Hybrid Filmocracy Fest III Concludes and Award Winners Announced

Posted by Larry Gleeson

Hybrid Filmocracy Fest III Concludes and Award Winners Announced

Tentpole ‘Film Market’ Elevates Networking and Sales


Los Angeles, CA (July 19, 2022) – The third edition of Filmocracy Fest presented a strong lineup of features and shorts competing for top prizes, both in person and online, including the Best of the Fest category, which was available online-only. The Festival ended with a celebratory Awards Ceremony on July 17. Award Winners include:

Best Narrative Feature: 1-800-HOT NITE written and directed by Nick Richey
Best Documentary Feature: HOSTILE written and directed by Sonita Gale
Best Short Narrative: THESE HANDS WERE MADE FOR KNOCKIN’ directed by Laura Herring
Best Short Documentary: ELSA directed by Cameron Mitchell
Best Student Film: HAIR, TIE, EGG, HOMEWORK, BOOKS by Lu Runxiao
Audience Award – Narrative Feature: BUCK ALAMO written and directed by Ben Epstein
Audience Award – Documentary Feature: ART AND KRIMES BY KRIMES by Alysa Nahmias
Audience Award – Short: GROUNDED directed by Jesse Richards
Inspiration Award: THE HUMAN TRIAL directed by Lisa Hepner and Guy Mossman

Watch the full Awards Ceremony here

The Festival also presented the second edition of its Film Market, a curated environment for independent filmmakers to come together and connect with industry leaders. This unique event streamlines the film acquisition process, removing intermediaries and allowing talent to present their work directly to executives. In its successful first edition, films were acquired and brought to Cannes for sales opportunities and distribution deals.

“I participated in the first Filmocracy virtual market and found it to be so productive and enjoyable that I didn’t hesitate to participate in the next one (and more ongoing in the future),” recalls Archstone Entertainment’s Jack Sheehan. “Not only was I impressed by the tech and the ease, efficacy, and intuitiveness of the platform, it seemed to flow almost effortlessly. I was lucky enough to find several projects I liked, one of which I actually closed a deal on and brought to the physical Cannes festival a month later, and we’re closing a multitude of deals, to both our and the filmmaker’s delight. I think this platform is top of the competition of virtual markets and will be a mainstay for years to come. Selfishly I hope not too many of my competitors find out about it!”

The number of participating buyers, sales agents, and distribution companies grew significantly since the last event. The robust list of participants for the second edition included some of the largest global film companies: Sundance, Endeavor Content, Blue Fox, 13 Film, XYZ Films, The Exchange, Radiant Films International, and Periphery, amongst many others. Some of the films up for sale included Steve Balderson’s ALCHEMY OF THE SPIRIT, Nicholas deKay’s THE ARK OF LILBURN, Austin Chapman’s LACRIMOSA, Christine Yoo’s 26.2 TO LIFE: THE SAN QUENTIN PRISON MARATHON, and Katie O’Regan’s GOOD MORNING MISS AMERICA. Amidst films picked up by top-name companies are Daniel Diosdad’s THE NOMAD (for international sales by Archstone Entertainment) and Juan P. Reyes’ SAMLAND (for South Korean rights by Strana Media), with negotiations ongoing for many more projects.

Liquid Media Group’s Co-Founder and Interim CEO Joshua Jackson shares, “Liquid Media is very proud to be, for the second time, presenting sponsors of Filmocracy Fest. It is core to what we do to be able to support emerging storytellers, emerging voices, inside of our community. I’ve always felt very proud and very lucky to be part of this big, wild, funny, crazy—sometimes difficult—global community of storytellers, whether in front of the camera or behind it. Filmocracy Fest exists to uplift the community, to make it easier for us to find each other and our audiences, and the addition of the market is an amazing new tool for filmmakers. We couldn’t be happier to support this and look forward to seeing you at the next one.”

Film Market attendees paid a nominal fee of $100, with a VIP option available for $500 that allowed passholders to skip queues. The in-person portion of the event kicked off with a cocktail party, followed by initial meetings at LA Gondola. The following day, filmmakers had four minutes to rapid-fire pitch their films to their preferred media partners, either in person or digitally. Attendees were also invited to Opening Night of Filmocacy Fest to celebrate their cinematic achievements.

“I had a great time attending the Filmocracy Film Market,” says Los Angeles-based writer/director/producer Debbie Peiser. “Filmocracy created an amazing virtual experience from start to finish. I loved that they sent a brochure of which distributors would be attending so I could research and prepare before my meetings. It was so fun to sit in the virtual waiting room with other filmmakers. I was so impressed by the site design and I would definitely attend again!”

