Lights. Camera. Help. – A Q & A with the founders of the Non-Profit Film Festival
Lights. Camera. Help. is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to encouraging other non-profit and cause-driven organizations to use film and video to tell their stories. The organization achieves this objective through education and volunteer match programs, screenings and an annual film festival.
The 2011 Film Festival is scheduled for July 28-30. To purchase 3 day or single passes, you can visit: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/57711.
The festival gives films-for-a-cause the attention they deserve by putting them up on the big screen in a theater setting and donating proceeds from the event as prize money to the winning films/causes. The festival is the first of its kind dedicated solely to cause-driven films and is the brainchild of three Austinites-David J. Neff, Aaron Bramley and Rich Vasquez. Below, a Q & A with two of the three festival founders David J. Neff and Aaron Bramley, along with a sneak preview of what we can expect at this year’s festival. If you missed the last two festivals, be sure to check out some of the entered films below (for the record, my personal favorite is 2010′s Girls of Daraja). You can also check out this mini-documentary about the festival’s first year.
DJN: We were creating a lot of great work at the American Cancer Society when I worked there but it was being swallowed into the void of YouTube. One day I opened my eyes and saw all the amazing work everyone else in nonprofits was doing as well and decided we needed to showcase all this amazing work! So I called my amazing co-founders Aaron Bramley and Rich Vazquez and we got started.
Can you run us through what happens at the festival each day?
What types of organizations have submitted films before?
Any notable films, filmmakers or organizations?
AB: There was a film directed by Judd Apatow that is really hilarious for the American Jewish World Service. You can find it in committee #3. It’s the one with Gilbert Godfred’s smiling face. Also notable is a feature length narrative called “Paradise Recovered.” It tackles a cause and has a real charity behind it but it’s certainly not your typical nonprofit film. In committee #1. For shorts, you might check out “The Cipher” It’s about a hip hop collaborative here in Austin. Really well shot and great music. Charity: Water really nailed it again with the film “Bayaka.” The Lance Armstrong Foundation really stands out as the largest local org. Their films was produced locally by Alpheus Media. “The Cipher” is local. Ronald McDonald House Austin really blew it out of the water with “The Digits.”
How many films were submitted?
AB: We had a total of 83 films submitted this year. While this number is far lower than previous years we feel like the quality of the films submitted was way up. We also got several more feature length and longer short films this year. It was a lot harder to make the tough decisions this year on who get’s screened and who doesn’t.
What screenings, events and after-parties can we look forward to this year?
DJN: Wouldn’t you like to know! We like to keep our parties a top secret. But you can bet our hard working team of Katrina Tolentino (@RealAustin) and Chelsea Staires (@Cstaires) are working on some really cool special stuff. We just released our official selections here. http://lightscamerahelp.org/
What do the proceeds from the film festival go towards?
KUT listeners are huge volunteers and love to Get Involved and support local causes. How can people Get Involved with Lights. Camera. Help.?
If you had to pick 3 (yes only 3, lets say one for each year of the festival so far) films that serve as representatives of what the festival is all about, which ones would you pick?
DJN: Arggggggh! What a question. How about these 3?
Girls of Daraja
Art from the Streets
Water Changes Everything
Will the films be categorized or judged by genre?
AB: Our judges will pick the best PSA, Short and Feature Length Film.
DJN: We hope to see you there! Don’t forget to buy your tickets now before they sell out!