The event started with a continental breakfast and then to a fabulous panel moderated by producer Sheila Brothers about the independent film market and distribution. Stars of this panel were Michelle Vicary (Hallmark Movie Channel,) Bob Aaronson (Netflix,) Robert Yu (PorchLight Entertainment) and Drew Antzis (FunnyorDie.com.) Each of the panelist talked about what they look for in films and how the independent filmmakers at this event could garner attention.
Michelle talked about the specific needs of Hallmark while Robert mentioned what PorchLight needed. He told the audience that if they had attachments that were known over seas, the sale was usually easier. The producer paid on a formula of what each film can be resold at around the world. (Each year Hollywood Reporter puts out a list of where stars are domestically and internationally.) Both Hallmark and PorchLight said that if they liked a story they would assist with getting a production company involved.
Many questions were asked about distribution and getting a sales agent or not and many options were discussed. The panel pointed out that because of the upsurge in the internet, it is possible for a web site to become a network on it’s own with several types of channels on board so that there are many more markets for the short films. They encouraged all the filmmakers to continue their craft and commented that by being at the festival they had made a good choice to expand their horizons.
Festival directors were Suzanne DeLaurentis, Juliette Harris and the festival coordinator was Diana Nile, with special projects publicist Buddy Sampson, Deborah Hayter, and as advisors EdMcMahon, Robert Seigel, Nick Castle, Bobby Moresco, Michael Besman, Lauren Marie Pena and Susan Bacoyanis.
Concerned about each and every film maker and writer who participates, Suzanne will watch every submission and read coverage on every script. Then she calls each and every filmmaker, even those who did not get accepted to the festival, and tells them why. “It’s all about them,” she says,” and getting them noticed. Most indie filmmakers have no idea of how to promote themselves or their projects."
Master of ceremonies was Lou Rossi for the black tie gala event held at the Sheraton Universal.
Honoring those who used diversity in casting their films, Nichelle Nichols of Star Trek and Larry Winn of radio presented Robert Moore (Detachment) for his creative casting.
Military honoree Christopher Martin was presented an award for valor by Major General Mock and celebrity Dan Lauria, former U. S. Marines Captain.
Dan Lauria presented the audience choice awards which were Daryl Van Dam (Finding Grace),Jeffrey J Smith (The Miracle); Jeremy Dehn (Miracle Investigators), J Neil Schulman (Lady Magdalne’s), Idyllwild Academy of the Arts (Loaf of Love),Cary Sontag (Release),Desmond Faison (Acquired.)
Bai Ling awarded the best documentaries – Amanda Cornelius and Shipherd Reed (Full Contact), Deborah Harse (Marathon Beiruit- For the Love of Lebanon) and Guil Branco (Why We Train.)
Hector Luis Bustamante featured in many shows as CSI and Lost announced the best short films - Tim Schultz (The Cave: An Adaptation of Plato's Allegory In Clay), April Rouveyrol (Shy,) Daryl Van Darn(Finding Grace)
Screenplays were honored by aclaimed writer Steve Rivele First place was Jean Hunter (Serena's Thunder.) Next was Irin Evers (Junior Detectives and the City of Gold ) and Susan Rossi (MSG added). Other finalists were Jill Jaress, and Serita Stevens.
Max Ryan gave Best Feature Film awards to Phil Fox (Tale about Bootlegging), Tony Hickman (Broken Windows)and to Brent Fidler ( Poe, the Last Days of the Raven)
Leo Rossi closed the ceremonies with the Best of the Festival award Alan Blumberg ( Ghosts of the Heartland.) The evening ended with the silent auction ended and the dancing.
Major sponsors of the event were American Air lines, Movie Maker Magazine, AMC Theatres, Hallmark Movie channel, and Yellow Ribbon America.
Their next event will be in March 2009. The Cinema City International Film Festival directors look forward to seeing you there with your film or script.
For further information check out www.cciff.com