The Filmocracy Fest Film Market has established itself, in a very short time, as a vibrant and highly sought-after marketplace for the discovery of films and filmmaking talent by top name producers, distributors, and production companies. Filmocracy’s CEO Paul Jun concludes, “Our Film Market is filling an important need in the industry by putting filmmakers face-to-face with decisionmakers. Through our virtual platform we’re able to foster industry relationships for filmmakers who lack a professional network.”

About Filmocracy:
Filmocracy is a film and festival streaming platform that hosts over 100 film festivals each year and has a constantly evolving and rotating library of more than 3,500 streaming titles. Users are rewarded with virtual popcorn for watching and rating films, which can be spent in their shop to earn movie tickets, redeem gift cards, or attend virtual film festivals hosted from around the world. Filmocracy brings together a powerful combination of technologies to enhance the virtual cinema and conference experience for filmmakers, industry professionals, and audiences around the world. Filmocracy’s mission is to help all independent filmmakers reach wider audiences and grow their communities through storytelling. Festival Co-Founder Paul Jun serves as CEO of Filmocracy. In December 2020, Filmocracy staged the First Annual Filmocracy Fest, an all-digital juried film festival presenting a slate of 44 films; panels; mentorship program; live performances; script readings; cause-related partners; and dozens of virtual conversations with directors and industry talent. Jon Fitzgerald serves as Executive Director.

*Press release courtesy of Henry Eshelman, Platform Media Group


Posted by Larry Gleeson


Filmocracy, LA’s hybrid boutique festival, returns for its third edition with in-person screenings July 14-17 at Lumiere Cinema at the Music Hall in Beverly Hills, with its full complement of twenty-six films available online to stream nationwide via the Filmocracy digital platform.


Jon Fitzgerald


Filmocracy Fest got its start during the pandemic, when former AFI Fest programmer and Slamdance co-founder Jon Fitzgerald was working 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 talked about creating our own Festival, as a showcase for the innovative programs the team had continued to develop.”

After Filmocracy Fest II this past December, Fest co-founder Fitzgerald and his partners opted to move the film exhibition portion of the Festival into 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, which will incorporate a new Film Festival Awards Program.

The Festival will screen eight narrative and documentary titles in person. There will also be two in-person short programs of five films each. However, Filmocracy is committed to the hybrid model. Fitzgerald believes “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. 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.” He predicts “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 continues to focus on socially relevant storytellers, which comprise most movies selected for the 2022 slate. “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 all take chances, and we have a number of 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 take action.


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.

“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,” concludes Liquid Media Group’s Chairman Josh Jackson, who delivered closing remarks to kick off the awards program during the December Festival. “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: The Walking Dead, TERMINATOR 2, AIR FORCE ONE) wakes to discover his wife Evelyn (Sarah Clarke: 24, TWILIGHT) 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: SERIAL MOM, HAIRSPRAY) calls with a big 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 tantric sex short from YouTuber Davey Wavey at Outfest right after Filmocracy.


Xander Berkeley in Alchemy of the Spirit credit Dikenga Films


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 directed by Matthew Bissonnette. This film, starring Gabriel Byrne (THE USUAL SUSPECTS, MILLER’S CROSSING, 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.


Gabriel Byrne, credit Death of a Ladies Man.


1-800-HOT-NITE  directed by Nick Richey. This 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). From the moment 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. By the end of the night, 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.


l-r Mylen Bradford, Gerrison Machado, and Dallas Young 1800 hot nite. (Photo credit Halfway Crooks Productions.)


Documentary selections include:

THE HUMAN TRIAL 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 own 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.


Doctors working. (Photo credit The Human Trial)


KAEPERNICK & AMERICA directed by Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow. Ever 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.”


ART & ART KRIMES 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.


Artist Jesse Krimes in front of his mural. Photo credit Art & Art Krimes by Krimes


ONE PINT AT A TIME directed by Aaron Hose. Craft beer generates tens of billions of dollars annually for the US economy. 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 nearly 9,000 breweries in operation 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.”


Huston Lett Bastet Brewing. (Photo credit One Pint at a Time)


Fitzgerald is wistful as he looks back at history and ahead to the future of Filmocracy. “It has been bittersweet, in that 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. “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 each film featured and to purchase tickets.


Posted by Larry Gleeson

SANTA BARBARA, CA – The Santa Barbara International Film Festival has announced the 2023 film festival will take place in Santa Barbara, CA from February 8 through February 18.

SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA – MARCH 02: SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling speaks onstage at the Opening Night Film “The Phantom of the Open” during the 37th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival at Arlington Theatre on March 2, 2022 in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo by Tibrina Hobson/Getty Images for SBIFF)

“SBIFF has long been a place to celebrate and showcase the enduring power of cinema. As we have been confronted with difficult times, film and festivals have continued to be a place for reflection and inspiration. It is with that in mind that we excitedly prepare the 38th SBIFF edition and look forward to bringing the year’s best cinema and talent to our devoted patrons” says Roger Durling, SBIFF’s Executive Director.

The 38th Santa Barbara International Film Festival presented by UGG® will be happening LIVE from February 8 – February 18, 2023. Official events including screenings, filmmaker Q&As, industry panels, and celebrity tributes, will be held throughout the city, including at the historic Arlington Theatre.

Last year, SBIFF returned to in-person screenings, panels, and events. The festival had 48 world premieres, 95 U.S. premieres, with honorary awards feted on Javier Bardem, Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart, Penélope Cruz, Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis, Benedict Cumberbatch, Caitriona Balfe, Ariana DeBose, Alana Haim, Ciarán Hinds, Emilia Jones, Troy Kotsur, Simon Rex, Saniyya Sidney, Paul Thomas Anderson, Kenneth Branagh, Jane Campion, Ryusuke Hamaguchi, and Steven Spielberg. The film festival’s final lineup and schedule will be announced in January 2023.

[L-R: SBIFF Executive Director Roger Durling, Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem at the 37th Santa Barbara International Film Festival]
(Photo Credit: Getty/Santa Barbara International Film Festival)

Passes for the 2023 Festival are on sale now for 25% off. For additional information or to buy passes, visit sbiff.org.

About the Santa Barbara International Film Festival

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival (SBIFF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit arts and educational organization dedicated to discovering and showcasing the best in independent and international cinema. Over the past 37 years, SBIFF has become one of the leading film festivals in the United States – attracting 100,000 attendees and offering 11 days of 200+ films, tributes and symposiums, fulfilling their mission to engage, enrich, and inspire the Santa Barbara community through film.

SBIFF continues its commitment to education and the community through many free educational programs and events. In 2016, SBIFF entered a new era with the acquisition of the historic and beloved Riviera Theatre. After a capital campaign and renovation, the theatre is now SBIFF’s new state-of-the-art, year-round home, showing new international and independent films every day. In 2019, SBIFF opened its own Education Center in downtown Santa Barbara on State Street to serve as a home for its many educational programs and a place for creativity and learning.

(Press release provided by Emily Lu Aldrich)


Posted by Larry Gleeson

LOS ANGELES, CA (July 6, 2022) – Indie Rights has acquired Worldwide rights to Nicola Rose’s female coming-of-age comedy Goodbye, Petrushka. Indie Rights and Parsley Productions are pleased to announce a week-long engagement in Los Angeles (July 15-21) at Cinelounge Sunset and a one-night NYC event on July 17 planned prior to a release on Amazon in the U.S. and Canada on July 21, to be followed shortly by other major streaming platforms. This is a film you do not want to miss…

Check out the trailer!

This little-indie-that-could, which is a rare female coming-of-age/romantic comedy hybrid that actually isn’t focused on the actual romance. It’s deeply silly, and (at least for me) wonderful in that the “success” of the young woman’s journey isn’t predicated on a wedding bells wrap up. And I know you know what I mean.

The film killed it at Dances With Films, and is now going to do a week run at Cinelounge (July 15-21) in Los Angeles before streaming everywhere.

Rose’s feature film directorial debut, Goodbye, Petrushka focuses on Claire (Lizzie Kehoe), a romantic, a puppeteer, and a fish out of water at college. Following a chance meeting with Thibault, a French figure skater at the end of his career, and at the behest of her crazy, rich best friend, Claire leaves school and moves from New York to Paris. Once there, she meets Thibault again and they embark on a unique project together with her puppets. However, her new life is constantly thwarted by obstinate French bureaucrats, her job as a nanny for a horrible Parisian family, and a frustratingly toxic relationship she has also managed to land herself. Claire’s Paris is less a personal renaissance and more a relentless series of faux pas. In the end, she will have to figure out that to find happiness, she will need to put herself first and listen to her own unique, silly, and beautiful heart.


GOODBYE PETRUSHKA, the little-indie-that-could, is a rare female coming-of-age/romantic comedy hybrid that actually isn’t focused on the actual romance.


