The Two-Minute Short Film 2-Step Challenge and Great Panel Discussions and at the Dances With Films Festival, a treat for indie filmmakers, writers, actors, and producers
Los Angeles, California (June 10, 2012) There were a lot of good things to consider attending the recent DANCES WITH FILMS FESTIVAL, held at the iconic Chinese Mann’s Theatre 6 on Hollywood Blvd. this past week (May 31 through June 7). The festival was not your usual festival where star’s popularity is a come-on to attendees. These are group of talented filmmakers who makes movies that are entertaining. Audience believe in their talents and their abilities to create out of pure imagination. This is a festival where no one has been selected because of who they know or who they are, but by how their film is entertaining for as many minutes as it is on screen.

Utilizing the latest products from Canon, the 6th Annual 2-Minute, 2-Step Short Film Challenge brings 6 filmmaking teams together as they are each given just 4 hours to shoot and edit a two-minute film. The competition ran throughout the week in the DWF Shooting Gallery located just across the way in the Solano Room of the Renaissance Hotel. The finished film were screened the following day. Among competitors this year were: Crime in a Box (written by Jeff Lorch and Jason Weissbrod; Love is an Elevator (written by Cerina da Graca); New Friend (written by Amy Wieseneck); Passive-Aggressive Presence (written by Rebecca Norris); Voyage of Vera Velasco (written by Vanessa Newell); and A Wholesale Bundle For A Costly Price (written by Asher Farkas). The winner will be announced at the Closing Ceremony (not available as of this writing but will get back to you on this next ‘ish).

I found the remaining 4 days of my attendance at the 15th annual Dances With Films very educational. With their noon Industry Panels (Hosted by Crumbs Cupcakes & Starbucks) and the night Conversations & Cocktails (Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits, The Grill and Johnny Rockets), I’ve seen high-profiled industry panelists and jurors which are helping new filmmakers get connected. The list was remarkable!

On Monday, at the “Lunchtime Panel” among panelists include David Crockett (Executive Vice President GKFilms, Producer: Bad Santa, Gone Baby Gone, The Town, Executive Producer Hugo); Eric Garfinkel (Motion Picture Literary Agent, The Gersh Agency); Priscilla Ross (Vice President, International Sales, Tricoast Worldwide: Bernard Rose's TWO JACKS (Sienna Miller, Danny Huston) and Mike Magidson's INUK, winner of 28 worldwide festival awards). In the evening, for the “Cocktails & Conversations” (sponsored by Southern Wine & Spirits and Johnny Rockets), guest speakers were Ron Bass (Academy Award winning screenwriter: Rain Man, My Best Friend's Wedding, The Joy Luck Club, Mozart & The Whale).

On Tuesday, among notable panelists include Jeff Begun (Partner, Co-Founder Film Incentives Group); Darrien Michelle Gipson (National Director, SagIndie); Jane Fleming (Co-Founder, Amber Entertainment, Producer: Exists, The Frozen Ground, Lovely Molly and President Emeritus, Women In Film); and Robert Linden. And at 6 pm, “Cocktails & Conversations” series guest speaker was Michael Lehmann (Director: Heathers, The Truth About Cats & Dogs, My Giant, Big Love, True Blood, Californication, Bored to Death).

Wednesday, June 6th, among panelists include Dama Claire (Partner, Co-Founder Film Incentives Group); Michael Fey (Shoot the Noise Productions Music Supervisor/Executive: Snow Dogs, Sweet Home Alabama, A Year On Earth, The Pixar Story); Laura Lewis (CAA Feature film packaging and financing. Formerly Director of Development at Ed Saxon Productions and Creative Executive at Twentieth Century Fox); and Steve Wegner (Executive Vice President Alcon Entertainment, Co-Producer: Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, Insomnia, The Blind Side, Book of Eli and Dolphin Tale). At 5 pm’s Conversation series, Guest Speaker was John Mann (DWFF alumni 2009 & 2012, screenwriter Boo U starring Seth Rogan/Dreamworks, Magic 8 Ball/Paramount Pictures, and The Nutcracker/Universal Pictures).

Thursday’s panelists include Jay Cohen (Partner, Head of Film Financing & Packaging, The Gersh Agency); Cindy Cowan (Owner, Cindy Cowan Entertainment: Red Lights starring Robert DeNiro, Sigourney Weaver and Vanished pre-production with Pierce Bronson' Irish Dream Time); Jeff Kleeman (Formerly EVP MGM/UA, Producer: Change Up for Universal, Jack The Giant Killer for New Line and developing numerous films including The Man From U.N.C.L.E.); Melanie Miller (Vice President, Acquisitions Gravitas Ventures: 16-Love, American Teacher, Comic-Con Episode IV: A Fan’s Hope, The Perfect Family, A Warrior’s Heart).

DWF Wednesday's panelists (L-R) moderator Leslie Scallon, Laura Lewis (CAA Film Packaging), Michael Fey (Shoot The Noise Productions), Steve Wegner (Alcon Entertainment VP), and Dama Claire (Co-Founder Film Incentives Group) DWF Monday's panelists (L-R) Priscilla Ross (VP Tricoast Worldwide Intl. Sales), David Crockett (EVP GK Films) with moderator and DWF Founder Leslie Scallon.
DWF Tuesday's panelists (L-R) moderator Leslie Scallon, producer Robert Linden, Jane Fleming (Amber Entertainment), Darrien Michelle Gipson (SAG Indie National Director), and Jeff Begun (Film Incentives Group).