30 exceptional films were entered but only 5 could become Post-Production REELPITCH Challenge Finalists! There are 3 Audience Award Finalists and 2 Jury Finalists that will move onto the the REELPITCH Finals Round. Voting opens Aug 23, 2016 at 12:00pm MDT (America/Denver) and voting closes Aug 29, 2016 at 12:00pm MDT (America/Denver.) The Filmmakers have given us the inside look at what went into their entries. Click on the image or on the film name to view (and vote) for the entries. Remember, you can vote for as many films as you like, once a day, for the duration of the contest. Happy viewing!
Audience Award Finalists
My name is Branford Marsalis Parker and I see myself as the ‘experienced rookie.’ During the time period of the filming of We The Roses I hadn’t had any significant experience producing, writing, starring in a major acting role or directing any films. Even with a small budget for equipment, my expectations were as high as any filmmaker. My favorite quote is “adapt to your environment”, which, in my world of film, means to make the most out of every location and every piece of equipment you have.
We The Roses is a short documentary styled film that was created on a budget of less than $500. The entire cast was made up of students at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The film uses the beliefs and principles of powerful black figures throughout history (and in modern times) to tackle the African American’s perspective of oppression in the United States of America. Nevertheless, We The Roses was created to be a universal saying to relate to. We all face our own struggles as a group, but what separates us is not our minds but the color of our skin. Thus the symbolism of a rose was created to represent the actions of an entire people who have been gentrified and are using different platforms of influence to speak out, and in some cases are seen as violent.
Becoming a finalist in the REELPITCH Challenge is unreal. I’ve always been very competitive. I imagine myself as one of the best filmmakers. Keeping that in mind, I use it as motivation. I’ve never had the best of anything, so seeing myself at this level, at this moment in my career, it truly amazes me. Not only am I amazed at this achievement, but I am also amazed at the caliber of work I have been honored to compete against . I applaud the work of the other filmmakers that have not held out this far, the other finalists, as well as all those who continue to support my film. I truly appreciate the supporters whom I have the had chance to interact with. My goal is to win this competition, but, win or lose, this is an accomplishment I won’t take for granted.
“From an early age I was captivated by the power of storytellers. I grew up in Côte D’Ivoire loving Kurosawa, documentaries, action schlock, weird arthouse cinema, kung fu films. You name it, I’ve sought it out. I’ve also been a life long practitioner of the martial arts, starting at the age of ten. My short documentary, Muay Thai Nation, is the culmination of my life’s passions. Of all my film projects to date Muay Thai Nation is my most personal and visceral.I had been practicing various forms of martial arts for much of my life, but when I first met Greg he stood out in a way like no other trainer I have ever had. There was an intensity, even a ferocity, in him and how he fought that belied a man of compassion, of complexity, and even of sorrow. Greg is filled with a joie de vivre that drew me to him. Becoming a Reelpitch Challenge finalist means the absolute world to me that I am able to tell his story and share it with the world because there are things we can all learn from Greg Melia. “
“I am very passionate about this film as it is a personal story inspired by growing up in a small town in Montana. I cannot tell you enough how exciting it has been to see all the wonderful and thought-provoking films in all categories of the Audience Awards. I feel honored to have our film up with them in the final round of the Reel Pitch Challenge. Thank you to all who put The Audience Awards together and to our friends, family and the filmmaker community for helping us push our film forward. On behalf of all of us behind What Separates Us, thank you and we cannot wait to show you this film that has been such a passionate and fulfillng journey to create.”– Bryan Ferriter (director)
“My name is Lisa Ebersole and I write, direct, and star in the comedy web series 37 PROBLEMS — about a struggling 37 year-old screenwriter who finds out she has one egg left. Suddenly she has to find a guy, freeze her egg, or live a different life than she imagined. Being a REELPITCH finalist means a chance to give my series the love and care it deserves in post and looking forward to distribution. ”
Congratulations and good luck to the finalists! The audience and the jury choice from the finals round will each win $10,000 and the FilmStro prize. Second place audience choice and honorable mention jury choice each win $2500. Additionally, the audience and jury winners will screen at The International Audience Awards Film Festival at the Laemmle Theater in North Hollywood, April 1 – 3, 2017.
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