Wow! Out of the 82 films that entered into the Pre-production REELPITCH Challenge, we have 5 finalists! It wasn’t easy either, the entries were viewed almost 36,000 times! 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!
“Being a part of the REELPITCH Audience Awards program has been such an amazing journey for our crew! Seeing our film go from the last place position with only a handful of votes to being in first place by the end of the week was a truly gratifying experience that showed us how many people really cared about this project that we have spent months working on together. We cannot wait to participate in the final round and we hope the audience and jury is just as passionate about The Yard as we are!As the co-producer of this project, it has meant the world to me to see so many people take an interest in The Yard and support its incredibly talented team. Writer/Director Hampus Wahlin and Producer Rob Green have worked tirelessly to make this dream a reality and you can see our dedication through this pitch. The Yard is sure to be a compelling showcase of engaging storytelling and collaboration of some of the most talented artists. This opportunity to be a finalist in the REELPITCH Challenge means the world to us because it means that there is a world of people around us that believes in this project as much as we do and wants to see this dream come to life. The project would also be an amazing opportunity for Delta Kappa Alpha, the national cinema fraternity whose Alpha Chapter at the University of Southern California has taken a sponsoring role for this project that includes so many members. At the end of the day, it is so heartwarming to be acknowledged as hard workers and artists, and that’s exactly what the crew of The Yard has felt with our rise to the final round. With this, we are one step closer to our dream and we hope the audience and the jurors will join us on our journey!”
“My Audience Awards experience has been the most fun and challenging experience I’ve ever had. Building with family, friends, and potential voters, was an experience in itself. It was wonderful and I’m excited about the next adventure.I am a filmmaker who focuses on creating content that is motivational, inspirational and life changing. I want people to leave feeling better about themselves than they did before they watched my films.My web-series explores the journey of two street young adults, one who is a womanizer and the other a drug dealer.After both “accidentally” ending up in church and meeting on their first day, they become friends right away. We explore the many obstacles that they both encounter, in and out of the church.Becoming a finalist in REELPITCH means to me that people out there want to see inspiration films and are willing to use their time to vote and promote, not just me, but the movement.”
“I’m Christopher Sunga, a 20-year-old animation student at Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the creator of Project Vyrus. Project Vyrus is an online web series about two gamers, Nathan and Andrea, who are also best friends. Nate and Dre become sucked into a new video game, “The Last Dream”, and embark on a deadly journey in search of a way back home. This series focuses on themes such as adventure, friendship, loss, and true happiness. Becoming a finalist in the REELPITCH Challenge means a lot for the project and for myself, personally. We first came up with the idea over a year ago and progressed in its development every subsequent day. We have become more attached to the story over time because of the story additions and the characters’ development. We cannot wait for production to start. For the past year, I have been concerned that the project would never get started; I worried that I had been too ambitious and wasted the time of all the people who had helped create Project Vyrus. Becoming a finalist affirms my belief that this project can become the success all of us who has put hard work, time, and patience into it have dreamed of.”
Pre-production Jury Finalists
“About the Writer & Director: Shayla Racquel is the quintessential creative, born and raised in the South but currently living in the city of Washington, DC. Her childhood battle with Sickle Cell Disease is what brought her to the art of storytelling and filmmaking as a way to cope. Riverment will serve as Shayla Racquel’s thesis film and third major film project. Her first film project was a webseries entitled Quarter Century, which highlighted the quarter life crisis experienced by African Americans living in DC and New York. The series went on for two seasons and was highlighted in prominent blogs such as For Harriet and Vibe. Her second film project was a short film entitled Life’s Checklist which follows two people as they experienced pre-wedding jitters before their big day. The film was accepted into eight film festivals and won awards in four, including Phenomenal Women In Film – Best Short Film.
