Saturday

Happy Holidays!!!

As we come up onto the New Year, we here at the DIY Film Fest want to wish y'all a
Happy Holiday/MerryChristmas/Kwanzaa/Hanukkah/Diwali/Eid from the DIY FILM FESTIVAL.. have we missed anyone?

Our usual venue.. although it may be another Hotel this year


As usual, we will be holding our annual event with the DIY Convention in Hollywood at the Roosevelt Hotel sometime in March 2013 (depends on availability, might be another locale).  We'll be holding screenings of the finalists sometime prior to that, and the evening of the gala will announce the winners of the various genres.

Flavio Parenti phoning it in - or  rather getting his award via Roma at last year's awards
2012 fest gala at the Roosevel

Which means there's about a month left for submissions.  Traditionally we stop accepting them around the 15th of February, so if you want to be eligible, please submit through "WithoutABox.com"



We're heading into our 12th year of the festival and we've had some fantastic films submitted, so stay tuned for more information!  Thanks for your submissions and we're looking forward to a glorious and independent "do it yourself" 2013.

DIY FILM FUTURE

Everything seems back on track with WithoutABox - other than a couple of snafus, everything seems to be working fine. If you submitted a film a couple of weeks ago and haven't heard a confirmation, please let us know.

And now a word from our sponsors:

Corel has released some new editing software. Pinnacle 16 is a PC based editing system that seems designed for DIY filmmakers and filmmaking. Although why they name things "ultimate" is a bit loopy, as it's usually "the ultimate" until it's not.  That being said, if you're not a MAC based editor, Pinnacle is worth looking into.  Not expensive, but has the bells and whistles of Avid software backing it up.

Our sponsor Avid dealt Corel their Pinnacle division, so it remains to be seen how that will affect Avid's foray into the low end (DIY) editing world.  Currently they're focusing on Media Composer, a professional editing system that handles the higher end material, in a Final Cut Pro fashion.

Where there's a will, there's a way - there are free editing solutions and opportunities in every platform, whether windows "movie maker" or "ifilm" from Mac.

There are many camera platforms to consider, from Canon single lens reflex series that also shoot HD, to the standards of Sony, Panasonic and other versions.  With feature films using the RED digital film systems for their big budget pictures, it's a matter of time before these systems become prosumer.

Lighthouse to the DIY future
In terms of DIY film distribution, what appears to be the easiest to navigate, is the createspace.com model - where you submit your DVD to their service, they digitize it, copy it, and make it available on Amazon.com in return for a percentage of your profit.  Once you've created the DVD or the streaming video, it's up to you to promote and sell and make it worth the effort to make it.  Itunes requires an aggregator to be the go-between between filmmaker and their sales outfit - and that can cost the filmmaker thousands of dollars in order to format it in their system.

 In that vein, KinoNation is a new company that will act as an aggregator, but takes their cut from the profit of the film.  Worth looking into.  It's a matter of time before DIY production, distribution becomes a larger share of the creative workplace. 

It seems to be the DIY way of the future.

And now back to the show!  Click on some of the films along the side panel to get an idea of the kinds of DIY winning films we've had the pleasure of honoring over the past 11 years!!!! Keep up the good work and thanks.

Monday

Withoutabox outage

Hi DIY Filmmakers, apparently Withoutabox had a glitch, and films that were submitted between Oct 25th and Nov 2nd were lost in the path of Hurricane Sandy. Here's the email we got this morning from our partners at WITHOUTABOX.COM:



Dear Withoutabox Customer


  On November 1st, our site experienced an outage which unfortunately resulted in the loss of data submitted from the afternoon of October 25th to the evening of November 2nd. You have been identified as a customer whose data was affected by this outage. Any changes made to your account during this time will need to be resubmitted; additionally, any submissions made during this time have been unintentionally deleted from the system.

Wow. Where did they get their tabulating machines from; Ohio?
Flavio Parenti accepted his award from Rome at last year's fest.
No glitches happened here.

Now, they may just be referring to films that individual filmmakers might have submitted (hence why its addressed to customer and not "film festival") - and if you submitted a film and you got this email from them, then you might look into it.

If we read this correctly it seems to imply if you submitted your film between the 25th and the 2nd, they have no record of it.  However, if your film finds its way to our PO Box in Santa Monica (DIY Film Fest, PO Box 248, Santa Monica, 90406) we will contact you if we can't find you in the withoutabox system (our chosen method for film submissions).  So not to fear, no need to resubmit - hopefully your DV has an email address/contact number that we can access and get in touch with you if there's a problem.

If you don't hear from us, you can contact us anytime at DIYFilmFest@yahoo.com - sorry for the glitch, but what can you do? Glitch Happens. 

If you did receive a notice from Withoutabox letting you know your film was entered, no need to worry, no stress, you're "in consideration" as they call it.  If you have submitted your film to our festival and not received a notice, please email us at DIYFilmFest@yahoo.com and include the Withoutabox submission entry #.  Thanks.


DIY Fest Winners from 2011. Not a glitch among them.
And please, on behalf of all those who fought for our rights: don't forget to vote!

