Actually, the future is still a few months away. But get ready anyway coz both of these fests are expected to sell out. Almost any fool with a smartphone and a computer can make a movie nowadays, and as the medium has grown more accessible, communities of niche filmmakers and cinema fans have flourished as well. As to be expected, the rewards for seekers of bizarre and innovative films are endless. While we haven’t yet been able to load cameras onto the Magic School Bus and capture photosynthesis or something, science and tech nerds can still rejoice at the nearly-as-rad achievements at these approaching film fests.
2nd Annual New York City Drone Film Festival
Friday March 4th through Sunday March 6th, 2016 at the Directors Guild of America Theater: ticket price TBA
The NYC Drone Film Fest is back for a second year, which means these dudes must have done something right last year. Founder Randy Scott Slavin, a director and drone filmmaker in his own right, told us right before the inaugural film fest earlier this year that he was hoping to remove some of the “negative stigma” associated with drones and inspire an appreciation of them as an “amazing cinematic tool.”
Let’s hope the films go beyond the GoPro-like, nature-is-so-majestic, X-treme sports! mountain tops! ferris wheel! shots of the trailer. Oohs and ahhs are chill and all, but we sincerely believe that “film” presupposes something more advanced than a compilation of screensaver-worthy images and IMAX gimmicks.
So get to it you drone filmmakers, you. The fest is accepting submissions for the juried competition starting Saturday August 22nd. Check out one of the drone film winners below, “Mexico City International Airport from Above” by Tarsicio Sanudo Suarez, to see what kind of work might qualify as winning.
Apparently OK Go won last year, which however terrifying the prospect is of being held captive to watch an OK Go music video on a large screen, consider that perhaps their work here is done and they’ll have moved on to practice music video terrorism elsewhere. Either that or you’ll know exactly what to avoid at the fest.
This year the organizers are adding two new categories, Extreme Sports and Still Photography, to the nine existing ones which include X-Factor (“These films don’t fit the other categories, but they’re still F@&ing awesome”) and Dronie (“the drone selfie”)
Kaleidoscope Virtual Reality Film Festival
Tuesday, October 6, 6:30 pm at a TBA venue: tickets $10 for students, $20 general admission, $99 for VIP
The virtual reality experts at Kaleidoscope VR are hosting their first ever film festival dedicated entirely to the advancing medium. Admittedly, it feels like we’ve witnessed more virtual reality failure than success. Haven’t we had, like, basically forever to improve on Nintendo’s Virtual Boy? That came out in 1995, people!
But chill, because it’s highly unlikely this VR fest will be disappointing. This will actually be a pretty amazing opportunity to experience cutting-edge VR technology, and even if you’re familiar with Gear VR or Oculus Rift headsets (both of which will be available to fest goers for viewing each and every film– dang!) we seriously doubt you’ve watched a film called “Butts” while wearing one of these suckers!
Speaking of those films… Kaleidoscope is promising 20 “amazing virtual reality experiences” from “pioneers of virtual reality filmmaking” around the world. And though not each and every one of them can be as thought-provoking and complex as “Butts,” there are some honorable mentions in the remaining line up.
Sure, VR can take us to places both familiar and strange, but maybe its most unique application is the technology’s ability to transport us to restricted places, and places where we’d be guaranteed a bullet in the head if we stepped inside them uninvited. “DMZ: Memories of a No Man’s Land,” takes viewers to the Korean Demilitarized Zone, the tense strip of land separating Kim Jong-un’s personal hog heaven from South Korea.
In addition to screenings, the fest will include artist talks and VR demos. If you decide to go fancy-pant and spring for the VIP tickets, you’ll get not only cushy seating but the opportunity to skip the lines. Some advice to festival organizers: avoid pissing people off with long lines and by programming a no-line virtual reality experience. Transport those pathetic line waiters to Fern Gully or something and keep them submissively drooling while they wait. Boom no angry queues! You’re welcome.