By Zak Forsman, March 9th, 2009

Today marks the opening day of DVXFest, an online short film festival run by filmmaking forum DVXUser began life as a community built for users of the first affordable 24p video camera, the Panasonic DVX100. It has since outgrown its name to become one of the largest filmmaker communities online with over 45,000 members.

Hosted three times a year, DVXFest is the only online festival I know of that has grown out of a community, rather than the more traditional model of assembling a community around a festival. Each fest is focused around a common theme such as Love, Zombies, Time, and currently, Loss. Anyone can enter. Requirements are minimal but include capped running times of six minutes. One required element like a character name or a specific prop is used to make sure films are actually made for the festival. And the theme for each subsequent fest is announced at the conclusion of the prior. Filmmakers have anywhere from three to four months to write, shoot, edit and upload their shorts. Well over $10,000 in prizes are routinely donated by companies that specialize in indie targeted gear like matte boxes, 35mm adapters, dollies, cranes, etc. The last fest had over 70 short films entered.

But the real draw is the community atmosphere. As viewing opens, feedback populates on each filmmaker’s individual discussion thread on the forum. Viewers also have the opportunity to rate each film on a scale of 1 to 10 and the fest concludes with the announcement of the top three films. Feedback is generally very constructive and as far from typical YouTube comments as you could imagine. There is a genuine spirit of helping fellow filmmakers with insights and suggestions for improvements.

Anyway, I share this with you because I have found an incredible resource of talent and friends there. I have entered “Model/Photographer” – a short prelude to ELOQUENT GRAFFITI which you can read about at my LossFest discussion thread. But more importantly, DVXUser and the DVXFests have proven to be like a mini utopia of filmmaking unlike anything else I’ve seen online. It is not driven by competition, so much as it is driven by a desire to engage with other filmmakers and to learn how your work is received by an audience. The collaborative element extends well beyond the forum as it’s not unusual for many filmmakers to travel and work on each other’s short films. You would do well to integrate it into your social network.

You can view the LossFest films HERE.

And participate in the discussion threads for each film HERE.


Follow the Twitter Chatter with the #dvxfest hashtag.

See you there!

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Posted in Eloquent Graffiti

Zak Forsman is an artist-entrepreneur whose emotionally-charged motion pictures are known for highly authentic performances and beautiful compositions. They have been praised by Ain’t It Cool News as “Brilliant” and “Absolutely Gorgeous” and by Filmmaker Magazine as “Very Accomplished, Amazing.”

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