Wednesday

2013 CALL FOR ENTRIES


2013 DIY FILM FESTIVAL CALL FOR ENTRIES!!!

DIY Book and Film winners at the Gala last March
HOLLYWOOD, Ca. (Sept. 25, 2013) _ The 2013 DIY Film Festival is now accepting entries for its 11th annual awards and screening series, part of the 2013 DIY Convention: Do-It-Yourself in Film, Music & Books in Los Angeles.



The DIY Film Festival honors the best of independent and self-produced films. Past winners have been able to get their films on Showtime and some have found a theatrical release. Submissions are accepted from countries around the world, culminating in our annual awards in Hollywood at the Roosevelt Hotel, home of the first Academy Awards.

Submissions to the 2013 DIY Film Festival must have been released after Jan. 1, 2011 and have been produced without multinational corporate backing. 
Categories include:
Cara Feinberg Accepting her award

Dramatic or Comedy or Documentary Features (over 30 minutes in length)
Dramatic or Comedy or Documentary Shorts (under 30)
Animated features and shorts
Student films, Experimental Films and/or Mocumentaries.

Winner Flavio Parenti accepting from Rome
Entries will be judged using the following criteria:

1) The sophistication and potential of the film to reach a larger audience; and

2) The unique use of DIY production tools to tell a compelling (dramatic or comedic) story that perhaps breaks boundaries of traditional story telling.

Information on the event and entry forms can be found at www.DIYConvention.com, www.diyfilmfest.com or submitted through Withoutabox.com
Comedian Deep Roy accepting an award
Site of the First Academy Awards

The films should follow the paradigm of "Do It Yourself" filmmaking. This means no film studio or major corporation financed your film. We're a film festival that highlights and focuses on the ability to tell a good story, a moving story, an interesting story using the tools that are available to everyone. That being said, it's up to you how professional your film looks, or your story is. 

We firmly believe in artist Jean Cocteau's maxim "When the cost of making films is as much as a pencil and piece of paper, then we'll find true art."

Monday

Toronto, Sundance, Cannes, DIY Film Distribution

Hello DIY Filmmakers,

Just a few words about Toronto's film festival, upcoming deadlines for Sundance and the Cannes Film Festival. (further details check: withoutabox.com) and a few words about DIY distribution in general.

Aim high!

Shoot the moon. Why not?
You don't really know who's going to respond to your work and in what fashion.  So if you can afford to, get it out there, see if you can get into these premiere film fests.  Toronto is a wonderful venue for international attention, Sundance is the premiere festival in the US (along with Slamdance, South by Southwest, Santa Barbara, Palm Springs short, NY Film Fest, Indie Spirit Awars etc), and Cannes of course, is Cannes.  Look at your film with the jaded eyes of a festival programmer - and then find the right fit for your story.

This cat wants to eat your film.
Just leave it lying around
undistributed.
And then after you've been the festival route and due to myopia of festival programmers, still don't have a place for your film, think about self distribution.  It's the way of the future for filmmaking - and as filmmakers get frustrated trying to get films into the studio pipeline, or the indie pipeline, or any pipeline other than a pipeline to the ocean - they'll see how DIY distribution can make you the filmmaker happy, make your audience happy, and make a name for yourself, as well as at least a modicum of income.

Here's one way to do it, it's not for everyone, but if you're tired of waiting for Godot to show up and anoint your film worthy of studio attention, here's one way to do it.  We at the DIY Film Fest have seen a number of folks pursue this avenue, and while it's no guarantee of profitability for your film, it does grant a certain amount of satisfaction in a world where there's little of it in artistic pursuits.

an indie filmmaker's dream actor
We at the DIY Film Fest believe in do it yourself filmmaking, do it yourself publishing, do it yourself music - doing what you feel comes natural and then getting it out there for others to appreciate.  Your audience will find you if you let them.



Finish your film in the best way that you can, screen it for friends so that you can experience what they experience when viewing it. "Kill all your darlings" meaning edit the film until its not just good but really good.  And you feel it can't be edited any longer.  Add some great music, there are many bands that will let you use their music on your film in return for credit or future compensation ("if the film is sold to a distributor, you will be paid as per BMI or ASCAP rules) or look for some great classical music that is inexpensive to license.  Music can make or break your film.  You've already paid attention to the visuals, to the sound and dialog, make sure the music moves your audience as well.

Then figure out where you want to show your film.  If its itunes, you need an aggregator.  They cost money, unless you find one like Ted Hope's new KinoNation, which if they take on your film, don't charge to sell it through to the various VOD sites.  You can save thousands using their service - otherwise you need to hire one of those listed in the link to get onto Itunes.

There's also Amazon, which is one of the most visited sites per day in the world.  The way to get your film onto Amazon is to use their createspace.com service - they have templates and easy instructions on how to send a DVD of your finished film, as well as help you to build your artwork.  You can do all of it for free if you want to. The only caveat is that if you purchase an ISBN yourself, if you resell the film to another entity, you continue to use your own title, if you use their ISBN then you have to rename the film for an alternate sale. Once they have the DVD they stream it live - all funds go monthly into your account.

