FILMOCRACY FEST 2020 – Panels, Q&A’s, Mentorship and Digital Networking Opportunities

“Piano to Zanskar” credit Michael Sulima
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Virtual Film Festivals Don’t Have to Suck: Virtual Event Unspools December 3-6 in Los Angeles and Worldwide; Includes Panels, Q&A’s, Mentorship and Digital Networking Opportunities – a unique experience.

LIVE from Dec. 3-6 2020!

Fifteen Documentaries, Five Narratives Vie for Jury Prizes  Along with Four Special Presentations

Filmocracy, the world’s premiere digital screening, distribution and experience platform, has announced a unique Festival for these challenging times: The First Annual Filmocracy Fest. The juried festival begins on December 3rd and ends on December 6th. For its inaugural festival, Filmocracy presents a robust slate of 44 films from a dozen countries (one, BABENCO: TELL ME WHEN I DIE) is Brazil’s official selection for Oscar consideration for best foreign film); numerous panels featuring industry professionals; a mentorship program from 25 festival ambassadors; live performances; script readings; cause-related partners; and dozens of virtual conversations with directors and industry talent. The all-digital festival kicks off with a special sneak preview screening of WHEN TODAY ENDS, directed by Michael Leoni, on December 3rd. Filmocracy will present films both as scheduled virtual screenings and as on-demand viewing.

The last nine months have turned the film festival community inside-out. Many festivals postponed or canceled, and others moved clumsily to off-the-shelf online platforms ill-served to their audiences and stakeholders, while the pressure grew to utilize film festivals as de facto distribution platforms. 

All this while, technology company Filmocracy has honed the sophistication of its delivery platform, in essence creating virtual, navigable worlds for festivalgoers to experience in a unique, content-rich, entertaining way, coining the motto as they went along: Virtual Festivals Don’t Have to Suck. Festivals and markets including San Diego, Louisville, Paris, and most recently, AFM have adopted Filmocracy’s platform for their festivals. Filmocracy also has a library of titles for streaming that is constantly evolving and rotating with 2600 titles currently available.

Op.Cope, Credit Jae Shim

When Filmocracy co-founder and CEO Paul Jun met veteran festival programmer, producer and executive Jon Fitzgerald, they decided to merge their platform with Fitzgerald’s innovative, inclusive, and inspired “four-pillared” programming concept consisting of: Mentorship, Discovery, Networking, and Experience. 

Jun says, “After hosting a number of large film events like the San Diego International Film Festival and the American Film Market, we’re extremely excited to use this platform for our homegrown festival. Filmocracy is all about helping filmmakers reach wider audiences through unique gamification and prizes while showcasing the most interesting film festivals in the world. Filmocracy Fest will be the crown jewel of our annual festival lineup.”

Jose Feliciano: Behind the Guitar, credit- Frank Licari & Helen Murphy

Filmocracy Fest represents the merging of a robust, innovative delivery platform that makes the absolute most of a three-dimensional digital experience with carefully curated film programming and interactive conversations with filmmakers, industry leaders, educators, and more. Virtual Q&A’s and conversations with select filmmakers follow each screening, and Filmocracy has assembled a group of 25 ambassadors, including Dan Harlow, Brian Newman, Mark Litwak, Jasper Grey, and Nick Reed to lead presentations. 

Highlights of the festival include: five juried narrative and fifteen feature documentary features, including two world premieres and several award winners from other festivals; four special presentations (three of which are sneak previews) comprising two documentaries: ROCK CAMP, by Douglas Blush, and JOSÉ FELICIANO: BEHIND THIS GUITAR, by Frank Licari & Helen Murphy (featuring a live performance by Felciano himself), and two narratives, IZZY LYON, THE UNSPUN TRUTH by Dan Lanigan and Mehran C. Torgoley; and WHEN TODAY ENDS, by Michael Leoni; and five themed shorts programs—Futuristic Societies; Broken Pieces; Youth and Consequences; Diversity and Inclusion; and Inner Demons—44 films in all. The full selection of films is here: 

Because it’s a three-dimensional digital presentation, a passholder can visit Filmocracy Fest at almost any time and be sure of finding something going on. In addition to scheduled screenings and films on demand, there are daily breakfasts, happy hours in the “saloon” and an “Impact Expo” to experience and explore impact-related filmmaking and their related causes, a subject near to Fitgzerald’s heart.   He says, “As the film festival world continues this dramatic shift, we look forward to bringing together an amazing slate of films, a distinctive roster of Ambassadors and unique networking opportunities that will create memorable and productive experiences for all participants. I thank Filmocracy and Paul Jun for providing the platform to put forward an event of this mission and scope.” The festival will announce its full slate of panels, educational programs and other elements shortly.

