Skyline Indie Film Fest

Skyline Indie Film Fest

Skyline Indie Film Fest

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from the Director

Looking Ahead to SkIFF 2014

The new year is bearing down upon us at breakneck pace and we here at Skyline already lining up interviews, collating information, dreaming up big time sponsors and thinking of way to make Skyline Indie Film Fest 2014 amazing.  We had a great inaugural event in September 2013 and the feedback was amazing.  Filmmakers that were present were pleased and several plan on making a return visit this year whether their next project is complete or not.  The venue owners were great, accommodating and supportive almost all of them are going to be with us in 2014 and we couldn’t be happier.   Here’s to a great festival in 2014.

Goals for 2014 are simply making Skyline Indie Film Fest bigger and better without losing focus on the principle, indie film.  We hope to at least double the number of films (screeners and judges, you’ve been warned!), better focus our marketing and outreach to build our audience, more day-of presence, and we hope to include an opening reception, awards banquet (informal), live music events, and more.  It’s going to be a great 3 days!

I’m very happy to have Addie Lingle back this year as festival programming manager.  Last year Addie was tasked as a screener and as SkIFF progressed she became one of our most vocal ambassadors.  We’re very excited that she has stepped up and is willing to donate her time and energies continue to grow this festival.  Thanks Addie, can’t wait to get started!

Keep your eyes peeled for announcements in the near future!  We’re working on events and activities between now and festival weekend to keep you indie spirit high and satisfied!



Tickets and Passes

Tickets are on sale now through this website and, just search for “skyline indie film fest”.  Matinee shows are 7.50 and evening shows are 9.50.  The Double Features showing at Willow Grove are 12:50 unless you walk or bike to that show then you’ll get a 1/2 price discount!  Just use promo “green-feet” if you buy in advance (this is only for Willow Grove shows).  There is also a festival pass available, in advance, for $50.  One low price and all the festival programming you can fit in!  Limited availability and on sale until Thursday September 12, 2013 at noon!  Pay online, bring your ticket to the Winchester Book Gallery and exchange it for your souvenir bracelet which will then be your pass to get in every show.  Get yours today!

Got questions about the festival?  Email us or call The Winchester Book Gallery for information, times, directions and anything else.  For up to the moment information, changes, additional screenings, surprises, contests, and more follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

We hope you’ll join us for the fun.  Happy screenings everyone!


So How Does This Thing Work?

I’ve been asked how Skyline Indie Film Fest is going to work?  How did you get it off the ground?  Is it open to the public?  How much are tickets?  Is there going to be an awards ceremony?  So obviously there is a dearth of information about the festival.  Let’s get that squared away, shall we?

September of 2011 I thought I should take on this adventure of launching an indie film fest to take place here in Winchester.  I’d use venues and vendors from Old Town, City of Winchester, and Frederick County and capitalize on a wealth of sense of community in this area and try to create a new, hip, cultural event that can appeal to a wide range of demographics.  Days, weeks, and months later I’d gone over all aspects I could think of to launch this event.  Speaking with potential venues, sponsors, filmmakers, restaurants and caterers, web designers and marketing companies.  I soon realized this would have to be a bootstrap event and hope that people would get excited and come aboard to help “foster the indie spirit”.  They did, they, have, and they still are.

I solicited filmmakers from around the world.  Thousands of emails, hundreds of phone calls, faxes, re-directions from filmmaker to distribution specialists, to studios and on and on.  After some time my pitch became solid and I started getting traction and ultimately submissions started rolling in.  Each submission gets viewed by the festival screening committee.  Three volunteers are on the committee and majority rules, two yeas it’s an official selection, two nays and it’s thanks for your participation but you’re not in the competitive festival.  As director of the festival I reserve the right to program some of the nays, non-competitively, during festival weekend.  …perk…

Official selections are then sent the judges!  All of whom I hope will be in attendance on festival weekend.  These four volunteers were asked to participate based on several criteria and a great respect for their opinion on film and filmmaking.  They will return their results, comments, and ratings of each film to me and then I’ll commission the trophies!  Every official selection will be programmed multiple times during festival weekend and each screening is open to the public.  Matinees are $7.00, evening shows are $9.00-$9.50 and will be available online as programming gets finalized.  You’ll be able to pay at the door of each venue, too, but we recommend purchasing your tickets in advance.  Many of the filmmakers and actors will be present and available for Q&A sessions so we hope as audience members you’ll be inclined to engage the filmmakers after the screenings.

We hope we can put together an awards presentation ceremony but we’re playing fast and loose for now.  We are coming down to the wire as festival weekend is only 5 weeks away and there are so many plans still up in the air.  Just remember; we’re indie, we’re bootstrap, and we’ll get it done!

Entry Fees and the “Us and Them” Mentality

Below you’ll find a dated article about film festival submission fees and a well-constructed argument of reasons to not pay entry fees.  This sentiment still rings loudly today among filmmakers, as I’ve recently found out.  I’d like to take a moment to relay our submission process and entry fee protocol here at Skyline Indie Film Fest.  And for anyone for whom this was previously unclear, please note that the following is our process and if it was relayed to any filmmaker by anyone, including myself, as otherwise, I apologize.

We take submissions from filmmakers the world over.  Local filmmakers do not get special exemption and must pay the fees.  Established filmmakers do not get special exemption and must pay the fees.  No one gets into this festival because they are the mutual friend of anyone involved with the festival.  My screeners and judges are anonymous until the festival lineup is announced.  Period.

Occasionally a filmmaker requires a screening fee and it can be arranged that the entry fee to the festival is waived in exchange for the filmmakers screening fee also being waived.  This is simple economics in the festival’s best interest.

We charge the $25 entry fee to subsidize the time, energy, postage, and other resources which, as festival time approaches, become considerable.  From getting the films from screening committee to the judges, legal documents, rental equipment, car service, volunteer coordination, deposits on venues, travel, hotel, food and more.  All of this must be paid for in advance and potential sponsors are weary with solicitations that come almost daily so frankly, there is little money to be had from sponsors.  The festival will recoup some expenses from ticket sales but that revenue also has to be split with the venue in most cases.

As the director of Skyline Indie Film Fest, I do not screen the films as a rule.  The festival committee screens and votes on each film and majority rules.  If they rule in favor, congratulations, you’re an official selection of our festival and your film will now be sent the judges.  The judges will critique each official selection by the criteria prescribed at and relay to me their thoughts on each.  This is as simple and streamlined as it gets.  We request the films come to us on a disc but have allowed links to the films hosted on various sites to accommodate the filmmaker and reduce postage.  We’ve allowed electronic payment via Pay Pal so international submissions do not have to exchange local currency for dollars or buy checks.  We do what we can to get the programming but we can’t give the festival away.  At least not now.  When this festival gets traction and can afford to do so, we will gladly drop the entry fee.  But for now, if $25 dollars is too much for you to spend, I wish you well and good luck in the future, may your film be successful.

In closing, I am fully aware at the potential to make a profit from an upstart film festival is dismal for the festival itself.  But I labor on and entrap my friends and family to assist me and make demands on their time and the time of other like minded film enthusiasts.  We want to see the films!  We respect your time, effort, and expense as a filmmaker and would expect a little appreciation in return.   Only by working together and not as “us and them” can we bring audiences to the films and thereby foster the indie spirit.

Thank you.