Have You Met?

Featuring some of the notable participants who’ve attended San Diego’s International Mobile Film Festival.

Have You Met?

You probably have a calendar close by, right? If you do, mark these dates: April 26, 27 & 28, 2024. Times? While we can’t tell you exact times yet, plan on being in attendance all day each day.

Attending film festivals as a filmmaker comes with expectations. Our film festival breaks some of them. In a good way.

Your unique experience during IMFF in San Diego

Some attendees come thinking they would spend a couple hours and leave. Not only did they stay until the end of the day, leaving in the evening, they came back the next day. And they made new friends they may never get to see again, but wanted to spend as much time with them as they could.

Some participants ask, “What time is my short film playing?” We get it. But we play the short films in a curated fun program.

Last year, the filmmakers connected and became friends. When the time came to screen the short film program, they were all in attendance, cheering and supporting each other’s films. This is the experience filmmakers embrace in film festivals. At the end of IMFF, attending filmmakers go home feeling like they’ve been to a retreat where all your like-minded friends support you.

“That felt like camp. It felt like we came together for the weekend as filmmakers and we just had camp. And it was like…we met the other campers and it was just so fun, and it was so intimate and like we really got to connect.”

Levi Austin Morris, SBP Podcast Mobile Filmmaking Episode 144

Something magical happens each year at the International Mobile Film Festival in San Diego.

Filmmakers and attendees alike realize all the films are good, and they’re all shot with smartphone cameras. Guess who else has a smartphone? You do.

When you attend film festivals, you may meet filmmakers at the beginning of their career.

Steven Palmer Peterson (centered) with Ross Perkins (center left) during IMFF 2019. Photo by Susy Botello.

Imagine going to a film festival and realizing a few years later that you screened a film, had lunch, participated in a Q & A, and had conversations with a filmmaker that is now a well-known director in Hollywood, like Steven Spielberg.

Some notable participants from previous IMFF editions

IMFF founder Susy Botello, stays in touch with the filmmakers. She reaches out to some of them to include them in her podcast, ask for permission to show their films at another film event, etc. It’s inspiring to follow and witness mobile filmmakers rise in the industry.

We made a short list of filmmakers that have participated in our festivals. You never know who you will meet during our upcoming film festival in April. We’re working to put together the kind of film festival that will have a lasting experience unlike any other you’ve had in a film festival. BYO Smartphone.

Seth Dacio, San Diego, CA

Seth Dacio was 17 during IMFF 2018 and also participated in the 2019 edition. Over the last few years, he’s making exceptional films as a director. He hires a DP who uses their own equipment and camera. His films have been in film festivals and he is a rising filmmaker who is highly talented. He has the respect of the industry.

During the Q&A Panel in 2018, Susy asked him, “What would you say to Steven Spielberg if he told you that you couldn’t make a real movie with a smartphone?” Seth answered, “Watch me.”

Seth Dacio and Dude Vader on the Red Carpet Extravaganza, IMFF 2018. Photo by Dean Curry Photography.

Caroline Spence and James Smith, UK

James Smith and Caroline Spence from the U.K. participated in IMFF 2022 and won the Runner Up Best Feature Film Award for “Surveilled.” They shot two feature films with Android smartphones. Before that, they were making feature films as a small crew using traditional cameras like DSLRs.

They’ve been making feature films back to back since their participation and attendance in San Diego. We’re having a hard time keeping up! But they have amassed a good following, and are able to self-fund their films, grow their crew, hire incredible talent, and secure more interesting locations. They are getting serious attention in the industry and we lost count of how many of their films are available on Tubi and Amazon.

James and Caroline (center) with actors from “Surveilled” IMFF 2022. Photo by Susy Botello.

Steven Palmer Peterson, Los Angeles, CA

In 2019, one of the participating feature film contestants was Steven Palmer Peterson. He made an Android smartphone sci-fi film, “Consensus Reality.” He spent the entire three days with us and was quite open to connecting and making new friends. Turns out, he has a Hollywood connection.

Soon after the festival we realized he wrote the screenplay for “Assimilate,” Starring: Joel Courtney, Calum Worthy, Andi Matichak, maybe it’s still on Netflix. And he has been writing for many other films.

Steven Palmer Peterson was a blast during the IMFF 2019 Red Carpet Extravaganza. Photo by Dean Curry Photography.

