Filmocracy Launches First-Ever Fellowship Awards For Woman-Centric Film Festivals At Second Annual Filmocracy Fest
EXCLUSIVE: Filmocracy has announced its non-profit, The Filmocracy Foundation, is funding the first round of fellowships in its worldwide film festival mentorship program for underrepresented film festivals. Co-founder Paul Jun and chief product officer Kasia Kaczmarczyk announced today.
For the first quarter of 2022, twelve film festivals selected from hundreds of applications—all woman-helmed or themed—will share a total of $50,000 in funding, with half in cash and the remainder as in-kind services and education from Filmocracy’s industry-leading immersive film festival technology, currently employed by dozens of film festivals and markets around the world. Fellows will also be gifted VIP admission and participation in this year’s hybrid Filmocracy Fest, unspooling December 9th-12th in-person in Los Angeles and nationwide online.
Filmocracy established its Festival Fellowship program to support emerging film festivals and provide a strong foundation to enable them to thrive in the new competitive and evolving hybrid film festival landscape. Led by Jun, Kaczmarczyk, and Filmocracy Fest co-founder Jon Fitzgerald and featuring guest experts and industry mentors, the program will also ultimately serve to support established festivals looking to elevate their programs, with new insights on operations, revenue streams and technological advances. Awarded four times a year, Filmocracy chooses fellows through a rigorous selection process based on need, mission, and traction to receive cash scholarships, hosting services, education, and support. Filmocracy’s mission is to support and accelerate film festivals that highlight diverse filmmakers with strong core values and missions. “Film festivals serve a critical function in the discovery of emerging artists and the curation of content. Up to this point they’ve received very little support in operating their events in which their costs usually exceed revenues. Filmocracy is going to change that,” says Jun.
Kaczmarczyk continues, “We’re extremely proud to be initiating a program that serves film festivals, an historically poorly funded group, and hone in even further with each cohort to focus on underrepresented groups in media. Our first winter cohort will be comprised of twelve incredible female-centric film festivals making a difference in the world of independent film. I have the utmost confidence in Jon and Paul’s ability to elevate our cohort to the next level.”
Fitzgerald, co-founder of Slamdance and former AFI Fest and Santa Barbara festival director, with 25 years of experience in the festival industry, says, “I look forward to working with Paul and his Filmocracy team to foster this next wave of film festivals, as these events continue to play a significant role in the marketing and distribution of independent films.”
The winning festivals for the first quarter of 2022 are:
Praise for the program and the awards have already begun to come in from around the world as festival directors learned of their awards:
Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest: “[the] Black Femme Supremacy Film Fest is honored to be a part of Filmocracy’s collaborative fellowship. With their support and the knowledge of our cohorts, we’re a step closer to establishing ourselves as a fiscal sponsor for Black filmmakers.” –Nia Hampton.
Cinema Femme Short Film Festival: “Cinema Femme Short Film Fest is so excited about being a part of Filmocracy’s first festival fellowship. Look forward to getting help with getting organized, and meeting other festival organizers during the process.”—Rebecca Martin
Etheria Film Festival: “Filmocracy’s Festival Fellowship will take our festival to the next level, and THAT is exciting for us, but also for our amazing filmmakers who deserve the best from us.”—Heidi Honeycutt/Stacy Hammon.
The Girl Improved Film & Television Festival: “The Girl Improved Film & Television Festival, supported by WIFT Austin, is honored to be part of Filmocracy’s first Festival Fellowship cohort. Filmocracy’s platform enables us to showcase girl and nonbinary student filmmakers, giving them the recognition they deserve. Together, Filmocracy and GIFT Fest are creating radical change in the entertainment industry by spotlighting the next generation of female and nonbinary filmmakers.” –Andee Kinzy
Melbourne Women in Film Festival: “The team at the Melbourne Women in Film Festival are excited to be going on this journey with some incredible festivals supporting women’s filmmaking and exploring ways to take our festival to the next level in Australia and beyond. It’s an important acknowledgement of the hard work that these festivals do to elevate the stories and creativity of women across the world” –Dr. Sian Mitchell.
Following its recent announcement of its Impact Filmmaking program, Filmocracy has also announced that will confer its Inspiration Award to Liz Marshall and her film Meat the Future for her commitment to filmmaking for change. On accepting the award, Marshall said, “Meat the Future is about one of the biggest ideas of the century; a game-changing solution. This film was made with grit and determination, with love for humanity, for nonhuman animals, and planet earth. To be expected, the journey took time, almost five years! With much gratitude I receive this Inspiration Award, and dedicate it to my fellow storytellers. We take big risks to make films that can help change the world.”
Meat the Future brings science fiction to the dinner table courtesy of Dr. Uma Valeti, whose Upside Foods is at the forefront of a new industry: making meat from cells, not from animal slaughter. Musician (and vegan) Moby is the executive producer and provides music for Liz Marshall’s film, and Dr. Jane Goodall provides narration. Filmocracy Fest will give her this award (and the rest of the Festival awards, for categories:Grand Jury Prize – Documentary, Discovery Award – Narrative; and Audience Awards in Narrative, Documentary and Short Film) in a ceremony hosted by presenting sponsor Liquid Media Group (LMG), on Sunday, December 12. LMG CEO Ronald W. Thomson will offer closing remarks to conclude the ceremony.
Thomson says, “Two years ago, the Covid-19 pandemic made every single industry rethink their internal and external processes on a fundamental level. These challenges have driven innovations all around, with technological developments driving entertainment into new territory. Of the many innovations born from our industry’s need to adapt, Filmocracy’s evolution into an immersive, industry-leading, digital film festival platform, that enables festival and event organizers and audiences into virtual, navigable worlds continues to resonate. Since the inception of Filmocracy, more than 75 festivals and markets have turned to the platform to host a digital rendition of their event.”
“With many significant festivals turning to virtual options for hosting their events,” Thomson concludes, “It has become clear that digital festivals are here to stay, and we are proud to sponsor this year’s Filmocracy Fest, in support of new Liquid Media Family company iGEMS, future member Filmocracy, and all participating.”