New York City International Film Festival: Connecting the World Through Film

By Michelle Xia

“Being a filmmaker isn’t something I do, it’s something I am,” exclaimed director and producer, Matthew C. Mills, at the Panel Discussion this Tuesday June 18th.

Aspiring filmmakers and directors from different cultural backgrounds gathered in New York City this week for the annual New York City International Film Festival (NYCIFF). Started on June 13th, this week-long festival hosted many events for a way to showcase and promote the talent of the local rising filmmakers. NYCIFF also gives the opportunity by organizing professional panels to provide support and answer any concerns relating to the film industry today. NYCIFF is not only a platform where ideas can be shared, but also an immense opportunity for a global networking.

I was fortunate enough to participate in some of the festivities this Tuesday. The Panel Discussion was compiled of successful professionals who specified in different sectors of the film industry. In a closed off theater setting upstairs of the Producers Club in Manhattan, the panel gave their back story of their life as well as insight and advice for the crowd. What was quite fascinating is that every life story was completely different – you have Editor Jimmy Ienner Jr. who jumped from radio to television shows and then there is Matthew C. Mills who never thought he would work in MTV for nine years. The benefit of such a unique panel was the opportunity to understand all the factors in being successful at such a high-risk industry. Elspeth Kincaid and Dr. Roger Hanwehr contributed the financial aspect to this business by explaining the film market today, the typical business model for an independent filmmaker, and the most effective ways to market a film, which are website banners.

After each professional had their turn of speaking, the audience was able to participate by asking further questions. The crowd was majority independent producers who were able to get specialized insight from those who have been through it all. Word of advice from Jimmy Ienner Jr. was “Never give up.”

Although the panel was informative and inspirational to all, the main purpose of NYCIFF was to showcase film projects of global independent filmmakers. Throughout the week, many variations of film were featured for public viewing to expand film recognition and foster creative growth. Every filmmaker was both passionate and persistent in succeeding “All my life I’ve been interested in film,” said Alex Nally, whose film “The Telemachy” was featured at the festival.

Personally, I sat in on a few short-animated films and they were all creatively executed. These are my viewer insights on these films:

“Telling A You” – Simplistic and endearing storyline of a girl and a boy who bump into each other and communicate with both dialogue and body language.

“Sleddin’” – An adventurous boy who makes, what it seems, a dramatic leap, but concludes with rather humorous ending. The filmmaker, John Pettingill, was inspired by his constant trips to sledding and his big fall.

“Totes Burgers” – Story about an average boy who works at a burger joint later to find out the “secret recipe” for the burger. After his heroic battle with the boss, the main character questions, “Do I still get paid?”

“To the Fairest” – A silent film of women characters made from clouds. They all have a unique body problem. The challenges they face attempting to grasp the falling apple is a brilliant way of conveying an important message of different desires.

“A World Of Difference” – A complex world featuring a man who enters an unusual realm through time, where it is ran by words like “Existence, knowledge, meaning, thought, paradox, etc.”
“Make a Wish” – A light refreshing film of a girl who encounters a magical cat that promises her breast enhancements in exchange for her pet, rat. The choices she made and the story outcome were both unexpected and insightful.

“Dance of Books” – A motion picture film where books come to life and haunt the owner who abandoned them for the new devices such as the Nook. A creative way to express the movement of culture from paper to digital.

“Jamón” – A story about a pig living in human world and discovers who he really is. After he finally accepts his character traits, he was exposed to a traumatic event that led him to want some permanent change.

NYCIFF provides a gateway for emerging filmmakers into today’s large competitive field film while endorsing global connections, offering networking opportunities, and connecting the world of video and production. It has drawn attention to talented individuals by creating an outlet for their own products. Events like these help create the future filmmakers, directors, and producers.

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