Daniel Sol is the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and formerly a theatrical sales executive for Lionsgate. With a passion for film and filmmaking since childhood, Daniel decided to move to California in 2000 with an interest in the film business. After working on commercial productions as a production assistant for Tony Kaye Films and then acting in various films, he gained an understanding of the filmmaking process. After graduating at Cal State Northridge in 2006, he realized that young filmmakers had very little access to industry professionals, and few options for screening their films. And thus, the HollyShorts Film Festival was born. Now in its 13th year, HollyShorts has quickly become the most influential short film festival in Los Angeles, with Daniel guiding it as Festival Director and lead programmer for the festival and the HollyShorts Monthly Screening Series, which takes place each month at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. Aside from HollyShorts, Sol also battled daily with domestic exhibitors as a theatrical sales executive at Lionsgate from 2008-2014. Mr. Sol is also the co founder of the premium Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV content channel BITPIX (www.bitpixtv.com). He married Puah Benzicron May 29th 2016. Full Bio »
We're excited to take a peak behind the curtain into the mind of a film festival director to talk about what they look for when programming a festival. We've brought in the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival, Daniel Sol, to go over the everything you need to know when you are considering submitting your short film to a festival.
About Daniel, Director of Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival
Why do film festivals reject short films? Accept films?
Q: What is the format of a webinar?
A: Stage 32 Next Level Webinars are typically 90-minute broadcasts that take place online using a designated software program from Stage 32.
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Q: What if I cannot attend the live webinar?
A: If you attend a live online webinar, you will be able to communicate directly with your instructor during the webinar. If you cannot attend a live webinar and purchase an On-Demand webinar, you will have access to the entire recorded broadcast, including the Q&A.
Q: Will I have access to the webinar afterward to rewatch?
A: Yes! After the purchase of a live or On-Demand webinar, you will have on-demand access to the audio recording, which you can view as many times as you'd like for a whole year!
It’s the dream of almost every filmmaker to one day get nominated for and win an Academy Award. It’s the gold standard that everyone strives for—from burgeoning film students to Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet this goal can also feel utterly unattainable. It’s The Oscars after all. Awards go to Meryl Streep and Martin Scorsese, not to me. Believe it or not, you absolutely have a path to the Oscars. It’s more possible than you think, and countless talented independent filmmakers find their way through the nomination process without big money, without big celebrities, and without big studio backing, but instead with just a really fantastic project. Don’t throw that dream away. There’s a road to the Oscars that you can take. Finding your way into the Oscars Ceremony is possible, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy or just happens organically. The Academy Awards are a competition, and like any competition, they come with rules and regulations, procedures, and strategies to win. If you want to one day see Oscar gold, you need to make a fantastic film, but you also have to understand the ins and outs of the awards, the politics that surround it, and where you can best fit in. Let’s explore. Daniel Sol is the co-founder and co-director of the Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and has helped multiple filmmakers through the Oscar qualification process, including the short film SKIN which won the Academy Award after premiering and qualifying at his festival. Daniel was formerly a theatrical sales executive before he founded HollyShorts as a response to seeing that young filmmakers had little access to industry professionals and few options for screening their films. Now in its 17th year, HollyShorts has quickly become the most influential short film festival in Los Angeles, with Daniel guiding it as Festival Director and lead programmer for the festival. Daniel is also the co founder of the premium Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV content channel BITPIX. Daniel’s long experience at the helm of an Academy-qualifying film festival has given him a unique perspective on what it actually takes for filmmakers to find their way to an Oscar nomination. Exclusively for Stage 32, Daniel is going to break down exactly what it takes to qualify your film for an Academy Award and the steps you can take to score a nomination or even become an Oscar winner. He’ll lay out how the Academy nomination process works and will dive into current trends, explaining what sort of themes and genres are more likely to ultimately get nominated. He will then break down the qualification process and the different ways you can get your own project qualified, including through qualifying festivals and other avenues. Daniel will finally talk about steps you can take and what to expect after your film is qualified, including strategies to better your chances of hopefully getting nominated. Becoming an Oscar-nominated filmmaker is not as out of reach as you may think, and Daniel will break down what you can do to better make this dream a reality.
