IFH 057: HollyShorts: Confessions of a Film Festival Programmer w/ Daniel Sol



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Have you ever wanted to know what really happens behind the scenes at a top-level film festival like the HollyShorts Film Festival? Well, this week I kidnapped co-founder and film festival programmer Daniel Sol, tied him up in a darkened warehouse and shined a bright light on his face to get the truth out of him.

The interview might not have been that dramatic but Daniel laid down a ton of behind the scenes knowledge bombs for all you Indie Film Hustlers out there

HollyShorts! and I go way back. My first short film BROKEN played at the very first HollyShorts Film Festival over a decade ago and I’ve been friends with Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont (co-founders) ever since.

They truly care about filmmakers and were named one of the Top 25 film festivals in the world worth the submission fee by Filmmaker Magazine. 

Enjoy my candid chat with Daniel Sol from the HollyShorts! Film Festival.

Right-click here to download the MP3

Alex Ferrari 0:04
I would like to welcome to the show the legendary Daniel Sol from Holly Shorts Film Festival. Thanks for coming on the show, man.

Daniel Sol 2:54
Of course. Thank you for having me, Alex.

Alex Ferrari 2:56
So as I've told you guys before I'm a big fan of holly shorts Me Me and Danny go back over 10 years now what 10 11 12 years something like that.

Daniel Sol 3:05
It's 12 years now

Alex Ferrari 3:07
it's been 12 Oh Jesus, my God, we're old. By film my short film broken, was in his very very first film festival with Holly shorts where there was how many people in the room?

Daniel Sol 3:20
40 seat theater we had 40 seats we had 50 people or so standing room only look at the oversold crowd you know we saw what we could got him in there.

Alex Ferrari 3:28
Yeah and I remember I remember seeing the pictures you sent me I was like wow they look at the standing room only.

Daniel Sol 3:35
You picture like 50 or so folks in there. Yeah we packed it up for the little place it was the space was small but we crammed it up.

Alex Ferrari 3:41
And that was the funniest thing too is the picture I got sent was like all you can see is people like man there must be hundreds there.

Daniel Sol 3:48
You know it looks a little crazier than it was though it was at a good energy and it was very busy. But granted it was a you know 40 seats up East Hollywood hole in the wall but packed it up though we packed it up as best we could.

Alex Ferrari 4:00
And you know what and from where you started your humble beginnings of holly shorts to where it is today. And for you for those listening don't understand how big Holly shorts has gotten Holly shorts has kind of become the Short Film Festival in LA for sure. But one of the bigger films short film festivals in the country if not the world because of of what Danny and Theo the co founders the other co founder as well have done with the with the thing with the with the festival at it is like I was I guess I was invited let five years ago when we did read princess things 2010 effect that was five years ago. Yeah, yeah, we were at the we were at the GG Yeah, we were at the DGA theater at that time. And I was just like I had just gotten to LA a little bit ago after before that and I was just like, oh my god, this is holy cow like

Daniel Sol 4:54
You definitely got to see a little bit of the before and after because I mean granted you weren't there for the first year broken. You saw the pictures. You Participate you know what the process was at the time how we're all this stuff to that where you know we had you know, DGA holds you know almost 1000 people all sold out and the red carpet was crazy with all these celebrities and some good press and and you know great party the energy was high it was it was a drink you know it was definitely you see the scope of change I mean it wasn't clearly obviously wasn't that anymore It was a much bigger event we had a great great spotlight on those films which was what we were excited about and for you because you were there for us with day one yeah like being that and then being able to show your film and have that better platform oh but it was kind of you no way to see both sides to be able to do that

Alex Ferrari 5:39
Oh absolutely man and and being you know, doing the right carpet was so much fun and but the best the best experience it has I've never seen any of my work look as good as it did at the DGA because their screening room is insane

Daniel Sol 5:55
Yeah, that's very good it's a very high quality very very sound picture quality is top notch they do their tests the rejection team is great like it's it was definitely top notch or definitely top notch

Alex Ferrari 6:06
There is no question but then now you move to the Chinese Theater which is not too shabby either.

Daniel Sol 6:12
Not too bad. But once you go to that guy quality that level of quality there's only so many places you can go and if you're staying in Hollywood and you have the DJ you have the Chinese Theater you have the arclight yeah you know and those are kind of basically your main options I mean there's others yeah harmony golden other places like that but that this is they don't compare those are the toddlers for me to top and that comes for quality the size count of seats, we can actually attend the size of the venues out without getting too big I mean Dolby and having tennis places just too massive and right right you know get go that big and afford that we're not a Disney studio premiere you know we don't have a budget for a Marvel or a you know, Star Wars movie Star Wars and Star Wars you're blocking off all of Hollywood for $10 million or whatever they spent

Alex Ferrari 6:55
that was a bigger premiere that was the biggest premiere in history it was bigger than the Oscars

Daniel Sol 6:59
blocked up more than even Oscars two as far street blockage It was crazy but yeah so I mean for our for our area of where we are you know we felt have all those options we've done all those options we've done the DJ we've been at the arclight and now we felt for all those the Chinese Theater became our home and we felt was the best option

Alex Ferrari 7:17
how long How many years have you been there

Daniel Sol 7:19
this is our fourth year okay this will be our fourth year there it goes by pretty quick and we've done different things there we've had parties there and parties outside use multiple screens use the downstairs the main old grommets quote unquote, Chinese Theater for opening night The first time we were there. It was great deal was amazing. Now we use multiple screens for opening night to have the equal c count upstairs in the six Plex but the IMAX they installed is kind of push that up to where that main house is very, very expensive. Now, of course we're in the summertime in August so with the premieres of we're up against with premieres and things like that and big big movies coming out in August you know it's kind of made it more difficult we're working to get back there to get back in there for open night because it was great that we had it there and just have that huge I'm going to be in that that theater you know it's legendary. Oh my god that films there it's really cool. It was a cool moment when we first got there. First year doing that there. It was our first time at the theater now finally the festivals kicking off it's opening night giving a speech you look up and you see this sold out room and in front of you is always people coming to our festival. Yeah, I you know, it's a cool moment I felt it was it was pretty, I guess you could say somewhat validating or pretty cool. Like to say, hey, we've gotten to a certain place to be able to be here. And where I came as a kid to see the fugitive and stuff. And yeah, I know, right? It's like crazy stuff I saw when I used to live here as a kid a little bit in between LA and Miami. Like it was like that now here and it's sold out. And there's always people here and it was crazy. It was cool. It's pretty cool. So it's a great place to be it's a great home for us.

Alex Ferrari 8:48
So um, the question I've been always wanted to ask you, I've never asked you this question. Why the hell did you start a film festival? Because my friend I see, I saw a little bit of behind the scenes of how you guys do what you do. And it's not like By the way, guys, Danny's not like, you know Scrooge McDuck in it in gold bullion, because he's running all these shorts. You know, this is a labor of love. But I have to ask why the hell did you start this? Yeah,

Daniel Sol 9:14
it's a it's a it's a very fair question. It's a question. Sometimes you ask yourself.

Alex Ferrari 9:20
Tell me about it.

