Film festivals are a dime a dozen in Miami. Every nationality, subgroup and organization has their own version that embodies the essence of their cinematic vision. In this endless sea of festivals, Diliana Alexander and her organization, the Indie Film Club, sought to find a voice of their own.
Alexander is the Creative Director for the Indie Film Club, a group that supports filmmakers and actors by offering tips, workshops and screenings of locally made films. Her upbringing in Toronto, Canada and subsequent visits to New York has shaped how Alexander views the world of film. It was there that Alexander got her first introduction to transmedia, a way to promote and showcase films through multi-platforms such as dance, web, literary pursuits and music and that was the genesis for the Indie Film Club’s own film festival.
“People weren’t doing it in Miami and when I got kind of involved in it, it was in Toronto and New York,” says Alexander. “And I thought it was so cool. I mean the fact that …the audience can be a co-creator with you. I thought it was amazing especially in Miami where it’s actually an event place where people love to be entertained and they also want to be involved…”
“We feel that this is going to be the future of storytelling but we felt that Miami was kind of behind like in a way," says Alexander.
Enter Filmgate, a 3-day film festival that celebrates transmedia and educates those wanting to learn more about this new form of artistic expression. It’s the first film festival of its kind to hit Miami's shores and in its inaugural debut, it’s built up a line up of industry luminaries, battle-tested teachers and plenty of hands-on opportunities for all involved.
The first day is an ode to the rockers. It begins with a VH1 Storytellers-esque performance courtesy of musicians Hola Hi, Sirens and Sealions and Def Poets. Four bands will each play four songs and tell you stories about each of them. Immediately following this event is a screening of Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters frontman, Dave Grohl’s Sound City. This documentary is Grohl’s directorial debut and it chronicles the Van Nuys-based Sound City Studios which pumped out legends like Tom Petty, Neil Young and of course, Nirvana. The film was an official selection of the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. It failed to take home any awards but it makes is Miami premiere at 8 p.m. on Friday, February 1.
After that, it’s time to kick your heels off and dance the night away at the Filmgate Official Kickoff Party at the Vagabond Miami. There’s no word on whether or not Grohl will be there but it’s worth a shot anyway.
Day two is a dream for any newbie or intermediate filmmaker. The newbie’s get to partake in a free interactive seminar called UR KNTRLR where industry insiders like Kevin Sharpley explain WTF is Transmedia and show how you can create your own transmedia project. There will also be a preview of Star Trek’s Into Darkness new app along with a couple of transmedia screenings including local screenings in the Indie Film Club’s year-round display of local talent, I’m Not Going to Move to LA.
The intermediate filmmakers are going to miss all of this fun because they will spend the entire day with Cinematographer and cameraman, Phillip Bloom learning the art of filmmaking using the affordable DSLR cameras. Bloom is known for his documentary and news journalism work but he recently came to the forefront as the 5D cameraman in Lucasfilm’s Red Tails. In his spare time he teaches basics of the DSLR camera on his website phlilipbloom.net, which caters to over a million visitors a month. This class cost $250 and will actually take it’s students out on a field trip to the beach to shoot their own work. It’s a must for any serious filmmaker. Lunch is included.
Day two concludes when both the intermediates and the newbie’s reunite for a live dance performance featuring professional dancers from the Adrienne Arsht Center and beyond and a dance on film screening at the Ctrl<Alt<Delete event. The night closes out with a party at Kill Your Idol.
For the final day of the festival school is in session. It features a variety of workshops that cost around $10 each. There are 5 workshops total that deal with topics that include affordable filmmaking, legal woes, ethical documentary filmmaking, sound and storytelling. It all concludes with a Skype chat and film retrospective with indie filmmaking legend Alejandro Jodorowsky. Jodorowsky and his son Brontis will introduce his cult classic western, El Topo, followed by a twitter Q & A with the director. The festival closes out with nightcap at The Broken Shaker located in the Freehand Miami hotel.
It all adds up to a great way to learn about filmmaking, network with your fellow filmmakers and have an all around great time. See the Filmgate website for more details. The festival dates are February 1-3.
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