The bizzare and off beat “Dogsitter” short film had it’s world premier at this years TromaDance in Asbury Park New Jersey. ¬†Filmmaker Adam Reider went down to support the film and was met with many complements and a few appropriate gasps of horror.

I have to tell ya, finding out I got accepted into a film festival was truly an amazing feeling. I remember thinking “Thank God ONE said yes.” Because to be honest, I was beginning to loose hope. I have been sending Dog Sitter out to a bunch of film festivals and they have all either said no or never bothered to respond back, which, in my opinion, is fucking retarded. I mean it costs me between $30-$60 each time to submit to a festival. The LEAST they could do is respond with an answer. But submitting to festivals in the hopes of getting in above hundreds maybe even thousands of applications is like playing the lottery. A very expensive Lottery.So Ironically, the festival that accepted Dogsitter to be the home of it’s world premier was none other than Tromadance, a film festival with absolutely no entry fee to submit (or attend) . Troma Films is the film studio that made classic films such as the Toxic Avenger and Nuke ‘em high. I had been picked out of more than 600 submissions. WOW! This was so awesome. I knew I had to go.

The festival is in Asbury Park, NJ which is at the Jersey Shore. (30 minutes away from where they filmed the show…just in case you were wondering). It’s kind of a nice little town. A cross between St. Johns, Newfoundland and any town described by Stephen King. Lots of pets stores and gym equipment shops mixed with some nothing special restaurants but seasoned with a cool record shop, a paranormal book store, a kick-ass bowling alley/venue and a pinball museum arcade. Yup. Asbury was a cool place to be for only a few days.

Now just to give a little background about Tromadance; this festival spent 10 years being somewhat of a protest festival against Sundance. Tromadance was located in Park City Utah and after a few years picked up enough steam to become a legitimate festival. They had 3 rules to the fest.

1) No entry Fees for film submissions.
2) all film screenings are free to the public.
3) No V.I.P. treatment to anybody.

After a successful ten years, the people at Sundance decided to change their ways enough for Tromadance to feel good about leaving Utah. Since most of the Troma films are situated in “Tromaville” which is in NJ, Tromadance moved to Asbury park last year.

Why do I tell you all this? Well because in the PSA’s and promotional videos for this festival, Troma used footage from the Park City Festival (and maybe some Sundance footage? just speculating) so to me, this festival looked like it was gonna be HUGE! hundreds of people. Huge screens. All kinds of celebs. Big parties. This is something totally worth the 8-9 hour drive from Montreal.

So when I got to the theatre in Asbury Park, I was a little taken aback when I saw the theatre only holds about 75 people. Now don’t get me wrong. I was still excited to have people see my film BUT I didn’t know what to think about the venue. My dreams of huge audiences slipped away as I waited for the doors to open.

Looking back now, I’m SO happy to have Tromadance be my first festival experience. I think that it was personal and really reflected the support of independent films. It really didn’t matter that the venue was so small. I met some great people and saw some great films that maybe I wouldn;t have experienced had the festival been super huge. I really liked the film “The Taint” which was just an all out violence festival of it’s own. Really a fun watch. There were a bunch of shorts I enjoyed as well like “Waffle”, “Pink Sock” and “Brutal Relax”. Really talented filmmakers out there.

Dogsitter played in the last hour of programed shorts for the festival just before “Kidnapped” which was a IFC film that was heavily anticipated by the audience. The programer for Tromadance told me he put Dogsitter in that slot because he liked it so much saying “It’s just so mean spirited.” Nice.

So the theatre had standing room only when Dogsitter screened. It got a great reception complete with “awwws” and gasps of horror at the right times. In fact I overheard somebody in the middle say “This movie is making me mad.” Which I take as a huge compliment. Nothing any artist wants more than to evoke some kind of emotion.

When the festival was over I said goodbye to new friends I made and headed home. I felt like a million bucks. I think that if there is one moment in my career so far that really made me feel like I was a professional filmmaker it’s this one. Having my film screened at a festival in a different country and being surrounded by talented people all supporting my work was a high I will hang onto for a while.

I want to point out that Tromadance is put together entirely on a volunteer basis so a HUGE thank you to all the volunteers and a special thanks to Jonathan Lees for programing Dogsitter.

- Adam Reider -