Daniel Sol 9:22
You know, to be honest, I mean, but it's, there's a few parts to it. But I mean, mainly, at the time, because again, we didn't have the grand vision of knowing what it couldn't have been where we would go. So take it a step further back, I guess we could say, I mean, we're at the time we were 24. And Theo and I, to give a little quick backstory to you and I grew up together in Miami. And I moved here first. My brother and grandmother were here and they kind of pushed us to move out here and we just felt like you know what, let's just let's just do it. So I came first and I moved out in 2000 and was working the business and he got me some pa jobs. He was an actor, and he had jobs and Tony Kaye film and stuff and and commercials and so he was getting me some gigs so I was working as a PA on set and to try to learn my way I was 2021 and then working the business and then you do a little side acting job standing jobs you know we made some we produce a few little shorts were just knowing people in the business people working and over that time in the field moved out here and he was getting started in public relations and he wanted to create an event we were doing these little one off comedy events and just throwing little we're used to promotions from the Miami culture right you promote oh yeah we had some of that in our blood from doing events we threw parties if you know 1516 in high school we rented out a ranch you know we were throwing parties so we had a bit of an event background in our in our blood it's kind of like the festivities throwing events bringing people together is something that we like doing so thinking back to now more present 2004 view and I had a phone call and we just said you know we should start a film festivals we have friends that have films that in order to show them we didn't we weren't impressive what we saw with the festivals over here at the time and just felt you know we my brother had a little theater the space theater little hole in the wall 40 seat theater we could get from him and we'll get a projector and let's just put on the shelf and he's going to put on a show and just get started we new filmmakers and he didn't want to present work we knew people were actors we knew people in the business we were in the business ourselves trying to break through either got to do something here or you just got to sit back and just talk it's either yeah you're talking you're doing yeah and we met too many people talking we want to do something you mean in LA people talk

Alex Ferrari 11:27
no no never have

Daniel Sol 11:32
so I was like I have enough people on set and things that just taught us like you know I gotta do something you got to make something happen we have some resources we could do something we have some connections we've learned and met along the way and and let's try to bring that together and and bring our background of love events and passion for film and bring it all together and try to make something happen so that was the beginning and that was the idea and then not knowing where that would go we just said let's just get it started and let's see if we could survive it if we do it and it's just bad idea that we didn't like it or it sucked or just a poorly attended event or whatever yeah then I guess we would say you know let's stop this but it went so well that first year we just caught the bug I mean we felt very strong about what we did in that little theater and

Alex Ferrari 12:12
and how many how many submissions Did you get that year?

Daniel Sol 12:15
Oh that first year was like I think it was like we screened 23 movies two days and then had our Friday little party opening night opening night quote unquote party was at this Bongo club on Melrose I'm not sure I think I'm pretty sure it closed down now. I still there but something else I forgot what it's called. And we had like 30 submissions or something 32 sub sub bases I

Alex Ferrari 12:36
was one of those I was one of those 32 submissions

Daniel Sol 12:39
yeah you know it was like there wasn't many outside I didn't get in you didn't get in it's like Damn

Alex Ferrari 12:43
man some happen if you didn't get it in 2005

Daniel Sol 12:47
you know i mean here's like a lock you know, amazingly This is great because there wasn't films comparable especially to now right you know, obviously the scope of films we're getting out of around the world and everything Sure Sure. I mean some films are screening and quite frankly we're you know very on the amateur level this is also you gotta remember 2000 4005 didn't take that long ago but it is like oh that's just like it it's like dog years yeah it's night and day I mean there was this is pre youtube so there was no YouTube yet there was like I feel them and then these these website there wasn't much so people were posting stuff online but digital was still kind of coming on streaming was like a red camera so we're still getting VHS submissions at the time we had VHS submissions as well so we're actually literally had VCRs watching some VHS submission so this is kind of dates us that way

Alex Ferrari 13:30
so salsa boys and girls there's this format called VHS there used to be stores you would have to go to to rent these things.

Daniel Sol 13:40
Yes. You know I'm missing. Oh, man.

Alex Ferrari 13:44
I mean, that's a whole other episode. Yeah.

Daniel Sol 13:49
Yeah, so we just said let's start this thing and we wanted to make something happen. We love film, love doing events, we want to bring people together. We knew a lot of creatives and filmmakers and people that we knew in the business from friendships relationships, my brother's people he knew because he's been in business a while acting and stuff so just felt like let's bring that together. And and it was way to bring us together we moved here separately, but sort of together the discussion of myself and Theo and other people for Florida. We wanted to you know, make something happen here and so all those things combined. It's

Alex Ferrari 14:21
crazy that the reason that crazy idea of like let's open up a film festival and you were Yeah, you were young enough

Daniel Sol 14:26
to find out is kind of crazy because there's so much so much minutia and detail that goes into everything.

Alex Ferrari 14:31
Oh my god, I

Daniel Sol 14:32
do annually and it's an annual thing, right? So you do it and when it's done for that year, it's done. It's like you take that breath and it's like wow, okay, that got through all that and got all that planning done every now and then it's like, okay, let's redo that and start again, I always joke. It's basically like you're, you're planning and getting married or you're planning a wedding or you're getting married.

Alex Ferrari 14:51
But the funny thing is that when you're 24 and you start a film festival, you're naive enough to think that this just like I can do this. You Because if if I would talk to you today with you never doing a film festival prior and going let's start a film festival you would look at me like you're absolutely nuts like

Daniel Sol 15:11
you get more tired you're like oh you know this is running around you can do anything you're like

Alex Ferrari 15:17
that's not what look look look not that we're that old but it's 24 and let's say over 30 is a lot different as far as energy and all that kind of stuff goes yeah, so what's how many submissions Do you get now average annually

Daniel Sol 15:35
so just for the festival on last year, we received basically around 2200 submissions.

Alex Ferrari 15:41
That's a lot better than 32 Yeah,

Daniel Sol 15:44
much much more than 32 was much more than you know, so a lot more watching and that was last year that's just for the festival we also have separate entries for the monthly screening series so some people just want to submit to the monthly screenings for the showcase and just want to screen in a monthly they they submit to that separately so it's a different submission point, lower price point and it's a rolling submission so people can submit any time throughout the year to work so we're continually reviewing those films to see what will place a different monthly events throughout the year. So there's that going on separately so with that combined it's now you're probably talking more like I guess 2500 or so give or take maybe more for the whole year continue adding it all together

Alex Ferrari 16:21
right right now do you do you watch every film that's submitted?

Daniel Sol 16:25
I try to I try to personally personally watch everything now it's more that I try to watch as much as possible there is we have a bigger review team now that's helping because you have to realize that we have to also take a step back or rate myself of trying to always watch everything you know and sometimes multiple times in some films obviously that time wise is just it's just not very viable to do that. You know, I got to kind of balance it out because it's difficult but at this point we still have this year we're gonna do probably more of a process of reverse on a bigger review team we've plucked a lot of entry folks and say hey guys, we help you in some films come in and watch and we're gonna sign films everyone and then we review the scores come in and check and we'll rewatch films of certain scores and that's kind of the process we're going to have with our jury this year that we're implementing so we're still watching a lot of films if not all but used to be where it was like you know, easier to do i mean now it's why remember it was 100,000 Films now we're talking 1000s it's

Alex Ferrari 17:26
it's it's it's physically impossible to do on person to do Yeah, and I was I remember when I came over six years ago to see to show you guys red princess I remember the screening process was it was intense

