Thursday

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: