Expectations were high at Mandorla's first public screening. All 100+ seats were sold out. The waiting list was 40 deep. People lined up at the door, some without tickets, hoping for cancellations.
Max Bouchard, our host and friend, and sponsor from Alliance Française Silicon Valley, handled everything with grace. Stefan Meier of the Palo Alto Independent Film Club also responded well. As for me, I was focused elsewhere.
The final cut of the film was not finished, nor tested, until 5 hours before the screening. It's an interesting story involving, as you might guess, sleepness nights working at a computer. Two shots (about 40 seconds) needed to be removed like taking the slack out of a chain, or more aptly, tightening a guitar string. The edit was relatively easy. Re-rendering and mastering the entire film, however, into a digital cinema package (DCP) was a long meticulous process.
Finished just in time, Mandorla played to a vibrant audience and seemed more affecting than ever. They applauded and, during the Q&A, shared how this personal film and inner journey resonated with their own lives. There is nothing better for a filmmaker to hear because it means the primary purpose of the film has been met.
Many also said they wanted to see the film again, because they felt there was more there than they could take in on one pass. I confessed that Liz and I too liked films like that, ones that we see over and over through the years, discovering more of what they offer. I can't tell you how humbled I am that people feel that way about Mandorla too.