Daniel Sol 17:44
right? Yeah, we just get we get together I mean, we still do that same process where we get together once every weekend every other weekend because it's a family atmosphere of course Yeah, we're all we've known each other all of our lives with some of the people in the review team Yeah, absolutely you know his family his cousin helps us judge his cousins in the businesses and the director and DP for a long time you know from New York days to Florida to here so we have a team of people that we really trust their opinion and also they've been in business a long time and we get together and for us that we grew up together a lot of us it's it's a family thing so we're we're just getting together we just say sit down we said all day we just pick a day on the weekend and just do it just watch the watch all day and review take notes and discuss give her scores out and then just organize the phones based on that and just so we're still doing that process is just you know with one more help from a strong jury because we just we had we had to lean on some some help with some of that but that process still intact where we get together and just crank out films to watch and discuss and and that way we can have that discussion and still know everything we're getting you know coming through our doors so as we get we want to know what we have we want to make sure we review and leave no stone unturned and make sure we give everyone a fair shot we don't want to just have people submit note and watch films that kind of stuff we hear about the stories I mean I don't for two reasons one it's not fair Of course to to it's also you don't want to be that you don't have egg egg on your face and ourselves we're also we don't we don't you don't watch a film or something in the film is a fantastic film you end up just like kind of putting aside and we were watching I mean I would just I don't understand that you know we want to obviously put on the best show possible and show the best films we can possibly show

Alex Ferrari 19:14
yeah that's what I that's what I love about Holly shorts and what you guys do there's such a love behind what you guys do and and I've been at like I've I've been in you know as well as anyone I've been in over 600 Film Festivals with all of my projects over the course of my career. So I've seen and been to many film festivals even some local ones that I won't discuss that were not as a as nice as you but but the love that you have for what you guys do and it is such a family environment. It is very very much like that. Is it okay if I tell the story of how I submitted red princess oh god yeah, so I I just finished I literally am finishing editing red Princess, and I know Holly shores is coming up and I kind of planned it a little bit. I'm like, you know what? I want to get it to the boys and see if they would be interested in screening it. And I've never once ever since and before I've ever shown anyone my product my film before it's finished. And I, I came over and that's when I saw the screening the screening process. Hold on, hold on one second, I gotta sneeze.

Carter Pilcher 20:21
Oh, yeah.

Alex Ferrari 20:24
That one I've been fighting for about five minutes, we will cut that out. So anyway, so I see this, I see the screening process. And I walk in and I go back into the room where I have a DVD, which is without visual effects without final sound. And it's just basically a final edit, but not fully done by any stretch, I'd say probably about 70% done. And I don't even think I colored it at that point, I don't even think it was color graded either. So I come over and I have this DVD and you want to pop it into your Mac, which was like a g4 in the back somewhere and we pop it in and I just sit there watching it on this little, this little TV, this little monitor to monitor for this g4 and I'm sitting there like, Oh my god, this is this isn't gonna work. And then both of you I think at that point, both of you like yeah, it's in What do you want? Yeah, yeah, sure. We want it No problem. And I think he was either that night or that a few days later, you guys contacted me, he's like, hey, do you would you want to do opening night? You know, with all the other films, I'm like, oh, that would be amazing. So that was my experience with submitting red princess blues to Holly and they got there. And they got the world premiere, you know. And that's another thing that I think a lot of filmmakers don't understand is once they start building relationships with festivals, those are relationships that you can, you know, work with going forward in your career. So like, you know, if I have a short film, you know, Theo and Dan are getting the first call, I'm like, hey, I want to premiere my short at your festival. And that's a good thing for both Danny and for, um, for Holly shorts, and for us as filmmakers, because they get first crack at maybe hopefully something really good and really cool. And we have an access to a wonderful place to show our film.

Daniel Sol 22:12
Well, certainly, I mean, you know, this is a having, like any business is a relationship business. And I know there's some sort of veil covering a lot of festivals and people don't know who's responsible, or there's a certain wall put up. And I understand some of the reasons for that. Obviously, there's, there's reasons for that. But you know, you have to be yourself you have to operate where you need your own philosophy and for us, we are really personable. We love the filmmakers, we don't you know, some? Again, I'm not trying to like downplay the festival, say, we're just comparing, there are some festivals or some events and things that just they don't, it's really like the customer is the filmmaker, but they don't really like the filmmaker, or I don't know what

Alex Ferrari 22:51
they don't take care of them or they don't respect them or

Daniel Sol 22:54
Yeah, there's something there maybe it's there a certain resentment or maybe it's because of the jaded nature of the business or you're doing something a long time or you feel like you know, I was you know, some festivals, you hear the stories, people are a fail filmmaker, they do a festival and so now there's like, resentment things weird dynamic. I mean, we don't have that again, maybe it's back to the start something young, eager, excited, have that mentality. So there's a certain naivete, and that I guess, you know, maybe something like that. But that's our philosophy is just to, to create an atmosphere of a sort of family once you're in and you've been accepted by Holly shorts, we obviously have a certain level of feeling or affection for the work you've done. Not everyone gets into this competitive. So So once that happens, there's a relationship that started and that everyone's gonna be, we're not going to be as close to every filmmaker and be kind of relationships like you and I may have or others, but, you know, every you know, because people involve your two people business, you're gonna, you're gonna make relationships with people and you're gonna say, Hey, I like this guy's work. I like this girl's work, you know, we keep in touch, want to promote and share their stuff, and put them out there. If we believe in any of the people we're screening, and believe in their work. We're gonna want to put them out there in the best way possible. So there's just a reflection on them reflects on us. So it's exciting for us when we say hey, this guy got nominated for Oscar Great, that's, we love that film. We love them. They're great. We're gonna want to promote that kind of thing and things of that nature.

Alex Ferrari 24:14
I mean, it's just you've had some awesome you've had some Oscar nominees, right? Yeah, yep.

Daniel Sol 24:19
Yeah, over the years we have in this year we have one this year. We're very proud of our grand jury winner last year on shock directed by Jamie Donahoe. He is his film is nominated this year and you know, we were open we'll see if he wins it'd be great. Yeah, but we're excited for that because it's you know, the academy shown a stamp of approval for that film and it's a film that one our festival so and we're excited and we got to meet the filmmaker at the festival and get to know him well and it's great guy and his films fantastic and so we're excited for him you know, it's it's a big deal for for a young filmmaker like him to be like this, this opportunity is huge. So

Alex Ferrari 24:53
so so I'm gonna I'm gonna give the opposite side of that what you just said, and I'm not gonna name names, but there is Another festival another short film festival in Los Angeles I will not say their name but they basically treated me completely the opposite of the way Holly shorts treated me and it's something I never forgot and it was a horrible experience and it was with broken and I think it was even the same year because I think it was another I think was the year after I think it was a year after like we had already done like another 40 or 50 festivals we had done at that point. And we got accepted into this big you know, supposedly The Big Short Film Festival here in Los Angeles. And they we flew out on our dime and we were thrown into this block of you know, like faceless you know, like this faceless you know screening with a bunch of other shorts nobody was really there nobody really knew what was going on in a big screen in a big nine a hole in a wall by any stretch in a big theater. And there was a couple filmmakers who flew in from Spain just for this festival and we were expecting to do a q&a afterwards you know something nothing we just got booted out and they're like sorry no q&a no time gotta go and I'm like you sons of bitches like you'd like you know like and I felt bad for myself but I felt really bad for the guy who spent like you know, God knows probably two three grand coming over from Spain for this big screening process and I will never forget that not that I hold grudges but I'm holding one now because that is 12 years ago now that there's 11 years ago that that happened but I anytime anyone asked me about that festival I completely tell them my my my feelings on them and how they treated me and how they treat filmmakers in general because I've heard other stories from other filmmakers as well. And for this the exact same reason why I have you on the show today I also tell people the good stories and anyone ever asked me anything about Holly shorts I always say that's the place to go put your film in there is

