by holding faux film festivals all over the world. the scam was that he accepted all films submitted to his festivals, but charged filmmakers 30 dollars for each acceptance. then, he gets a local school or small theater or whatever to donate space. he then shows all of the accepted films basically on a loop in small classrooms or closets or whatever is available with no schedules. that is, unlike a real film festival with "screenings," there is no schedule or anything at these festivals and bhindi just shows the films whenever and wherever he can in order to technically fulfull his end of the bargain. on top of that, there is absolutely no money spent on promoting these festivals, and thus there is no audience present outside of the few filmmakers that show up. then, on top of all of this, bhindi tops off his scheme by holding a black tie awards reception at the end of the festival which, you guessed it, forces filmmakers to pony up additional fees. the whole thing is essentially a fairly low tech version of those "who's who in american high schools" books, this time in film festival form.

now the comeuppance: two filmmakers from california recently attended bhindi's swansea international film festival in wales in order to promote a documentary they had filmed. they were of course shocked upon arrival to realize that there was no schedule of when the films were to be shown, so they couldn't invite anyone to their film's screening. they are simply given an estimate of when the screening might take place, and the time happens to be opposite the time when the festival is holding a party at which all the filmmakers are expected to be in attendance. the documentarians politely bring their concerns to bhindi's attention. his response is to rudely accuse them of being poor filmmakers who have an inability to attract viewers to their poor work.

unfortunately for bhindi these filmmakers turned out to not be so inept after all. in fact they proved their talents by making this short documentary about the absolute failure that is swansea. the film has garnered a significant audience, especially among those who were previously involved in the festival. all of the celebrities affiliated with the festival, the media involved, the local government and the groups that donated facilities dropped out. the scam has garnered national media attention in wales, and bhindi's operation is more or less squashed.

the lesson to be learned: if you're fucking people over the least you can do is try and be nice about it. i guess this lesson seems pretty commonsensical to us in the u.s., but then again we have congress.
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