Rose said, “Goodbye, Petrushka is a story about a young woman’s growing-up experience in all its weird, messy glory. I have always wished there were more stories about young people, especially young women, making mistakes — sometimes huge, embarrassing, goofy mistakes — yet coming out stronger and smarter at the other end. We are thrilled that Indie Rights is inspired by the story and decided to champion it. We were independent in every sense of the word — not just in terms of our production, but also when it came to the story we wanted to tell.”


GOODBYE PETRUSHKA, the little-indie-that-could, is a rare female coming-of-age/romantic comedy hybrid that actually isn’t focused on the actual romance.


“We are thrilled to be able to represent Goodbye, Petrushka,” said Linda Nelson, co-Founder of Indie Rights. “A film from a young woman’s point of view that is funny, heart-felt, romantic, set in New York and Paris, and includes animation and puppets – what more could one ask for? Like the film’s main character, we see big things for this film and look forward to introducing it to a world-wide audience.”


GOODBYE PETRUSHKA, the little-indie-that-could, is a rare female coming-of-age/romantic comedy hybrid that actually isn’t focused on the actual romance.


The deal was negotiated by Linda Nelson on behalf of Indie Rights and Goodbye, Petrushka Producer Tierney Boorboor. Serving and supporting as Executive Producers are Mark A. Baum, Ed Cuffe, Mike Reuten, and Imraan Farukhi.


About Indie Rights

Indie Rights is an innovative, independent movie studio that prides itself on having a personal touch when it comes to producing and distributing movies and TV. Founded by Michael Madison and Linda Nelson because they believed that the future was bright for independent artists and that there was a better way to produce and distribute movies, Indie Rights has been in business since 2000, when they produced their first film, NSYNC BIGGER THAN LIVE a Giant Screen Movie that played to sold out crowds worldwide. For more info, visit https://www.indierights.com/.

AFI Alumni Projects at the 2022 American Black Film Festival

Posted by Larry Gleeson

The 26th annual edition of the American Black Film Festival (ABFF) took place in Miami Beach from June 15-19, followed by online screenings and events from June 20-30. On the final day of programming, ABFF announced their award winners, including ANOTHER COUNTRY – which associate producer and AFI Alum Christal Henry (AFI Class of 2005) worked on – as the grand prize winner of the HBO Short Film Award. Congratulations to all of the AFI Alumni who had projects featured at the festival this year!




Katrelle Kindred (AFI DWW Class of 2018), Director

Jeffrey Waldron (AFI Class of 2005), Cinematographer

Nathan Ogilvie (AFI Class of 1995), Art Director

Mars Feehery (AFI Class of 2010), Assistant Art Director

Robert Konowalow (AFI Class of 2010), Construction Coordinator

Jake Vollmer (AFI Class of 2019), Art Department Assistant

Lily Shapiro (AFI Class of 2009), Visual Effects Producer

Chad Cohlmia (AFI Class 2006), Gaffer



Deniese Davis (AFI Class of 2012), Executive Producer

Lynarion Hubbard (AFI Class of 2007), Editor

Marian Jiménez (AFI Class of 2012), Visual Effects Assistant Editor


Web Series Competition


Tamika Lamison (AFI DWW Class of 2002), Executive Producer


HBO® Short Film Award


Christal Henry (AFI Class of 2005), Associate Producer



Constanza Castro (AFI Class of 2015), Executive Producer

Salvador Pérez (AFI Class of 2015), Supervising Editor



Gia-Rayne Harris (AFI Class of 2021), Director

Gem Little (AFI Class of 2021), Writer/Producer

Veronica Bouza (AFI Class of 2020), Cinematographer

Lily Judge (AFI Class of 2020), Editor

Kiana Fowlkes (AFI Class of 2021), Production Assistant



Margaret Riley (AFI Class of 1991), Producer


Voices of Culture


David Orantes (AFI Class of 2021), Director

Duran Jones (AFI Class of 2021), Writer/Producer

Dawit Adera (AFI Class of 2021), Cinematographer

Eric Osman (AFI Class of 2021), Editor

Alexandre Oger (AFI Class of 2021), Unit Production Manager

Xiaojie Wu (AFI Class of 2021), Graphic Designer

Razzaaq Boykin (AFI Class of 2021), Grip

Robert Hunter (AFI Class of 2020), Grip

Harry Lipnick (AFI Class of 2021), Grip

Steven Jared Mangurten (AFI Class of 2021), Key Grip

Tari Wariebi (AFI Class of 2020), Swing

Chris Hong (AFI Class of 2021), Assistant Editor


From AFI News Release