Last year's DIY Film Fest winner about the Syrian refugee crisis "Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution"

Worth revisiting in light of the refugee crisis in Syria.

This was the DIY Film Festival's 2014 Best Film:

 "Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution" which is about the situation in Syria directed by Matthew VanDyke.  Shot on the streets of Syria, is a powerful look at the war up close, utilizing people filming on the war torn streets. (Advisory: there are graphic images)

It's worth watching this 14 minute powerful film which demonstrates how impossibly difficult it is to live in a war zone, and why so many people are just trying to escape to be able to live their lives.

The filmmakers have updated the footage, shot more, and are putting out their new film "7 Days in Syria" (this version directed by Robert Rippberger with journalist Janine di Giovanni) which Angeline Jolie has seen and is supporting with her endorsement.  We'll see if we can put up a trailer, or link to the new film when its available, but in the meantime, please take another look at this DIY Film Festival winner from last year's festival.  "Not Anymore: A Story of Revolution."


Step by Step process on how to use Create Space to make DVDs of your film...

Now and then we like to share info to the Do It Yourself filmmaker about how to market and sell your film, after you've won all the awards and accolades of course!
Celebrate every step of the way!

So let's say you've finished your epic, and you'd like to offer it online as a streaming video. Or you just want to be able to send everyone you ever met a copy.  Here's how!

Well, first things first, you contact our sponsor and ask them to rep your film.. and they'll get it onto all the major platforms and start sending you checks.

But let's say you'd like to make physical shrink wrapped DVDs of your film, and you're busy tracking everyone's address that you've ever met....
Consoling a filmmaker for forgetting to get addresses of everyone they ever met.

Well, recently we saw this advice from someone who's used CreateSpace to successfully market and sell their film.  We asked them "what's the step by step process?"  In the interests of helping people to figure out a way to make some money on the side streaming or selling their film (it's up to you how well you can market, publicize or otherwise get your film into people's view), here's one person's advice:

CreateSpace - An Amazon Company

(We have no connection to Amazon or CreateSpace - we just love to pass along good information for independent filmmakers.)


How to Create a DVD via Create Space

1. Create an account at Create Space (now owned by  

2. Click on “Add a New Title.”

3. Let them know if it’s a book or DVD.

4. Follow their instructions on how to submit materials.

5. Design a cover for the DVD using their template (or have someone design a DVD cover and submit it as per their formats).  Make sure you follow their instructions as to the size of the JPEG for the DVD, they have a few different sizes required; they can all be the same photograph if necessary.

6. Add copy to the front and back covers of the Template so people can easily identify what it is from the cover alone.

7. Fill out the various places where they ask about the DVD – these are going to be listed on Amazon, so make sure they let the audience know what it is, and why they should have it.

8. Upload the JPEGs to the website and approve the making of the cover.  They’ll ask if you have a UPC code for your DVD – I’m pretty sure they’ll either sell you one, or it’s easy to obtain one.  (Same goes for the books, they’ll supply you with one, or you can supply them with your own, an ISBN is required for books.  The downside to using theirs is that you can’t resell that same title to another entity, the upside is that it doesn’t cost anything.  I’ve used both, no real complaints.)

9. Price the DVD accordingly – they’ll suggest a price, you can put whatever you like, there is a minimum amount – but check into other titles that are like your DVD and see what they’re selling for.

10. Follow their instructions where to send a copy of your film to their offices so they can upload it.  You need to follow their instructions clearly as to what the format is – HD or DV, or what the size of the MPEG might be.  Generally, if you can fit all the media onto one standard 4.7 MB DVD, they can as well. 

11. When the DVD is ready, they’ll send you an email asking you to proof the finished product.  I think the first one is free, the ensuing copies cost wholesale.

12. Once you’ve looked at and approved the DVD it goes onto the Amazon site, and they price it according to their other titles.  There are 3 options, streaming it, downloading it, and purchase of a DVD. You must own all rights to the material depicted, the music, permission from all who appear on it, etc.

