A Film Festival Camp IMFF 2023
Attendees were ecstatic and said their experience was like going to camp. They came out with new friends and inspired.
Jason Rivera is a music composer who attended and represented Connor Geary’s short film, Help Wanted. As we offered everyone a break between sessions on Saturday, Jason walked up to festival director and founder Susy Botello and said he was very happy to be there. What he said afterwards was followed by the other attendees.
The vibe, the energy, the mood, the inspiration…all of these things were on a positive note felt by all the attending filmmakers and some of the people who bought tickets to attend. One of them, his name is Ben, made new friends and hung out with the filmmakers most of the day on Sunday.
Listen to a new episode of the SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking hosted by Susy Botello with Levi Austin Morris. Levi’s feature film Paralysis, screened and won the Best Feature Film Award for IMFF 2023. Levi and Susy give an accounting of their experience during the festival.
The International Mobile Film Festival is based in San Diego, California. It launched in the Spring 2009 with a very simple and unique proposal to all humans around the world. “Make a movie with your phone camera and we’ll put it on the big screen and invite you to walk the red carpet in San Diego.” It was a challenge. It came out of a vision by founder Susy Botello during the events of 9/11 in 2001.
This last April saw its 12th edition, and people came together to celebrate their films. IMFF traditionally takes place during the last weekend in April.
Erifili Davis came from Dubbo, Australia to screen and celebrate her short film, Fell Purpose. Erica “ET” Taylor, Shellsy Malveaux and Carla Lyles came from Houston, Texas. Other filmmakers came from Los Angeles and the San Diego area. The films and smartphone photo contest participants were from all over the world.
Countries & States Represented During IMFF 2023: California, USA; Oregon, USA; Texas, USA; New York, USA; Indiana, USA; Ireland, France, United Kingdom, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Russia, Australia, Mexico, Kyrgyzstan, Germany, Canada, India, Spain, and China.
Two feature films and all the short competition films screened on Saturday with ample opportunities to mingle and eat together.
Most filmmakers met Friday evening and shared dinner and drinks together during a festival Kick Off event at Aquarius Bar and Grille by the bay. They shared stories and got to know each other, ate good food and listened to several live bands performing at the venue.
By the time Sunday came around, the festival kicked off a screening of The Rookie Award films. The Rookies present were Erica “ET” Taylor and her team from Houston, presenting their short, Coming Home. Ricky Patrick came from the L.A. area and presented, Why Are We Here?
Other filmmakers present were Aaron Lindenthaler, Monique Gall, Matt Phillips, Jasper Capalad, Klaudia Kovács, Luis Fernandez with MIMI Lazo.
On Sunday afternoon, Levi Austin led a workshop called “Make Your Dream Movie,” accompanied by the protagonist of Paralysis, Allison Lobel and the producer, Jamie Tobias.
A full panel Q&A Session with all attending filmmakers took place on Sunday, followed by the workshop.
A special guest came Sunday, actor and festival Honorary Ambassador Jed Brophy. Jed is best known for his multiple roles in The Lord Of The Rings, The Rings of Power and notably, as Nori in The Hobbit; Peter Jackson films. Jed was also one of the judges in the short film competition and handed awards during the Award Ceremony.
Every film received audience reactions as intended, and applause and cheer from the attending filmmakers and attendees. The supportive energy in the room extended from the screen to the back of the room during each film screening.
The festival kicked off with a feature film by Luis Fernandez with MIMI Lazo, Desconocidas (Unknowns). It was an emotional film which drew tears from the audience as the filmmakers shared the protagonist, Verónica Oddó had passed away recently. The film was 47:27 minutes in length and was shot with iPhone11 & iPhone12.
At the end of Saturday after the short films screened, Paralysis screened with a Q&A with Levi Austin Morris, Allison Lobel, and Jamie Tobias. Paralysis was 1 hour 47:31 minutes in length and was shot with iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro. Congratulations to Levi Austin Morris and his team for the Best Feature Film Award!
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Prior to the festival, founder and director Susy Botello maintained communication with all the participants. Susy assured the filmmakers who could not attend that their films were in good hands and would be treated with respect through the process and through the screening. She also maintained correspondence with attending participants to emphasize how important it was for them to attend the festival through the entire weekend and all its sessions.
“A lot of filmmakers in the industry are used to going to a film festival to watch their film on a screen and maybe shake a few hands,” Susy said.
Susy carefully crafted and curated the programming to keep the attendees and filmmakers entertained, interacting with the programming, and actively networking and creating friendships.
“What was a bit unexpected this year, was the level of intimacy everyone experienced,” she said.
“I’ve been learning every year on how to best encourage participation from all attendees, including those not participating. I think this year I finally got it right, because the comments from everyone were so enlightening and positive.”
During the SBP Podcast episode 144 with Levi Austin Morris on April 9, Levi mentioned that when he and his team were driving back home after the festival’s last day, his team shared their experience with him.
“That felt like camp. It felt like we came together for the weekend as filmmakers and we just had camp. And it was like…we met the other campers and it was just so fun, and it was so intimate and like we really got to connect.”
You can find out who won in the “Wall of Fame” on the official awards page on the website.
Congratulations to everyone who won awards and to all who participated. All the projects received compliments from attendees.
Just in case you wonder if all the winning films were shot with iPhones, the answer may surprise you. The film that won First Place in the short film competition this year was, Time by Elizabeth Marlo. It was shot with an Android smartphone, Xiaomi X. Be inspired.
Don’t miss the next edition, whether you are participating or not, if you’re looking for a space where filmmakers and content creators connect beyond expectations, this is the film festival you want to make sure you attend. San Diego is a beautiful city with lots of fun sights, great food, and friendly people. The dates for next year’s 13th edition are April 26, 27 and 28, 2024.
Submissions for Feature Films, Short Films, The Rookie Award contest, The Smartphone Photo Contest and Short Screenplay contest all begin on June 19, 2023.
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