What happens to those who steal films via Torrent
Yes, there's a problem if someone uploads your film to Torrent.  But if you've made a good film, and give people the option on your website to pay for it - even a paypal donut that says "if you've seen my film and not paid for it, please donate something."  But see pic to the left as to what happens to those who don't.

But that aside, you set the price, and then Amazon takes their cut.  It's around 55% to your 45% - but considerably better than a studio percentage.  Once you have the film packaged and online, then the next most important way to reach your audience is marketing and publicity.  Can you do that yourself?  Sure, if you have the time and inclination and imagination.  Many folks hire a publicist, or hire a marketing consultant - it's something you can find online.  There's also the PayPal way to go - once you have a paypal account, you can purchase a Merchant Services option which allows you to build their code onto your website.

You do have a website for your film,don't you?  If not, build one for free - get a gmail account, then use their very simple blogger software - build your site, then add HTML or links to purchase your film on your site - either via amazon, itunes, or paypal - where you can design in the paypal merchant button a link that takes your audience to another site to download your film.  You're only limited by your imagination.

Remember not to sign away any of the rights to your film without really understanding what the contract says.  There are some people who agree to represent your film, then take a huge percentage of your profit, and you'll never see a dime.  They've resold your film to another aggregator, and getting money from that sale is next to impossible.  If you can sell it yourself, then you're ahead of the game. (Can anyone say attorney?)

The most recent success story in that regard is Louis CK's wildly successful one man show.  He did a show at the Beacon in NY, paid for it himself (around $200K) and then put the film out on his website for $5.  The web protocol he used was the Amazon Cloud - with payments going direct to his PayPal account - so that once it resides in the cloud, he gets charged a nominal fee for every download.  In 30 days, he'd made a million dollars with his film - the first month alone!
Louis CD's PayPal page showing his million dollars in sales in one
month!  Can't make money with your film unless you get it out there.




Of course he's got a built in audience, he's got fans, he's got a good show that everyone wants to see - but he made it simple for them to find it, he did it himself.  At the moment, it's the DIY story of the year.  And why would filmmakers waste their time with theaters when they know full well that a theater is not going to show their off beat, particular film?  Why not bypass all that and just offer it directly to the audience?





So that's it for now from the DIY Film Fest.  We believe in Cocteau's observation that "when the cost of filmmaking is as much as a pencil and a piece of paper, then we'll find true art."  That time is now.


Thursday

Never too late for schmoozing!

It's one thing to make a film.

It's another thing to get it out into the world.  What's the answer?

Schmoozing is good.  Sometimes it's getting your film into festivals that have high schmoozing factor.  Like Cannes and Toronto - or Sundance - but that requires plane trips and hotels (although Park City is more DIY than the others).

There's another way to schmooze - and that's online.  Build a website at Facebook for your film, get your film a twitter account, and very important to build a blog so anyone who searches for the name of your film can find it easily, and not just at IMDB.com - that's important too - but if you're going to market and sell your film at some point, it's important to make it easy for people to find it.

Blogger offers an easy solution if you have a gmail account.  There are a million other ways to promote and sell your film, and the first and best way to do that is find a film you like, check out the website, see how it's built, and either hire someone to do the same for you, or figure out how to do it for yourself.  After all, we are about DOING IT YOURSELF here at the DIY Film Fest.


And in light of this profound information, I submit there are a few other things you can do, if you have enough money saved over from production to promote and distribute your film.  And that is CreateSpace.com - it's owned by Amazon.com, it's simple to build a page and submit your film, and once the DVD is submitted, the film goes live through Amazon - streaming, downloading, etc - and the account you've set up at CreateSpace pays you monthly.

But one final step might be to join an organization that has a proven record of helping filmmakers - it's Film Independent.  It's based in LA, they hold the Spirit Awards every year, but its a way for completely independent filmmakers to reach out and contact other filmmakers. Their deadlines are in Sept to submit films, but they have forums and workshops where you can learn more about distribution and sales.  There are conferences held at AFM every year - but the ones held through Film Independent are more often than that.  And they cover all disciplines, from shorts to features, from documentaries to animation to fiction films.  So if you have the extra cash lying around, it's something to look into - basic memberships are under $100, but the schmooze factor can be high if you get your film accepted into their festival, or just attend some of their events.  Good luck!!


Monday

Film Festivals

Special thanks to those who attended our summer fest at Flying Saucer's in Santa Monica.  Ryan, the owner of the art gallery and cafe shared some amazing stories about his website and fan club. Special thanks to Bruce Haring, Janna, and James who also made the evening more fun that a box of sock puppets.  Whatever that means! And our thanks to Vidiots, one of the oldest and most unique video outlets in Los Angeles but who have a state of the art projection system.

Some important deadlines are looming for film festivals worldwide.  Check 'em out at WithoutABox.com - where you can find listings for just about every film festival on the planet.  Happy summer everyone!  Keep flying your DIY flag high!

Here's an article in the UK's guardian that is championing the concept of DIY filmmaking!

