So far, virtual film festivals have been hit or miss. Often the registration and ticketing process has been confusing. While attending festivals at home, the distractions of everyday life have added a layer of complexity to getting to actual “screenings.” Let’s also mention that Q&A’s never ask the good and downright lame questions of live audiences.
Filmocracy, the world’s premier digital screening, distribution, and experience platform, has announced a unique Festival for these challenging times: The First Annual Filmocracy Fest. The juried festival begins on December 3rd and ends on December 6th. For its inaugural festival, Filmocracy presents a robust slate of 44 films from a dozen countries (one, BABENCO: TELL ME WHEN I DIE) is Brazil’s official selection for Oscar consideration for best foreign film); numerous panels featuring industry professionals; a mentorship program from 25 festival ambassadors; live performances; script readings; cause-related partners; and dozens of virtual conversations with directors and industry talent. The all-digital festival kicks off with a special sneak preview screening of WHEN TODAY ENDS, directed by Michael Leoni, on December 3rd. Filmocracy will present films both as scheduled virtual screenings and as on-demand viewing.
The last nine months have turned the film festival community inside-out. Many festivals postponed or canceled, and others moved clumsily to off-the-shelf online platforms ill-served to their audiences and stakeholders. At the same time, the pressure grew to utilize film festivals as de facto distribution platforms.
All this while, technology company Filmocracy has honed its delivery platform’s sophistication, in essence creating virtual, navigable worlds for festivalgoers to experience in a unique, content-rich, entertaining way, coining the motto as they went along: Virtual Festivals Don’t Have to Suck. Festivals and markets, including San Diego, Louisville, Paris, and most recently, AFM has adopted Filmocracy’s platform for their festivals. Filmocracy also has a library of titles for streaming that is constantly evolving and rotating, with 2600 titles currently available.
When Filmocracy co-founder and CEO Paul Jun met veteran festival programmer, producer, and executive Jon Fitzgerald, they decided to merge their platform with Fitzgerald’s innovative, inclusive, and inspired “four-pillared” programming concept consisting of Mentorship, Discovery, Networking, and Experience.
Jun says, “After hosting a number of large film events like the San Diego International Film Festival and the American Film Market, we’re extremely excited to use this platform for our homegrown festival. Filmocracy is all about helping filmmakers reach wider audiences through unique gamification and prizes while showcasing the most interesting film festivals in the world. Filmocracy Fest will be the crown jewel of our annual festival lineup.”
Filmocracy Fest represents the merging of a robust, innovative delivery platform that makes the absolute most of a three-dimensional digital experience with carefully curated film programming and interactive conversations with filmmakers, industry leaders, educators, and more. Virtual Q&A’s and conversations with select filmmakers follow each screening, and Filmocracy has assembled a group of 25 ambassadors, including Dan Harlow, Brian Newman, Mark Litwak, Jasper Grey, and Nick Reed to lead presentations.
Highlights of the festival include: five juried narrative and fifteen feature documentary features, including two world premieres and several award winners from other festivals; four special presentations (three of which are sneak previews) comprising two documentaries: ROCK CAMP, by Douglas Blush, and JOSÉ FELICIANO: BEHIND THIS GUITAR, by Frank Licari & Helen Murphy (featuring a live performance by Felciano himself), and two narratives, IZZY LYON, THE UNSPUN TRUTH by Dan Lanigan and Mehran C. Torgoley; and WHEN TODAY ENDS, by Michael Leoni; and five themed shorts programs—Futuristic Societies; Broken Pieces; Youth and Consequences; Diversity and Inclusion; and Inner Demons—44 films in all. The full selection of films is here: https://festival.filmocracy.com/filmfest/filmfest-guide/
Because it’s a three-dimensional digital presentation, a passholder can visit Filmocracy Fest at almost any time and be sure of finding something going on. In addition to scheduled screenings and films on demand, there are daily breakfasts, happy hours in the “saloon,” and an “Impact Expo” to experience and explore impact-related filmmaking and their related causes, a subject near to Fitzgerald’s heart. He says, “As the film festival world continues this dramatic shift, we look forward to bringing together an amazing slate of films, a distinctive roster of Ambassadors, and unique networking opportunities that will create memorable and productive experiences for all participants. I thank Filmocracy and Paul Jun for providing the platform to put forward an event of this mission and scope.” The festival will announce its full slate of panels, educational programs, and other elements shortly.
Tickets go on sale Thursday, November 19th, with multiple pass options. The All-Access VIP Pass costs $99.00 and includes entry to all festival screenings, events, panels, and mentorship. Other ticketing options include the Industry Pass for $45 and Day Passes at $25 per day.
For Festival Director Jon Fitzgerald, Filmocracy Fest is the latest episode in a professional anthology that includes co-founding Slamdance, directing Santa Barbara, Naples, and AFI Festivals, with director/producer credits THE MILKY WAY, THE HIGHEST PASS and WARRIOR ONE, and authoring Filmmaking for Change.
Fitzgerald concludes, “Filmocracy Fest lives at the intersection of storytelling, committed to connecting creative talent, industry professionals, and film fans in a brave new world. Founded on the basis of four key pillars (Discovery, Mentorship, Networking, Experience), the Festival will create opportunities for industry professionals and audiences to discover new voices.
“We will combine online screenings and Q&As with unique digital experiences, script readings, and networking opportunities. As the modern film festival experience is being reinvented, Filmocracy Fest endeavors to create an exciting and productive experience for filmmakers, industry, and audiences alike.”