What is the Mobil Film Festival?

The Red Carpet Is In Your Pocket

by Susan Botello, S. Botello Productions

*An edited version of this article was published in Universal Magazine by Tyrone D. Murphy (editor) 8-1-12 and you can read and print it here: http://issuu.com/ufmag.org/docs/ufm_issue_4/37
What is the Mobil Film Festival?

The Mobil Film Festival is a project of Susan Botello of S. Botello Productions™.  The film festival is exclusive in that it only accepts films that were shot with cell phones. It’s open to anyone who shoots using cell phones, any brand. We are an international film festival and will accept all human and legitimate filmmakers from around the globe without age limits, income limits, experience or connections.  We only ask that the camera be replaced with cell phones of any brand.

Why did you create the Mobil Film Festival?

The fact that mobile phones had video cameras made me realize even a child could shoot video, as I had witnessed during a visit to a cell phone provider store. And if a child can shoot, anyone with skills can edit.  I thought it would be a great way to show what you could do if someone gifted you with a professional camera and said, “Shoot and edit something.” My thoughts and feelings about mobile film have been connected to my visions of the future and it is tremendously interesting to see it evolve just as I imagined. The fact that I expressed the idea of projector apps for cell phones to project on a big screen a wall or a sheet of paper is an example. I can’t tell you how many people I engage every day on this subject. App developers—I have mentioned to many and many said that it could not be done for a few more years. We now are seeing apps and accessories that are on the way to providing this for us. So they could be correct. I also notice more blogs and ads focusing on the cameras of cell phones new on the market as to their video qualities as well as still. As these things come together to bring better quality, we see the transformation of filmmaking giving a “side-kick,” as I can’t think of a better word, to Hollywood. I feel that S. Botello Productions™ is on track with this.

The quality of the films in the Mobil Film Festival was good and they were presented on the big screen with remarkable production value. They looked good and sounded good. Of course a cell phone brand and editor can make a difference. The dilemma with a filmmaker who is trying to get their work seen is the financial investment. This is very typical. The investment of time and effort is guided by artistic passion. This is where creativity blooms, I think. And here is a way for more creative filmmakers to show their skills and talents without the financial investment barrier and become part of this emerging side to filmmaking. Who would have thought that the film industry and cell phones could play such an integral role together, other than the typical communication tool it has always played in Hollywood. The producer on set talking on the cell should come to mind.

Do films have to be edited on the cell phone as well?

The difference is that you are replacing a film or video camera with a cell phone. Everything else can stay the same. You can edit your video with a computer or tablet or even right on your cell phone. You can use external microphones, tripods, dollies…skateboards–whatever you like. The only restriction as far as it stands for now, is the use of apps that make the decisions for the editor (you). This is a great opportunity for the filmmaker who is truly skilled and talented to show off his or her strut. Special effects are neither encouraged nor discouraged.  For our first film festival this last April, we limited the length of the films to three minutes. This year, we still have the minimum running time of thirty seconds, but the length is not more than five minutes. But I do want to emphasize that the second-prize winner of our first film festival had no experience as a filmmaker on a professional level. He didn’t go to school for it either. And if you open the minds of everyday people to the possibility of making an old childhood dream come true, or maybe just a personal wonder one may have, it is like a jar of light filled with possibilities. And the tool is right in their pocket. There is no reason to fear the outcome. You can see your outcome yourself, too. And entering our film festival is completely free.

What is the connection between SBP and Grossmont College?

In my opinion, colleges are hurting due to the economy and that means students are hurting too. The speed at which technology is growing may be playing a role for a foundation or organization to get a grip on investments. And schools have to think about the future in what they are teaching as well. Also, there is a need for community partnerships to help keep them populated regarding attendance, I think. I am working on helping my college with this project. The college I graduated from with a degree in Media Communications, Grossmont College (www.grossmont.edu) has always had an open door for me during and after my studies. This is precisely why I have a connection to the department. Mr. Snead, in particular, has been supportive of other projects and friends’ projects on a local level as well and so that has kept us connected as well.

“As a member of the Media Communications Department here at Grossmont College, we have always been happy to follow, encourage and support the projects of current and former students. Although the focus of our classroom experience is on teaching students to use “professional equipment” we have certainly been aware of the financial challenges facing students and emerging filmmakers today. The rapid changes in technology and the escalating costs of equipment is difficult for us to keep up with as well. The development of phone technology which takes both still and video images in very high quality has inspired many to consider using phones to acquire video footage to tell stories. Applications for editing, special effects, and post-production are now available, which makes story telling with phone images possible for competition and festivals. The results have been anything but amateurish. We support Susan’s forward thinking vision of a global cell-phone video festival and would encourage others to grab their phone and make a movie. I believe there is a place other than YouTube for films made with cell-phone technology to be shown and recognized for their inspiration and quality.” – William Snead, Media Communications Department, Grossmont College.(www.grossmont.edu)

What is the mission or goal of the film festival?

