In early March, when the COVID-19 pandemic was bringing the film industry to its knees, Bill Ostroff had to make a crucial decision about his GeekFest Film Festival: Hold out hope he would be able to tour his festival at comic cons throughout North America or go entirely virtual?
When the country shut down in mid-March, Ostroff went with the latter decision, making GeekFest, the world’s largest, traveling comic convention film festival, into a virtual event. Unlike past festivals, this one will be accessible and affordable, drawing in larger audiences.
This year, it is $2.99 to register and take part in the online GeekFest Film Festival, which runs from July 30 to August 2.
“If you’re into Marvel, D.C., and Star Wars films, you’ll be surprised at what you see when you come to GeekFest,” Ostroff said.
For less than a good cup of coffee, movie lovers into sci-fi, horror, fantasy, and superhero films will be able to stream and vote on works from decorated and emerging filmmakers. What’s more, many of these films will have that summer blockbuster feel, according to Ostroff.
It’s clear the pandemic crippled film industry by disrupting content creation and production, shuttering movie theaters, and causing studios to delay their first-run movie releases.
Nevertheless, it has also created a window of opportunity for festivals like GeekFest and movie buffs alike. The former can utilize virtual platforms to make works available to a wider audience and viewers can take part in the virtual convention experience at a fraction of the usual cost.
“If you wanted to see these films at a convention and buy a day pass for physical entry to some of these events, you’d be talking potentially $20 to $50 just to get into the convention for one day,” Ostroff said.
By taking part in the GeekFest, viewers will not only get to stream and vote for films, but they can also view two virtual panel discussions that weekend: the August 1 Women of Sci-fi and Horror Panel at Noon (PST) and the August 2 GeekFest Filmmakers Panel, also at Noon (PST).
Ostroff started the GeekFest after touring comic conventions throughout the country and realizing that those events did not have well-curated festivals. So Ostroff, who founded the long-running FirstGlance Film Festival in 1996, put his experience to use.
“I decided to take the idea of the traveling film festival and gear it towards geeks,” he said.
While GeekFest viewers will be participating from their couches, workstations, or wherever they can safely watch, the films themselves are expected to live up to the standards of past festivals.
“We expect people to be blown away by the content we’re screening,” Ostroff said.
“Our hopes are that people will be impressed and will want to come back. And if they are filmmakers, they’ll want to enter in next year’s event.”
For more information:
The GeekFest Film Festival runs from July 30-Aug 2, 2020. Festival passes are $2.99 and are available at this link: https://itsashort.com/festivals/28-geekfest-film-festival
Special thanks to itshort.com partners, Comic Crusaders, for co-sponsoring our event.