The Digital Gym is one of the screening venues for the inaugural San Diego Film Week.
  • The Digital Gym is one of the screening venues for the inaugural San Diego Film Week.
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Following the the footsteps of San Diego Restaurant Week (or Beer Week) comes San Diego Film Week: 7 days, 7 festivals, 7 workshops, 100 shorts and features, and thankfully only 2 parties.

The project is the brainchild of Jodi Cilley, Founder and President of the awkwardly named but extremely resourceful Film Consortium San Diego. The skillfully persistent Ms. Cilley partnered with our town’s three powerhouse festivals — The San Diego International Film Festival, the San Diego Latino Film Festival, and the San Diego Asian Film Festival — along with the GI Film Festival, Horrible Imaginings, the 48 Hour Film Project, and our neighbor up the 5, New Filmmakers Los Angeles, for a best-of-the-festivals smorgasbord.

Believe it or not, San Diego plays home to 35 (!) film festivals each year. Seeing how this is their first one, SDFW was fortunate to bring together this many local celebrations of cinema under one heading. Next year, it would be grand if the number of festival participants tripled. In the past, Cilley has had great success partnering with the Digital Gym and MoPA, so it makes sense that these two venues will play host to the inaugural festival.

It would behoove at least one of the major exhibitors — Reading Cinemas and/or the Angelika Film Center, AMC, Edwards, UltraStar, Arclight, etc. — to hop on the bandwagon as one of next year’s screening partners.

Then there’s the problem of trophies, something that an old “art shouldn’t compete” proponent like myself finds problematic. All of the films are homegrown. What better reward is there for a novice filmmaker than seeing his or her work projected on a screen to a paying audience? When asked, Cilley noted that in a way, awards add credibility to a filmmaker’s resume. If taking home a Best Whatever Trophy helps a budding filmmaker break into the business, who am I to complain?

The festival runs February 10 to 19. An Old Hollywood-themed Opening Night Gala at the Lafayette Hotel promises to kick Film Week off right!

The seven seminars include Finance and Distribution for independent TV, Film, and Online Content 101; Five Tips For Getting into Bed with Film Programmers; Editing for Emotional Impact: Change is Good!; Editing Tips with Adobe Tools; SAG-AFTRA Contracts Made Simple: The Real Deal About the Theatrical Low Budget and New Media Agreements; Smooth Shooting On-Location in the City of San Diego, and Your First Job In The Industry: How To Establish Your New Career.

Tickets for all screenings and individual seminars run $12. A Full Festival Pass runs $200 and offers unlimited access to all events. For more information visit SD Film Week.

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