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?
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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.
Learn directly from Indiegogo Film Campaign Specialist, John T. Trigonis! Raising funds. Every filmmaker, director, screenwriter, even actors, has experienced the frustration. The introduction of crowdfunding through sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo has brought an incredible new opportunity to those looking to find funding for their films. However, running a successful campaign is not easy! Crowdfunding has revolutionized the way film and video projects are funded by taking the power from the corporations and putting it back into the hands of the creators. Because of this, it's not enough to run a simple, run-of-the-mill campaign on crowdfunding platforms like Indiegogo. Today, running a campaign must be an experience for the campaign owners and especially the contributors, and that's where innovation and creativity come into play, oftentimes spelling the difference between a short-lived stint in crowdfunding and a memorable communal experience. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, you will learn the history of crowdfunding, how to pre-market your campaign and you will walk away with basic & advanced techniques of running a crowdfunding experience! PRAISE FOR JOHN'S TEACHINGS: "Great information! Taking copious notes. Thanks John! Without your Stage 32 webinar, I bet our crowdfunding campaign would be a fail." - Lynn Hasselberger "Great Crowdfunding webinar! Valuable info!" - @unacceptableLev "Thank you Stage 32 for a brilliant webinar on crowdfunding. Great Stuff!" - @hidetheatreseek "I enjoyed it a lot." - Duncan Cork, Slated
For Hispanic Heritage Month (or Latinx Heritage Month), it's important to reflect on the contributions made by the Latinx community, consider the progress made and the work that still needs to be done to empower and raise up Latinx voices. This is especially true for the film and TV industry. Incredible work has been done in front of and behind the camera recently that showcases Latinx talent and culture, including films like COCO, ROMA and IN THE HEIGHTS and shows like VIDA, ON MY BLOCK, and more. And as the industry strives for more inclusiveness and equity, this is the time for more Latinx talent to share their voices and their stories around the world.But more than just celebrating accomplishments, it's important we take stock of where we are today. To continue creating change in the industry, we must review what representation exists and what is lacking, what is being made and watched, both in America and in Spanish-speaking countries, and how Latinx creatives can best find their foot in the door.Therefore, in honor of Latinx Heritage Month, Stage 32 has partnered with some of the industry's top leaders from both the U.S. and Latin markets who are dedicated to elevating the voices of the next generation of Latinos in entertainment. Together, we will be hosting a FREE no-holds-barred panel and discussion where our experts will discuss trends in the Spanish-speaking market, opportunities for bilingual content, language barriers in the U.S. and how to overcome them, and how to shorten your path to success.Plus we'll have an exclusive Q&A where YOU will have the opportunity to ask any questions you'd like.We'll see you there! Panelists Diego Cantu, Emmy Award Winning Screenwriter and Producer Guillermo Olivo, Director and Documentarian David Zannoni, International Business Specialist, Fintage House
Learn directly from David Landau, 30 year Lighting director and Director of Photography. The story could be the greatest in the world, but if the lighting is poor viewers will assume it’s amateurish and not take it seriously. Good lighting makes things look real, while real lighting often makes things look fake. Good lighting supports the emotional moment of the scene, contributes to the atmosphere of the story and can augment an artistic style. So, no matter how good a script, how good a director, how good the actors – the lighting needs to be as good if not better. The fact is, we can’t usually make good pictures without good lighting, no matter how good the newest cameras are. Yes, we can sometimes get lucky. But while shooting under available light gives exposure, it often lacks depth, contrast, contour, atmosphere and often separation. Well-crafted lighting helps establish the illusion of reality that is necessary for the viewer to forget they are watching a screen and get lost in the story. In this Stage 32 Next Level Webinar, host David Landau will go over the ten things all filmmakers need to know about lighting, sharing some of the techniques to artistic and effective lighting that he has learned both from working with a wide range of cinematographers and through his own career as a Lighting Director and Director of Photography. David will demonstrate live from the Fairleigh Dickinson University sound stage lighting techniques that will make your images shine like a Hollywood feature without a big Hollywood budget. David Landau has over thirty years of professional lighting experience working on feature films, TV shows, sit-coms, game shows, commercials, documentaries, industrial films, music videos and direct-to-consumer DVDs. David worked as one of the gaffers on the TV series Project Runway and is a five-time Telly Award winner for lighting and cinematography. He is a member of IATSE Local 52 (gaffer) and the University Film & Video Association and Media Communications Association International. He also is the author of the new book Lighting for Cinematography: A Practical Guide To The Art And Craft Of Lighting For The Moving Image from Bloomsbury Press.