Jennifer Zhang, Los Angeles, CA

IMFF 2021’s Best Feature Film Award went to Jennifer Zhang for her film, “Charon.” Not only did she film it with her iPhone, but she also edited the full length feature on the phone, using an app designed to edit social media videos. Since then, her film went to the film market at Cannes.

Jennifer came to the 2022 edition of IMFF as a Judge for the Feature Film Competition where she spent all day Sunday with attendees and filmmakers. Jennifer continues to write and direct, produce films and her films are winning awards. Her success is attributed to her great storytelling skills.

Jennifer was mentored by Blake Snyder. She is a writer and instructor of Save the Cat’s Cracking the Beat Sheet, online.

Filmmaker and Feature Film Judge Jennifer Zhang on the IMFF Red Carpet with Dude Vader, IMFF 2022. Photo by Dean Curry Photography.

There are actors who have graced our film festival with their attendance.

Quinn Friedman, Los Angeles, CA

A family with three celebrity siblings attended IMFF 2022: the Friedman’s. Quinn Friedman grew up acting on TV studio sets and won the inaugural Best Rookie Film Award with his short film, “A Boy’s Best Friend,” starring Cooper Friedman. Their sister, Madison Friedman also attended and charmed the audience at the festival.

We watched young Cooper starring in “aTypical Wednesday” (2020) with J. Lee, on Amazon Prime.

Quinn Friedman (left) with brother and sister Cooper and Madison. Photo by Dean Curry Photography.

Monique Gall

Monique Leah-Gall wrote, directed and starred in “Me VS Me,” a short film that screened at IMFF 2023. She and a few from her team attended the festival. Monique comes from a career in television, including Law & Order, American Horror Story, SWAT and other popular TV shows.

Monique Gall (left) on the red carpet extravaganza with Rome Gall. Photo by Mario Sevilla.

Levi Austin Morris, Los Angeles, CA

We’re currently following Levi Austin Morris’ continued success with “Paralysis.” The film won the Best Feature Film Award 2023 at our film festival. His film continues its festival run and is winning more awards.

Levi has participated in our film festival three times since IMFF 2015. He attended the festival without participating in 2022, where he met Jennifer Zhang, James Smith and Caroline Spence, and the Friedman siblings.

Levi Austin Morris (center) presenting “Paralysis” with Allison Lobel (left), and Jamie Tobias. Photo by Susy Botello.

These are just a few of the celebrities filmmakers and attendees have met at our film festival. There are many more, including you. Yes, you.

When you attend our film festival, you’ll have many opportunities to inspire and support a filmmaker through a very unique, intimate and unforgettable experience. You are the star at the International Mobile Film Festival.

POV shot by Susy Botello after the red carpet extravaganza.

We’ve also been honored by Jed Brophy and Tim Russ presenting at the festival.

Actor Jed Brophy, (The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings) during the awards ceremony with filmmaker Erifili Davis attending IMFF 2023 from Dubbo, Australia with her short film, “Fell Purpose.” Photo by Mario Sevilla.
Actor Tim Russ (left) attended IMFF 1018 with feature filmmaker Brian McLane. Photo by Dean Curry Photography.

We’ll periodically share more friends of our IMFF community. We love to promote our community!

Did you meet inspiring storytellers and filmmakers who’ve used smartphone cameras in our film festival?

Mark the dates for our 13th Edition of IMFF next April. You just don’t know who you may meet.

You’ll find yourself spending good quality time together and will be glad you came.

The time passes quicker than you’d like because you’re having fun, experiencing excitement, feeling supported in a space that embraces you and values your hard work. Every participant is a star in our film festival.

Some filmmakers wear evening gowns and tuxedos, others dress casual. And then, well…we have some dressed as super heroes like Thor, Dude Vader, The Mandalorian, Aquaman and more.

IMFF 2023 participating filmmakers with Science Fiction Coalition. Photo by Mario Sevilla.

This pioneer smartphone film festival in San Diego is turning the traditional film festival into an unforgettable event for innovative filmmakers and storytellers.

IMFF showcases all the films selected. All short and feature films are screened at the festival’s live, in-person event. There are Q & A sessions and panels, workshops, inspiring presentations and lectures, and the red carpet extravaganza: an exhilarating show, starring all the participating contestants with sponsors Science Fiction Coalition.

The last part of the film festival is the awards ceremony. All awards are kept secret until they are formally announced during the ceremony.

The red carpet is in your pocket.™

SBP (S. Botello Productions)

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