The Filmocracy boutique film festival returns to Los Angeles for its third edition with in-person screenings July 14-17, 2022, at the Lumiere Cinema at Music Hall in Beverly Hills, with 26 films available online for nationwide streaming via the Filmocracy’s digital platform.
Filmocracy Fest was launched during the pandemic when former AFI Fest programmer and Slamdance co-founder Jon Fitzgerald worked with Filmocracy, then a 3D digital film festival powerhouse and fledgling streamer. “I had worked with Filmocracy, supporting their various divisions, including their virtual festival initiative,” Fitzgerald recalled. “Paul Jun, the CEO of Filmocracy, and I discussed starting our own festival to showcase the team’s innovative programs that have continued to grow.”
“… filmmakers vying to get their projects ahead of 45 acquisition managers…”
After Filmocracy Fest II last December, Fitzgerald and his partners have chosen to move the film exhibition part of the Festival to the summer. The Festival includes an Impact Expo, networking and the second iteration of its Digital Film Marketplace, with filmmakers vying to showcase their projects in front of 45 acquisitions executives from Disney+, Myriad Pictures and XYZ Films, among others. They will keep their film festival top in December, incorporating a new awards program. Filmocracy III will screen eight narrative and documentary titles in person. There will also be two in-person short film programs of five films each.
Committed to the hybrid model, Fitzgerald believes that “filmmakers will always want to see their films on the big screen, engage with audiences and participate in Q&As, but they can’t always make it to every festival.” He adds, “We’ve seen ticket sales double by allowing people who can’t make it to Sundance or Los Angeles, for example, to see and enjoy these emerging talents in their home theaters. Hybrid is going to be the way of most festivals, with a few exceptions among traditionalists. It will be up to filmmakers to know their goals, understand what each festival can do for them, and chart the path that works for them and their project.
Filmocracy Fest focuses on socially relevant storytellers, which includes most of the films selected for 2022 viewing. “One of our four key pillars is discovery,” Fitzgerald says. “We really like to support emerging artists, especially those with a visual style. Narrative filmmakers take risks, and we have several social impact stories – shorts and features, narratives and documentaries – covering topics ranging from police brutality to diagnosing diabetes, all with subjects that celebrate the human spirit. . As with the 2021 edition, these films will be linked to related causes through the Impact Expo, providing in-person and virtual audiences the opportunity to learn more about the issues and take action.
Filmocracy’s parent company, Liquid Media Group, returns as the festival’s title sponsor, joined by founding sponsor iGEMS and partners Digital Cinema United, IndieFlix and Projektor.
“…what can happen when filmmakers are welcomed with the support of present their stories in front of the public…”
“Last Year’s Movie my dead father, which was sold to HBOMax on the heels of its sold-out Filmocracy Fest premiere, is a great example of what can happen when filmmakers are given the support they need to bring their stories to audiences,” said the president of Liquid. Media Group, Josh Jackson. “Liquid is proud to stand alongside Filmocracy Fest to help meet the current and future needs of filmmakers.”
Feature narrative selections include Alchemy of the Spirit, directed by Steve Balderson. Halfway through his festival journey, veteran director Steve Balderson (Petard, Become Ed) skillfully and beautifully blurs the lines between character study, magical realism, and horror. In the film, the famous artist Oliver Black (Xander Berkeley of The Walking Dead, Terminator 2and Air Force One) wakes up to find his wife Evelyn (Sarah Clarke of 24 and Dusk) died in his bed during the night. Disoriented and overwhelmed with grief, Oliver does not tell anyone and tries to preserve her body. Meanwhile, Oliver’s agent (Mink Stole of serial mom and hair spray) calls with a heavy order – a new sculpture for a leading museum. Oliver passionately and poetically creates the sculpture as a replica of Evelyn’s face – a death mask. As he works, Evelyn’s senses awaken one after another until she appears fully present. But is it really her? Or is Oliver hallucinating? Balderson is also world premiering a tantric sex short from YouTuber Davey Wavey at Outfest right after Filmocracy.
Another feature of Filmocracy III is Buck Alamo, directed by Ben Epstein. Unloading his existential bedroom like a Texas folksong, this Austin and Calgary film festival veteran is a dreamlike portrait of a modern-day musical outlaw as he grapples with death. The film stars Sonny Carl Davis, Lorelei Linklater, Chase Joliet, Kriston Woodreaux, Lee Eddy, CK McFarland, James Epstein, George Ensle and Bruce Dern.
