Filmocracy III Returns to Beverly Hills In Person and Vrtual Image

The boutique film festival Filmocracy returns to Los Angeles for its third edition with in-person screenings July 14-17, 2022, at Lumiere Cinema at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills, with 26 films available online to stream nationwide via the Filmocracy’s digital platform.

Filmocracy Fest launched during the pandemic when former AFI Fest programmer and Slamdance co-founder Jon Fitzgerald worked with Filmocracy, then a 3-D digital film festival engine and nascent streamer. “I had been doing some work with Filmocracy, supporting their various divisions, including their virtual festival initiative,” Fitzgerald recalls. “Paul Jun, the Filmocracy CEO, and I discussed creating our own festival to showcase the team’s innovative programs continued to develop.”

1-800-HOT-NITE

“…filmmakers vying to get their projects in front of 45 acquisitions executives…”

After Filmocracy Fest II this past December, Fitzgerald and his partners opted to move the film exhibition portion of the Festival to the summer. The Festival incorporates an Impact Expo, networking, and the second iteration of its digital film market, with filmmakers vying to get their projects in front of 45 acquisitions executives from Disney+, Myriad Pictures, and XYZ Films, among others. They will keep their film festival summit in December, incorporating a new awards program. Filmocracy III will screen eight narrative and documentary titles in person. There will also be two in-person shorts programs of five films each.

Committed to the hybrid model, Fitzgerald believes that “filmmakers will always want to see their movies on the big screen, engage with audiences, and participate in Q&As, but they cannot always make it to every festival.” He adds, “We’ve seen ticket sales double by allowing audiences who can’t make it to Sundance or Los Angeles, for example, the opportunity to see and appreciate these emerging talents in their home theaters. Hybrid is going to be the way of most fests, with a few exceptions from traditionalists. It will be up to filmmakers to know their goals, understand what each fest can do for them, and carve out the path that works for them and their project.”

Filmocracy Fest focuses on socially relevant storytellers, which comprise most movies selected for the 2022 viewing. “One of our four key pillars is discovery,” Fitzgerald says. “We really like to support emerging artists, particularly those with visual style. The narrative filmmakers take chances, and we have several social impact stories—shorts and features, narratives and documentaries—covering topics from police brutality to diabetes diagnosis, all with subjects that celebrate the human spirit.” As with the 2021 edition, these films will be connected to related causes via the Impact Expo, providing in-person and virtual audiences with the opportunity to learn more about the issues and act.

Filmocracy’s parent company Liquid Media Group returns as the festival’s presenting sponsor, joined by founding sponsor iGEMS and partners Digital Cinema United, IndieFlix, and Projektor.

Buck Alamo

 

“…what can happen when filmmakers are met with the support to get their stories in front of audiences…”

“Last year’s film My Dead Dad, which sold to HBOMax on the heels of its sold-out Filmocracy Fest premiere, is a great example of what can happen when filmmakers are met with the support to get their stories in front of audiences,” says Liquid Media Group’s Chairman Josh Jackson. “Liquid is proud to stand alongside Filmocracy Fest in support of solving the current and future needs of filmmakers.”

Feature narrative selections include Alchemy of the Spirit, directed by Steve Balderson. Midway through its festival journey, veteran director Steve Balderson (Firecracker, Becoming Ed) deftly and beautifully blurs the lines between character study, magical realism, and horror. In the film, renowned artist Oliver Black (Xander Berkeley of The Walking Dead, Terminator 2, and Air Force One) wakes to discover his wife Evelyn (Sarah Clarke of 24 and Twighlight) has died in their bed overnight. Disoriented and grief-stricken, Oliver tells no one and attempts to preserve her body. Meanwhile, Oliver’s agent (Mink Stole of Serial Mom and Hairspray) calls with a hefty commission – a new sculpture for a leading museum. Oliver passionately and poetically creates the sculpture as a replica of Evelyn’s face—a death mask. As he works, Evelyn’s senses wake up one after the other until she appears fully present. But is it really her? Or is Oliver hallucinating? Balderson is also world-premiering a tantric sex short from YouTuber Davey Wavey at Outfest right after Filmocracy.

Another feature at Filmocracy III is Buck Alamo, directed by Ben Epstein. Unloading its existential chamber like a Texas folk song, this Austin and Calgary Film Festival veteran is a dreamlike portrait of a modern-day musical outlaw as he duels with death. The film stars Sonny Carl Davis, Lorelei Linklater, Chase Joliet, Kriston Woodreaux, Lee Eddy, C.K. McFarland, James Epstein, George Ensle, and Bruce Dern.

