Audience Awards Launches Film Fest w/ Focus on Diversity; Effie Brown to Receive Trailblazer Award
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Awards , Festivals

Audience Awards Launches Film Fest w/ Focus on Diversity; Effie Brown to Receive Trailblazer Award

Effie Brown
Effie Brown

The Audience Awards began as a digital film challenge platform, connecting filmmakers with opportunity and support, yet has become so much more. Online, Audience Awards’ filmmakers have the opportunity to create authentic, high-quality films for brands like GoDaddy, Hilton Worldwide and Kodak and compete in other creative contests. Their short films have premiered at prestigious festivals like Hot Docs, Slamdance and DOCNYC. They have been Oscar-qualifying and Emmy-nominated. With an international filmmaker collective and a community of 150,000, Audience Awards Film Festival gives this significant online community and prestigious filmmaker collective the chance to finally meet face-to-face.

This year, the Audience Awards Film Festival will showcase 110 award-winning short films by world-class filmmakers and will celebrate some of the most respected, diverse industry voices of our time. In addition, of note, Effie Brown (“Dear White People”) will receive the Trailblazer Award during a ceremony that will be followed by a conversation on her career and her commitment to diversity moderated by Franklin Leonard, Founder, CEO: The Black List.

Other honorees include: award-winning documentarian Ondi Timoner, who will be recognized with the Maverick Award; Paz Lenchantin of The Pixies, will be the recipient of the Avant-Garde Award; and Jacques Thelemaque, President of Filmmakers Alliance, will be honored with the Community Impact Award. The festival runs April 6-9th, 2017, at the Laemmle Noho and El Portal Theaters.

“We celebrate diverse, emerging storytellers by providing a global platform for their voices to be heard,” says Paige Williams, Audience Awards’ Founder and CEO. “Our inaugural AudFest in LA honors and elevates the stories of new filmmakers and of the venerated industry leaders who carved the path for them.”

Partners, panelists and moderators come to AudFest from Paramount, Disney, MACRO, SAG-AFTRA, SAGIndie, Women In Film,The Black List, Too Fab, Tangerine Entertainment, ColorCreativeÆTV, LA Times, Indiewire, Vice, “Empire,” Film LA, AFCI, Pro8mm, Kodak, Panavision, Final Draft, The Montana Film Office, Outfest, The Sundance Institute, GOOD DOCS, New Filmmakers LA and Filmmakers Alliance.

Audience Awards recently closed submissions for its Women’s Film Challenge. Films or excerpts of films, 7 minutes or less, made with a woman in an above-the-line position were encouraged to submit. Ten winning films will receive a total of $27,500 in cash and prizes and have a red carpet screening on Saturday, April 8th at AudFest.

WFC winning filmmakers will also be matched with top-tier women in the film industry at a mentorship brunch during the festival. Participants include Svetlana Cvetko, award-winning cinematographer; Deniese Davis, COO of ColorCreative.TV; Sarah Halley Finn, casting director; Darrien Michele Gipson, National Director of SAGindie; Moira Griffin, Senior Manager of Diversity Incentives at Sundance Institute; Poppy Hanks, SVP of Development and Production for MACRO; Debbie Liebling, entertainment executive and film producer; Roberta Marie Munroe, award-winning director, producer and author; Lynnette Ramirez, Content Creator and Executive Manager at 51 Minds Entertainment; and Orly Ravid, Founder/Co-Executive Director of the distribution nonprofit The Film Collaborative and an entertainment attorney at MSK (Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP).

Jury members for WFC include Fanshen Cox DiGovanni, award-winning actor, producer and educator; Sarah Feinbloom, award-winning documentary filmmaker and Founder and Director at GOOD DOCS; Cassidy Freeman of “Longmire” and “Smallville”; Cristina Garza, General Manager at Mundial; Lily Gladstone, award-winning actress of Certain Women; Lisa Hasko, Manager of Documentary Programs and Fiscal Sponsorship at Film Independent; Margaret Lazarus, Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker, author and lecturer; and Erin O’Malley, TV producer and director; Freida Lee Mock, Oscar-winning filmmaker; Kirsten Schaffer, Executive Director of Women In Film; Carol Trussell, Head of Production for Gaumont International Television.

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