DIY Film Festival Pushes Pause

Dear DIY Filmmakers.

Due to circumstances beyond our control, we've decided to suspend the film festival for this year. 

We're hunkering down and figuring out what we need to figure out, editing, re-editing and rethinking our master plan.


That's a long time. Older than most cars on the road.  Older than most studio executives' tenure. We've had successful Festival screenings across LA and Hollywood, from the Egyptian theater in Hollywood, to AFI and more often at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

We've had a number of people go on to success from their DIY filmmaking roots, people who've gone on to direct feature films, commercials, television - and when they take the time to write to us, point out that we were part of their journey. Winning their first award sometimes puts them on a path they didn't think they could have made.

When "the cost of making a film is as much as a pencil and piece of paper, then we'll find true art."

So sayeth avante garde filmmaker Jean Cocteau.  
We appreciate the thought...

But at the moment, we're a completely online film festival, and shifting over to Film Freeway did not give us the same kind of exposure or simple access that the folks at WithoutABox did - which is not a complaint or criticism, just an observation...

In the past we've had contestants from across the globe; New Zealand, Australia, India, Nepal, Iran, Ukraine, Israel, France, Italy, Germany, England, Canada.. not to mention entries from across the US, from film school students to professionals (Thomas Dolby) who had a piece of work that didn't fit into any known category but was a "do it yourself" enterprise.

We applaud you filmmakers.  You made films about artists, films about composers, about ice cream addiction, comedies about life and death, full length features about murder, mayhem - sometimes made with friends and family, but all of the festival finalists and winners demonstrated examplary story telling skills. (Take a look at any of the films linked on this page - all of them worthy of notoriety and applause.)

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While we retool, rethink, and go forward, we encourage filmmakers to do the same. Retool, rethink - don't let fear of success stop anyone from doing what they were meant to be on the planet to do.  Scan through some of these posts, see if there's something that will inspire future artistic endeavors and dropping the fear of starting a film.

We'll catch you on the flipside. (Or later on this year once we figure out where to land this plane).


From the folks who brought you the DIY Film Fest


Happy Holidays from the team at the DIY Film festival

Ho Ho Ho!

Hope you all are enjoying your holidays, or holidaze more accurately.  From cookies to chocolate, stuffing to being stuffed, it's a time of the year where we can all look back on where we thought we were going and whether we got there or not.

This was a year where the DIY Film Festival shifted out of WithoutABox website into Film Freeway. 

The jury is out, as they say, whether that will be an effective move.  We focus on do it yourself filmmaking and filmmakers, and have a history of highlighting some really interesting and different works that their creators have submitted to our festival.  As noted, we used to have screenings at the Egyptian in Hollywood - and eventually we found that our audience was mostly online, quite a few overseas and from around the globe.

We've highlighted film from around the globe; from Ukraine, from Syria, from Iran, from India, from Australia, New Zealand and all points inbetween.  It didn't make sense for us to invite filmmakers to come to Hollywood at their own expense - and because streaming services have become so advanced, we took the leap into the cyber world of film festivals.

We like to highlight stories from a variety of places, passions - and Pinnacle Editing systems has been instrumental in giving us packages to the award winners. But just making the film, finishing the film can be a reward in itself.  It takes a lot of time effort and help from others in order to finish a film - and we are aware of all that effort entails.

This is just one of many venues that people can submit their film to, one of many festivals to highlight the creative effort put into a work.  One never knows who is going to be inspired by doing so.

We can point to one of our festival winners who submitted a non synch sound film some years ago, a film without dialog, but was so powerful and moving that it won the festival.  That filmmaker reached out to us after the awards ceremony and said that he felt encouraged by the award, that despite having a good day job doing work in the film business for others, the encouragement and recognition gave him something else to consider and is now directing feature films and advertising.

We have seen other filmmakers make incredible pieces with special effects, with great acting, with comic twists and turns - but what they have in common is not that they made it with an eye to their wallet, but with an eye to their hearts.

Which is what we reflect on during the holiday season.  Giving gifts that come from the heart. And we at the DIY Film Fest like to point out that gifts can come in all sizes, including films that are
made from the heart, and when finished, folks are looking for a place to have their work highlighted.

We used to have people mail in DVDs - and now that WithoutaBox has disappeared, we may one day find a different method for receiving submissions. But for the time being we're using FilmFreeway to see how that goes.  We've been at this for 16 years, and the films themselves can be seen at the side of this page, or links to them can be found there.  

The goal? or the journey is the destination?

So anyone can see that we've been at this for awhile, and enjoy highlighting the best that DIY filmmaking can offer.

We are the only official DIY FILM FESTIVAL - a copyrighted concept - and we understand and appreciate that as a concept others may want to use that title to apply for their own work.  "Doing it yourself" is a concept that comes out of the age we live in, where "when the cost of filmmaking is as much as a pencil and a piece of paper, then we will have true art in film" (to paraphrase Jean Cocteau)... so we encourage everyone to do the thing that moves them, put that thing that moves them into a camera, and edit that thing that moves them into a film.

One doesn't need to submit a film to a festival in order to complete their mission - it's nice to be asked into Sundance, Toronto, or the Cannes Film Festival (among others) and depending upon the city, there are some really fun and life changing festivals to be part of.  

But there are also people reading this from around the globe, who may or may not be able to submit a film to those venues, and have found us instead.  So welcome to you!

In order to submit your film to our festival, follow the links to the side of the page. Or click here and click on "Submit." 

 Follow your dream, follow your passion, and follow your heart. Happy Holidays!


Simple Ways to Sell A Movie Online

Here are some tips for DIY DISTRIBUTION from MakeUseOf and Documentary Cameras

1. Uscreen

Attempting to corner the market in amateur video sales, Unscreen has a polished website that prompts you to upload anything and set your own price. Video content can be sold as subscriptions, one-time payment, rentals, or simply made available for free.

However, Uscreen is not ideal for all types of content. You should be producing educational content, fitness videos, entertainment, corporate training, or material for membership sites if you expect to do well with this platform.
With support for Dropbox syncs and uploading via FTP, videos, images and audio can be uploaded to Uscreen and customized with logos and other branding before launching. Uscreen offers everything from hosting and marketing tools to payment and content delivery. If you think your video content will be suitable for this platform, sign up today!

2. Vimeo

Another option is Vimeo, which has launched an on-demand platform. Offering Vimeo PRO subscribers 90 percent of the revenue and the option to make videos available to rent or buy, the $14 monthly subscription also features a risk-free 30-day trial. You can try it out without having to commit!

Streaming and downloading to a wide range of popular devices and platforms is available, and you can set your own price. There’s also statistics for your videos, so you can see just how popular they are.
A fascinating selection of movies are already available from Vimeo PRO, so why not add your own work to the list?

3. Amazon

You might have considered CreateSpace for books or CDs. But did you know Amazon’s service could be used to sell and distribute video content? Indeed, two options are available:

Amazon Video Direct

For a digital-only option, Amazon Video Direct is also available. This basically means that your productions will be ready to buy or stream on Amazon Video — Fire TV, phones, tablets, anything capable of accessing Amazon’s worldwide video streaming service!

Full performance metrics are available, while royalties can be earned via revenue share, purchases, subscriptions, ad impressions… or even a combination of all four.
Getting your video on Amazon Video Direct is easier than dealing with Netflix. As far as Netflix is concerned, you’ll need to attract the attention of their acquisitions team.

4. iTunes

Apple’s popular media supermarket is a good location to make money from your videos. However, “user-generated” content (i.e. amateur material made with a smartphone or webcam) is not accepted. Instead, you need to be producing top quality material — movies or documentaries — and teaming up with an approved “aggregator”.

These Apple partners are numerous so you should be able to find one to work with. For a fee, they will prepare your video for listing on iTunes, enabling you to sell it.

More Places You Can Make Money From Your Videos

So far we’ve looked purely at the sites that are focused on maximizing profits from your videos. However, there are several other websites you can use to make money.


Perhaps the most obvious option, building a successful YouTube channel full of videos can work to your advantage. While it might be tempting to simply monetize everything and wait for the coins to roll in, other tactics also work. For instance, you can use YouTube to showcase some of your videos and prompt people to buy them via the services above.


If using Apple’s iTunes Partners isn’t ideal for you, it’s still possible to leverage iTunes’ massive audience. To do this, you’ll need to create a video podcast, with its own RSS feed. Via the iTunes app, create a new podcast, using the RSS feed. While you won’t be making money directly with this approach, it can be used to highlight your content on other services.

Your Website or Blog

Of course, you’ll need a massive audience to make big bucks, but there is no reason why you cannot use a self-hosted platform to showcase your work. From this stage, you might opt to use one of the five services above to sell your wares, or a digital distribution and delivery service linked to your site.
home video dslr vlog
Image Credit: Olena Yakobchuk via Shutterstock
If you’re running a WordPress blog, plugins are available that add this functionality. In short, it enables a fan of your work to pay via PayPal (or an alternative) or credit card and have the video ready to download to their PC or tablet.

Social Networks

Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all provide tools for uploading videos. You can use these to share clips of your full features, and build a buzz around your projects. Share some behind-the-scenes clips, or even live stream a highlight.


You’re a movie maker, and you want to make money. Let’s be honest, you’re hitting the level of a professional, so it’s time to build your profile. What better way than a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA)? There are two options here: find a suitable channel (/r/moviemaking for instance) and contact the moderators to propose it. Otherwise, you could also use the /r/AMA channel and simply post your AMA there.
Before you do this, however, make sure you are familiar with how Reddit works. Also, have a day blocked out for the AMA. AMAs are read by people around the world, with questions flying in from around the globe. Make sure you have the time to reply to their questions!

Here are some of our favorite resources for selling a film online:

  • Gumroad – Set your own price and sell your film online. Gumroad works with either streaming or downloads and can do rentals as well. No annual fee, you only pay a tiny percentage of each sale. Quite cost effective for low budget documentary filmmakers and you can even bundle deleted scenes with your work. Integrates with your own website.
  • Square Merchant – Online and in-person credit card processing for your films, whether you’re selling DVDs online or at events, even comes with a free credit card reader that plugs into your iPhone or Android device. No annual fee and a much smoother checkout experience than PayPal. Integrates with your own website.
  • VHX – VHX is an online streaming distribution platform that allows you to upload your films and sell them to your audience without having to create a complicated website or deal with any of the tech stuff. VHX is especially great for episodic content because it can manage branded subscription services, not just one-off films. You can set your own prices, offer rentals and purchases and even build coupon codes. You can get started and sell for free, but once you’ve uploaded more than 10 hours of content you will need to begin paying.
  • Vimeo Pro – Once you pay a subscription fee of about $20/month (or a discounted flat rate for the year), a subscription to Vimeo Pro gives you tools to sell your films. You can set your own prices and upload art according to their specifications to create beautiful-looking sales pages with trailers, synopses, stills, and more. Note that unlike some other platforms with Vimeo Pro you’ll need to pay a monthly fee whether or not you actually make any sales. On the flip side, however, you also get access to expanded Vimeo video hosting features like advanced branding of color-schemes of the video embeds on your website, expanded analytics, and more.
  • YouTube – If you really and truly want to get as many eyeballs for your film as possible, nothing beats putting it up for free on YouTube, which allows you to monetize it through ads (or if you meet the eligibility requirements, you can offer it as paid content on YouTube). But even if you want to sell your movie through a more traditional route, putting a great film trailer up on YouTube with a link to purchase the film is a must.
Selling a streaming or downloadable version of your film online can be a great way to get the film out there for next to nothing and also get some buzz for yourself as a filmmaker. We also recommend collecting the email addresses of your buyers (which Square and Gumroad allow you to do– but Amazon does not) so you can let them know when your next film is out.

Extra tips for how to sell your film online

Here are some additional tips to consider, regardless of what platform you choose to sell your films online with.
Upload your trailer to YouTube – Whether or not you’re hosting the film on YouTube, it’s worth uploading the trailer there and tagging it with lots of related tags and giving it a nice, long keyword-rich synopsis in the description area. You should also include a link in the description to where people can purchase/stream the full film. It’s also worth including a URL in the video itself as text on screen in case someone is watching it on a platform where they can’t see the description while they’re watching (like on a cell phone in full-screen mode or embedded in another website). Uploading your trailer to YouTube will make it much more findable.
Market your film to an email list – As you’re making your movie, keep a running list of email addresses from people who are interested in it that you interact with along the way. Send these people (along with crowd-funders or friends) regular updates on your progress as you go through the process. By the time your film is ready to be released online via streaming platforms, you may already have a built-in audience. On your website, you can also include an email signup list for people who come across your film’s website and are interested in watching it once it’s finished. Make sure you also capture people’s first names in addition to their email addresses (but don’t make the signup form too long or complicated because fewer people will fill it out!).
Make the option to purchase your film easy to find on your website(s) – If you have an official film website, make sure it’s easy to find the page where people can buy the film. This means ideally putting it in the menu/navigation and also sprinkling links to it throughout the website on all sorts of other pages where it’s relevant. If you have other websites, like a professional website as a director, consider putting links to buy the film there too. Generally speaking, the more links there are to that purchase page, the better.