13. You can order as many DVDs as you want wholesale – you just return to the main page of Create Space and next to your title, click on “order copies.”  There’s credit card and shipping info to fill out, but it’s relatively simple.  Once you’ve got the title listed, you can also sign up for their “extended sales” options, which allows them to sell your product with a markup, so wholesalers can purchase it directly with a link you give to them.

14. You can also purchase DVDs and have them shipped elsewhere – a book wholesaler for example, or some other venue – in order to do that, you click on “Order copies” and put in new shipping information.

15. When you’re done your film is available for sale online everywhere amazon exists. People without American credit cards can’t watch the film overseas, as Amazon requires US bank info. But copy the “store link” and put it on your website, and when the listing appears on Amazon a few days or weeks later, make sure everyone you know has a link.  You can offer an option to contact you for international sales. 

That's it! And then "Bob's your uncle" you'll be selling them like hotcakes, or holding them like hotcakes and tossing them out to your friends and fans.


Resources for the DIY Filmmaker

Resources for the DIY Filmmaker:

Every now and then we like to focus on those resources that are available to the DIY Filmmaker that help promote do it yourself filmmaking, do it yourself producing, and the brotherhood (and sisterhood) of filmmakers worldwide.  Here's a small sampling of resources available for the DIY Filmmaker.

Indie Film Resources:


Independent Filmmaker Project.

It's a program that filmmakers anywhere can sign up for, benefits include free screenings in New York and Los Angeles, sometimes events at Sundance, more more importantly is their resource page. 

Great advice on where to connect to with other filmmakers.

Money for Films:


There are a variety of places to raise funds for making your film from people who have been giving funds to filmmakers for years. Here are some of them:

Film Independent

Massive list of various grants orgs

Film Festivals


It's the easiest place to upload, or find out info on how to get your film into a festival. (Also how folks enter our festival).

Film funding:


Lots of filmmakers have turned to this. So can you.


Another version of Kickstarter.


Fund anything, including your wrap party.

Film distribution:

Kinonation (one of our sponsors!) They rock.

There's really no time like the present to take advantage of all these resources. And when you're done with your film, don't forget to submit it to our festival!!!!


Why You Should Make a DIY Film (and why that matters)

Here's an interesting article on DIY Filmmaking from IndieWire.

Part of the reason people pick up a paint brush and put it to canvas is because they can't find a compelling reason not to.  In that same vein, picking up a camera and making a film follows those same principles.  "What kind of story do I have that's interesting to tell?" "What crazy idea that I was thinking about the other day would make an interesting short film?"  "I've always wanted to show this story, to tell my story, and I think it would make a great film."  

We've all thought the same thoughts, but today people can actually put what's in their head onto canvas, or onto another medium.  And further they can craft it into a story with a beginning, middle and an end, with a few twists thrown in along the way.  The same rules of story telling apply to documentaries, or any story that is begging to be told. What's the ending? What's the event that turned our main character into something else? Once I've set up the premise of this story, how can I further explore that premise through focusing on that sentiment or reality? And who "saves the cat?"

It's just a matter of turning the dang camera on.  Or in the case of a film at Sundance this past year, turning on their iphone 6.  

There's no reason you can't tell your story. Get to work! (And then send it out into the planet so we can all share in that vision, and honor it with accolades)

