Just a few days away…

I can’t believe the festival is just days away! Each day we’re getting new deliveries: our step and repeat, t-shirts, zines, stickers and more! Our Festival Producer Corey Murray is folding our programs while I update our site and prep our social media. Follow our instagram and our facebook page on Saturday to see live updates from the festival. Tonight I’ll be burning DVDs for screening and making one last run to the local supermarket for some last minute incidentals. See you Saturday!

BTS: Getting Ready for the Festival

So yesterday I posted this on our facebook page:

A festival director and producer “to do” list for this week:
1. Finish downloading and testing official selections
2. Finish downloading and testing trailers from our finalists
3. Continue to work with our sponsors like Mix on Main to promote the festival along with partners like Oasis Day Spa 
4. Pick up everything we need for our Filmmakers Lounge
5. Update our RSVP list
6. Announce our special guest emcee
7. Thank our judges
8. Finalize our programs for printing
9. Pick up the awards from Loria Awards and Pool Tables
10. Organize filmmaker badges
11. Test our screenings at Dobbs Ferry Public Library
12. Pick out what to wear for August 19

Seems manageable right? It is…if you have the experience to back it up. This is our 3rd installment of movies4movies so we’ve learning a lot of lessons and continue to improve to make the fest bigger and better each time.

Here’s some background on each item on this list:

1. Finish downloading and testing official selections

We have 30 selections of varying lengths. Along with my technical director, we download each film. Test the film. Group the film with its block. Add trailers and promotions. Then we burn each block on to an individual DVD. Why DVD? Why not streaming? We don’t want any hiccups during each screening – we have a tight schedule and can’t wait for technical delays. DVDs are the most reliable.

2. Finish downloading and testing trailers from our finalists

For the first time, we’re offering a consolation prize for films who scored high but were not official selections. So, we’ll be screening the trailers of these films. The mission of movies4movies is to get your movie seen by audiences so showing the trailers of entries who didn’t make the cut helps us fulfill our mission.

3. Continue to work with our sponsors like Mix on Main to promote the festival along with partners like Oasis Day Spa 

As festival director, I pound the pavement, send emails, attend meetings of the Chamber of Commerce and make lots of phone calls to secure sponsors and promotional partners for the film festival. We want to show off the best Dobbs Ferry has to offer and highlight our event as something special and unique to Dobbs Ferry.

4. Pick up everything we need for our Filmmakers Lounge

For the first time, we will have a filmmaker’s lounge! Thanks to the generosity of Mix on Main, lunch will be catered for attendees in this lounge along with snacks and a place to chill between screenings. The lounge will be located at the entrance to the Library.

5. Update our RSVP list

We ask all of our filmmakers to RSVP with their attendance as well as that of their cast and crew – this is so we can provide them with badges. Badges are the hallmark of film festivals: not only do they identify to audience members that you’re someone who has a film in a festival, it helps with introductions and makes a nifty souvenir.

6. Announce our special guest emcee

While I know you all enjoy my introductions and Q&A guidance at each festival, I can’t do it alone. We have more screenings than ever so I have asked another local filmmaker and actress to assist me with emceeing the blocks. Watch out for an announcement about this guest emcee on our social media soon.

7. Thank our judges

Each judge watched about 2-3 hours of footage. For some that was just a feature and a short and for others it was upwards of a dozen shorts! Our judges are working professionals and they take care to watch and rate each film carefully. If you see them at the festival, SAY THANK YOU! Judges are not compensated for their time – they do it for their love of film!

8. Finalize our programs for printing

Almost done! We just need to add the logos from our sponsors and partners and have ourFestival Producer Corey Murray PROOFREAD for us! (Fun Fact: Corey is a published author! He writes biographies for encyclopedias!)

9. Pick up the awards from Loria Awards and Pool Tables

Our Festival Producer Corey Murray picked them up yesterday. I trust him when he says they’re correct and beautiful…only hiccup is that our signature red neck ribbons were missing and won’t be ready until Monday. And they forgot to give us our receipt. But that’s okay! Mini-roadtrip to Yonkers next week!

10. Organize filmmaker badges

We make our badges ourselves using a mini laminator and lanyards in our signature red. Gotta cross reference our RSVP list with the amount of badges we’ve made/have to make and add some extra just in case we have some surprise guests. (Note to self: Reach out to judges to see which ones are attending!)

11. Test our screenings at Dobbs Ferry Public Library

Tonight Festival Producer Corey Murray and Judge Wasan Syananondh will test the projector and sound in the Library. Can’t wait to hear how it goes!

12. Pick out what to wear for August 19

I’m toying with the idea of getting movies4movies t-shirts made. Tacky or awesome? If not, my usual uniform is a movie t-shirt, jeans and blazer.

