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Q&A Panel during MFF2017SanDiego. April 30, 2017. Left to right: Javier Augusto Nunez, Brian Hennings, Aris Tyros, Claudinho Andrés Gómez, Mickey Harrison, Anthony De La Cruz, Miranda Mullings & Richard Tews. Photo by Hall H Show.

MFF2017SanDiego was a celebration of smartphone mobile filmmakers from around the world which took place in San Diego.

As is tradition, the sixth annual International Mobile Film Festival took place during the last weekend of April. This year, our venue was the Marina Village Conference Center, close to the famous landmark Sea World. The filmmakers came from Australia, Chile, Germany & Canada. This year, we included a few from San Diego.

We held our traditional Mobile Feature Short Film competition this year with a Mobile Feature Film competition.

On Saturday, April 29, the festival held a Mobile Filmmaking Workshop presentation with attending filmmakers guided by Mobile Film School (non-accredited) in San Diego's founder Susan Botello. Each filmmaker shared behind-the-scene stories of how they made their films. It was inspiring to learn how each filmmaker approached filmmaking with their particular smartphone depending on the film they each made. There was a musical film and experimental film, a stop-motion film by 11 year-old Miranda Mullings, and others which all provided unique techniques and insights for attendees to learn from. Susan then proceeded to instruct a bit using some accessories and gave some filmmakers ideas on using professional microphones and multiple phones for audio to add multiple audio tracks to a film.

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Film Screening of No Budget, First Prize winner on Saturday, April 29. Photo by SBP. 

36 individual films were screened on the big screen on Saturday. One of them was the mobile feature film which was about 21 minutes long. The instant reviews from attendees was that there was a diversity of film genres, and while everyone has a subjective opinion of preference to each film, overall...the films were all good and they enjoyed them. Watch the trailer we shared with local a TV news station during our interview before the festival.

Attending filmmakers were: Brian Hennings, Claudinho Andrés Gómez, Mayté Richter, Aris Tyros, Anthony De La Cruz with actor Lizet Benrey, Miranda Mullings, Mickey Harrison with cinematographer/editor Richard Tews and Javier Augusto Nunez.

SF3 Smartfone Flick Fest in Australia who partnered with us as founding members of Global Mobile Film Awards™ made a short smartphone video to welcome everyone and their video was screened during our festival's screening day on Saturday along with a short mobile film made by Star Wars Steampunk Universe!

The next day, Susan Botello moderated a Q&A session with a panel of attending filmmakers. Each filmmaker was asked to share more about who they were and what brought them into the world of mobile filmmaking using their smartphones as cameras. Also, a fun question was asked. Most of us have heard the old song  of how "video killed the radio star" and the question was: Are smartphones killing the camera? No one believed that is the case. Although we can all agree that smartphones are changing the game in regards to, not only the film and television industries with social media, but filmmaking with smartphones is opening doors for people in the film industry and allowing easier distribution online. 

Sunday was also the day of the red carpet and awards ceremony which concluded our film festival. There was a bit of an energy going around as everyone anticipated who would take this year's awards for best films. But there was a different energy also making rounds. You could almost say, "The force was with us!" That's right, THAT force. The Star Wars Steam Punk Universe crew arrived to walk the filmmakers to the red carpet! 

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Star Wars Steampunk Universe with Mike Piña, of ColumnSpace and film festival founder, Susan Botello. Photo by Hall H Show.

During each filmmaker's moment on the red carpet was a Red Carpet Interview by Hall H Show. They were our featured media partner this year. Aaron Nabus and Alex Benedicto interviewed each filmmaker on the red carpet.

The filmmakers were then escorted by the Star Wars Steampunk Universe cosplayers to their seat on stage for the Awards Ceremony.  Are you wondering who won? We gave each attending filmmaker a certificate of appreciation for being a part of this year's film festival and attending. We then gifted them with some swag. Each one of them was surprised with their gift! They each had their photo taken during the awards ceremony.

We then began to award the winners, starting with the Golden Award which went to Mickey Harrison for her film Dingleberry. Mickey attended with her cinematographer and editor Richard Tews. The Golden Award was presented to her because her film came close to the top and also because we could not ignore the achievement from this remarkable 82 year-old filmmaker who not only wrote and directed her film but she also acted in the film as one of the two protagonists in the film. 

An honorary award was given to 11 year-old Miranda Mullings for her short stop-motion film with a story and message. Miranda received our first Youth Mobile Film Award. Miranda was inspired by her father, Anthony De La Cruz who presented a film last year and also joined the attending filmmakers with this year's film, Take Five which starred Lizet Benrey of San Diego who also made a film last year for our film festival. Miranda is already in pre-production of her next film which we can hardly wait to see! 

Third Prize was given to Adrian Jeffs for his film, Good Day To Die shot with an iPhone 6 Plus. Adrian lives in Australia and we later found out this was his very first filmmaking award! How cool is that? 

Second Prize went to attending filmmaker Aris Tyros for his film, How I Became A Movie Theatre Murderer shot with an iPhone 6s. Aris came to San Diego from Canada and he was happy to take his trophy back home on his flight, even with the added weight. Read How An Actor Became An Award-Winning Filmmaker on our Smartphone Filmmaking Publication on 

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Aris Tyros, Second Prize winner, How I Became A Movie Theatre Murderer. Photo by Hall H Show. 

First Prize was awarded to Christopher Stollery from Australia for his film, No Budget shot with an iPhone 4s. It didn't escape us that the top film for this year's Mobile Short Film Competition was shot with an older iPhone...which goes to show, in the end it's all about the value of a good story told well through filmmaking. 

The Mobile Feature Film competition was awarded to, Figment which was directed and produced by Mithran Maharajan from Canada with Javier Augusto Nunez, producer; and Avaah Blackwell received the trophy as the key cast in the film.

The top winners received prizes from Red Giant (Magic Bullet Suite) and FilmConvert (color correction software). First Place winning film, No Budget and Best Mobile Feature, Figment. 

We are extremely grateful to everyone who was a part of our film festival this year! 

Our sponsors: Red Giant, FilmConvert, David Menna, San Diego Real Estate Veterans, SpeedPro San Diego, Williams Production Company. We thank Suppli Co. for the awesome shirts and Jay for all the assistance during the festival. 

We also have to thank Hall H Show for all their help with media including the podcast interviews and posts on our Facebook page during the event. Star Wars Steampunk Universe was an amazing addition to this year's film festival and we can't thank them enough for the great job they did.

We also thank Joel Feria of for his awesome photography and CameraCru photography including a drone for added video footage for our three-day festival which included the Opening Night Meet and Greet at the Landing Grille Restaurant. By the way, The Landing Grille has awesome food to go with an awesome view!

And of course, we are grateful to the judges of our film festival this year! 

But it's not over. Follow us on our Facebook page and other social media as we bring you more opportunities and also, so you can be a part of the growing International Mobile Film Festival, Mobile Film School (non-accredited) and MFTV - Mobile Film Network Distribution Channel. Perhaps you are inspired to make a film and to share your film shot with your smartphone! #MFF2018SanDiego is already in the works!


Copyrtight © 2017 S. Botello Productions™. All rights reserved.