Audience Awards Launches Film Festival with Focus On Innovation And Diversity

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

The Audience Awards Film Festival, a four-day festival, will showcase 110 award-winning short films by world-class filmmakers, highlight the next generation of storytellers and celebrate some of the most respected, diverse industry veterans of our time.

Honorees at the inaugural event include award-winning documentarian Ondi Timoner (DIG!, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC, BRAND: A Second Coming), who will be recognized with the Maverick Award; Effie Brown (Dear White People, But I’m a Cheerleader), who will receive the Trailblazer Award; Paz Lenchantin of The Pixies, will be the recipient of the Avant-Garde Award; and Jacques Thelemaque, President of Filmmakers Alliance, will be honored with the Community Impact Award.  The festival runs April 6-9th, 2017, at the Laemmle Noho and El Portal Theaters.

“We celebrate diverse, emerging storytellers by providing a global platform for their voices to be heard,” says Paige Williams, Audience Awards’ Founder and CEO. “Our inaugural AudFest in LA honors and elevates the stories of new filmmakers and of the venerated industry leaders who carved the path for them.”

Partners, panelists and moderators come to AudFest from Paramount, Disney, MACRO, SAG-AFTRA, SAGIndie, Women In Film,The Black List, Too Fab,  Tangerine Entertainment,  ColorCreativeÆTV, LA Times, Indiewire, Vice, “Empire,” Film LA, AFCI, Pro8mm, Kodak, Panavision, Outfest, The Sundance Institute, GOOD DOCS, New Filmmakers LA and Filmmakers Alliance.

Audience Awards is still accepting narrative and documentary submissions for its Women’s Film Challenge. Films or excerpts of films, 7 minutes or less, made with a woman in an above-the-line position are encouraged to submit before the March 17th deadline. Ten winning films will receive a total of $27,500 in cash and prizes and have a red carpet screening on Saturday, April 8th.

WFC winning filmmakers will also be matched with top-tier women in the film industry at a mentorship brunch during the festival. Participants include Svetlana Cvetko, award-winning cinematographer; Deniese Davis, COO of ColorCreative.TV; Sarah Halley Finn, casting director; Darrien Michele Gipson, National Director of SAGindie; Moira Griffin, Senior Manager of Diversity Incentives at Sundance Institute; Poppy Hanks, SVP of Development and Production for MACRO; Debbie Liebling, entertainment executive and film producer; Roberta Marie Munroe, award-winning director, producer and author; Lynnette Ramirez, Content Creator and Executive Manager at 51 Minds Entertainment; and Orly Ravid, Founder/Co-Executive Director of the distribution nonprofit The Film Collaborative and an entertainment attorney at MSK (Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP).

Jury members for WFC include Fanshen Cox DiGovanni, award-winning actor, producer and educator; Sarah Feinbloom, award-winning documentary filmmaker and Founder and Director at GOOD DOCS; Cassidy Freeman of “Longmire” and “Smallville”; Cristina Garza, General Manager at Mundial; Lily Gladstone, award-winning actress of Certain Women; Lisa Hasko, Manager of Documentary Programs and Fiscal Sponsorship at Film Independent; Margaret Lazarus, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, author and lecturer; and Erin O’Malley, TV producer and director; Freida Lee Mock, Oscar-winning filmmaker; Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Women In Film; Carol Trussell, Head of Production for Gaumont International Television.


Thursday, April 6th:  

Jacques Thelemaque is honored with Audience Awards’ Community Impact Award, followed by a screening of a short film from Filmmakers Alliance.

Paz Lenchantin performs live to accompany her Super 8 film The Spider Lady and then receives the Avant-Garde Award. Her performance is followed by the world premiere screening of the Super8 One Roll Film Challenge winners, also with live music accompaniment.

Friday, April 7th:  

Effie Brown will receive the Trailblazer Award followed by a conversation on her career and her commitment to diversity moderated by Franklin Leonard, Founder, CEO: The Black List. Next is a screening of the award-winning Fusion Doc Challenge shorts, all of which were shot, edited and produced in 120 hours.

Saturday, April 8th: 

Audience Awards’ Maverick Award goes to Ondi Timoner. A conversation about her groundbreaking career will be moderated by Anne Thompson, Editor-at-Large at Indiewire, followed by the red carpet screening of the Women’s Film Challenge short-film winners.  

Sunday, April 9th: 

Awards Ceremony and Farewell Brunch where filmmakers from Women’s Film Challenge, Pro8 and the other screening blocks will be eligible to receive over $30,000 in cash and prizes from companies including Panavision, Audience Awards, Filmstro Pro, Tangerine Entertainment, POV, Pro8mm, Kodak, Montana Film Office and VideoMaker. 


