This past weekend LA Film School became one of the hottest spots in town. Many of the brightest and most talented people in Hollywood showed up and participated in the 2nd Annual New Media Film Festival.
The festivities started off Friday night with the buzz that follows most Hollywood blockbusters. Red Carpet Closet, hosted by one of the busiest Entertainment Reporters, Kristyn Burtt was even on hand for Mingle Media.
A Film Festival to be considered worth attending will need more than buzz to be considered successful. And Susan Johnston achieved that with the New Media Film Festival. The New Media Film Festival played host to over 60 new media projects from all over the world. But the New Media Film Festival doesn’t stop there. They also hosted discussion panels with Oscar nominated and Emmy award winning guests. It’s the combination of these elements that makes one forget that this is only the second New Media Film Festival.
Growing pains could be seen from the moment you arrived. Entering the lobby of the LA Film School, one was greeted with what can be best described as an example of chaotic organization.
For example, upon entering you’re forced to press through an overcrowded lobby. There is an event press pool trying to grab anyone and everyone that looks like they could be someone for pictures and interviews.
After playing what feels like a human version of Frogger and asking the security guard where to go, you made your way to yet another crowded room with yet another red carpet and more press interviews.
I finally had to ask one of the Event Staff how to find check-in and if they had any press kits available. Expecting some short, curt reply with maybe a point or nod in the desired direction, I was pleasantly surprised.
Surprisingly, the staff members (Ruth and Isabella) both smiled and personally led me to the check-in area with smiles and a warmth friendliness that almost made you forget the bustling chaos you just waded through.
While waiting for the velvet rope to open I spent time admiring and talking to famed Rolling Stone Magazine photographer, Jim Steinfeldt. Hearing his stories about working with the greatest artists like Eric Clapton, Stevie Nicks, Keith Richards almost made me forget why I was there in the first place, watching films.
Film selection at a film festival can be a hit or miss proposition. This year’s selection at the New Media Film Festival is really no different.
Leading off the festival was Bill Plympton’s hilarious animation jam, Guard Dog. The highlights of the 3D screenings were The Physics of Surfing (Greg Passmore). Then we got to see the sci-fi webseries Chord (Ryan Atimoyoo). Animators were represented by a very beautiful and charming short from South Africa, Hooked (Friedl Jooste). Topping the festival was the brilliant, thought provoking documentary Moral Kombat by Spencer Halpin.
All of these outstanding films really were only part of the story.
Typically, every film festival has discussion panels. Many times the panels seem more like thinly veiled sales pitches or trips through memory lane with an aging industry insider. Fortunately, that was not the case at The New Media Film Festival.
In the first session Dane Boe (creator of Annoying Orange), Freddie Wong (Mario and One Shot ft. Eliza Dushku) both explained their secrets for success on YouTube.
The second panel discussion seemed to be an exercise to demonstrate the differences between New Media is to Old Media. What was billed as Expert Discuss Who, What, & Why of New Media turned into an enlightening view on how much Hollywood is struggling with understanding new media. Moderator Logan Mulvey (CEO, GoDigital Distribution) was joined by music producer legend Barry Goldberg, Oscar nominated producer J. Todd Harris (The Kids Are Alright), Emmy award winner Doug Leighton (Panasonic 3D), Stephen Israel and Xaque Gruber.
The festival wrapped up with the award ceremony featuring special guests Erin Grey, Golden Globe winners Sally Kirkland and John Saxon.
In many ways one could look at the New Media Film Festival being worth the price of admission for the panels alone. Being able to watch possible future Emmy or Oscar winning film makers is just icing on the cake.
2nd Annual New Media Film Festival Award Winners
- Best Webseries – Chord (Ryan Atimoyoo)
- Best Webesiode – Jungle Fever 2 (Peter Haynes)
- Best New Media App – DoodleMe Pro http://doddleme.com/(Richard Kwiat)
- Best Digital Comics – Madame Samurai
- Best Animation – Tempo: A Sound Story (Eduardo Ramirez Montiel)
- Best Documentary – Moral Kombat (Spencer Halpin)
- Best Mobile – The Sun Is Down (Jason Whiton)
- Best Shot on Red Short – Not Your Time (Jay Kamen)
- Best LGBT – McCracken Live (Andrew Moorman)
- Best Art on The Wall – Sunset to Sunset (Kent Haywood)
- Mingle Media TV Audience Choice – Travel Companions (Ferdinando Carcavallo and Luca Napoletano)
- Best Director – Sleeping With Frank (Lily Baldwin)
- Best Music Video – Waiting For The End (Linkin Park)
- Best Socially Responsible Content – The Drop (Marvelyne Engel)
- Best Documentary Short – Yannick Sire (Olivier Chatard)
- Best Feature – Quirk of Fate (Marco J. Riedl)
- Best 3D Content – TEMA (James Stewart)
- Best 3D Innovation Award – Music Peace (Miles Page and Brian Quandt)
- Best 3D Stereography Award – Cosmic Journey (Jonathan Kitzen)
- Best Short Film – Not Your Time (Jay Kamen)
- Best in Festival – Moral Kombat (Spencer Halpin)