Daniel Sol 26:49
obviously you know we couldn't have grown we've grown it's a community thing with everyone Yeah, so if the filmmakers are submitting and happy we can grow we grow do better and give a better spotlight to the films and filmmakers then that benefits the filmmaker so and it benefits us benefits them and everybody can win on that so we're all trying to progress and win basically sort of the true way of saying it i mean you know and with that in fairness to some festivals and and as you know my stance I won't defend that festival you're mentioning but yes then he knows that I speak to that but you know everyone's gonna make this always mistakes made I mean we know there's there's projection issues there's things that happen there's glitches Of course of course of course because there's so many layers of things and things to test especially with shorts there's so many films if there's more short films and program feature film you have one file one film one DCP one whatever with you know a gathering of shorts you have more projects more you know roof air I guess you can say or more I'm sure it's how you handle it. It's like it's how you handle it is what I think is reflection or what matters we do the best we can and trying to handle that stuff well handle the stress of that well be there for the filmmaker if something does happen we understand the importance and know how the feeling can be sometimes even life and death even though it's not that serious but it can feel that way it's very important

Alex Ferrari 28:08
oh my god are you kidding me? Yeah, for a filmmaker I mean like if if I just spent the last year putting together this short and my big premiere is at this festival

Daniel Sol 28:17
is a certain area that we should respect that now obviously nothing can always go 100% perfect you do the best you can some people we've seen the ugly side of people overreacting to things happening and being really nasty that's unfortunate but all we can do is just try to do the best we can to represent our festival on ourselves and the filmmaker well and do what we can do to make good on an error so if something happens you know like we had to worry about the screening a few months ago one of the film files is a little bit off a little audio during the projection but don't know we don't know we know what happened it's everything tested final we QA all the films and somehow there must have been a miss or maybe we missed it in the QA process was was that that glitching and the sound it was 5.1 it was so there could have been some issue there. We said look, we'll rescreen the film let's just figure this out we'll figure out how we can get it in and next time we'll do a DCP we will get it in the festival possibly and so we had the dialogue right then and there so amazing the best we can and say okay, let's fix this and we're here for the filmmaker we're here for you obviously stuff like that happens you can't take it back Are you in the moment it's screened it's done and screening was over. You know and things like that. So you do what you can that's I think what anyone would appreciate it that's all you can really ask.

Alex Ferrari 29:20
That's all you can do like like you know stuff happens. It happens all the time. It's life but how you handle it is something that yes, very

Daniel Sol 29:28
Flipside is others sometimes as we've seen, like your story, don't care. Nothing's handled. It's don't care. And that's I think what people really get upset about what we can't tell people is, hey, it might be like that elsewhere, because we're in the business of you're pointing fingers and demeaning other people. Or we, you know, if we say it, it's coming from us. We have a festival. You're competitive. You're just saying that to be nasty about some other festival. Okay, well, but if you say you're the filmmaker, you're saying this is my experience. Absolutely. That has a validity there. We can sit here just say it, but it's true. It's important that For us I think it's just so it's a philosophy we just have to make sure we're always going to be there for the filmmaker to try to make wrongs right correct what we can when errors do occur and we try to minimize the errors as much as possible because there's nothing I hate worse maybe it's stressful as a filmmaker I hate it is it drives me crazy drives me crazy because I'm stressed out stressed about the whole thing I want I feel like it's my film screening over all these films or screening over and over it's like it feels like it's a lot of pressure you want it all to go so well my god man had reflection on what you're doing so it's you know, it's personal to us we didn't just we're not running someone else's event or something this is we put our name behind it it's our event we started so it's our thing it's reputation of sorts so

Alex Ferrari 30:39
Danny man god god bless you and do man I don't know how you do it because God knows I couldn't do it I'd lose my I lose my mind. You're like you're like a wedding planner like 2424 seven wedding planner like everything has to go off with a hitch it's 1000 So let me ask you so I'm gonna ask you some some hard hitting festival questions. How long should a short film be because I've heard a lot of different debates on this I'd love to hear your take

Daniel Sol 31:06
it's a hard it's a hard one because I mean you know I mean all I can say is I guess I'll just give some honest reflection on some of this but we've had because just taking a step back to it you know, we've had some films that are 3040 minutes so we can't sit here and say you can't do a film of a certain length I guess I'll say a few things one, make the film that you want to make if it is longer and if you really believe in the film you have to make you got to make that film because if you're chopping and cutting just to try to appease festivals or the story might not be very good or complete you even have a short film that's too short and you know it's not satisfying the story's not thorough and then there's issues and you're you watch the programmers watch like hey I feel like I want more from that and then you have the benefits okay it's only 10 minutes now as opposed to maybe it was 20 minutes and they cut down a bunch of time but then it but then the story might be incomplete and then it feels you know the jury watching and watching like hey I feel like this was lacking we wanted more from the story so you can have that as well. Now that said it it does help to be a shorter short programming wise we have two hour programs that run anywhere from you know maximum two hours usually less and gets out for q&a whatnot i mean you know you need time so it helps to have a film if the film's 10 minutes as opposed to 3030 minutes takes up what is that 25% of 25% of the time or so I better be really good so it has to be so it's the film is longer it does have to be in some ways I guess you can you can say it doesn't have to be a bit better has to be a little sharper and you know there's more room for critique or error potentially but that said when we love a film I don't care how long it is if the film is fantastic we love the film oh you know find a way we want to we want to find a way to program yeah we're gonna find a way now there is moments that stuff has happened where there's been a few films over the years that are that long that we've had issue with because of the type of genre the film is and really trying to fit it in properly to a proper program to where it's not like we're just throwing the film up and is what the documentary is all of a sudden you have this like you know graphic horror film it's so all of a sudden is just weird you can't what can you do so you try to find the right home for that

Alex Ferrari 33:11
in that program

Daniel Sol 33:12
that work and then and then if it doesn't work it's like damn well we're kind of we're kind of square peg in a round hole we're kind of screwed here you know so we've had that happen some times where it's very unfortunate you know the beauty is at least we have the monthly screenings now so we're an annual fest so we can say all right, well you know what, we'll program this down the road and let's do that. But we don't want that to happen with the film's we want to program in the score very highly and we love we want to get them in, but then that runtime issue can happen. Because again, it is just there's only so much time and it's very competitive with so many films that are scoring very well and then fit the mold of certain categories and things like that. That it's it's tough. The safer bet Yeah, if your film is shorter, to get any more festivals that is that's basically kind of a fact. I mean you see with other festivals and films that are very short, they get into a bunch of festivals oh I don't know they're probably I don't know the process of other festivals around the world I don't know I only know so many they know the process Muslim I don't know how their process is but I know what they're probably thinking what I see the results of what they program you know, I can see what they program by just seeing the films knowing the festival circuit for so long. I know that some festivals do favor films that are shorter in length and they'll even say as much as the festivals but they'll say much like Hey, your film should be shorter they'll even take submissions that are 2030 minutes in length but they're basically kind of don't want any of them and they do really want shorter films. So from a standpoint of the festival circuit as a whole Yeah, runtime should be shorter and the film should be I'd say the ideal length is probably in that you know 10 to 12 minutes range is probably like that sweet spot. I think for a lot of festivals not for us we don't look at it that way we have more time to play with we have 10 days