Why You Should Make a DIY Film That Matters

By Andy Siege | IndiewireFebruary 14, 2015 at 9:30AM
Think you can't make a movie? Think again.
"Beti and Amare"
Palm Springs Film Festival"Beti and Amare"
We live in amazing times. For the first time in history, making a movie has become accessible to everyone. In the digital age, low-end professional cameras are as affordable as used cars. Literally, anyone can pick up a camera and shoot a movie, no matter what your background or circumstances. If you want to make a DIY feature like my debut film "Beti and Amare," you can give it your best shot.
It is now up to the artist to decide which films get made and how they get made. Clarity of vision is easier to achieve than ever. I wrote, directed, shot, acted in and edited my movie. As a result, I had a much higher level of control over my work than most filmmakers throughout history.
With more and more people making films this way, filmmaking has become more of a meritocracy. DIY Filmmaking seems like a natural evolution of the art of filmmaking. The more varied the voices added to the mix, the richer the language of film will become. That's why I made sure that my first film would be about issues that represent my unique perspective on life, society and history.
"Beti and Amare"
Andreas Siege"Beti and Amare"
Why did I do this? Because I can. If you don't have to answer to anyone, you might as well try to create something that doesn't exist yet.
My debut feature is as unique as I am. I am multi-cultural and multi-racial and so is my film. I am part Jewish, part Muslim and part Christian. I am part Persian, part Czech and part German. To confuse things further, I was born and raised in Africa. "Beti and Amare" is a blend of Western sci-fi, global spirituality and the African folklore that I grew up with. It is about a young Ethiopian girl who befriends an alien, who protects her from violence, and whom she protects in turn.
"If you don't have to answer to anyone, you might as well try to create something that doesn't exist yet." - Andreas Siege
"Beti and Amare" is also about my biggest fear… what can happen when we use our differences as an excuse to hurt each other.By telling my film from my unique perspective, I hope that I have created something that has the ability to heal wounds.
Why did I do this? Because I can. If you don't have to answer to anyone, you might as well try to make the world a better place.
I was 25 years old when I realized that my lifelong dream of becoming a filmmaker was actually attainable. I could simply buy a camera and make a movie. I quit the MBA program that I was enrolled in and got my money back.
A year and a half later, I was in Ethiopia making what was to become my debut DIY feature film. Shooting "Beti and Amare" was an incredible experience. What made it even more amazing was knowing that I was doing something that hadn't been done before… something that could possibly make the world a better place.
Towards the end of "Beti and Amare," there is a scene in which a soldier, after having violently assaulted my main character, Beti, gets his throat ripped out by a heroic alien. I play the Italian soldier in the film. That day I didn't have any crew on set. So I placed my little digital camera on a tripod. I found my frame with Beti and the alien in it. I pressed the record button and yelled: "Rolling… First positions." walked to my mark. "And Action."
Andy Siege (Born Andreas Madjid Siege) is an award-winning DIY director. Born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1985 as the son of German aid workers, he spent his childhood in Africa and Europe. Siege has a Bachelors degree in Creative Writing and a Masters degree in Political Science. His debut feature film "Beti and Amare" (2014), which he directed, wrote, shot, edited and acted in, was made with a 14,000 euro budget. The first Ethiopian sci-fi feature, the DIY film has already inspired various other filmmakers to try their hand at making their own sci-fi films set in Ethiopia. It has been nominated for the Golden St. George Award at the 36th Moscow International Film Festival and has been featured in the Official Selection of prestigious film festivals around the world, including the BFI London Film Festival, Durban International Film Festival, the Montreal World Film Festival and the Palm Springs International Film Festival. It won the River Admiration Award at the Silent River Film Festival and has been nominated for more awards. It will be screening at various upcoming festivals in the coming months.


Saman Kesh's "Controller" Picked up by Fox

We at the DIY Film Fest like to honor and celebrate DIY Filmmakers when they knock one out of the park.

Saman Kesh is a filmmaker who has taken his talents in DIY Filmmaking to the next level.

And his "Proof of Concept" film has just been picked up for development at Fox.

"Whiplash" - the multiple award winning film was developed through the Sundance lab, beginning as a short film and then developed into a feature. It's known as a "Proof of Concept" but that term is a catchphrase from the people who bought it - it's just a good short film to begin with.

Whiplash 2013 Short Film by patates-puresi
(Here's the original short film for "Whiplash" at 18 mins by director Damien Chazelle)

It's a new world that has opened up for the DIY Filmmaker as studios are now looking for, interested in, and working with filmmakers who make a "Proof of Concept" short films that could be enlarged into feature film form. In fact some producers are asking for, insisting upon a filmmaker creating a "Proof of Concept" for their idea, as it makes it that much easier to sell. 

