May 13

Your Vote Can Turn Hard Times into Good Times

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170 filmmakers did their part – now it’s time to do yours.

Hard Times

Hard Times

Your member votes will determine 10 of the filmakas who win $500 and proceed to the Jury Level of the HARD TIMES competition! That’s the round voted on by the likes of Werner Herzog, Wim Wenders, Zak Penn, and other industry leaders. We have extended voting to TWO WEEKS to give you all a chance to watch more than 170 entries! You now have until MAY 19 to cast your votes. Remember, if you submitted to this theme, you have to vote or you’ll be disqualified. This month’s FEATURE FILM COMPETITION is sponsored by the DIGITAL RIGHTS GROUP UK, a leading multiplatform content distributor based in the UK, who will be taking a sneak peek at your entries for possible series development!

This was the biggest response ever to a Filmaka short film competition so THANK YOU everyone and GOOD LUCK.

Apr 29

DIRECTV is looking for exciting, entertaining, 2-4 minute films (in HD) that capture and articulate the DIRECTV selling points and help raise the profile of the brand.

Be sure to check out the interview with Jon Gieselman, Senior Vice President of Advertising and Public Relations, in the video player below. He tells you exactly what DIRECTV wants in your film.


DIRECTV is looking for films in HD, under four minutes, that tell a story in which their services appear and play an integral part. They aren’t looking for hit-you-over-the-head commercials, but rather a story that is entertaining on its own in which DIRECTV is integrated. Remember, this is a scripted competition with a narrative story and interesting characters. Please note, you must be a US resident to submit to this competition.

Who uses DIRECTV? Why should they start using it now?

People are making smart choices on how to spend their time and money. Instead of heading off to see the biggest stars in theaters or catching their favorite team at the stadium, they are choosing to stay at home with their friends and family with DIRECTV. Who says they have to miss those blockbusters? With DIRECTV, they can watch all their favorite stars in blockbusters On Demand, and watch with all their friends and family —without paying $7 for a bucket of popcorn. They can catch every NFL Sunday football game, plus get behind-the-scenes looks into the league they can’t get sitting in the nosebleed seats.

And then there’s the technology. With DIRECTV, they could have a cutting-edge interface with some of the fastest search mechanisms in TV, plus the ability to schedule their DVR remotely by phone or computer from anywhere in the world.
How’s that for something to play with?


We’re asking you to create a film…you give us a pitch we like, and we’ll fund your production. Your pitch should be three to seven pages long. We suggest you include:

1. A script of 2 to 4 pages.
2. Storyboards and/or mood board (optional but recommended).
3. A budget breakdown.
4. Links where we can view your work as a director, if you intend to shoot this script yourself.
5. Current phone numbers and an e-mail address where we can reach you.

Remember, DIRECTV’s customers are in the United States, so your submission should target that sensibility. In addition, only legal US residents may submit to this competition.

PITCHES ARE DUE Monday, May 25, by 24:00 PST.


DIRECTV will select 20 filmmakers and greenlight their pitches.

Each filmmaker will receive $5,000 and have four to five weeks to shoot and edit their script. Productions MUST be shot in High Definition Video for this competition. DIRECTV is known for its crisp, quality picture, and winning films may be shown on DIRECTV itself! If you have a great pitch but are not able to shoot in HD, let us know and, if your pitch is greenlit, we can pair you with an experienced Filmaka director who has access to HD equipment.


From the 20 completed films, DIRECTV will select 10 winners:
•   1st place – $15,000 cash prize and the opportunity to introduce your winning film on DIRECTV
•   2nd place – $10,000 cash prize
•   3rd place – $7,500 cash prize
•   Runners-up 4-10 – $2,500 cash prize

Winning films will be used for online viewing as well as, potentially, on DIRECTV.
This is your chance to have your production funded and possibly have your film seen on television.

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Apr 06
Rodrigo Lopez Aldana and Luis Bernal Salazar with The Guild's Felicia Day
Rodrigo Lopez Aldana and Luis Bernal Salazar with The Guild’s Felicia Day

Last week, filmmakers Luis Bernal Salazar and Rodrigo Lopez Aldana travelled from Mexico City to Los Angeles to attend the 1st Annual Streamy Creative Arts and Awards Ceremonies.   Their dramatic Filmaka web series THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LA VIDA LOCA received a nomination for BEST ARTISTIC CONCEPT.   THE TEN COMMANDMENTS was the only non-English language web series to receive a nomination – in any category.    While in LA, Luis and Rodrigo met with Deepak Nayar (Bend It Like Beckham, Lost Highway) and the Filmaka team as well as a television and movie production company.

At the Streamys, Luis and Rodrigo walked the Red Carpet, conducted press interviews, and mingled with web celeb Felicia Day, who took home Streamys for Best Actress in a Comedy and Best Comedy (The Guild).  Felicia also stars in the hit web series Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-long Blog which won several awards at the event.

More photos of Luis and Rodrigo at the Streamys can be found on THE TEN COMMANDMENTS OF LA VIDA LOCA Facebook page.  The episodes can be viewed on Facebook and on

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Mar 21

Digital Rights Group Turns “Hard Times” Into Good Times

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CM Capture 12
Your short film could become a feature film, web, or TV series!