Alex Ferrari 34:45
yeah it's a long it's a big festival Yeah,

Daniel Sol 34:47
so we wanted to grow and add to that because of the quality of films we want to keep that up also keep the level high and cooking competition I but we kept growing and getting more submissions and we have we had a seven a day festival like Alright, well let's add these 10 days. We can go into the next weekend and show more films and have a good platform during the weekend and and the quality films have gone up so you know we have room that we can play with for us we're okay with a little bit longer runtime if we love a film because we do have time where it's not going to necessarily bump someone else out. Whereas the festival has only four or five days or two days. Yeah, I mean, it's tough for them to progress in 30 minutes long. They don't have that much time and it means that you're gonna bump some two or three other films out there say 310 minute shorts, as opposed to 130 minute shorts. So they may look at it from that standpoint,

Alex Ferrari 35:32
right? It's like with me specifically like with broken broken was 20 minutes and I that got into 200 film festivals, but I also got a lot of rejections saying you just we love it, but it's too long. We can't program you. Yeah, so then the next one I did was four minutes. And that one got into a ton of festivals. And then princess was 11 minutes and that also got into a ton of festivals. And it also has has had some celebrity power behind it as well. Which does help right i mean having a face or a name that audiences like do help in the whole process obviously it's all about the art Yeah,

Daniel Sol 36:07
yeah, I mean like I always say this I got to be honest I can't it doesn't really doesn't really hurt You're insane. It's not gonna I mean that people sit here said as a matter I'm not gonna see a lot of people will be like, it doesn't matter. It means nothing.

Alex Ferrari 36:18
Its assets. Its asset. It's an asset and seats, right has its cachet

Daniel Sol 36:22
and value. Same time. We've rejected plenty of films that all types of names. And of course, you'd be shocked at some of the stuff we've seen over the years. accuracy, you you literally sit here, you're watching. You're like I cannot believe this guy's in this movie or this. I can't believe it. And we can't put this short film and we can't put this up. It's it's I'm not exaggerating. I'm not gonna obviously just here and point to the name of a guy named. But it's, um, some dead serious, like, it's sometimes pretty shot. You're like, Whoa, like, what were they thinking? Like? It's kind of fun. It's kind of amazing to think that the caliber of actors sometimes doing some of these films are just really poor quality. And it's just not even a level of what they can do. This is really surprising. It's usually I imagine a favorite thing or they must be trying to help someone out. They know just how to do this. Sure. But it's surprising very surprising sometimes. And then they get rejected flat out and they're not good. You're not going to show a film you just because someone's in it. Now, if the film has a certain quality to it, and it's great story, good filmmaking and then it has said caliber actor that's obviously a blessing to help and there's going to be an element of course first ever opening ever opened I usually has we've had the Danny Moore's in the kitchen done. So the world needs people attending ob nine, showing their work. That's what that big platform is for the big splash of getting the big industry out. And what we've done as far as urbanite, it's been part of that process of getting ignite, bring it everyone out to shed light on the whole festival. Hey, guys, as we're showing this this week, this was going on, this wasn't a competition. This is the festival and you know, and let him go and walk that carpet and get to experience but no, it's been Yeah, celebrity factor is gonna play some role in that obviously.

Alex Ferrari 37:51
And you have you guys have kind of become, from at least from my perspective from outside the festival. But you've got to become kind of like the go to festival in Hollywood for celebrities or actors who are directing their first move for directing their first short film, or, you know, or are actors or big actors or in short films. You're the place to go because I remember I remember when I did, I think it was it wasn't where it prints I think was red princess animated the the animated version. I mean, I was on a panel with Josh Brolin and Jessica Alba. Yeah. Now, Jessica Biel.

Daniel Sol 38:26
It's gonna be on rolling where that was. And that was sort of our big, that was our first. That's what set that tone for this going forward. And that was our big first night of kind of, Hey, everyone, here's Holly shorts, and that's when that kind of started Yeah, because that was our fourth year. We were growing we had that was our first year being sunset five now defunct sunset five, which is the Sundance cinemas. Yeah. And that theater was our first time being there. So now we're in a more legitimate theater. No more center space no more, you know, our space theater. Like we were finally growing. Okay, now we're in legitimate theaters. Our opening night, the year before we showcased agent grungy a short, yeah, I remember Tribeca that was at a party space. Yep. Yep. Yep. Hollywood. So

Alex Ferrari 39:04
I was there. I was

Daniel Sol 39:06
great. It was fun. It was great. It was that that that festive party vibe that we liked that we had, it was kind of what we had going for us what we were doing. It kind of set a tone for us. But we needed to be take that and also now take it to a great theater, great, big venue, and just really graduate. And that was that was what that night was we had. Yeah, Josh Brolin. Yeah, Jessica, these are huge names and actually attended support Paul Haggis came up and I was Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 39:29
that's right. Paul Haggis was there I talked to Paul I guess came up to me that night and he's like, hey, not a bet you didn't get a pretty good movie Alex. I'm like, and I literally turned to him I go your stuffs not too bad either. And he just started laughing. But that's the kind of things that you get at these kind of awesome festivals like like qalys like you get to meet these kind of people and I've been blessed to be on, I think two or three opening nights through other projects I've done with Holly shorts. So I've been on those panels with with David Arquette and Paul Haggis all these kind of guys and it's it's just been such a wonderful ride. Yeah,

Daniel Sol 40:05
we want to we want to provide that sort of platform of like, we want to bridge the idea of beings bridging Young Hollywood, early Hollywood, indie filmmakers with Hollywood. Yeah, okay, bring this, this, this group and this group together. Let's sort of make something happened with that you have some some of the hopefully a listers and people that are of that ilk in that influence with that their agents, representatives, people from Gershon ca and things like that. involved in seeing what's going on studio executives coming, sitting the films in the projects getting aware of the festival, and filmmakers want to meet right then and there. I mean, Josh Brolin was great that night, he was hanging out all night talking everyone he was there till close. I mean, I thought he just show up no gowns.

Alex Ferrari 40:43
Hey, Josh was he was there and I think it's his his wife is that Eileen? Yeah, at the time Lane was there

Daniel Sol 40:49
she came. And it was a first experience with all that, and it was a we were lucky to be blessed with that, because that usually doesn't go that smoothly with celebrity and yeah, no, no,

Alex Ferrari 40:57
Josh was I can't even tell you how cool Josh was. I had I had an opportunity to talk to Josh for a little bit. And the best the best thing about Josh is like, during his the on the on the panel, he was like, yeah, you know, I was trying to find someone to do post on this short film I directed and I'm just thinking to myself, dude, are you kidding me? I would have done posed for free for you. I would have killed to do for it. Oh, like, are you? You couldn't find anybody seriously. I was like, really, I would have done it in a heartbeat, sir, in a heartbeat.