We want to inspire everyone to give it a try and make a movie since they already have the tool in their pocket. We also have a mission to filmmakers and students who cannot express their talents due to their limited funds and resources. Our goal is to provide a venue for filmmakers to grow and expand their skills and talents through our film festival and our planned programs.

Conrad Mess, who won second place in our film festival last April with The Fixer:

“Since I was a boy I loved film. I would create stories in my head like movies. When I grew up, I dreamed of directing my own movie. I would imagine people liking my movie and receiving an award and giving a thank you speech. But it was nothing more than a dream, a wish, something you fall asleep with every night…something unattainable and out of reach. Realistically thinking, I knew that without having a degree or schooling no one would invest his or her hard-earned money and risk it with someone without schooling or experience. And my hopes and dreams were fading away. They were almost gone and then came Apple with its iPhone4 giving birth to film festivals for shorts shot with iPhones. And I entered your festival by chance after I finished “The Fixer,“ as I was looking for film festivals to present it. I found your film festival but the rules stated that the films couldn’t be more than three minutes long. So I sadly dismissed the intention of presenting it. But, as you may remember, I decided to send it to you anyways, just so you could see it and to my surprise, when I received your email telling me you liked it a lot and to cut it to three minutes and submit it, I hadn’t thought about cutting “The Fixer” but motivated by your response, I did, and it didn’t come out bad. And thanks to that, the three-minute version of “The Fixer” won the iPhone film festival of Singapore and was a finalist in OIFF in San Francisco and the Shorts-nonstop, competing with “real cameras.” So thanks to the Mobil Film Festival of San Diego, and thanks to you, Susan Botello, The Fixer has won three times. Thank you, my friend. So now, it doesn’t matter wither you have the education or experience. All you need is your imagination and your dedication. So don’t be afraid and go for it. Our moment has come!”– Conrad Mess

After “The Fixer,” he had the opportunity to shoot his next Short film in Hollywood, “The Russian Roulette”, with Adi Spektor, whom he met thanks to Ruben Kasantsev, founder of the IPhone film festival.

Michael Koerbel, First place winner in our film festival last April with Apple Of My Eye: “iPhone filmmaking is quickly emerging as the new entry point for an energetic breed of storytellers. Filmmaking used to require thousands of dollars, but now is accessible through a device over 400 million people carry in their pocket. I remember when Anna and I first made Apple of My Eye. Our iPhone 4’s had arrived earlier that day and I realized it was capable of shooting 720p HD.  Naturally, we began brainstorming what we could shoot with it.  My dad had always said that he thought the POV of riding on a train would be really cool, but I couldn’t accomplish the shot with the bigger bulky cameras.  Now we had the opportunity.  We drove to Arizona and shot the film, editing it in iMovie on the very same phone on the way back to California. The power of filmmaking in one device.  Shooting, editing, and the ability to upload.  I’m very grateful for festivals such as the Mobil Film Festival, as they are leading the charge in this new revolution. It gives anyone with a mobile device permission (and an obligation) to shoot something.  Anything.  Most people have a story that only they could share. So go out and shoot it!” – Michael Koerbel, Majek Pictures

The Mobil Film Festival is free for the filmmakers who submit films. There is no fee to enter our film festival. We will need some things like a bio, a photo and of course the film with required forms, but most of the process can be provided electronically or digitally. We really do advise and encourage the filmmakers to attend, network with other filmmakers, to watch their films on the big screen and of course, they do wish to be honored walking the red carpet!

Are there categories?

We introduced one category: Community Stories. This year, we are adding a category of films that were entirely produced with cell phones, including editing. There is no limit on how many cell phones you use for shooting or producing a finished film. There are obvious limits in this newer way of filming and we provide room for creativity as in any production. As we grow in numbers we plan to add more categories as is typical with most film festivals. And if we get enough films we will most likely need to categorize them. Of course, we do ask the filmmakers to be tasteful in their choices and we don’t allow vulgarity. We respect children as a category.

Who are your judges?