The DIY films that vanish without trace

For every Morris: A Life with Bells On that enjoy success, there are countless DIY labours of love that will never find an audience. So why are the studios ignoring Britain's burgeoning indie film industry?
Too niche? … Morris: A Life With Bells On
Here on my desk, hemmed in by coffee mugs and dwarfed by the computer screen, sits a stack of DVDs: the equivalent of a publisher's slush of unsolicited manuscripts. So far as I can gather, each disc contains an independent, DIY British motion picture. DIY in that it is bereft of a studio and distributor; independent in the sense of being an orphan. And as they mount up, these discs start to pose a conundrum. There are simply too many of the things to sit through, and only so much mileage in writing about films that nobody can actually go and see. So they sit there silently, taunting me.
  1. Morris: A Life With Bells On
  2. Production year: 2009
  3. Country: UK
  4. Cert (UK): 12A
  5. Runtime: 101 mins
  6. Directors: Lucy Akhurst
  7. Cast: Charles Thomas Oldham, Greg Wise, Naomie Harris, Olivia Colman, Sir Derek Jacobi
  8. More on this film
Sometimes, against the odds, one of these orphans will break out of the slush pile. Last Sunday saw the release of Morris: A Life With Bells On, an amiable mockumentary about an avant-garde morris dancer who finds fame on the California folk circuit. The film was made on a budget of £500,000 by the husband-and-wife team of Lucy Akhurst and Charles Thomas Oldham, who describe it as "a nice film about good people". On its opening day, it racked up a higher take per screen than The Soloist, a studio-backed Oscar contender starring Jamie Foxx and Robert Downey Jr.

Morris is a breakout success story, an underdog made good. Except that it almost didn't pan out that way. After completing the picture, Akhurst and Oldham laid on screenings for the major UK distributors. None of them would touch it. They said it was too small, too niche. Many of them walked out just 10 minutes into the movie. "That was horrible," Akhurst remembers. "That just kills you."

What saved Morris was a trip to the countryside: they organised a tour around the village halls of south-west England, where their film became a word-of-mouth hit. That allowed its makers to bypass the distributors and go straight to the exhibitors. Morris was finally picked up by the Picturehouse cinema chain, which agreed to roll it out on wider release, beginning last week.

So Akhurst and Oldham are entitled to feel vindicated. They argue that the distributors missed a trick by passing on Morris. The industry is too blinkered, they say, too London-centric; too intent on chasing an illusory 16-24 demographic at the expense of an untapped older audience in the regions.
The paradox here is that a gentle, old-fashioned indie may well be the riskiest indie of them all for the industry – if not the audience. "Nobody is thinking of the audience," says Akhurst. "The general public goes to the cinema to be entertained, whereas the people in the industry are looking for something different. It's the equivalent of someone who works in the wine trade. They want some difficult, faecal rioja as opposed to a decent, buttery chardonnay." And by this, she means the critics as well as the distributors.

Oldham agrees. "I never saw Morris as a high-risk project," he marvels. "We pitched this as Spinal Tap meets The Full Monty by way of Calendar Girls, and you can't get more mainstream than that. But the problem is that the film celebrates a part of England that rarely gets celebrated. Maybe the industry needs to take its Soho hat off."

Akhurst and Oldham decided against entering Morris on the festival circuit, partly because it costs too much to do so, partly because it is not an obvious festival movie ("It would be like entering Mamma Mia! at Cannes"). Then again, the festival scene no longer provides the reliable launchpad it once did. Last month's Toronto film festival was described by one commentator as "an indie bloodbath", as the recession forced many independent producers to sell their wares for next to nothing.

Here in the UK, the Raindance film festival (which kicked off on Wednesday) at least remains something akin to a safe haven. Elliot Grove, who founded the event in 1993, explains that there are 11 homegrown DIY features in this year's line-up, up from six or seven in previous years. The most notable of these is Colin, a British zombie movie reported to have had a budget of just £45. Its director, Marc Price, says he made it in part to inspire other wannabe film-makers; to make them think: "If this arsehole can do it, I can do it."

Grove insists this is actually a good time for DIY cinema. Quality is up, and the cost of making movies is down. Even so, he sees few signs of a commercial breakthrough for any of the movies. "You have to remember that 96% of cinemas are controlled by the studios, and the studios don't want to show films they haven't made. But it works the other way, too. Ask the public to choose between two films – a glossy Hollywood one and an unsung British one – and nine out of 10 will go for the Hollywood one. That culture is not about to change. Independent film is always going to be niche."
At this point I decide I have been taunted for far too long. The DVD stack is still sitting among the coffee mugs, gently gathering dust. There is only one thing for it. I pluck a disc from the middle and slot it into the computer's DVD player.

The film is called Behind the Scenes of Total Hell. It was made for £2,000 and, like Morris, is a mockumentary (this, clearly, is the DIY film-makers' genre of choice). Behind the Scenes follows the fortunes of an inept director, Jamie Gunn, a man "misunderstood, by himself". And guess what: it is actually pretty funny. It may also be an apt summary of the pitfalls of shooting an independent motion picture.