Daniel Sol 41:27
So it was a big, it was a big night for us that that was a big starting point of like, Okay, this is how we want to present that opening. This is the formula kind of going forward of having the big, big night, and then go into the week of the festival. And this is that was that was the kick forward of that, you know, having the success rate of ALS celebrities that were involved that night and people that are involved in their premieres, and they're all coming out. Yeah, this was their, you know, and haggis was their dream. And they all came everyone attended in the q&a. And they participated. It wasn't just like, just show up and leave real quick. They were engaged in and participated. I was, you know, it was a big night for us to go from what it was. We were going

Alex Ferrari 42:02
that was sort of a that was that that was the turning point. That was it. Yeah,

Daniel Sol 42:05
I think that definitely was in a cool little sign on that was so eaten, bro. And Josh, his daughter, the red carpet, he was starring in the film. So first kind of foray into acting and whatnot. And with her dad, and you know, so there was a personal project to that for them. And she did the carpet, all that stuff. We met there. And then last year at South by Southwest and chatha film premiering and she's a Richard Linklater party. And, and we went to the party, I mean, Theo, and then ran into her, and she was just like, so excited to see us. And it was like this cool. She's like, Oh, I did that. I was like, older. And it's like, I remember that was my first red carpet thing. And he was speaking so fondly about the night. It was, it was kind of tough, but it was I didn't, you know, it was kind of neat. It was like, what you really like to reflect on I like, that was a cool thing for me, you know, to think of it that way I didn't, you know, it's personal for us. I wouldn't imagine that she would even give it down to me. Not to be but no,

Alex Ferrari 42:54
but the thing is, then, and this is the thing that sometimes you guys, you forget, because you're used to it. But you can't you guys forget that a red carpet for someone who's never walked the red carpet, and a big panel and to be even sitting on the panel with other celebrities or other filmmakers who are of a different statute, or experience is a huge deal to filmmakers, especially to young actresses or young actors or things like that. And now you know, because now you're getting old like me. So slowly, now these kids that grew up watching Holly shorts, it's like a new, it's like the Star Wars generation, they grew up an extra 30 years from now, though, they'll come back and they'll, you know, receive their lifetime achievement award. And

Daniel Sol 43:39
to be doing this for, you know, we like to have this fest go on for

Alex Ferrari 43:42
as long as as long as it doesn't kill you. So what's one of the main reasons why you reject the film from a film festival? I've always wanted to know like, is there is there a number one reason is there a main reason?

Daniel Sol 43:53
Well, they're not just there's not just a one reason because there's there could be a lot of there's various reasons, but there are things you see that, that? It's a big question. There's a lot of different areas you can go I mean, there's just there's some of the obvious. First, first and foremost obvious is if a film is of certain qualities, it's not good or good enough and can't compete on his on his level, you mean,

Alex Ferrari 44:11
it's production, you're talking about production value, production value is sort

Daniel Sol 44:15
of an eyesore and jumps out, if something is just not bad sound, bad pictures, if sound is off, if that acting, yeah, these things are there. It's an automatic, it's just, it's an automatic outside of it being intentional, where you see some stuff that's the midnight should know, kind of stuff like that kind of content where it's done on purpose. And it's very spoofed and silly and funny, and off the wall. And it's kind of stuff which sometimes we love that stuff. That kind of content is great. But if it's not done on purpose, it's a it's an automatic, because you're talking 2000 plus films, you know, we're saying, give or take 300 or 400 are getting in, let's say 20%. So it's already 20% chance to get in at best. So of that. Certain films just won't make the cut based on a lot of other criteria, but that's fine. and foremost if it's off there, it can't compete on that level won't work, it won't work and so it's very important acting thing is very important to go back to acting.

Alex Ferrari 45:11
We'll be right back after a word from our sponsor. And now back to the show.

Daniel Sol 45:22
casting directors and people to help with casting i think is important and an area that maybe I've seen a lot of films fail because people are making a film in Hollywood especially Los Angeles for a friend they want to put themselves out there as actors because we're all in the hustle together and everyone's sharing is accurate so there's a certain like hey, let's help a buddy alysus that just kind of do this again this collaboration is great but you know if you're making a professional project or trying to make something really strong you got to take it to

Alex Ferrari 45:48
a high level man

Daniel Sol 45:49
yeah take it to heart level with that thing It can't just be it because it's acting falls off you can have good story you can be it can be shot beautifully and if actors are just failing it's just it's it's difficult to say hey we're going to program this and this is going to work for the audience or they're not going to feel like a this is this is not a certain quality This is going to distract Oh of course of course you know it's something that we don't we've done in the years past and casting panels casting director panels discussing a process of Hey tough with budgets and whatnot and you know people wonder yourself but you got to have strong acting strive acting fails it's it's like you know, how can we programming score higher amongst other films fantastic acting and and none of actors that are now known there's plenty of great actors that have their fantastic and didn't they're unknown completely exactly you know, there's so much talent here and all over the world of films from all over the world but

Alex Ferrari 46:43
let me ask you an aside On a side note, how many films do you get from around the world as opposed to just a US percent

Daniel Sol 46:49
exact percentage in retail like I don't have the full layout of like the percentages from that number last year say 2200 or so whatever it was exactly submitted of that. What was the world number? I don't know but I know the country wise it's UK is up there UK Australia Canada. As far as percentage of the money you get

Alex Ferrari 47:08
no but no jet but generally like you get the most of your submissions are us obviously Yeah,

Daniel Sol 47:14
but most are still us and then from there it goes like UK Germany Spain, Canada Australia gotcha some heavy countries so

Alex Ferrari 47:23
you're an International Film Festival Yeah. Last year

Daniel Sol 47:26
we screened the number was 23 countries represented oh nice nice is represented last year with more submitted some countries like one film aims to be submitted from a film from you know like maybe one from Norway one from Poland things like sure. But um but yeah, so 23 countries represented last year so you know worldwide I mean we had like I said I mentioned Poland we had a fell from Poland actually, that was great. We had a block of films in Germany that were fantastic. Spain. The UK is heavy always London. A lot of stuff from London. A lot of films in London every year, of course, you know, naturally and then Australia as well in Canada and Mexico and Brazil. I mean, yeah, worldwide. Yeah, definitely.

Alex Ferrari 48:04
Now, um, in your opinion, do you think filmmakers should make a short film before they make a first feature film?

Daniel Sol 48:11
I do. Yeah, I do I do. I just think cuz it's, it's, it's putting that process together. Being able to is a few reasons you can go like say, Alright, so for instance, like the festival side, if you did, if you want to kind of experience all that made a good short, finish that process because it's difficult to make any film. So you learn that process of the process of filmmaking, the pre production, you know, all the stuff that goes into the post, I mean, there's so much so many areas and rooms for potential floor error, learning all that then having a good film to get out there, then you can learn the festival circuit and kind of how that goes. And it can lead other things if you do if you make a really strong short, and get into some great festivals and get some great buzz and word of mouth, and then translate that into online success with whether it's VOD stuff or Vimeo or whatever that can put you on a good path you can meet some really good contacts you got into fest like South by Southwest or Sundance or whatever.

Alex Ferrari 49:01
And then ours are Holly shorts Of course. Yeah. Well,

Daniel Sol 49:04
we don't even like the combination of all that you premiere in Hollywood LA, you can do other festivals or other places. It's it really helps, I think it really would help and then from there, maybe figure out the next steps as far as getting funding for feature we want to work with or, or if you can get exposure to industry and agent maybe get an agent through that stage short and from there, we've seen some people signed through the festival from their shorts so from that, that agent can get you out of the project after you know after that and things like that. So I think that that's important to do that. If you're jumping in just making a feature. It's I mean, it's tough, it's just tough now people have done I know many, many you know, but it's a different ballgame, different distribution. Now, all that said it is the landscape has changed with with Amazon, Netflix and everything with people buying more films than ever AFM even bigger than ever. There's a lot of bad films out there but you can make a feature if you want to make sort of a low level low hanging fruit and try to sell some And that's also possible

Alex Ferrari 50:03
that leads that leads me to my next question, what do what options do you think are out there for short filmmakers to actually be able to sell their movies and make money with their films?