It doesn't have to win film festivals, as we'll see from the film below.  It just has to be good. 

The idea is to shoot a scene from the film that displays what the overall concept of the story is, but the scene or short film plays as a story itself.  (Which good writing usually does).

So if you're thinking of making a larger picture, but can't afford to put your vision the way you see it into a larger film at the moment, the trend (in Hollywood anyway) is to pour all your efforts into the ten-twenty minute short film which will serve as a "Proof of Concept."  The benefit is that you get to work out the bugs of the story, as well as explore avenues that might not have made it into the film.

Without further ado, or adieu, here is Saman Kesh's proof of concept film "Controller" which has been picked up by Fox Studios.  It's really fun to watch and easy to understand why it will soon be a major motion picture.  Good luck to all you DIY Filmmakers and thanks to Saman for posting it on Vimeo!

CONTROLLER (控制者) from Saman Kesh on Vimeo.


The 14th year of the DIY Film Festival

We at the DIY film festival just wanted to take a minute to thank all of you... for choosing to make films. And for choosing our festival to show them.

Prizes are given from Pinnacle Editing Systems

We just wanted to give a shout out to you DIY Filmmakers who've chosen to work in film to express yourselves.. There's an old saying "You don't always pick up a paintbrush to pay the rent." Meaning - sometimes it's just fun to create art.

Here's a sampling of the notes we've gotten from filmmakers along with their entries for the last season:

"Film is my passion. Upon entering College, I have realized that the art of visual media is what I want to dedicate my entire life to. My dream is to create films that have some sort of significant impact on somebody's life."  submitted by CM, student.

"This was the first film I ever directed and it is one of the most memorable experiences I've had on set. I wrote the story as well, which was inspired by my personal life... I hope this film has the opportunity to screen at your festival and reach a wide audience!"
submitted by TZ, student

"I was delighted to find your festival, and I hope to make it my next excuse to visit LA. I can't imagine it gets more DIY than this" RI Documentary filmmaker

"This is the most recent short from the Director who won Best Short Comedy two years ago at the DIY. Hope you like this mockumentary about filmmakers!" 
submitted by CW

Having always dreamed of both making a film and hitting the highway for a year, we finally killed two birds with one road trip:   In 2011 the four of us traveled the US in an RV, home schooling the kids, while learning the ropes and shooting an original feature along the way...  John turned his talent with paint to the Canon 5D, using the lush mountains, craggy coastlines and dry landscapes of the American desert as his canvas.  He wrote a score to accompany the images; he learned Final Cut.  We act in it; we all worked the sound.  And we wrote a story that would work in tandem with our adventures on the road...
Feature film submitted by TP

"I'm submitting my first film for consideration in the DIY Festival. This self-financed, self-produced film, tells the story of the 2009 Winterover crew at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. I had the privilege of being a chef on station from October 2008 to November 2009 and I was able to take my camera and film for the entire year..." 
Documentary submitted by KR 

We look forward to seeing your films and good luck with all of them! Keep up the good work, and keep doing it yourself.  And thanks for letting us take a look at them!!!


The DIY Film Festival Gala 2015


The 2015 DIY Film Fest had a full house in Silver Lake at the Lyric Theater on Hyperion Avenue on March 6th.

The DIY cafe/theater in Hollywood

The Lyric Theater is a great setting for the DIY Film Festival, as everything that goes on within its walls is created, produced and put together by those who rent the space.  Appetizers and drinks were served to the crowd, which included all age groups, all aspects of filmmakers, from child actors to film distributors.

A mixed-aged audience on hand for some excellent films.
DIY Convention's and DIY Film Fest co-founder Bruce Haring in black.

Rich Martini DIY Fest co-founder
DIY Film Festival co-founder Richard Martini introduced the filmmakers as well as their winning shorts and animated films.  Clips were shown of the feature length films and trailers of the other winning entries. 