But what is to become of it? Its creator, Newcastle-based Andy Wilton, says he has arranged a premiere at his local cinema. After that, the film can be downloaded from his website for a charge of £2.50. It will almost certainly not be going on general release. "In hindsight, I think I was a bit naive," Wilton says. "I thought I could do it all myself, but I had no game plan. Sales agents and distributors all say the same thing: 'We won't take a film that costs less than $1m,' or 'We won't take it if it doesn't star Brad Pitt.' I thought the film would be good enough that someone would take it off my hands. But no one's bitten them off as yet."

Talk to the makers of Morris and of Behind the Scenes of Total Hell and they will sing from the same hymn sheet. The process of making movies is actually getting easier, and there are now so many more platforms to screen them on. Yet there is no overriding strategy, no distribution system to knit it all together. A crucial piece of the jigsaw appears to be missing.

Back in London, Liz Rosenthal runs Power to the Pixel, an organisation that aims to help independent film-makers navigate a changing, digital terrain. The business, she says, is in a mess. "It's the classic best of times/worst of times. There is now an infinite space to show your work, and the film industry is an old business model, desperately trying to catch up. If you are a traditional distributor, it costs a lot to release a movie, so obviously they want to go with what they know and think is low risk. Every film-maker still wants a theatrical release, but there are thousands of films being made. They can't all expect to find a space."

Rosenthal feels the problem lies as much with the independent British film-maker as it does with the distributors. "Getting films out in the world has always been harder than actually making them," she says. "But people still have the tendency to think, 'Oh, I make films and that's that.' You can't just finish a film and think, 'Here it is. Take it off my hands.' The best independent film-makers don't just make a film in isolation; they are an integral part of the entire process. They build a fanbase and target an audience. They form groups and communities. And that's not being tawdry: that's being creative." One might also argue that it is part and parcel of being independent: a focus group, film-maker and push-button publisher rolled into one.

In the meantime, the world premiere of Behind the Scenes of Total Hell is set for next Sunday at the Tyneside cinema in Newcastle. This, coincidentally, is the same venue at which Jamie Gunn's disastrous film-within-a-film received its own unveiling. A handful of people showed up, the movie was derided and the director carted off to a psychiatric institution. One hopes for a better outcome for Wilton's mockumentary. But who can say? It wouldn't be the first low-budget, British independent film to die a quiet, lonesome death. Sure as hell, it won't be the last.

Wednesday

DIY FILM FEST SCREENING TOMORROW!

Hi Guys, intrepid filmmakers and do it yourself people of Earth.

We have some fun over at the Flying Saucer's cafe in Santa Monica tomorrow night... 8 pm.  Aliens are invited, but there is a two drink maximum for anyone from another planet. And THIS MEANS YOU.

Okay, here's the skinny:


DIY FILM FEST SUMMER SCREENING

Along with our pals over at Flying Saucers, the DIY Film Fest is proud to announce it's second annual summer screening.  Last year's was at Umami Burgers, where savory burgers were mixed with dramatic shorts.  This year's event will be All Sci Fi All The Time.  We're focusing on entries that have either a science fiction backdrop, or have some kind of weird "what the heck is that?" factor.

The event is going to be JULY 12th, THURSDAY, 2012 beginning at the Flying Saucers Cafe and Eatery at 8 pm.  (On Pico Blvd in Santa Monica, just West of 4th306 Pico Blvd Santa MonicaCA 90405.)  




Then we'll mozy next door to VIDIOTS VIDEO where there's a state of the art digital project and celebrate some of the great entrants to the festival.  Then for those who are still up to the task,we'll retire to Flying Saucers to talk, snack and drink to the filmmakers, or just talk about aliens among us, in general.

If you're from another planet, and are currently occupying a human form and shape - this screening is definitely for you!  Some snacks and beverages will be provided at the event later - so if you're capable of eating human food, there will be some provided. (And for those of you humans among us, yes, you too will enjoy the films!)

Our line up so far:

DIY 2010 FILM FESTIVAL WINNER: AVABOT.
An amazing piece of animation shot in the basement of this amazing filmmaker from Michigan Jamie Surgerner.  A chess playing robot behaves in what can only be described as a sentient manner.



DIY 2011 FILM FESTIVAL GRAND PRIZE WINNER: ALL THAT REMAINS
Cody Blue Snider is a force to be reckoned with.  This amazing film features the specter of death, who has arrived to take one of the main characters in the film.  We hope the specter avoids our screening, but this is one powerful film that should not be missed.



DIY 2011 FILM FESTIVAL WINNER COCKPIT: RULE OF ENGAGEMENT. Ronny Cox stars in this piece by Jesse Griffith, who will BE ON HAND to discuss his many film festival winning opus.


DIY 2011 FILM FESTIVAL WINNER: JAMES VS REALITY.  Chris Wilson and Tim Feeney's comic adventure that includes aliens, began its run of festival wins at the DIY Festival. 

DIY 2012 FILM FESTIVAL RUNNER UP: 999.999.999 BY GERALD GRUNOW.  This amazing animated short comes to us from Germany, and features a story line that takes place in the not too distant future.  At least it appears to take place there,and we wanted to include it in the evening!


More to come, time permitting, still sifting through our many entries to see what other films might apply.  We'll let you know, but so far, this is the lineup!