Daniel Sol 50:12
Well, there's there's lots there's lots. I mean, see now there's it's not just for not just features, you have shorts, you have avenues for shorts. Now, with all the online stuff that's going on with with s VOD subscription, with VOD with Vimeo on demand, things like that we have our platform we'll discuss soon with the X. That's now that's now launched. Shorts, TV shorts International. So there's TV Avenue, there's online streaming, there's of course just having your own channel and building your thing up where you have your YouTube channel, it's very strong. You know, Now obviously, that's garnered a lot of use and a lot of use to make any money because the ad rate is so low and you know, it's like,

Alex Ferrari 50:47
but there's a lot of different there's a lot of things if you think outside the box, you could do Yeah,

Daniel Sol 50:51
yeah, you can build yourself up to where you have your following and build something up online. By yourself in some ways, you can do that. So there's that avenue known as not saying it's easy, but it's doable, it is something that can be done, it is an option, whereas before wasn't that way. Now feature films, you have your traditional stuff and it becomes studios distribution. But then now there's the Amazons and Netflix going into Sundance and buying up everything

Alex Ferrari 51:14
Jesus I mean they just killed Sundance they kill Sundance this year. I mean they just destroyed everybody I think well it was one of the one of the studios like we were all playing with guns we were all playing with bullets but Amazon and Netflix brought machine guns Yeah, like they just came in

Daniel Sol 51:29
they came with the money and they're here to spend they have open checkbooks and

Alex Ferrari 51:33
17 point 5 million like for one movie and like 5 million and other ones 7 million they were just oh is insane it's great for filmmakers

Daniel Sol 51:41
original content for them is key is king so for them this is what they want like they have

Alex Ferrari 51:45
distribution but they have to have the thing Yeah, they just need to feed the beast they have the beast already it's it's so different than our traditional soul model

Daniel Sol 51:54
you know in some areas the theater theater owners of course hate all this stuff and they think that's the worst and they're freaking out Yeah, in the film industry as a whole the studio system studios studios want to release their films First they actually then go VOD route in HBO and all those things that you know both theatrical and other their other options but they're losing they're missing out on these films. I still think they're okay they still produce their own films This is the studio system still survive I don't really feel like it's too much for threads as they say it is I don't personally believe that I think there's more options for the better but I guess I'm looking at it from the best filmmaker side make a film they have more options to get distributed. I don't think there wasn't a way

Alex Ferrari 52:27
I don't think the studio system is going to die I think what it will do is have to change and I think it is it's already turned into that like studios generally don't make you know low but there is no $25 million movie anymore like that doesn't exist it's either super low budget 5 million or below or jumps to 5060 $70 million right away. And it's events like you go to the theaters for events now and that's like basically all the studios produce these big event movies. Yeah, and indie films are a lot of indie films indie filmmakers are just going to television because that's where they have the freedom to do stuff and yet TV has

Daniel Sol 53:03
changed a lot this is a big thing that I think what doesn't go on talked about in this it doesn't get discussed but I think part of the discussion has to be TV. I mean TV now has changed. I mean, from when we grew up it's undescribable it's like this is like it's dead to most of us that's the different landscape on TV who's doing TV before as an accurate TV was like this negative thing oh don't do television? No, no everybody wants us to tell them everyone got TV no no it was like the up and coming actor would get a gig on a show and their career arise based on that TV show and they go to movies after right now. You

Alex Ferrari 53:38
TV you jump back

Daniel Sol 53:41
you can rattle off to me Jennifer Lopez on a show now Yeah, Ray Liotta Yoda on and on and on Fishburne you know Oh yeah. Annabelle I mean the show is on it's on and on. It's not just it's not just Netflix. It's also network television as well.

Alex Ferrari 53:54
It's a steady paycheck they get to stay home and they get to do really fun work.

Daniel Sol 53:58
Yeah, and it's the quality of work change there's Game of Thrones as a television show now I mean, think of the quality of production that looks like walking dead Walking Dead shows walking it look at the makeup on the show. I mean, it's a different landscape we're talking about where the quality of shows risen, there's more shows and there's a lot of bad shows that comes with that a lot of bad quality and stuff that's not as good but there's so many shows, but it's an area where now the industry has changed focus where there's all these TV shows we made so it's a it's it's way different now you know the landscape and indie film, it hurts the theatrical side of it probably. I know a lot of indie theaters. digital transformation has taken a hit number 35 you know you have a lot of indie films going the route of our This is premiere and be on Netflix only or something like that where they used to be able to at least have a theatrical release, you know at these in any theaters. Now, independent film, theatrical is is taking a hit and maybe we'll take a worst hit over time. And I mean, maybe that's where that will suffer most. But like you said, the tempo stuff, the studio stuff. That's not going anywhere. I mean, Marvel's not going anywhere. Star

Alex Ferrari 54:59
Wars is not going anywhere. I don't want to see Star Wars on my iPhone. I don't want to see Star Wars. I'm

Daniel Sol 55:05
sorry. You don't want to see that kind of theatrical experience on your phone, you got to do it. But you don't want to Yeah, that's always gonna be the difference. There's always so I always believe in the black box, you go in the box, that situation of sitting in a theater. It's why for us, first of all, we don't believe there's any any issue in that we're not going to lose people to say, Oh, I can watch. Yeah, some of these films are online and everything. But so what people want to see stuff in the theater and experience shared experience other people, that theater experience still is strong, I believe.

Alex Ferrari 55:34
Let me ask you a quick question in regards to online if a film is online, do you guys accept it? or How is your what's your policy? So

Daniel Sol 55:44
for us, we don't because we have we're obviously working towards our online platform where we have an online aspect of our festival, we believe in, in the online experience as well. And I think because filmmakers want to use these platforms to grow their audience. We're not going to tell someone Hey, don't put your film online Don't do like I guess just one quick way of saying is that we just don't want to tell we're not trying to tell filmmakers too much what to do. I don't want to tell you how to you know how to how to run your production company how to sell your get your film out there how to grow an audience I'm not gonna sit here and point the finger Hey, don't put your film on here Don't do this. You know we just don't like that process. I'm not a fan of that process. Obviously for us we love the premiere we love the first time shot here premiere is great. We're not gonna sit here and say we don't love a premiere like a premiere it's always great to have a premiere at the festival people see it their first niggles from there that's all great but as you see now festivals are coming around to this we for a long time have said online go ahead and submit as well the film is online so your films up on Vimeo or whatever and you submit to us it's it's we consider the film equal than the other film we just want to screen again this competition before award categories and also just for the showcase of great films. We're showing what we feel are the best films we can program based on what we get that's sort of the simple philosophy of it that's what we're thinking of doing we're not looking at like oh is this film online? That was not well To hell with that guy we got one of the film that's that's that's, that's not online. Not going to look at it from that standpoint. That's really not something what I like programmer think about we're picking any of the films it's not a part of that process. And people ask us a lot we get the question a lot. Are you okay with films online? Is that disqualify me? And we're always running people that it does not I guess we have to be maybe have to put more messaging

Alex Ferrari 57:20
on that. Because for so many, I mean, so many years. I mean, like if a film was online, you film a festival and even look at it, like oh, no, it's

Daniel Sol 57:27
what we're very negative against it. And it goes back to that theater philosophy, which distribution days when I was in distribution, it was like, the online thing is just like, there's the killer theaters. Hate it is just the VOD thing. TV

Alex Ferrari 57:38
but you know, but but the same thing happened with TV when TV came out. Yeah, in the 50s. You know, the theaters like oh my god, we're never everyone's gonna say at home, no one's gonna come to the theater. It's always survived. It's

Daniel Sol 57:50
a threatening thing. I think that philosophy is short sighted. I understand the basis behind it, like the fear theater, like, Hey, I own this business. And I want people here all the time. And I don't want anyone to do anything else. But come here. But it's not reality. It's not how it's going to be and if things ever changing, and I still, you look at the numbers, these teachers still do well, people still go to theater. They want to see the experience.