Deadline to submit film: April 19

The economy may be going down the tubes, greenhouse gasses may be on the rise, and your dog may have ditched you for the neighbor who could afford his expensive food – WHAT’S NEXT?! Get it all out of your system and ON FILM and you might just see a profit from your HARD TIMES!

This month’s FEATURE FILM COMPETITION is sponsored by the DIGITAL RIGHTS GROUP, a leading multiplatform content distributor based in the UK. They’re looking for up to 3 minutes of your sad (or amusing) story by APRIL 19.

15 to 20 filmmakers will win $500 plus $1000 in funding for another short, which will be screened our jury which includes Werner Herzog, Neil LaBute, Bill Pullman, and Zak Penn and a chance to DIRECT YOUR OWN FEATURE! DIGITAL RIGHTS GROUP will also review the films to identify great ideas for web and TV series.

DRG’s Justin Judd said, “Our purpose in working with Filmaka is to find and pilot a number of ideas that we can then develop into more traditional formats such as long running TV series which could be straight drama or comedy. Whilst other sites have run occasional online movie competitions, the beauty of working with Filmaka is that their community brings a wide range of perspectives and approaches to the idea. ‘Hard Times’ seems an appropriate theme in the current economic circumstances but we remain very excited to see how the budding creative forces of tomorrow will interpret this theme and we look forward to helping them make it the next big, international hit.”

Filmaka’s Deepak Nayar (producer, Bend It Like Beckham, Lost Highway) said, “Filmaka looks forward to seeing the many ways our global community interprets the very topical “Hard Times” theme. Our film makers have proven their versatility time and time again, from creating branded entertainment for SABMiller and Ford Mustang, to short comedy films for FX, to music videos for Lincoln which featured in this year’s Grammy (R) Awards. Filmaka’s mission is to reward creativity so we thank Digital Rights Group for giving our community the opportunity to turn their short films into hits for multiple platforms, including television and film.”

Find out more here.

Mar 21

Jonathan Newman is the Grand Prize Winner for our Ford Mustang Story competition! You can see his winning film “Father’s Day” and other winning Mustang Story films, at

Hear what Ford Mustang Stories Grand Prize Winner Jonathan Newman had to say about his experience of the competition…


Filmaka: What kind of response has “Father’s Day” received?

Jonathan: It has been overwhelming. When you enter these things you always expect it to be a bit of a lottery, and you never expect to win. Sandy Grushow from Filmaka graciously introduced me to a few people around town and I secured a top agent at ICM. I have since met with some pretty powerful people and companies around Hollywood who have all really reacted strongly to my work, and I have a pile of scripts to get through. My only other submission to Filmaka, Swinging with the Finkels, made it to the last two to be turned into a series for FX network, and although didn’t make it, is since being turned into a feature film by a major player.

Filmaka: What inspired your Ford Mustang Story?

Jonathan: I felt the key to bringing this film alive would be to focus on the human element. Rather than making a ‘commercial’ it was more important to make a ‘film’. One that focussed on real people and real emotions. The Mustang is a much loved and cherished vehicle by mustang owners and enthusiasts. It is clear from the reaction I have received from mustang owners that have seen the film that they relate to the story of cherishing a childhood dream. At its heart, Father’s Day is about having that childhood dream fulfilled, relayed through the simple bond between a Father and Son – a father who has perhaps given everything to his son, even though he has perhaps not had very much to give.. and conversely, a way for the son to say ‘thank you’ in a way that hits the heart.

Filmaka: What attracted you to the competition?

Jonathan: Initially, the fact that all I had to do was write a good script ( as opposed to going out and shooting something with no money), meant that I could use my skills without any financial outlay to possibly advance to the next stage. Second, its’s JWT. JWT is big, and they are international, and even I know them over here! And third, it’s FORD, one of the biggest car manafacturers in the world. What wouldn’t attract any sane individual to something like this?!

Filmaka: What was it like to attend the LA International Auto Show?

Jonathan: Wow! Amazing. The reveal event was incredible. FORD and JWT did an amazing job of putting that together. It was literally like a rock concert ( Aerosmith, not Madonna). They had some incredible stunt driving, all the legends of Mustang over the past 50 years were present. The guys from JWT deserve an award for organising that event. They were very generous in bringing me out to LA for the event and I was so pleased to be a part of it and proud of my film screening there.

Filmaka: Any advice for other filmakers who are thinking of submitting to Filmaka?

Jonathan: Script, script, script. Second, read the brief carefully. Submit what is requested of you. Third, pull out the stops to make your project of the highest production value possible. Cast good actors, shoot on a good format. Get someone else to produce it for you. Have your own choice.

Filmaka: What’s next for you?

Jonathan: Where do I start? It’s been very busy for me recently. In the first instance, I will be shooting the next film(s) for Ford and JWT (possibly more than one!). Those will be on pretty enormous budgets, which is great to get the chance to make something of real high end production value and possibly even use celebrities to star in it. That will shoot in LA in the New Year. The canvas is blank and JWT and Ford have given me great creative freedom as to the script and the creative elements. It is a real buzz to be able to shoot a film for one of the biggest ad agencies and car manafactures in the world. A real sense of pressure to,as I want to deliver something that they are both very proud of exhibiting.

Next, I have two feature films that are scheduled to shoot next year, one shooting in London and the other in Puerto Rico – they are currently being cast as we speak.

There are also new opportunities coming my way regularly, and the door is wide open for the future. I just have to pick which door to walk through…

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