Hey just a quick note to let everyone know that I will be heading to Germany on Sunday to represent American, independent cinema. The US Embassy is flying me and my son, Attis, to Hamburg out of Houston, TX. We are taking several films from the Victoria TX Independent Film Festival, and RxSM Film Expo that I do each year in Austin.
Many of you may be familiar with what I do locally for film, but you may not be aware of what our festival and new organization, Film ExChange has been able to accomplish over the past 3 years. It all started in Austin in 2010 when our film, The Why was not accepted into SXSW. Unwilling to accept the rejection, we found a sponsor in Phillips Distilling and landed a venue on 6th street that would let me program 13 hours of film over the course of 1 day. I reached out to several other filmmakers, and we screened to a packed house.
One of the filmmakers I contacted that year was, Boris Castro. Boris had just started a new festival the year prior called the Radar Hamburg International Independent Film Festival. Being a filmmaker himself he not only had a film, LA Lifestyle, to contribute, but had some sound advice to make sure that the first RxSM was a success.
After the success of the first year, I was hooked, and knew that I needed to continue to provide opportunities for filmmakers to screen their films.
In year two, we started to try to come up with ways to promote what we were doing without any budget to make it happen. I applied a lot of what I learned from DIY filmmaking to festival organization...it is all about collaboration. I reached out to other festival directors that were in the early years of their festivals and I came up with a plan to share programming and cross promote each other's festivals. This was a win-win for both the filmmakers that need to have a venue to screen, and the festivals that needed to increase their audiences and gain exposure in other markets.
Now in our fourth year we are making quicker, more exacting strides in our efforts and the idea is sinking in faster with new festivals. We now have three, Texas festivals on the Film ExChange Network -Corpus Christi, Austin and Victoria, Texas. We also have locations in Brooklyn, New Orleans and Hamburg bringing the total to six festivals in all.
This year was the first year Boris and Radar Hamburg were able to get funding from their government, and many of you know the major support the city of Victoria has shown for our festival here. This is just the beginning. This year Film ExChange is working to add festivals in Finland, Laughlin, NV and 30A beach in Florida.
Our mission is to create an international network of festivals and venues that support indie cinema, and provide a circuit of theaters that independent filmmakers can send their films on and enjoy the luxury and exposure that a theatrical release has to offer.
Indie artists supporting indie artists. We are a filmmakers festival network. Festivals run by filmmakers.
I will be reporting regularly via this blog site while in Hamburg. In the meantime you can take a look at these websites to check out the films Film ExChange is promoting right now:
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