Tickets go on sale Thursday, November 19th with multiple pass options.  The All-Access VIP Pass costs $99.00 and includes entry to all festival screenings, events, panels and mentorship.  Other ticketing options include the Industry Pass for $45 and Day Passes at $25 per day.

For Festival Director Jon Fitzgerald, Filmocracy Fest is the latest episode in a professional anthology that includes co-founding Slamdance, directing Santa Barbara, Naples, and AFI Festivals, with director/producer credits THE MILKY WAY, THE HIGHEST PASS and WARRIOR ONE, and authoring Filmmaking for Change.

Fitzgerald concludes, “Filmocracy Fest lives at the intersection of storytelling, committed to connecting creative talent, industry professionals and film fans in a brave new world.  Founded on the basis of four key pillars (Discovery, Mentorship, Networking, Experience), the Festival will create opportunities for industry professionals and audiences to discover new voices.

“We will combine online screenings and Q&As with unique digital experiences, script readings, and networking opportunities. As the modern film festival experience is being reinvented, Filmocracy Fest endeavors to create an exciting and productive experience for filmmakers, industry, and audiences alike.”

Rock Camp (Poster), credit Douglas Blush

Splash will be focusing on the following films:

ROCK CAMP, by Douglas Blush (Documentary, USA). Summer camp meets SPINAL TAP as we journey to Rock ‘n’ Roll Fantasy Camp, in this documentary where dreamers from across America and around the world gather to shred with their heroes – and learn to rock like the legends. Featuring KISS singer Paul Stanley, Roger Daltrey of The Who, Rob Halford of Judas Priest, as well as Alice Cooper, Brian Wilson, Gene Simmons, Nancy Wilson, Sammy Hagar, Jeff Beck, Slash and countless other rock legends.

JOSÉ FELICIANO: BEHIND THE GUITAR, by Frank Licari & Helen Murphy (Documentary, USA).  Revered as one the world’s greatest guitarists, nine-time Grammy®/Latin Grammy Lifetime Achievement recipient Feliciano is the first Latin American to win Best New Artist and Best Contemporary Pop Vocal Grammy Awards and is the first global Latin crossover artist. He is a pioneer in successfully blending genres as well as being a masterful musical interpreter. An American immigrant in pursuit of his dream to one day perform on the world stage, his is the story of one of the greatest and arguably most underrated superstar artists of all time. 

PIANO TO ZANSKAR, by Michael Sulima (Documentary, UK). Facing future in retirement, a 65-year old piano tuner, Desmond O’Keeffe, decides instead to take on the most challenging delivery of his career: transporting a 100-year old Broadwood & Sons piano from London to a primary school in a faraway Buddhist village, some 14,000 feet above sea level, deep in the Indian Himalayas. The expedition will take him through a world on a brink of change, filled with equal measure serenity and hardship. What may end up being the highest piano delivery in history, may also become the ultimate gesture of music’s universal power: bridging cultures, inspiring strength and bringing joy.

OP. COPE (An Algorithmic Opera): by Jae Shim (Documentary, USA)). David Cope was commissioned to write an opera in the 80’s when he suffered a major composer’s block, sparking interest in a cybernetic partner. After years of programming, he produced an algorithm named EMI, Experiments in Musical Intelligence, that could generate compelling works in the style of western classical music composers. Widely recognized as a champion of artificial creativity, he wields a body of work that spans art, astronomy, and literature, in addition to music. In his latest book, David explores what it means to be creative from human and machine perspectives while sharing past, present, and future inventions. 

Touch (poster) credit Aleksandra Szczepanowska 

An engrossing, disturbing, award-winning film from a nearly one-woman show, Aleksandra Szczepanowska’s TOUCH, is a romantic thriller with some very unpleasant surprises. In TOUCH, Fei Fei (Szczepanowska), a Caucasian, Western woman is living an affluent, cosseted existence as the wife of hard-charging, hard partying executive Zhang Hua (Jun Yang) and mother to young son Mo Mo (Beckhan). But she feels deeply alienated from the country she loves, her friends and husband. Under mysterious circumstances, she meets Bai Yu (Jiangwei Yuan), a blind Chinese masseur, and commences an intense love affair. When Fei Fei withdraws, Bai Yu grows obsessive, possessive, and possessed. Finally, the characters find the demons they’ve created can only implode in a clash of mixed desires and violent impulses that threaten Fei Fei’s privileged, fragile existence and family.