For MFF2012 last April we had two instructors from the Media Communications Department at Grossmont College, William Snead and Evan Wirig. Another judge was Producer/Actor Stephanie Reibel from Los Angeles, whom I have known on a professional level for a few years. Some of her television credits include guest starring roles in “Two and a Half Men” (CBS), “Monk” (USA), “90210” (CW), “Genetically Challenged” (FOX), and “Sons of Tucson” (FOX) with recurring roles on “The Game” (CW) and “General Hospital” (ABC).  Her film credits include the leading and title role in “April Moon”, and a supporting role in National Lampoon’s “The Legend of Awesomest Maximus,” just to name a few. Stephanie also keeps herself busy creating reality shows.

The Judges are listed on our website as partners. For MFF2013 next April, we hope to continue to include last year’s panel and add new ones. The hope is for entertainers & celebrities in film and music & journalism to be a part of the judging panel.

Do you judge films?

No I don’t. I love them! Sometimes I watch them over and over in awe. I am being extremely honest. But my passion toward filmmakers makes it so that I need to be more of a supporter. I got their backs! I really do try to promote them and include them with our activities and plans, and I think most of the pioneers from our first inaugural film festival, MFF2012 last April, know this.

What is in the future for the Mobil Film Festival?

We are introducing our work in progress on our website and that is just the beginning: Mobile Film TV. We are also working on training workshops for mobile filming on a global level. There are already some people who have been doing that in other countries. It’s amazing!

Again, our goal is to provide a venue for mobile filmmakers to express their talents, showcase their skills, to grow and expand. That is the future we are working on providing. It basically sustains itself by providing a showcase venue, a distribution and entertainment channel & a mobile film-training program. Mobile filmmakers around the world who shoot with cell phones can share, network, collaborate and maybe make a living with what’s in their pocket. Isn’t that something!

When and how can someone submit a video?

·      Anyone can enter between now and the end of January next year.
Go to www.mobilfilmfestival.com

·      On the menu, look for the Filmmaker Registration page.

·      On the Registration page, fill out the form and submit it.

·      Sometime between 24 hours to a few days, you will receive an email with instructions and a link to upload your film.

·      As soon as you have submitted your film go to our website www.mobilfilmfestival.com and look forSubmission Confirmation.

·      On the Confirmation page, fill out the form and submit it.

That is it. We will stay in touch with you and keep you updated with progress on our film festival and programs.

Who sponsors the Mobil Film Festival?

Grossmont College is our sponsor, our partner and supporter. Our other supporters include Red Giant Software, who will provide a prize, Mobile Festival in Skopje, Macedonia, JewelBeat, MINA.pro & i-nigma QR code reader app by 3Vision.

One of our biggest supporters, Mobile Festival (www.mobilefestival.net) in Skopje found us online and offered us the opportunity to share our vision. We both share a philosophy best quoted by Vesna Ristovska, of the Mobile Festival:

“Use your creativity and make everything possible. Creativity gives power to change. Transform the moment into creation. Turn on your mobile and film your idea.” The motto for the 2012 Mobile Festival in November 2012 is, “Everyone can make it!” – Vesna Ristovska

The Mobile Festival features an article about one of their winning contestants who competed at the Mobil Film Festival. Dukagjin Borova came to San Diego from Macedonia to attend the festival, walk the red carpet, to experience watching his film, “Everything Is Money,” on the big screen with an audience and networking with other filmmakers.

What’s Next?

We are working with San Diego Audio Video (SDAV.com), a supplier of production equipment & services, to provide a resource to mobile filmmakers. San Diego Voice and Video is working on providing a great equipment resource for mobile filmmakers and some other possible production services with benefits.

We are creating mobile filming workshops & we’ll have mobile filming workshops around the world. Conrad Mess is working with us to be one of the leaders on this venture. Participants will also receive benefits from Jewelbeat.com who is partnering with us to provide royalty free music. JewelBeat was founded by musicians who were passionate about bringing high quality production music at a sensible price. JewelBeat offers a huge selection of quality music for your projects. Together, with JewelBeat, we will offer discount term membership packages for participants of the workshops around the globe.

We are working on being a sound and beneficial resource for mobile filmmakers. We will be announcing more details on how we are doing that soon.

Supporting filmmakers is my passion. S. Botello Productions™ is hoping to provide a great resource center for mobile filmmakers where they can trust we are working hard to make their dreams come true. There is no guarantee in Hollywood…but there is imagination and creativity, which tend to produce “magic.” The excitement for mobile film and all that is coming to this innovative way of filming for today’s audience is just a great inspiration to the world of filmmaking and smart phones.

Our campaign is “Don’t Be A Chicken! Do it!” Because “The Red Carpet Is In Your Pocket!” Mobil Film Festival is poised to make your dreams come true for free! www.mobilfilmfestival.com

© 2012. All rights reserved. Mobile Film / S. Botello Productions™
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