Founder Bill Ostroff took a few minutes to talk to me about the evolution of his Philly based film festival. It’s expanded to include an annual three day film festival in Hollywood and has even launched an online distribution network for short film.
“We’ve opened the doors to indie film in Philly. We’re 13 years old there, going on 11 years in Hollywood.”
“There wasn’t an independent film festival in Philly when I was in college. I worked as a production manager for a theater company and thought ‘hey let’s put a film festival together.'”
“I begged, barrowed, and stole” Ostroff laughs. “I advertised in a local weekly newspaper, talked to friends at Drexel, Temple, Penn State and the arts colleges.”
Year one of FirstGlance Film Festival was held in a basement in Philly. It was meant to be a one-time event for his filmmaker friends, but the news spread and each of the 30 films presented was highly attended.
“We organized the festival in about three months.” Now the seasoned festival committee works year-round creating partnerships for filmmakers and the film community.
In the past couple of years, FGFF has also held short film festivals online. They go between four and six weeks. “We pick 20 to 30 films. Winners get a cash prize in upwards of several thousands and premieres at the next FirstGlance Film Festival.”
“We’re the first company to do the short film festival online, formerly as Bside, to give short films more visibility.” Ostroff is a proponent of the fact that short film will become a commodity.
“We’ve opened a film distribution company on our site. We started it in October of last year. You can now purchase indie film as a streaming rental.”
Short film official selections are featured for sale at FirstGlanceFilm.com. Now prospective filmmakers don’t have to deal with a third party distribution company which means immediate distribution and revenue sharing.
“We don’t buy the rights from the filmmakers. It’s totally non-exclusive; they can pull out whenever they want. Most of the profits go back to the filmmaker. It’s a free service. You can purchase as a streaming rental or load it onto your iPad and actually own the short film.”
The drop in price to make film has allowed people to make films easier. “We get more entries each year.” Ostroff and his team have seen over 11,000 film submissions throughout these 13 years. The screening committee primarily looks for the entertainment value of the project.
“Our goal is to create a catalog of award winning short films.”
Coming next is their 11th annual Hollywood FirstGlace Film Festival at Raleigh Studios, scheduled for April 2011. Visit FirstGlanceFilm.com for more information and their live call for entries, or follow them on Twitter @FirstGlanceFilm.