Every successful filmmaker has, at some point in their career, written, directed, and/or produced a short film. For filmmakers who are just starting out, a short film is the best calling card to showcase their unique talent and vision. It is important to remember that short filmmaking is different from feature filmmaking, with challenges unique to the process. Even so, producing a short film may seem daunting, but there are several key secrets to getting the most out of your project. This intensive 5-week course will give students the tools and techniques necessary to produce a world class short film. Each week will be dedicated to a different aspect of the short filmmaking process, including, concept development and writing of your short, budgeting and scheduling, understanding and drafting production agreements, pro-tips on directing actors, and how to get the most out of the post production process. Students are strongly encouraged to come with ideas for a short film, which will be developed over the course of the 4 weeks, so by the conclusion of the class, the should have a screenplay ready for production.
Learn directly from Kristy Maurer, VP of Development, who’s worked on Looper, Side Effects, and Academy-award nominated An Education. So you want to make a film but don’t know where to start – sound familiar? You have this great idea for a film. Or, you’ve found the script, maybe attached some talent, and are ready to get things in motion for production. But what are your next steps? How do you get from script to screen? What is the difference between pre, post, and good old regular production? What about financing? How do you market it? So many questions! Producing, and especially independent producing, can be very complex, and with so many options out there it’s sometimes hard to know what is important to know and what you can skip. Here is your one-stop crash course on Indie Film Producing - Indie Film Producing 101, if you will. Whether you’re producing the film yourself, looking for independent producers to bring on board, or have signed a deal with an independent production company, it’s important to know the steps involved in producing a film independently, no matter your role in the filmmaking process. Indie films are getting produced and distributed every day, and it’s time to learn how to take your vision for your film and make it a reality! Kristy Maurer is currently the Director of Development at Endgame Entertainment (Looper, Side Effects, An Education) and has worked in a wide variety of production positions for film and TV. Having worked on network shows, such as Friday Night Lights to independent films, such as Elvis and Annabelle, starting Blake Lively, she knows the ins and outs of producing and can help you learn all you need to know to get your film produced and made. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, Kristy will walk you through every step of the production process, from where to start with the script, to creating production plans, to marketing, even adding in case studies of independent films in the past few years that have made a profit and how they did it. This will be your go-to guide for all things Indie Film Producing and give you a great foundation for understanding the process of production on an Indie scale.
It is an honor and a privilege to bring you the worldwide premiere of the 5th Annual Stage 32 Short Film Program on Stage 32! Our seven winning filmmakers hail from all over the world, and we could not be more excited to share their undeniable talents with you. We were proud to screen these films in the 2020 Oscar-qualifying Hollyshorts Film Festival and the Raindance Film Festival in London. And, we're even more proud to showcase the international premiere to all of the development executives, agents, managers and agents that work with us. Since 2016, the Stage 32 Short Film Contest has served as an unparalleled incubator for finding talented filmmakers and helping them forge connections that make their careers blossom. Our past finalists have gone on to be signed by Paradigm, APA, Gersh, Verve, Echo Lake, Circle of Confusion and more! Congratulations to all the 5th Annual Short Film Contest winners, we cannot wait to see where your talents take you.
