Film festivals have always been a great place to see shorts, documentaries, and narratives directed and produced by independent media artists. Now, with so many resources and channels making visibility and distribution that much easier, it has become increasingly important to strategize about whether or not the film festival circuit is for you, and what you need to have in place to make it worthwhile. Hear from film curators and filmmakers about how to decide which festivals are the right fit for your work, and how to package your film and prepare for submission deadlines.
Moderated by Leeway Communications Assistant and media artist Irit Reinheimer (ACG '06), the panel includes filmmaker, animator and visual artist Erica Cho (ACG '11), filmmaker and radio producer Heidi Saman (LTA '09), filmmaker and BlackStar Film Festival founder Maori Karmael Holmes (LTA '06, ACG '06, '05), and filmmaker and curator Sara Zia Ebrahimi (LTA '14, ACG '13, ACG '09).
About Erica Cho
Erica Cho is an award-winning visual artist who works in experimental film, short-form narrative, and LGBTQ and Asian American media art. The subjects of her work include the intersection of settler-colonialism and climate change, and the history of Korean War and migration. She recently taught Film and Media Studies at Swarthmore College and is currently Assistant Professor of Visual Art at UC San Diego and Film Curator for the Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival. Cho has also worked with Outfest Los Angeles, Outfest Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival, and MIX NYC: NY Queer Experimental Film Festival. Cho has received grants from Leeway, Creative Capital, California Community Foundation and was honored as one of OUT Magazine's OUT100 for "remarkable contributions to LGBTQ culture.” A Philly native, Cho divides her time between the west and east coasts.
About Heidi Saman
Named one of Filmmaker Magazine’s 25 New Faces to Watch in 2014, Heidi Saman is completing post production on her first feature film, Namour. Namour was awarded the Panavision New Filmmaker Grant and the script was developed with the help of the Sundance Screenwriters Intensive Lab and the Knight Foundation. Heidi completed her master’s degree in Film and Media Arts on a Future Faculty Fellowship from Temple University. Her thesis film, The Maid (Il Shaghala), a short film she wrote and directed in Cairo, Egypt, premiered as an official selection at the Cannes Film Festival in 2008. Saman is currently an associate producer for National Public Radio's Fresh Air with Terry Gross.
About Maori Karmael Holmes
Maori is a filmmaker, curator, and producer. She is the founder of BlackStar Film Festival. Her award-winning film/video work has been screened internationally at festivals, museums, and universities; broadcast throughout the US; and is distributed by Third World Newsreel and SnagFilms. Maori received a MFA in film from Temple University. She co-curated Kinowatt, a social justice film series (2011-2012) and was the director and co-founder of the Black Lily Film & Music Festival (2006-2010). She has curated and/or produced events at Howard University, Painted Bride Art Center, Scribe Video Center, Swarthmore College, Temple University, and Asian Arts Initiative. Maori is currently working as a freelance curator, producer, designer, and communications consultant.
About Sara Zia Ebrahimi
Sara Zia is a curator of film, visual art and new media and for over a decade has produced film screenings and exhibits in the Philadelphia area. She has worked as a consultant with Independent Television Service (ITVS) and with individual independent filmmakers on their engagement and outreach campaigns. Currently, she works as a Social Media Specialist at American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). A MFA graduate of Temple University, her own short films have screened internationally and been awarded grants from Chicken & Egg Pictures, Rooftop Films and the Leeway Foundation. In Spring of 2015 she released her first web series, Bailout , which she wrote and directed.
Thank you to our Community Partners:
ARRAY, BlackStar Film Festival, Gender Reel, Greater Philadelphia Film Office, Philadelphia Asian American Film Festival (PAAFF), Philadelphia Independent Film and Video Association (PIFVA), Philadelphia Latino Film FestivaL (PHLAFF), Scribe Video Center