Opportunities in Branded Content: Moderated by David S. Cohen, Digital Features Director for Variety, AudFest attendees will hear about identifying brand collaborations to sustain a rewarding career as a short-form filmmaker. Panelists include industry leaders from Audience Awards, SXM, Ketchum Sports & Entertainment, and PatternBreak. 

Secrets to Successful Productions: Moderator Ilyanne Morden Kichaven, Executive Director of Los Angeles SAG-AFTRA, will help narrow down the vital nuts and bolts of filmmaking, including permits, contract negotiation and location scouting. Panelists include executives from Donaldson + Callif, LLP, Film LA, AFCI, and the Youth and Gender Media Project. 

Talking Festival Strategy with the Experts: Moderated by Mark Olsen, staff writer for the LA Times, panelists talk navigating the festival circuit, submissions strategy, planning your premiere and life after the festival circuit. Festival experts are with the Seattle, Palm Springs, Tribeca, Outfest, and Hollywood Shorts film festivals. 

Social Impact Through Filmmaking: Moderated by Rachel De Leon, Emmy-winning video producer and reporter for The Pulitzer-prize winning Center for Investigative Reporting, social influencers will talk about how to successfully deliver your message through media to engage a global community. Contributors are from Participant Media, VICE Media, Inc., along with award-winning filmmaker Phillip Rodriguez.  

Inside the Writers’ Room with Story Editors from “Empire”: Moderator Joseph Kapsch, Managing Editor of TooFab, will have a conversation with JaNeika and JaSheika James, sisters and story editors for FOX’s “Empire.” 


The Power of Super 8 Film - Insider Tips Every Filmmaker Should Know: Pro8mm hosts the first of two AudFest workshops. This one will demystify the Super 8 workflow, including camera choices, film stock options, scanning choices and delivery of content.

Do a Shot with Pro8mm: Pro8mm’s second workshop will be a hands-on film workshop, sending AudFest filmmaker participants out into the world to capture festival outtakes with an opportunity to edit the collective reel and create an Audience Awards trailer.

IGNITE THE VISIONARY - Focusing on Lens: A Fearless Film School workshop, offered by award-winning directors and DPs Liz Hinlein and Anka Malatynska, gives filmmakers tools to become more masterful storytellers.




ABOUT Audience Awards

Audience Awards began as a digital film challenge platform, connecting filmmakers with opportunity and support, yet has become so much more. Online, Audience Awards’ filmmakers have the opportunity to create authentic, high-quality films for brands like GoDaddy, Hilton Worldwide and Kodak and compete in other creative contests. Our short films have premiered at prestigious festivals like Hot Docs, Slamdance and DOCNYC. They have been Oscar-qualifying and Emmy-nominated. With an international filmmaker collective and a community of 150,000, Audience Awards Film Festival gives this significant online community and prestigious filmmaker collective the chance to finally meet face-to-face.

Haute Tease

  • Reginald Hudlin To Produce Academy's 2014 Governors Awards

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Los Angeles, CA — Reginald Hudlin will produce the 6th Annual Governors Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. 

  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Impeachment, UK Tory Win, NZ Volcano, Greta Thunburg/Bob Iger, Danny Aiello

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    After a day of contentious debate, the House Judiciary committee approved two Articles of Impeachment against President Donald J. Trump, making him the fourth president in history to face the possibility of removal of duties from Impeachment.

  • Tyler Hilton Secues London's Blue Soap To Arrange Interviews and Airplay for US Tour

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    We're delighted to be working with musician and One Tree Hill actor Tyler Hilton to secure airplay and arrange interviews ahead of his upcoming 30 city American tour. The focus tracks from the album and advance dates are enclosed! Support is hugely appreciated!

  • American Film Institute Names Juli Goodwin Chief Communications Officer

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The American Film Institute (AFI) has appointed industry veteran Juli Goodwin as its new Chief Communications Officer who brings more than 25 years of experience to AFI, most recently as Executive Vice President of Domestic Publicity for Warner Bros. Pictures.  

  • Beltway Insider: Trump, Allies Bomb Syria; Paul Ryan Retires; Gay Serial Killer; Ingraham Loses Another; Milos Forman

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump, British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron united against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad use of chemical weapons launched strategic airstrikes against the dictatorial leader's weapons strongholds in the capital of Damascus.

  • Icarus Films and Itinerant Pictures Presents "Ursula Von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own"

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Ursula Von Rydingsvard: Into Her Own, a virtual release, is an artistic biography of one of the few women in the world working in large-scale sculptures which have been highlighted in museums, and in public spaces around the world.