The screening at Filmocracy III is also Death of a ladies’ man, directed by Matthew Bissonnette, with Gabriel Byrne (The usual suspects, Miller Crossing, and Hereditary), follows the life of a hard-partying college professor as it takes a series of unimaginable turns. All the old stories get a new twist when he starts having surreal hallucinations and learns that he may not be long for this world.
In addition, 1-800-Hot-Line, directed by Nick Richey, is another narrative feature from Filmocracy III. A second feature from award-winning writer/director Nick Richey (low low) features Dallas Young (Cobra Kai, The RoyalMixed), Gerrison Machado (The power), Mylen Bradford (Abbott Elementary School), and Ali Richey (low low). When the police break down Tommy’s (Young) door and arrest his father, his world is turned upside down. Faced with a future without parents, Tommy escapes child protective custody with his best friends Steve (Bradford) and O’Neill (Machado) on the streets of Los Angeles, filled with men trying to rob them , cops chasing them, a python, a fist fight, a first kiss and phone sex. All the while, Tommy keeps calling an 800 number because he feels the woman on the other end (Ali Richey) is the only adult he can confide in. But, at the end of the night, the boys’ brotherhood crumbles as they cross the threshold of adulthood. Quiver Distribution picked up the film after playing Dances with Films last month and will release the film on November 8.
Filmocracy III features a huge selection of documentaries, including The human trail, directed by Lisa Hepner. In 2011, Lisa Hepner and her husband Guy Mossman heard about a radical stem cell treatment for diabetes, a disease that shockingly kills more than five million people each year. Driven by a desire to cure Lisa of her type 1 diabetes (T1D), the filmmakers were given unprecedented real-time access to a clinical trial – only the sixth embryonic stem cell trial in the world. What follows is an intimate journey with the patients and scientists who have stepped up to the plate to be first.
Making an appearance Filmocracy III is Kaepernick and America, directed by Tommy Walker and Ross Hockrow. Since he began to oppose police brutality, the actions of Colin Kaepernick, civil rights activist and former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, have reverberated around the world, as this documentary shows. The Hollywood Reporter reviewed the film outside of Tribeca, saying, “If we step back, we can see the faint outlines of another, more pressing, narrative thread in Kaepernick and America– which encourages a type of integrity and commitment that is too rare to create a fairer world.
Adding to the eclectic film topics at Filmocracy III is Art & Art by Krimes, directed by Alysa Nahmias. While locked up for six years in a federal prison, artist Jesse Krimes secretly creates monumental works of art, including an astonishing 30-foot mural made with prison bed sheets, hair gel and newsprint. He smuggles out each panel piece by piece with the help of fellow artists, only seeing the mural in its entirety upon returning home. As Jesse’s work captures the attention of the art world, he struggles to adjust to life on the outside, living with the threat that any missteps will trigger a life sentence.
And One pint at a time, directed by Aaron Hose, will also screen at Filmocracy III. Craft beer generates tens of billions of dollars a year for the US economy. Yet despite the Egyptian and African heritage of beer, these traditions have mostly been forgotten and are rarely found in American brewing culture. Today, black-owned breweries represent less than 1% of the 9,000 breweries in the United States. Eager to change the historical perception of who brews and drinks beer, black brewers, brand owners and influencers across the country are reshaping the craft beer industry and the future of the states’ favorite adult drink. -United. Thrillist said, One pint at a time was “…an invaluable and visually captivating spotlight on the adversities of black Americans achieving their dream of owning a brewery.”
Looking back on his history and the future of filmocracy, Fitzgerald is nostalgic. “It’s been bittersweet,” he says. “The creativity of the Filmocracy team continues to develop exciting new elements that can be integrated into the virtual room, anchored by the ‘Virtual Map Filmocracyland’, the 3D map of festivals that Filmocracy is building for online festival-goers to navigate. He adds: “Yet one of the key elements of a successful film festival is the creation of in-person experiences for audiences, filmmakers and industry professionals. This, of course, was not possible during COVID. We have gone from virtual to hybrid, and 2022 will be more of a boutique hybrid that we look forward to sharing with Los Angeles and the world.
Visit filmocracy festival to find out more about the 2022 program.