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SWIPE FOR MORE
Last year, after the 2nd annual New York City Drone Film Festival, I was content.
We sold out in a few hours, the audience loved the films, the filmmakers loved
the prize and camaraderie, and the “Day of Drones” was a big hit with over
4,500 attendees. All was right in the world but I had this nagging sense that
we had reached the end of the line. I mean, drones are pretty niche and drone
films even more so... how much can a niche film festival really grow?
I took some well-deserved time off from thinking about the festival, and tried
to quiet the voice in my head that was telling me that we had already hit our
ceiling. I busied myself with work, time with the family, and flying drones in the
NYC spring. When pleasant weather soon gave way to the sweltering heat
of July, it was time to open up submissions again. I was back to thinking about
where we go with the festival, and to more chatter from the annoying devil
whispering in my ear.
As soon as the submissions opened up in August, the films began rolling in. The
work I was seeing was not only inspiring, but truly transcending art simply created
“by a drone.” No one had told the creators that this was a niche. The filmmakers
were putting no limits on themselves when they were working on their passion
projects. This made me realize that I was thinking too small. The only limiting
factor to the New York City Drone Film Festival was my own imagination and I
wasn’t going fumble my responsibility to the community.
I got to work on NYCDFF 3. We moved to a theater double the size (pretty
nice eh?!), strengthened our ties with our allies, forged new partnerships, found
industry-leading sponsors, teamed up with next-level jurors, and designed a
series of classes aimed at increasing our skills as artists and craftspeople... all
while working to make sure that this year’s films were the best yet.
We’ve always been about growth, but this year is about expanding both
our horizons and our scope. It’s about getting better at what we do, and
understanding that there are no real limiting factors except those we impose
on ourselves. AMEN!
I’d like to thank all the filmmakers from 50 countries around the world for their
near 400 submissions. Your creativity and bravery has kept the spirit of the
NYCDFF alive and vibrant. This year’s judging was the hardest yet because the
level of work has increased exponentially. I look forward to continuing to be
both challenged and inspired not only by the growth of the festival, but also
by the level of work being created by all of you.
Thank you again.
Randy Scott Slavin • Director & Founder • New York City Drone Film Festival
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