C'mon down for some Alien Adventure!

Thursday

DIY FILM FEST SUMMER SCREENING

Along with our pals over at Flying Saucers, the DIY Film Fest is proud to announce it's second annual summer screening.  Last year's was at Umami Burgers, where savory burgers were mixed with dramatic shorts.  This year's event will be All Sci Fi All The Time.  We're focusing on entries that have either a science fiction backdrop, or have some kind of weird "what the heck is that?" factor.

The event is going to be JULY 12th, THURSDAY, 2012 beginning at the Flying Saucers Cafe and Eatery at 8 pm.  (On Pico Blvd in Santa Monica, just West of 4th 306 Pico Blvd Santa MonicaCA 90405.)  




Then we'll mozy next door to VIDIOTS VIDEO where there's a state of the art digital project and celebrate some of the great entrants to the festival.  Then for those who are still up to the task,we'll retire to Flying Saucers to talk, snack and drink to the filmmakers, or just talk about aliens among us, in general.

If you're from another planet, and are currently occupying a human form and shape - this screening is definitely for you!  Some snacks and beverages will be provided at the event later - so if you're capable of eating human food, there will be some provided. (And for those of you humans among us, yes, you too will enjoy the films!)

Our line up so far:

DIY 2010 FILM FESTIVAL WINNER: AVABOT.
An amazing piece of animation shot in the basement of this amazing filmmaker from Michigan Jamie Surgerner.  A chess playing robot behaves in what can only be described as a sentient manner.



DIY 2011 FILM FESTIVAL GRAND PRIZE WINNER: ALL THAT REMAINS
Cody Blue Snider is a force to be reckoned with.  This amazing film features the specter of death, who has arrived to take one of the main characters in the film.  We hope the specter avoids our screening, but this is one powerful film that should not be missed.



DIY 2011 FILM FESTIVAL WINNER COCKPIT: RULE OF ENGAGEMENT. Ronny Cox stars in this piece by Jesse Griffith, who will BE ON HAND to discuss his many film festival winning opus.


DIY 2011 FILM FESTIVAL WINNER: JAMES VS REALITY.  Chris Wilson and Tim Feeney's comic adventure that includes aliens, began its run of festival wins at the DIY Festival. 

DIY 2012 FILM FESTIVAL RUNNER UP: 999.999.999 BY GERALD GRUNOW.  This amazing animated short comes to us from Germany, and features a story line that takes place in the not too distant future.  At least it appears to take place there,and we wanted to include it in the evening!


More to come, time permitting, still sifting through our many entries to see what other films might apply.  We'll let you know, but so far, this is the lineup!

C'mon down for some Alien Adventure!

Wednesday

DIY Film Fest Summer Screening

Hi all, we're gearing up for a summer screening in Santa Monica.  It's going to be the first or second weekend in July, done jointly with our friends from FLYING SAUCER'S CAFE in Santa Monica.



We thought for the first joint film screening, discussion, we'll focus on films that are SCI FI in nature about aliens, or anything that fits with the theme of Being Out There.  We've got quite a few in that category - and some really excellent ones.  So stay tuned for more details.





The screenings will be a VIDIOTS next door, and afterwards a bit of a bash or just chit chat at the greatest coffee shop on the Westside - of the Universe that is - where laughs and chatter are required.  DETAILS TO FOLLOW!

Thursday

Cannes Do

Ah, it's that time of year ago, for the annual fest on the beach in Cannes.  It's never too late to get on a plane and go to the festival even if you don't have a nickel!  There are all kinds of stories of filmmakers who wind up sleeping on the beach at night.
"Cannes Man"

 (If you want a laugh, there's the film "Cannes Man" at itunes - which is the fable of one such story).  Also Henry Jaglom, a past DIY Filmmaker recipient made "Festival In Cannes" which also explores all the of the ins and outs of the fabled festival.

CANNES 2012
But the festival allows us to talk about the concept of film festivals in general.  Do your research when you are thinking about heading off to enjoy one - there's nothing quite like mingling with fellow filmmakers and sharing ideas and notes about how to make the next step.  Sundance is certainly a place where that happens, and Cannes is one where international filmmakers come to figure out how to get their next film going.  It is a process,there are protocols to follow, but I can speak from experience; there isn't a film festival on the planet that is quite like Cannes.

So if you Cannes, then go to Cannes.  That's all. (just wanted to get that pun in there).  If I see any news of DIY Filmmakers getting their films seen, or a novel idea comes across the net,I'll repeat it here.  Bon Voyage!

Your Film Festival

It's about time that Hollywood got on the DIY bandwagon!  Google has announced a "Your Film Festival" contest for short narrative films under 15 minutes in length. Winners get to go to the Venice film festival, and the grand prize winner gets 500K to make a feature.  Here's the details:


Sounds like a fun project - film has to have been made since 2010 - 15 minutes or less, and I assume they're looking for fiction - but not positive.  Check it out. Michael Fassbender and Ridley Scott are helping them promote it.  What's the worst that can happen?