OTHER THINGS I JUST THOUGHT OF THAT I HAVE TO DO:

  • Press release to local media
  • Check in with invites to VIPS
  • Buy more concessions
  • I’m sure I’ll think of more…if you think of anything I missed, email me at natalie@senastudiosny.com

What to expect on August 19

Expect movies, movies and more movies!!!! We’re going to have 13+ hours of film! Check out our schedule and plan accordingly.

Attendees: We hold the film festival at our local library, Dobbs Ferry Public Library, 55 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY.  If you’re driving, there’s no parking lot so plan accordingly. We have metered parking and a few blocks with 6 hour parking. However, we’re walking distance from the Metro North Dobbs Ferry Train Station so that is a viable option for those coming from NYC.

FOOD: Concessions such as popcorn and soda will be available for purchase at the screenings. If you’re looking for more substantial meal, visit our friends at MIX ON MAIN, just a few doors down from the library.

Filmmakers: Be prepared to speak about your film during a short Q&A after your screening block ends. You don’t need to prepare anything as one of our fabulous emcees will guide you and lead the discussion. There will be a filmmakers lounge supplied with food and snacks for you throughout the day. When you arrive, check in with one of our greeters and grab your badge – your badge is both your souvenir as well as identifies you to attendees as being associated with one of the official selections screening.

SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT WHAT TO EXPECT AT OUR FEST, FILM FESTIVALS IN GENERAL, OR JUST YOUR EXISTENTIAL QUANDARIES AND WE’LL BE HAPPY TO ANSWER IN AN UPCOMING BLOG POST. NATALIE@SENASTUDIOSNY.COM

 

Tips for participating in a film festival

In addition to running movies4movies, I am a filmmaker myself. I’ve been through the film festival circuit so I know the ins-and-outs. Here’s a quick guide to being a good participant in a film festival, especially if your film has been selected to screen:

1. Keep in mind, you’re not the only one. You’re not the only selection. movies4movies is screening over 9 hours of film on August 19. That’s 30 selections. That’s a lot of films and people to wrangle. Please be patient with us. Please include the name of your film with all of your correspondence.

2. Read the film festival’s website and social media before asking the film festival a question. For example, don’t email me to ask what time your specific film is screening when the schedule is available on the website or where your film is screening.

3. Follow directions. As there are lots of films screening, if the festival asks that a film be delivered in a certain format, please adhere to their protocol – they’ve done it that way for a reason. And, I know for a fact that other festivals are MUCH more strict when it comes to their protocols than we are.

4. If we ask for something, give it to us. It’s not helpful if we ask for assistance with your film download and you answer “no one else has had a problem”. If we’re asking, that means me and my technical team have troubleshot it on our end and now need your assistance.

5. Remember, we don’t get paid for this. My staff and I are volunteers. Please be patient with us and assist us when we request it.

Awards to be announced July 15

Award winners for our summer movies4movies film festival will be announced via our Facebook page on Saturday, July 15!

Why do we announce the winners in advance of the actual festival? We believe this allows our filmmakers to promote their wins and screenings. Additionally, we will be showing films for 13 hours straight on August 19 – there’s no time for a formal award ceremony. Awards will be presented at the screening of the award winning films.

Our awards are silver medals with our logo on the front and engraved with the winning category, title of the film and date on the back. They come from Loria Awards of Yonkers, NY – we do our best to patronize and promote local businesses!

So, tune in to our Facebook page throughout the day on Saturday to find out the winners. Awards will be given in following categories:

Best Overall Film

Best Feature Film

Best Short Film

Best Feature Documentary

Best Short Documentary

Best Local Film

Best Ladies’ Short Film

Also, we will be awarding our first grant! Any surplus funds from running the festival, we award in grants to filmmakers. Filmmakers just have to submit a one page description of the film the money would benefit. Then, our award committee reviews the submissions and decides who would benefit most from the award. This season’s grant is $66. As filmmakers ourselves, we know every little bit helps!

 

Grants

If we have surplus funds from running the festival, we provide these funds as grants to filmmakers. To apply for a grant, a filmmaker must send us a one-page description of the film the money would benefit. Our judges will review the applications at the next festival and determine who receives funds.

Our grants are small and have been in the $40-100 range. Anyone can apply for a grant: they just need to send us their one-page description of the project. They don’t need to have had a film screened at movies4movies nor do they even have to have made a film before.

Email us: natalie@senastudiosny.com

The Difference between a Finalist and an Official Selection

There have been some questions as to the difference between a movies4movies FINALIST and a movies4movies OFFICIAL SELECTION:

FINALISTS
As a finalist, your film scored very high but not high enough to be screened. We screen the trailers for the top 25 finalists prior to our official selections (there were a few ties so there will be 27 this time) . This provides an opportunity for our audience to get a glimpse into the entry pool as well as provides some exposure to films that were not selected. You receive a finalist laurel.

OFFICIAL SELECTIONS
As an official selection, your film scored very high in the judging process. Your film will be screened in its entirety. You receive a laurel as an official selection.