RAW’s 3rd annual film festival is back! With a night full of live music and performances, bomb-dot-com food, and incredible short films crafted by the most talented filmmakers, we had to get the scoop on what else to expect with the creator and director of RAW Film Festival himself, Nick Night! Check out our interview and discover how you can support the independent film community!
Brought to you by our team: Rafael Lumang
Hey Nick! Welcome back for the 3rd Annual RAW Film Festival (RAWFF)! For those who might not know you, please introduce yourself.
Hey! I'm Nick Night, creator and director of RAW Film Fest here in Los Angeles.
How did you get involved in independent films?
I've been making films from a young age, since before high school. Then I caught the festival bug as a teen by getting selected by a few local shows in my Bay Area home town. I loved being around like-minded creatives and people who shared a similar passion. From there I went to art school and discovered just how independent I wanted my own work to remain. I created this festival in part to get in better touch with other independents working in the scene.
How did you find RAW and what sparked this RAWFF project?
I worked for RAW for a while doing video production for the organization. I saw space to elaborate on their support of film artists and came to them with the idea to start a new event that would highlight filmmakers on a local level. It's unlike other RAW shows in that the filmmakers do not have to sell tickets, but the underground ethos and wide multidisciplinary scope remain the same.
What makes RAWFF unique from other film festivals?
Our festival acts more like a high concept art show in many respects. Performances and installations are either connected to the films shown or showcase the integrative work of the selected filmmakers in other mediums. We pack so much into a short 12 hour period that we call it a pop-up. Blink and you might miss it… which you don't want to do. Trust me.
How do you think RAWFF helps indie filmmakers?
We are just providing another platform for fresh filmmakers who have often already had some recognition for their work, but may not be connected with their local peers and fans. We've connected filmmakers with press, collaborators, distributors, and platform builders in an organic fun atmosphere that doesn't feel like a networking hour. Our hope is to build a bridge between indiewood and the art film scene for the sake of keeping things innovative and sharp.
What tips do you have for filmmakers interested in submitting for their local film festivals?
Do your research and know your audience! Sure, submit to the top festivals but know there is a real chance they may not even watch your work at all and your submission fee becomes a charitable donation. Most local and regional festivals are niche driven, so visit their websites and read their mission statements. Attend their events and determine if your work will speak to their programmers. Don't submit blindly and don't bother with elaborate cover letters. The work needs to speak for itself and often times the literature is ignored entirely.
Outside of RAWFF, how can audiences further support independent films and filmmakers?
We all know how important social media is these days. If you see something you love at our (or any) festival, let your audience know! Post about it and don't forget to tag away. Encourage them to follow the film or production company's page for more chances to see their work at future festivals and screenings. Word of mouth is so essential for success in independent film.
What new and exciting things can we expect from this upcoming RAWFF?
We have the most virtual reality projects yet! Five amazing experiences total. Including Lily Baldwin's expressionistic dance piece "Through You" which premiered at Sundance last year, and Lucas Rizzotto's interactive think piece "Where Thoughts Go". We also have a dance performance from kinetic filmmaker Erin Murray and a lush live set from rapper Waju. And as always our whole short film program is highly engrossing and not to be missed. There's plenty more you'll have discover by getting a ticket and coming down!