Summer is upon us and amongst the warm evenings and longer days, festivals across the country are bombarded with hopeful entrants, aching for a chance to showcase their talent to a wide audience. The prestige of winning an award, let alone being accepted is an important milestone in any filmmaker's journey and a pilgrimage far and few get to reach. The Elevation Indie Film Awards understands this and is here to lend a helping hand.
A festival birthed by indie filmmakers, for indie filmmakers, Conor Armstrong Sanfey and Kealan Ryan understand the difficulties faced when breaking into the world of commercialised film festivals. Separating themselves from others in the field, Elevation offers an alternative avenue for featuring both short and feature films, explaining; “We knew from the start the basis of the festival was to support indie filmmakers and judge each film individually on its own merits. Our job is to support filmmakers and provide them with a positive experience.”
It's an experience that adopts a non-competitive stance, giving the festival a significant draw in allowing filmmakers from all backgrounds the opportunity to have their work merited for its own distinct style. This is a huge incentive when considering that the work will be critiqued by directors, producers, writers, casting agents and actors; all of whom are seasoned in the struggles of creating film.
Stand-out awards are given to the select few who impress the judges further. Films that present a high artistic and technical standard are offered the Award of Merit. The Spotlight Award was given to An Afterlife for its high artistic quality and creativity. But it was Non-Transferable, a millennial romantic comedy that took the Pinnacle Award in a season where “the standard was very high. We had entries from all over the world. The film 'Non Transferable' won best feature and will get a showcase screening in September. It is a hugely impressive debut feature film, and we really hope it gets the recognition it deserves”. Each of the winners will be screened as a part of the Ranelagh Arts Festival later in the year.
With season one regarded as a huge success, attention is now diverted toward season two bringing about greater expectations and, one would hope, an expanded assemblage. So what is the criteria? Apart from being established as an independent production with a creative vision, the limits are endless. “We are looking for independent films: films made outside of studio support. We accept any genre, any budget.”
A festival not defined by design becomes an exciting prospect when imagining the diverse artists that will attend. A festival lives or dies based upon its social networks. To presume Elevation would focus on home grown talent in their city of Dublin would be inaccurate. “There are so many talented creative individuals around the world, and to connect with filmmakers from around the world is hugely beneficial. We have had films from USA, UK, Germany, France, India and numerous other countries,” thus opening the doors of perception, exhibiting a spectrum of influences and cultural exchanges. All in the name of independent cinema.
Approaching Elevation's next entry deadline of 27th June 2017, we urge the creative community to take a leap and submit your projects: especially those who may feel disconnected from the mainstream circuits. Your work is invaluable to the integrity of independent cinema and is needed within a community of die hard filmmakers who are looking to elevate their craft and those around them – pun very much intended.