When I saw that this year's tour would be coming to the ATL, I quickly bought our tickets online. The show was sold out, which should be a sign to tour organizers that southern fly fishers like this kind of stuff too. Since this was my first ever fly fishing film festival, I tried to find out what to expect from a little searching online. I didn't really find anything, so I figured I'd share a little from our experience for those of you who haven't ever been either. I think a list is in order.
- Lots of dudes. Kelly was one of maybe 20 ladies in a theater that seats 375.
- The films are really short. Some of them weren't much longer than the trailers I had already seen online. I know they're trying to squeeze in as many different films as possible, but I was expecting at least a couple of them to be a bit longer... maybe 30 minutes. Don't expect anything longer than about 15 minutes.
- An overdose of Orvis rod and reel close ups. Although not listed as an official sponsor of the F3T, Orvis is well-represented in the tour's film selections. There is nothing subtle about the product placement for Orvis in the films they sponsored. Although Sage is the big name rod sponsor of the tour, I left feeling like Orvis kicked their butt in the marketing department by sponsoring the actual films.
- They give away some pretty nice swag during the intermission. We weren't lucky enough to win, but they gave away some pretty nice stuff including an MFC boat box and a Sage fly rod. I'm not sure what model of rod it was, they just said "Sage fly rod" and gave it away. It may have been a Circa. They showed a pretty cool promotional video before the films began that would make most any fly fisher want one.
- There wasn't really much swag or promotion outside of the films themselves. I can't speak for what it may be like elsewhere, but I kinda expected there to be more going on outside of the actual movie theater. The local TU chapter was selling raffle tickets for a "trip of a lifetime," but didn't even have a display table... just a guy with a manilla envelope and a few tickets in his hand. There was a display table for American Rivers, and they had a drawing for two bottles of Scotch which were also given away during intermission. In case you haven't already gotten the hint, you really don't want to walk out during intermission to make a long phone call... or get stuck in the long line at the men's restroom.
Overall, it wasn't quite as magical as I had hoped for, but it was still an enjoyable experience. If it doesn't make it to my town next year, I wouldn't hesitate to make the drive to the ATL again. Kelly and I agreed that our favorite of the films was "Urban Lines." I think it was the one that we could relate to the most, and it had the best message- "fish where you are." It also featured a brief cameo appearance by a Smallmouth Bass, one of our favorite fish around here, which earned it a few brownie points. I think the F3T could really use a little more warmwater representation...
I also think it's about time we get a real video camera.