In today’s climate, independent filmmakers and producers are expected to make their movies on lower and lower budgets. This is hard enough for a simple or grounded drama, but what if your film includes supernatural elements or other aspects that require effects? How can you keep the budget low while still including the monsters, explosions, illusions, and other that can only be made possible special and visual effects? As it turns out, it’s more possible than you might think, especially with the right preparation. Whether you need to work with practical special effects or include visual effects in post, the key is always careful planning ahead of time. There are many pitfalls that producers and filmmakers can run into when working with effects, including going over budget and not getting the result your film needs, but these can always be overcome with the appropriate preparation, research and understanding ahead of time. So how exactly do experienced indie producers prep for effects? What can be done in early pre-production and throughout? And how can you make sure that, even on a low budget, your effects are, well, effective? Let’s explore. Micah Gallo is an award-winning writer, director, cinematographer, producer and post-production expert who has been making films for over ten years and has worked on effects and post-production for over 40 feature films. A filmmaker from an early age, Micah’s fascination with visual composition and technology inspired him to cofound the award winning post-production facility Lit Post where he built the company up and collaborated with other top artists to design new cutting-edge effects previously unavailable for independent films. As a filmmaker, Micah has earned several Best Director and Best Cinematography awards as well as the Emerging Cinematography award for Achievement in Cinematography from the International Cinematographers Guild. Micah most recently served as writer, director, producer and post production supervisor on the celebrated cult creature feature ITSY BITSY, starring Bruce Davison (X-MEN) and Denise Crosby (STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION). Micah’s excited to bring his experience both as a writer/director and as a post-production expert to the Stage 32 community. Using his experience both as a filmmaker and an effects guru, Micah will walk you through the steps you need to take as an independent filmmaker to include visual effects and special effects into your film at any budget. He’ll go through the process of analyzing your script with an eye for effects, how to research and get bids from vendors, and incorporating effects into both your shot lists and storyboards. Micah will also give you tips on how to handle the critical lighting and video testing phase of effects and how you can work with your DP, AD, and production designer to ensure everyone’s on the same page. Micah will also lay out how to handle effects while on set and how you should be shooting for VFX. He will also teach you how to navigate effects shots in post-production. Throughout, Micah will be providing specific examples from his own award-winning film ITSY BITSY, which heavily used both special effects and VFX, and using this as a case study you can take back to your own project.
If there's one subject that seems to confound and confuse filmmakers, producers, screenwriters, financiers and even set designers more than any other, it's the world of product placement. Can you raise meaningful money through product placement? What products can I put in my film or screenplay and which should be avoided? What are the legalities when dealing with product placement? These are all very valid and important questions. Those who understand the way the product placement industry (and it is an industry unto itself) works use this aspect of the production process to raise significant funds and stay on the north side of any potential legal issues. Those who fail to understand often have difficulties with clearances (and by virtue, issues securing sales and distribution) and may find themselves on the south side of some major lawsuits that include claims copyright infringement, misuse, and other serious charges. While the world of product placement was once considered to be an unregulated wild west of backroom deals and shady characters, it is now developed into an extremely controlled and accessible industry. Choosing a partner in this arena can lead to monetary deals that can help you close the rest of your financing. It can also help you fund parts of your pre-production phase. But most of all, it can lead to creative flexibility for your screenwriter, your director, your producer, your set designer, and even your crew. Over a 20+ year career in the film industry, David Patterson has worked as a writer, director and producer on dozens of projects. His films have played at Sundance and other prestigious film festivals which have garnered him sales to distribution outlets and various networks including Sundance Channel, Starz Channel and Warner Bros. David's work attracted the attention of Disney and his Bridge To Terabithia, was a huge studio release and box office success for the studio. More recently, David’s film, The Great Gilly Hopkins, starring Glenn Close, Octavia Spencer, Kathy Bates and Julia Stiles opened theatrically to rave reviews. Throughout this journey he has always used product placement to help with the success of each of his films. David will demystify and clearly explain the world of product placement and how you can best utilize a product placement strategy for your project. He will start by defining product placement - it may surprise you to know there are over 12 answers! He will then dive into how you can use just about everything to help you with product placement from your script, to your cast and crew to your producers to locations to utilizing your actors. He will teach you how to secure product placement - where to look, how to approach, how to close a deal. He will show you how the legalities of product placement for film festivals and commercial release differ and what you need to have buttoned up. He will explain E & O insurance and if you truly need it at all. He will also go into all the mistakes filmmakers make along the way and share some horror stories from filmmaker/producer friends and how you can avoid making the same mistakes - mistakes that can cost you money, time, endorsements and put you into legal peril. Additionally, David will teach you all the tips and tricks he's learned along the way to get the most out of your product placement strategies and build relationships with the right companies and brands so you can go back to the well time and time again! "Brilliant." - Jonathan C. "I was so unfamiliar with this world. Incredible breakdown of what and what not to do. This one truly opened my eyes. Can't recommend it enough." - Heather P. "David, where have you been my entire producing life?" - Priya R. "I don't throw this word around often, but this webinar was genius." - Alan L.