Monday

DIY Film Fest Gala

It was SRO at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel on Saturday night March 3rd for the annual DIY Film Fest Gala.  The combined Gala included winners from the LA and DIY Book Festival (Winners included Tim Burton's "The Art of Tim Burton" edited by "Ballad of Sandeep's" Derek Frey).  The festival attracted winning entries from across the globe, including Brazil, Italy, Romania, and Israel.

Clips, trailers and shorts were shown





Fulbright Scholar Artemis Preeshl







In attendance were also filmmakers who'd make pictures in different countries.   Fullbright Scholar Artemis Preeshl won an Honorable Mention for her Indian film she shot in Chenai - "Pancha Ratna - Five Gems."  A film that combined the spirit of DIY as well as filming in the rural countryside of India in Bollywood dance fashion.

Actor Deep Roy
  Deep Roy was on hand to accept the Honorable Mention for Derek Frey's "The Ballad of Sandeep" and spoke of the four films that he's made with Tim Burton at the helm including "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Deep Roy spoke on behalf of Derek Frey who directed him in
"The Ballad of Sandeep."

Cara Feinberg
Deep Roy accepting the DIY award from DIY's Rich Martini
Cara Feinberg spoke movingly about the DIY experience when making her film "Working Blind" about three people who became blind, but found themselves becoming wood craftsmen, working with buzz saws and creating their artwork. Her film also won and Honorable Mention in the short documentary category.


Film director Puppett
Filmmaker "Puppett" spoke of her journey from film school in Philadelphia to Los Angeles, and her film "Time Spent." An unusual look at a relationship between two friends, the film was awarded an Honorable Mention in the dramatic short category.

Nicholas Plagman
Nick Plagman accepted the Comedy Short Film award for his "The Ham Sandwich That Changed the World" which detailed how a comic satire he wrote became part of the Fox News cycle - Nick, a contributor to "Funny or Die"  plays all the parts in his film, his film becoming a satire on a satire of how news becomes news.

Ike Ahloe spoke about the genesis of his winning animated film "Clocked In," and how in true DIY fashion, he was actually communicating with the developer of the software to help him (and help the developer) with the software he used to make his film.  The film is a hilarious punk rock infused look into a mind numbing office workplace - (reminiscent of Mike White's HBO show "Enlightenment") and in the midst of trying not to fall asleep, the character envisions a number of scenarios to allow him to break free from his office doldrums.


Also on hand was the winning documentary filmmaker Jennifer Hitchcock, who along with her husband Vernon Hall created the powerful "Dreams Deferred: The Struggle for Peace and Justice In Israel and Palestine" a searing portrait of the Palestinian settlements in Israel as told by Israeli activists who are trying to stop their country from stealing more Palestinian lands.  It's an eye opening look at a controversial topic that demonstrates how the new "settlements" are actually these modern, high tech, mini-malls and apartment complexes that are quickly gobbling up Palestinian land, and how both the Palestinians and Israeli activists against these massive projects are getting little or no help to stop them.  Jennifer spoke of her journey to the work, this being her first documentary, and how the film shot on location and in the midst of rubber bullet attacks cost under $10K to produce.  She also spoke eloquently on behalf of those people she interviewed who wanted to get the message out into the world.  A link to the full length feature is above.

Flavio Parenti
Director Flavio Parenti  couldn't be on hand to deliver his speech thanking the DIY Film festival for acknowledging his amazing "Quantum Butterfly Dream" but sent a video from Rome  where he's working on a film. (He's acting in the next Woody Allen film tentatively title "Nero Fiddled.")  Flavio speaks about the two and half years it took him to make the film,  how he'd shot it with a small digital camera, and how moved he was that the film was acknowledged for its masterful story telling technique - not all the festivals it went to understood, or appreciated its use of multiple digital images to tell the story, but at the DIY Film Festival, we appreciate those who turn the every day into art.  As avante garde artist and filmmaker Jean Cocteau once said "when the cost of making film is as much as a pencil and a piece of paper, then we'll see true artists."  Flavio Parenti's "Sogno Farfalle Quantiche" is an advancement of digital filmmaking into that category, Winner DIY Best Film.

WINNER BEST DIRECTOR - Rodolfo Novaes for “JUST IN TIME”Rodolfo Novaes is a writer director from Brazil studying film at the University of Westminster in the UK.  This stunning debut film, shot with the Red camera, is a clever journey of a husband who returns home to London to find his wife has been cheating on him while he was away.  He follows his wife's lover to find the man is a hired gigolo - and the gigolo doesn't realize the husband is following him.  Their ensuing encounter is both surprising and brilliant, and shows a promising career for this amazing film student.  This is his first film.  Rodolfo is making a feature film at the moment, so he sends his regards:
video


ANIMATED SHORT FILM
WINNER BEST ANIMATED FILM
Ike Ahloe’s “CLOCKED IN”
An amusing look at the adventures of a clock puncher in a computer office.
HONORABLE MENTION
Gerald Grunow’s “999.999.999”
Set in the future, brilliant animation from a German filmmaker about the power of a rose.