AND THE WINNERS ARE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Congratulations to the winning filmmakers of this year's DIY FILM FESTIVAL.

We know how much hard work went into making your film, and we want to honor you and your film in the best way imaginable. Winning films and filmmakers will receive Award Winning Editing software courtesy of Pinnacle Editing Systems, a Corel company, a Laurel, a suitable for framing certificate, as well as links to digital distribution networks that feature our filmmakers.

The winning films are:



Directed by Diego Errazuriz

A native of Santiago, Chile, this music/filmmaker took at course at NYU Film Academy in digital cinema and decided to tackle one of the greatest mysteries of our era.  (He also happens to be an excellent musician:)

An interview with Diego is on the panel to the right ---



Lucas Sachs is an award winning filmmaker from Kohimarama, New Zealand. His film "Treasure" is set in the New Zealand outback and tells a morality tale prejudice, ignorance, and how they can lead to tragic results.  
Lucas Sach's website, bio and film clips can be found here:

Lucas directing



(Kareem Atallah's show reel)
Kareem Atallah
Kareem Atallah is a graduate from the NY School of Visual Arts, works as a cinematographer in Brooklyn.
His film "Chaim" is a beautifully shot film about the day in the life of a tattoo artist living in Berlin who was born in Tel Aviv. More details can be found here:



Michael McCallum is an award winning filmmaker from Lansing, Michigan (this is his third award from our film festival) who continues to make compelling dramas about people he knows in a world he inhabits.  In this story, a simple robbery goes awry, as there is nothing simple in a McCallum drama.

McCallum and Pop



Kindred Parker

Written by stand up comediam Jon Allen, directed by Kindrid Parker is the pilot episode of a day in the life of  standup comediam.  

Comedian Jon Allen

Reminiscent of Louis CK's "Louie" and Showtime's "Crashing" a rare glimpse at the West Coast version of stand-up done in the city by the bay. A city of hills, Alcatraz and steep curves - where if you're not careful you're going to step in something you don't want to, but if you're funny, it may make a lasting impression.

Checking out a Clockwork Orange prop?

Kindrid Parker is a filmmaker from the Bay Area who is part of the Last Wave film group in SF. The entire 23 minute film (posted as a pilot for a series) can be seen here:


Amy S


Amy is an award winning filmmaker (this is her second award from the DIY Film Festival in comedy) works in television (Black-ish, Criminal Minds, 1600 Penn), film (Henry Toy, Like Mother, Like Death), and new media (Hacker Gamez, 3 Strikes). 




From his instagram page

Mehrdad Baskhshi is an actor turned filmmaker working in Iran.  In light of the difficulties filmmakers have in being able to tell stories in Iran, it's always thrilling to find a filmmaker who finds a way to get his work into an international arena.  The film is short, but shows promising talent, and is our "world cinema" favorite. (His interview is on the panel to the right)



Actor/Director David Macarchick's dark comic take on the new fellow in her mother's life has the audience wondering who the sane person in the room is.

Mother's Monster from Dave Macarchick on Vimeo.

David in Manhattan

Interviews with the filmmakers will be posted to the right of this page, to read in their own words how they came to be a DIY filmmaker and why they created their work.

Thanks to everyone participating in this year's festival.  Next year, same time, we're going to be using Film Freeway as our entrance portal, and we'll see how that goes. Meanwhile, thanks WithoutaBox for making it easy for us to stay in touch with filmmakers across the globe.

"When the cost of filmmaking is as much as a pencil and a piece of paper then we'll find true art."  Jean Cocteau, DIY Filmmaker.