Dash Arnott and Jillian Armanante of "Kittens In a Cage" which won Best Comedy Feature

Film Director Jillian Armanante introduced members of her crew, including producer Dash Arnott who was joined by actors Rebecca Mozo and Erin Anderson.  Jillian spoke of the journey her film has taken, from inception to screen and how it's currently an ongoing online series. Their film won BEST FEATURE COMEDY.

The winner for BEST DIRECTOR and BEST FILM was Camille Delamarre, for his entry "LAST CALL" and intense look at the last moments of a US GI who has stepped on a land mine.


A message from Best Film Producer and Star of "Last Call" David Atrakchi came in from Paris. Camille is directing a feature film, the reboot of the "Transporter" series, and David sent a text from Paris that the festival had "made his day."

Billy Redieck, Jeremy McGovern of "Sweet Dreams"
Producer and Director of BEST FEATURE DOCUMENTARY "Sweet Dreams" Director Billy Redieck and writer Jeremy McGovern told the story behind their winning film. They went off to film the unlikely story of two brothers trying to break the world record of ice cream flavors, only to see all their film equipment stolen.  They dusted themselves off and stayed with their story, just as the two crazy brothers stayed with her mission, which was successful in making the most ice cream flavors in Guinness Book History.

Trent Dion Soto Director of "Among the Discarded"
Artist Trent Dion Solo told the powerful story of how a year earlier he had come out to Los Angeles, and begun his film which was based on a simple premise.  What would it be like to arrive in LA with only a toothbrush and a gopro camera and live on the streets of LA for a month?  He found a home in skid row, and as he put it, his desire to make a change resulted in the people of the street changing him. His film won the JURY PRIZE BEST DOCUMENTARY.

Riley and Jimmy
Young filmmakers Riley Beres and Jimmy Deschler accepted an award for "Hope For Their Own: An LA Story." It also deals with the subject of homelessness in Los Angeles, and examined it from the aspect of average families who are forced into homelessness for a variety of economic reasons, and how they're trying to cope.  17 year old Riley is still in high school, and this was her first award as a filmmaker. Their film won BEST SHORT DOCUMENTARY.

Terra Forbes spoke on behalf of "Buffalo"
Michael McCallum's sister Terra spoke about how her brother had been using their father as a bit actor for a number of films, and finally got him to star in the best dramatic feature "Buffalo" the story of an aging cab driver who tries to reconcile his path and journey with a new driver he's supposed to train.  Weather prevented father and son from making the ceremony, but their presence was felt. "Buffalo" won BEST DRAMATIC FEATURE.

The team behind "Kevin, Take Two"
Alex Wroten spoke of the genesis of his film "Kevin, Take Two," making it as part of the "five minute film festival."  Film examines what it would be like if you could come back from the future and alter the past.  It's one in a clever style, and the starring actor Steven Krimmel (pictured above) was on hand to explain how he did the "split screen" dialog having a conversation with himself. His film won BEST COMEDIC SHORT.

Finally, Roger Jackson from, an online distribution company spoke of how all the winning films are eligible for digital distribution with his company. Roger mentioned how impressed he was with their work, and how not to devalue their efforts by taking whatever first deal is offered to them; their work as artists continues on in trying to get their work into the world.  He pointed out that the world market has opened up considerably because of the Internet, and what might be popular in Eastern Europe or Asia, might have a completely different audience than expected.

Roger Jackson of
All winning films are eligible for distribution from and received editing software packages from Pinnacle Systems, a Division of Corel Inc.  

Pinnacle Video Editing SoftwareThank you Pinnacle and Kinonation!!! 

Various pix:

Riley Beres and Tren Dion Soto - both made films about LA streets.
Rebecca Mozo in "Kittens in a Cage"
"Sweet Dream" filmmakers
Tyne Daly in a cameo in "Kittens in a Cage"

Fest Goers

Filmmakers of "Among The Discarded" Producer/Editor Joshua Dragge, Director Trent Dion Soto
Congratulations to all the filmmakers!!!!