Death of a Ladies’ Man

Also screening at Filmocracy III is Death of a Ladies’ Man, directed by Matthew Bissonnette, stars Gabriel Byrne (The Usual Suspects, Miller’s Crossing, and Hereditary), follows a carousing college professor’s life as it takes a series of unimaginable turns. All the old stories are given a new twist when he begins to have surreal hallucinations and learns he may not be long for this world.

In addition, 1-800-Hot-Line, directed by Nick Richey, is another narrative feature at Filmocracy III. A sophomore feature from award-winning writer/director Nick Richey (Low, Low) stars Dallas Young (Cobra Kai, The Royal, Mixed-ish), Gerrison Machado (The Power), Mylen Bradford (Abbott Elementary), and Ali Richey (Low, Low). When the police break down Tommy’s (Young) door and arrest his father, his world is turned upside down. Faced with a parentless future, Tommy escapes child protective services’ custody with his best friends Steve (Bradford) and O’Neill (Machado) into LA’s streets—packed with men trying to rob them, cops chasing them, a python, a fist fight, a first kiss, and phone sex. Throughout it all, Tommy keeps calling an 800 number as he feels the woman on the line (Ali Richey) is the only adult he can confide in. But, by the night’s end, the boys’ brotherhood breaks down as they cross the threshold into adulthood. Quiver Distribution snatched the film up after playing at Dances with Films last month and will release the film on November 8.

The Human Trial

Filmocracy III has a profound selection of documentaries, including The Human Trail, directed by Lisa Hepner. In 2011, Lisa Hepner and her husband Guy Mossman heard about a radical stem cell treatment for diabetes, a disease that shockingly kills more than five million people each year. Driven by a desire to cure Lisa of her type 1 diabetes (T1D), the filmmakers were given unprecedented, real-time access to a clinical trial—only the sixth-ever embryonic stem cell trial in the world. What follows is an intimate journey with the patients and scientists who put themselves on the line to be first.

Making its Filmocracy III appearance is Kaepernick & America, directed by Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow. Since he started to oppose police brutality, civil rights activist and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s actions have reverberated worldwide, as shown in this documentary. The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film out of Tribeca, saying, “If we take a step back, we can see the faint outlines of another, more urgent, narrative thread in Kaepernick & America—one that encourages an all too rare kind of integrity and commitment to creating a more just world.”

Adding to the eclectic film subjects at Filmocracy III is Art & Art by Krimes, directed by Alysa Nahmias. While locked up for six years in federal prison, artist Jesse Krimes secretly creates monumental works of art—including an astonishing 30-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel, and newspaper. He smuggles out each panel piece-by-piece with the help of fellow artists, only seeing the mural in totality upon coming home. As Jesse’s work captures the art world’s attention, he struggles to adjust to life outside, living with the threat that any misstep will trigger a life sentence.

One Pint At A Time

And One Pint at a Time, directed by Aaron Hose, will also be screening at Filmocracy III. Craft beer generates tens of billions of dollars annually for the U.S. economy. Yet, despite beer’s Egyptian and African heritage, these traditions have been mostly forgotten and are rarely found in American brewing culture. Today, Black-owned breweries make up less than 1% of the 9,000 breweries in the United States. Eager to shift the historical perception of who makes and drinks beer, Black brewers, brand owners, and influencers across the country are reshaping the craft beer industry and the future of America’s favorite adult beverage. Thrillist said, One Pint at a Time was “…an invaluable and visually captivating spotlight on the adversities of Black Americans realizing their dreams to own a brewery.”

Looking back at its history and toward the future of Filmocracy, Fitzgerald is wistful. “It has been bittersweet,” he says. “The creativity of the Filmocracy team continues to develop exciting new elements that can be integrated into the virtual piece, anchored by the ‘Filmocracyland virtual map,’ the 3-D map of festivals Filmocracy builds for online festivalgoers to navigate. He adds, “Yet, one of the key components of a successful film fest is creating in-person experiences for audiences, filmmakers, and industry professionals. This, of course, was not possible during COVID. We went from virtual to hybrid, and 2022 will be more of a boutique hybrid we’re looking forward to sharing with Los Angeles and the world.”

Visit Filmocracy Fest to learn more about the 2022 line-up.

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