Latin America has become a growing hot spot for film and television productions, and notable projects continue to arise from the area, including Academy Award-winning ROMA, Cannes Film Festival Palm d’Or nominee AQUARIUS (produced by a Stage 32 member!) and successful Netflix drama series NARCOS. With desirable film and television infrastructures, talented cast and crew on hand, and generous local incentives for productions, Latin American countries will no doubt continue serving as a booming market for foreign productions into the future. As a producer or filmmaker, understanding and working within this region can serve as a boon for you and your projects. Latin America might be a production hot spot, but it’s also a hard place to nail down. That’s because we’re talking about multiple countries with their own governments, incentives, cultures, treaties, and opportunities. And of course, all of these continue to change as countries shift and evolve. So what does this region look like right now from the point of view of a filmmaker? And how can you harness the opportunities these countries have to offer? Where do you even get started? David Zannoni is an expert in the Latin America industry. For over a decade he has represented Fintage House (the world’s largest collection account management agency) in the region, negotiating agreements for films and television series. David is involved in business development and relationship management specifically in the US, Latin America and Spain. David also runs Zannoni Media Advisors, where he focuses on international service providers in the film and TV industries, as well as film and TV productions in Latin America, among other places. David’s experience in global business as it relates to Latin America is unparalleled. David will dissect the booming and ever-changing Latin American film market to give you the bird’s eye view of what’s going on over there and how you can get involved. He will begin by discussing the region’s history with film and television productions, as well as the notable titles that have come from there recently. He will then delve into the main production hubs in Latin America on an individual basis—Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Dominican Republic, Uruguay, and Puerto Rico. He will then teach you the main types of incentives offered in the region, including tax rebates, tax exemptions, and discounts, and how those differ country-to-country. Next, David will go over how co-productions work in Latin America and the benefits that come along with them. He will outline the different co-production treaties in place and how you can use these to your advantage. He will discuss how Latin American films are financed, how they’re distributed, and how standard revenue models work there. He will then give you the tools to successfully approach businesses in this region and warn you of the common pitfalls you may come up against. He’ll then lay out the services offered in these regions that you can use, as well as the Latin American markets and festivals worth investing your time in. This is the ultimate guide to everything you need to know to produce in Latin America. Praise for David's Webinar: "I learned so much! Thank you" -Janet M. "I was not expecting David to give us so much specific information about producing in Latin America. This was incredibly helpful" -Mario T. "One of the most thorough and informative webinars I've ever been on. Thanks David and Stage 32!" -Holly B. "David knows so much about this! It was great to learn from an actual expert" -Benjamin R.
How Artificial Intelligence is Revolutionizing the Casting Process and Impacting Actors Learn about the implications of artificial intelligence on the acting and casting industries from Sami Arpa, Ph.D., a leader in the intersection of technology and filmmaking Get ahead of the curve and learn how the future of AI will play a huge role in casting! With the recent advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, every industry is about to get a major overhaul in terms of operations and productivity. The film industry - specifically casting - is no exception. Have you ever wondered how AI can be used to optimize casting choices? Or create a level playing field for all actors? How about the ethical and moral implications of using AI to recreate actors from the past? All of these questions will be fundamental in the decision making process in casting in the near future, and making yourself an expert on the issues will put you in a stronger position to best position yourself and your career. In this webinar, we will explore the ways in which artificial intelligence is transforming the casting process and impacting the acting industry. We will discuss how AI can be used to enhance the casting process, including analyzing screenplays to gain a better understanding of characters and building the cinematographic DNAs of actors. By using AI, actors and talent agents can find the best actor choices for each character, resulting in more successful projects and better career planning. Additionally, we will provide examples of how AI can be used to address the diversity problems in casting by designing unbiased algorithms that remove the problem of bias in terms of race and gender. Additionally, we will also discuss the potential drawbacks and ethical considerations of AI, including concerns over deepfakes and fake actor voices with AI audio synthesis. We will explore how these issues are posing threats to the careers of many working actors. You will be taught by Sami Arpa, Ph.D., the founder and CEO of Largo – a Switzerland-based company that provides data-assisted intelligence to the audio-visual industry. Sami will share his expertise in the fields of AI, machine learning, and film will provide you with invaluable insight in navigating the future of AI in casting and the film industry at large. During the webinar, Sami will provide you with practical tips for actors, casting directors, and talent agents on how to update their workflow and incorporate AI into their practices. PLUS! Sami will provide you with a copy of his presentation in a document you can utilize going forward! Praise for Sami's Teaching & Knowledge: “WOW, Sami's insight into AI and how it is and will be used in film is mind blowing. The future is here.” – Thomas M. "I had the pleasure of learning about the future of AI in Hollywood...and beyond...from Sami and it was worth every penny." - Chris R.