As my mileage gauge reached 100,000 miles this weekend, it seemed like a perfect time to reflect on not only the passed 8 months in pursuing a film festival, but the passed 9 years since I bought my car and beyond.
A friend of mine invited me to a meeting they were having with another friend about seeking sponsorship. I had been contemplating shooting myself. I mean…shooting a video of myself and the reasons behind doing a film festival at this time in my life and career.
Last year, before coming up with the festival idea, I had started writing a biography on my film experiences. There are various reasons for the book. E-books seem to be a good extra income and everyone’s writing one. An e-book about a semi-successful filmmaker probably won’t make a million dollars, as a freelancer, there’s always room for another stream of income. I feel like there’s a lot of knowledge I’ve gained from writing, producing, directing and editing features and short films that could benefit up-and-coming filmmakers. It doesn’t hurt that this festival will add more material for my e-book, but that’s not why I’m doing this.
Why a film festival?
I love movies. It’s almost as simple as that. I’m the Founder of a film festival. I love discovering films. So much goes into making a movie. Time. Money. People. Resources. If I’m at a place in my life when I’m not making a movie, I want to be a part of the film industry as a whole. After 18 years of pursuing the film industry in Los Angeles, I found myself living in Las Vegas. How did that happen? I was abducted by aliens. So far the aliens have been okay. In Vegas, you find the flakes and bull-shitters just like you do in LA. I’ve finally lost count on the months I’ve been in Vegas. I ‘landed’ here in July 2010. You do the math. I was never good at math…especially at 2AM. I have been doing my best to meet people and fit in. I am trying to take advantage of being here. My life seems to be this giant struggle and it shouldn’t be. Obstacles have always been thrown in front of me. Some of those obstacles I’ve thrown out there in the middle of the road myself.
Often I look at events taking place all over the world and realize my obstacles are so small and insignificant.
One simple word comes to mind…why?
I turn on CNN and see racism is strong in America. It’s 2012. Why?
I read the newspaper and find out an American soldier killed 16 Afghanistan civilians. Why?
The Syrian government is killing it’s own people. Why?
Iran wants to wipe Israel off the map. Why?
For 50 years, families have been separated from each other on both sides of the border between North and South Korea. Why?
People are starving in Africa. Why?
Human beings are not equal all over the world. Why?
I watch a video about a Uganda dictator named Joseph Kony. Kony is kidnapping women, raping them and making them sex slaves. Kony is taking young boys and forcing them to become soldiers. Why?
Where did I see this video? FACEBOOK.
The 27 minute “KONY 2012“ film and its campaign are awe-inspiring! The campaign brought so much attention that the dictator knew to go back into hiding. The U.S. government which had passed on earlier efforts to send troops was forced to do something about the 40 million + people that had seen the viral video on VIMEO. The people have spoken. A movement like no other in history propelled the U.S. government to do something.
After watching this video I saw that there was a press contact email address and I emailed it. (I haven’t heard back yet. I’ll let you know if I hear anything.) This is exactly the type of film and cause that should be shared with the world. What’s important about this video is not about the Joseph Kony issue. After all, how long do you think the U.S. government will be involved in Uganda? The bigger picture is that social change can happen if people come together and form movements.
I have always been a fan of history because I find myself asking ‘why’ a lot like a little three-year old that just wants to annoy the-shit-out-of-you as if it’s a game. There are social issues I’ve always wanted to do something about. I envy others that spend their time feeding the homeless during Thanksgiving. Like many of you, I watched relatives lose their lives to Cancer.
One one hand, we’re doing our best to destroy ourselves and our planet. On the other hand, we the human race are evolving and advancing technologies in such a way to not separate us, but to bring us together in ways we could never imagine. What was science fiction on all those “Star Trek” episodes we watched as kids, is somewhat second nature today. Tablets are going into more schools and medical institutions faster than you can whistle.
The Truth is Out There.
It’s a tagline from “The X-Files” that I’ll borrow. There are documentary filmmakers out there recording and uncovering untold stories around the world that must be shared with everyone. Once their films are completed, social media is changing the ways we discover anything and everything. The Arab Spring, the Tsunami in Japan and the recent tornadoes are just three examples of amazing events unfolding before our eyes because someone at the eye of the storm had a smartphone.
At first, the Social Media Film Festival was simply a catchy title. Knowing I may not receive many films specifically about social media, I opened up the ‘niche’ films to social change and technology. I don’t know how much of those three concepts will be present in the films we receive. My last post was about struggling to put this film festival on, but pushing forward because of the great documentaries coming in.
This is my way of giving back.
By holding a film festival, I’m giving a voice to filmmakers that have great stories about issues that could change the way we think about ourselves and the way we do things. We can save the world…one film at a time.
While I’ll still be re-working old screenplays and finishing new ones, this film festival will be an important aspect of my film career. I’ve been involved with film festivals for many years. A decade ago I co-founded Screamfest. It was a wild experience and something exciting and new that hadn’t been done before in film festivals. Nice festivals have a focused theme to them and horror as a festival had been untapped so Rachel Belofsky was onto something fresh and fun. Timing was off for me as I was involved with so many projects and other things that I did not return for the second year. And then my journey went in a completely different direction. I applaud Rachel’s efforts as she’s kept the monster alive all these years.
Being 41 years old and still struggling to find my place in the film industry, the Social Media Film Festival is the niche festival that is right for me and the right time to do it.
Who wants to help me save the world? Why not?