STUDENT FILM
WINNER BEST STUDENT FILM
Christopher Jarvis’ animated short “THE BIRD UPSTAIRS”
Winner of a number of film festivals, this Tisch school short is amazing and hilarious.
HONORABLE MENTION
Ryan Klaver’s short documentary “AMEND”  
From Taylor University, a straight forward story about a one of our nation's "Greatest Generation."

COMEDY SHORT  FILM
WINNER BEST SHORT COMEDY FILM
Nicholas Plagman’s “THE HAM SANDWICH THAT CHANGED THE WORLD”
Provocateur and comedian Nicholas Plagman's true story of how satire made it into Fox News.
HONORABLE MENTION
Derek Frey’s “BALLAD OF SANDEEP”
The comedic journey of an outsourced Indian, who turns the tables on his bosses.

DOCUMENTARY SHORT FILM
WINNER BEST DOCUMENTARY SHORT
Jessica Vecchione’s “ROBERT   -   PORTRAIT OF AN ART-ER”
Amazing look into an artist who creates monuments out of stone, and lives in an alternate universe of time.
HONORABLE MENTION
Touching and moving look into the lives of three newly blind woodworkers learning to use power tools and buzz saws by sound and feel alone.

DRAMA SHORT FILM
WINNER BEST SHORT DRAMA FILM
Daniel Watson, Rafael Cortina’s “DOUBLE TRUTH”
Powerful dramatic tale about two wayward thieves and crossing paths with a young boy on a cold day in NYC.
HONORABLE MENTION
Puppett’s “TIME SPENT”
Two friends deal with an emotionally dangerous past.
HONORABLE MENTION
Misha Sundukovskiy’s  “THE SUNSET”
Insightful tale about an unlikely friendship between two different cultures in San Francisco.
HONORABLE MENTION
Craig Macnaughton’s  “COME HERE GO WAY” (Canada)
Beautifully lensed examination of a love affair between someone who can and one who can't commit.

WINNER JURY PRIZE - EXPERIMENTAL FEATURE
Brian Paul Higgins “CURE FOR THE CRASH”
Masterful blending of documentary and fiction in a tale of modern day Hobos who ride the rails in a world fraught with danger and dreams.

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
WINNER BEST DOCUMENTARY FEATURE
Jennifer Hitchcock’s  “Dreams Deferred: The Struggle for Peace and Justice in Israel and Palestine” 
Insightful journey into the "settlements" of Palestine from the point of view of Jewish citizens who are outraged or poetic about their country's taking other people's ancestral lands.
HONORABLE MENTION
Leo Grillo’s “THE RESCUER” 
Over 20 years in the making, this tale is about a man who found his life's calling in rescuing abandoned pets.
HONORABLE MENTION
Gary Null’s “DEATH BY MEDICINE”
A clarion call to understand the money and collusion behind Big Pharma, and the medicines that are killing those they're supposed to save.
HONORABLE MENTION
Kevin Malone’s “CHRISTY MATHEWSON DAY”
A small town, a local hero - and how this little town continues to celebrate its most famous son.

DRAMATIC FEATURE  
WINNER BEST DRAMA FEATURE
Robin North, Kelly Preeper's “DEAD SAINTS”
Two women in an insane asylum.  One sees the dark world for what it is, the other sees it as a religious journey.
HONORABLE MENTION
Rachael Yaeger’s “NO LOST CAUSE”  
A woman comes to terms with her car accident that left her in a wheelchair - its ultimately the faith and love of her friends and Church that get her to see the blessings in her life.

WORLD CINEMA
BEST WORLD CINEMA FEATURE
DOCUMENTARY FEATURE - Mirel Bran’s “ONE-WAY ROUND TRIP” (Romania)
An amazing journey with a family of Roma (Gypsies) who are expelled from France, then return to try to find a way to stay.  Everyone does their best to turn them out of the country, until they find their way to Cannes.
HONORABLE MENTION
DOCUMENTARY SHORT - Mia Mullarkey’s “HALLS WITHOUT WALLS” (Ireland) 
A young Irish painter and poet struggles with his Asperger's with the help of his loved ones.
HONORABLE MENTION
DRAMA SHORT STUDENT FILM - Shahar Amit’s “JOHNNY LOST HIS GUN” (Israel)
An impoverished woman is about to evicted from her home by two Israeli soldiers, while she waits for her son who is also in the military to come home and rescue her.
HONORABLE MENTION
DRAMA SHORT- Artemis Preeshl’s “PANCHA RATNA - FIVE GEMS” (India)
A DIY Bollywood film, shot in the countryside of India by a group of young Indian filmmakers who show how it only requires a passion for story telling to tell a compelling story - no matter where it is set.

A fun night was had by all, and special thanks to Avid for supplying the winners with their latest editing software, including the Avid Studio and Pinnacle's Studio HD Ultimate as prizes - bot of which allow filmmakers to "make professional moves and multimedia projects with technology trusted by Hollywood."
Special thanks to all the filmmakers who contributed, finished, struggled to finish, or set out to make their own DIY film projects.  We at the DIY Fest encourage everyone to pick up a camera and either document your world, and give people a journey they won't forget. As Jean Cocteau, French poet, novelist, actor, filmmaker said, and our motto for the DIY Film Festival remains: