Viewster Online Film Fest kicks off tomorrow where a huge pile of new films and series will be available on our platform for you to watch and vote on, free of charge. We’re pretty amped about that. Pretty amped as in, excitement levels are currently at a level of our chests bursting open and rainbows zooming out towards the sky at the speed of light.
I quickly grabbed Simon, who manages our festival (which by the way boasts $100k in cash prizes) for a few minutes to talk about what you guys can expect from #VOFF 2. Just so you know, this means trying to get actual human words out of a person currently in a repeating 1-hour cycle of world-class-chess-player-like-focus, uncontrollable psychotic laughter, simultaneously screaming at and cutely hugging his laptop, crying tears of joy followed by downing a liter of soy milk in about 13 seconds.
V: So Simon, given the fact that you and your team had to screen almost 1.000 films for this edition of #VOFF, did you actually sleep or eat for the past week?
S: Indeed there wasn’t really much time to sleep… but I would never skip eating, otherwise I become a raging bull. We have been truly overwhelmed by the huge pile of submissions and frankly speaking, I wasn’t prepared for this. For our first online film festival we “only” had 165 submissions, screened by Tilman and myself—and this time around, that number is way, way higher.
Seeing as the submission deadline was so close to the festival going live, we actually had to start screening all of the candidates during submission phase and finish on May 23. In order to make this happen, we called on a few of our filmmaker friends to help us screen the submissions. So we’ve actually been a team of five people sitting in front of the screen for a week straight, day and night. But it was worth it. We’ll have really, really great stuff in this edition.
V: Is anything different in our second festival, compared to the first one?
S: Besides the fact that we have seven times the amount of selected entries, the one major improvement is our new ranking system. We put our heads together and discussed for hours and hours on end, how we could re-work this integral functionality of the festival. Funnily enough, the solution had already been lying in front of us as my colleague Randall already had a concept in the drawer: HotScore. Basically, it’s a mathematical formula which takes the user interaction and a long list of other metrics into account. This way we can provide a fair contest, that is not only about having the biggest fanbase—but about having good content and an engaged community.
V: What’s up with the weird-hairy-octopus-smooching-Leonid-Brezhnev-artwork for #VOFF 2?
S: Haha, could you image a better symbol for complicated relationships than this shot??? Our Art Director, Marina, came up with this great idea of taking the political fraternity of Brezhnev and Honecker but replacing one of them with something weird. Our illustrator Timo then brought this little nice lady to life. A pity that we need to change our key visual for every edition.
V: Three reasons why people should go and watch #VOFF entries?
S: First of all because they can! Usually film festivals happen somewhere on the ground, and are mostly restricted to a limited audience paying to see a few entries because they can’t get tickets in time or due to overlapping screenings. #VOFF offers professionally produced films, globally online, for two weeks for free to the public.
Secondly, people can see a huge variety of content which hasn’t been filtered by any gatekeepers yet, as opposed to what happens at regular film festivals. We, the Viewster staff, do not curate the submissions; we only check them for respecting our regulations and the theme. We don’t say what’s good and what’s not—it’s completely up to our audience to curate the festival entries. Given this fact, the third reason is having the power to influence the results and hereby what is shown to our Jury of Experts. People can support the entries they love to get on top of the list by watching, sharing and engaging.