An interview with Lift-Off Liverpool founder James Bradley
The Liverpool Lift-Off Film Festival kicks off this week. What can we expect from the 3 day event?
Three inital packed out screenings showcasing the exceptional talent from a purely global assembly and a final 4th screening which is our winners and awards night. The first three screenings are all audience participation where all of the awards are calculated based on the votes counted.
The top seven films then form part of our additional 4th screening at the prestigious and beautiful 500 seater Plaza Cinema. Winners are awarded unique jaded glass trophies and automatic official selections are given out to the winners who will then screen at the proceeding Lift-Off events in the season, starting with Las Vegas, then Los Angeles, Amsterdam, London and Tokyo. The top winners in live action narrative and documentary are also invited to form part of our Lift-Off On-Demand initiative at the end of the season.
One of the six Lift-Off events, tell us a little that is uniquely Liverpool.
The local filmmaking community in Liverpool is second to none. The city is packed with unearthed talent. To give you an idea we screen nearly two thirds of the films that are sent into us from the city. Not just for Liverpool Lift-Off but all Lift-Off Film Festival's to date!
The ratio to screen is what attracts us to all of the cities we showcase in.
With which process are the winning films selected?
We have a three tier/round programming system. The first round is where we separate the potentials from non-potentials, the second round is where we collect scores from our judges covering out of ten the following areas: Originality / Creativity, Direction, Writing, Cinematography, Performances, Production Value, Pacing, Structure and Sound and Music.
The main areas that interest us the most are the parts which cost nothing for a filmmaker to implement, i.e.. good action direction, solid actor choices, story structure and pacing. If a film comes to us with medium cinematography but epic storyline and acting, if it's something we've not seen before, chances are we will screen it.
How does Lift-Off plan to bring back the art of film-making?
The art of filmmaking doesn't need anything else added to it. It's the business, the industry on the whole which needs an institution like us. So many film schools and festivals have this "build our reputation" agenda. I think many of them want to be the next Sundance or NYU. We couldn't give a rats ass about the glamour. We exist to launch the professional lives of the filmmakers we cross paths with, for no other reason but to eliminate the overriding pretense and closed door policy of many others, some would consider, to be above us.
We believe that the more we grow the better we can be for the epically talented grassroots filmmaker. He or she gains a partner in us even at the submission stage. We send exclusive content, offer extended feedback and, if screened, introduce them to *hiring* global production companies and filmmaker agencies. We act as their PR representative up-to two months after they've screened - and if they win one of our events - distribute their work to all of our global festivals and sub-screenings. Then at the end of that particular Lift-Off Season we give them the opportunity to be paid for their work via our On-Demand initiative, available for rent or sale on our website.
Tell us a little about the venues that will hold the screenings?
The vote-screenings are being held at a really great and supportive venue called Fredricks, which is on Hope Street. They have a good screening area which sits up-to 80 people and all three of those events are now fully booked!
The final venue is The Plaza Community Cinema in Crosby. This is the oldest cinema in Liverpool and seats over 500 people. It has a licensed bar for the night, and it is ours for the entire evening on the 14th March where we will be announcing via surprise screenings the winners of the festival, awarding all of the winners and special mentions trophies; not to mention an insightful Q&A with them all afterwards and then an after-party in the city.
What advice would you give to an inquiring filmmaker?
If you haven't made your film yet, stop creating excuses and get on with it. If you're having snags with funding, let go of your desires to shoot on a pointlessly expensive camera, and crew-up before you crowd fund.
Submissions wise - we are filling our website with facts and some home truths about film festival submissions, and filmmaking in general on a weekly basis. The best advice we can give is summed up nicely in the following post, titled 9 mistakes filmmakers make on the festival circuit...
For those want to submit right now, here are a bunch of discount codes for all six festivals. Everyone who submits will be sent exclusive, submitter only content which will is designed to guide you further in your filmmaking careers...