I started the drone film festival because there were no film festivals for me submit my drone films to. Plain and simple. The ridiculous part is that there are still no film festivals for me to submit my work to. Conflict of interests. I’ll have to wait till someone creates the world’s second drone film festival.
Having never created or worked on a film festival, I dove in with gusto using only my creative stupidity to lead the way. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been to lots of film festivals with pieces I’ve directed in the past but I’ve never hosted one. Couldn’t be that hard, right? Nah!
We started to spread the word and soon began to generate a lot of interest in both the drone and film communities. We secured sponsorships with a number of pioneering companies, including DJI, the premiere manufacturer of cinema drones, who gave us six of their most state-of-the-art drones to award as prizes to the winners. We also brought on industry-leading companies such as New Era, Adorama, Blade, Intuitive Aerial, Futuba, Paralinx, Adobe, Parrot and Red Giant.
A real game-changer came when we secured NBC News as our Headline Sponsor. They had just released their drone video of a frozen Niagara Falls, which went wildly viral and they were (and are) totally hot for drones.
More important than why I started the festival is why is the New York City Drone Film Festival important? The answer to that question gets right to the heart of the problem with drones… the stigma associated with the name. War drones have dominated the perception of the word and war is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear it. Not anymore. The festival is about the drones we use for art. I’m confident that drone cinematography will be used in every production in the future. They are the most amazing tool for camera motion that has ever been created and we are not planning on letting go of this tool based on fear-mongering, and false associations with war drones.
After the FAA recently announced its small UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) NPRM, it seems that the future is strong not just for the New York City Drone Film Festival but for the entire drone industry.
Watch “Aerial NYC” below and find out more about The NYC Drone Film Festival, click HERE.
Randy Scott Slavin is a NYC-based director and cinematographer. Slaving first gained attention for his aerials with the viral video “Aerial NYC,” which was featured on press outlets around the world. He is also known for his photography series “Alternate Perspectives” and “NYC Unplugged,” as well as for directing commercials, branded content and music videos. In 2014, Slavin founded The NYC Drone Film Festival, the world’s first film festival exclusively dedicated to aerial cinema.
READ MORE: 11 Tips for Starting Your Own Film Festival