About the Pitch: Civil Rights activist Maureen was no stranger to racial injustices and traumatic events while fighting for equal rights. To cope with what she’s encountered, Maureen spends her time in her favorite place of peace, the riverbank, where she shares stories about her past to her granddaughter Tyna. Now 19 years old, Tyna has become a freedom fighter in her own right, tackling inequalities and discrimination occurring on her college campus. When Tyna decides to take her activism outside the proposed safe boundaries of school, Maureen fears for her granddaughter’s safety, and ultimately her sanity.
Shayla Racquel’s grandparents were never coy about their experiences growing up in South Carolina during the 50s & 60s. Many conversations about their past sparked my interest in racial issues/awareness, however after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, our conversations drastically changed, sparking the idea for Riverment. Using the dynamic relationship between a grandmother and a granddaughter, Riverment centers on women to showcase how women have been, and will continue to be in the forefront of all movements. The film is set in the present day and presents a compelling and timely dialogue from two different generations, with two different approaches, to one continuous fight.
We are truly humbled and honored to have been selected by the jury. As women, our stories are often not deemed as important, and as Black women, we are a minority in the film industry, and it has proven to be extremely difficult to receive funding for our films. We were able to complete our first fundraising effort through Kickstarter for the bare minimum of the production cost, however being accepted into the REELPITCH Challenge gives us the possibility of taking our quality level to new heights. Our goal is to create a captivating film that reflects the current times, but also illuminate the contributions of women to movements, both past and present. We want to make a film that not only we are proud of, but for the people involved in these movements to also be proud. Being a finalist in the REELPITCH Challenge brings us one step closer in achieving these goals.”
Filmmaker Shayla Racquel and Riverment Film
“We are so excited to be selected as a finalist for the REELPITCH Challenge! To be one of the finalists selected by the jury with so many creative pieces submitted makes this even more of an honor. Thank you!
I consider myself a “digital creative” with skills that encompass the gambit of filmmaking, video production, and post-production. My background includes shooting and directing award-winning films, media and publication management, and directing and shooting several on-going web series. As the Director of the series, Universal Language, I am bringing a storytelling approach that will encompass a cinematic sensibility along the lines of shows like Parts Unknown.
Universal language is the brainchild of Loren Livick who conceived this idea while teaching western dance methodology in Europe and Asia. She realized there is a wealth of culture and identity embedded in the dances that she was teaching and learning. She knew this story was universal and needed to be told.
I met Loren on a joint project in Miami, Florida. We began to work together on various projects revolving around food, travel, and culture. We first discussed the idea of a travel dance series in 2015 and quickly formed the plan that would become Universal Language. Living in Miami, we could see how our concept could be realized. Miami, known to the locals as the capital of Latin America, is true cultural melting pot. And with its rich tapestry of dance, music, people, and art – it was the perfect place to start our series.
Universal Language, is a hosted travel dance series that will investigate how the migration and assimilation of peoples changed the dynamic of that society through dance and music. Our host Loren Livick will delve into the dances, the music, and customs that embody the essence of a communities’ identity. The season will link each episode by tracing the migration of peoples and their commonly shared customs. We will discover the roots of ancient dance traditions and draw conclusions about how those traditions are still present in today’s contemporary society. Although humans do not speak the same language, there is the Universal Language of dance that unites us all.
What we first noticed when submitting to the REELPITCH Challenge competition was the emphasis on community and audience engagement. As most people know in this industry without the community and audience support, there is no project. We have received valuable feedback both on the platform and off that has helped us prove that our story resonates with people. We are honored to be finalists in the REELPITCH Challenge competition and to have been selected by jurors who have such a pedigree is humbling and extremely gratifying. Thank you for this opportunity!”
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.
Audience Awards is an innovative, filmmaker platform, with a rapidly growing community that is 100,000-members strong. AudAwards features live events, audience voting, branded film challenges, video contests and film news. Audience Awards provides an organic opportunity to cross-promote brands, projects, products, services, causes and the work of emerging filmmakers on a broad scale.