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  • Writer's pictureWilliam Gilmore

Dances With Films

200 Films in 11 Days

I just came off an amazing 11 day run at the 20th annual Dances With Films Film Festival held at the Chinese Theater in Hollywood. 193 films were screened during the festival including shorts, music videos, pilots, web series, documentaries and feature films.

As a producer on the BTS team, I was tasked by festival co-founders Leslee Scalllon and Michael Trent to create daily highlight reels and background packages on select filmmakers detailing the stories of the storytellers. In addition, we had to shoot panel discussions, live musical acts, Q&As and sponsor products. Alexis Irvin shot the bulk of the red carpet interviews while I ran from the carpet to the Q&As to the musical events and still managed to shoot personal interviews with a number of filmmakers. In the few moments of down time available, I would set up a still camera to shoot timelapses and even managed a few hyperlapses to create interstitials for our videos.

Prior to the event, I created a series of bumpers and animated logos as well. As we captured footage throughout each day of the festival, Chip Hiden would dump the content and begin sorting through it to edit our final videos. In addition to the daily highlight reel, we also cut a daily spotlight on specific films or filmmakers and a daily trivia question. There was also a mini-doc celebrating the 20th anniversary of the festival, an intro video for the awards ceremony and a sponsor thank you reel. In all, we created about 35 videos in 11 days, all while managing nearly 10 terabytes of footage and dispersing reels to social media and news outlets.

It was a tremendous amount of work stretching out over 15 hours each day and the tightly scheduled events meant keeping your head in a highly stressful environment. Somehow we managed to keep it all together (thanks Alexis and Chip!) and pull it off successfully. I can’t begin to tell you how many filmmakers approached us to tell us how great the finished videos were.

There were so many people that made this festival a success (Felicia, Claire, Jeffrey, Corey, Kenny and so many more), but I would be remiss if I didn’t also thank Ryan Higdon. As the staff photographer, Ryan was particularly helpful in keeping the filmmakers flowing along the red carpet and directing them to either Alexis or myself for interviews.

Dances With Films was a chaotic unwieldy beast of stress and urgency, and I loved every second of it.

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