Alex Ferrari 58:09
Are you kidding me? I mean, Star Wars just a $2 billion. Yeah, I don't want to hear I just

Daniel Sol 58:14
want to see the big tentpole films, the there's kind of Now again, it goes back to the indie film and some of the more interesting dramas and these kind of films, they may see less of the theaters for that reason. Yeah. And that may affect the theater and that that that margin of the business, possibly Yeah, that's something where it's we're discussion, but it's not worth discussing when you're talking about big studio films, big summer blockbusters like these kinds of films, the experience of IMAX these things, you can't replicate at home, I don't care if you have 3d in your house, we have a surround sound. And I have friends who have awesome systems, they're great. You're not seeing the theater setting, you're still not in the theater, the experience with other people getting the popcorn the hole. If you love that experience or something to that experience, it's a connection thing. It's always going to be there. So that's, I don't feel like that's an issue. So for us going back to that, as a festival, we don't believe that the online should be negated or say, hey, you're online, and insane what you see bigger festivals if they finally figure it out with Sundance and others. They're not worried as much about shorts, premiering and not worrying as much about online. We have a case in point with a reasonable request. really dark comedy, amazing comedy, and we screened the festival last year one Best Comedy Festival, and then Sundance just program and they screened it and it's already on Vimeo Alright, so before Sundance, they put it they put the film on Vimeo films getting love of me all this thing's hilarious the directors great film is just a hilarious story and it's really funny really well acted really well acted Funny, funny comedy, and they programmed it and so we're seeing that that that kind of broken down before where it was like Oh hey, we have to premiered at Sundance first and premiere elsewhere. First, we can't go online yet. You're seeing it there. The The walls are being broken down there when it comes to online and premiere status when it comes to shorts. Now I'm not speaking to features which features a whole different world for distribution for sure, a whole different area when it comes to feature films or what's needed and required but for the shorts, you're seeing some Some progress there I believe with some festival saying hey online thing let's not worry about that is worried about the quality of the film and showing what we feel the best of the submissions we got or whatever their criteria and how we're going about online or premieres because that's the doesn't matter as much in my opinion for the shorts is about showing in the great program and Korean Braga program of films and getting a good audience and not so much about you know premiers winning where and being online so for us yeah online is okay but yeah, we still do some of the festivals that don't they don't like online and they don't want your film online first and I understand the process of waiting out some time since could build up and all that and we again we'd like to premiere and having it before it's online first but I got about online we do have an online festival during the festival now okay 10 days window of the festival the bypass to see the films that agree to be on see the films online if they miss the festival for any reason is geobox in Los Angeles but if you're like in France and you know your friend made the festival and and you can't make it from France you can see that film and other films playing online with his online past during the window the festival only so last year was our first year offering that how was it again that you had the end it was good well there well could have done better we could have been more tough to push it and everything but it did well and nice and it was the first time doing it so it was still good to see that there wasn't a man there and it offers up a service where people can see films and and that are premiering at the festival and things like that during that window

Alex Ferrari 1:01:20
now Where are you guys ever thinking of of expanding this to feature features having some features included

Daniel Sol 1:01:27
what we've screened some features here and there at the festival and at the monthly screenings we're screening a feature film this coming month February 25 we're doing a feature so we're doing that but the festival stuff for Holly shorts we're not going to open a category for features not looking to do that and not looking to add features for this festival now if we do that maybe we do another film festival or create something different around feature films

Alex Ferrari 1:01:48
but you might have specials that you might do a special event or

Daniel Sol 1:01:50
a special event screening stuff we've done like last year our closing film was a really good documentary so because it's closing the awards have happened you know we don't want to show that last program Be sure it's we have party about to go on so we always feel like alright let's show a cool feature at the end of the festival last block you know now that all the films have potentially been shown and party coming up our last party and we've done the awards so things like that I got a competition just showcase screenings or alumni features we've screened feature films from alumni who have gone through our doors they turn maybe that short into a feature like things like that that's still tied to the festival we want to show those kind of films it's great to show a feature film that was a short so it's great that I've done that probably you know four or five times I think something like that where we're you know over the last few years we've been doing that where the last film will throw in the feature film or do a showcase to a feature and things like that during the festival but I'm not making it part of the focus we're not adding a category yeah for the fest itself now we just want to focus on making it the Best Short Film Festival possible feature films if we want to add that as a full competition or other area we would probably just do a different world separate from separate festival next a different world and we don't want to detract from that. So yeah, we do show features and things like that, but okay, but yeah, it's more of that area.

Alex Ferrari 1:03:01
So can you can you tell me a little bit about bit pics?

Daniel Sol 1:03:04
Yes, a bit. pics is a platform that we just launched. Right now we're on amazon fire tv and Roku TV and round robin TVs Roku and, and also online. So right at the moment, it's free viewing, build an audience up. That's our stuff that's not exclusive. It's films in the festival stuff that's also online as well. And we're building it up, we have probably about 200 films on there right now. We're looking to get obviously a huge catalogue of great films and Festival Award winning films. And eventually, it's going to be a subscription based situation. So it's svod probably launching that August during our festival we'll do online festival there during the fest will have the online fest component with depicts and where people can sign up and see the films there. And then we'll have the subscription where filmmakers get paid off of you. So if the more views you get the more pay you get per minute. That's the sort of calculus of how we'll be paying the films out self nice, yes, beauty situation. tuition fee, we don't have all that model just set up you know, say anywhere from a few bucks to 10 bucks something a month depending on what we decide and how the content goes. We have you know the monthly subscription and people that do an annual things like that, so it's gonna be an S VOD situation. And over time we'll build it up to where maybe we'll have premiere content we're going to produce content have stuff be premiere, like how Netflix has their original shows original programming, where it's exclusive to their platform will have stuff exclusive to bid picks, as well as all the non exclusive stuff or just you know stuff in the catalogue of past festivals or Holly shorts and things like that now maybe other festivals so yeah, it's gonna be basically a premiere destination for sure content is the goal. And we've also looked at original programming and television stuff and things of that nature in the future. And it's going to be like I said, svod situation starting probably in August okay now it's just people can check it out now Epix TV calm and you see all the films there and see what's on there and take them peruse and browse and watch films and share it's it's all you know, free viewing at the moment, we didn't want to have ads. When people have a good experience, see good films, build it up and then when we get ready to make a subscription situation only then it'll be describer situations. Got it data subscribe and then they can see the content that way and and yeah and what we'll look to add boxes over time right now like I said it's Amazon and Roku but, you know, smart TVs there's Apple TV there's so many areas we can share Sure, sure. More and more set top boxes essentially are like moissac into more homes. Got it? Got it got it. You know that's how we grow over time. That's what that's gonna be the goal but cool. Yeah, so it's an extension for us for our shirts. We figured Okay, it's time to get into this business this this this world this business because we have such great relationships with filmmakers, some great films for all these years, so many great films. And some of them we see that just kind of go away.

Alex Ferrari 1:05:34
Because they don't know how to sell it. They know how to market it, which is what I try to teach as much as I can an indie film hustle is like, Look, guys, there's ways to make money, there's ways to make your movie. Yeah,

Daniel Sol 1:05:42
we want to build to give that back, see if we can grow this thing. And people can subscribe, and we grow. And there's a pay model for filmmakers as well. So everyone can benefit on that. But also it's getting more eyeballs in the film. So right now it's just previewing such as eyeballs you want people to exposure at this moment is going to be Hey, we want to get as many views as possible for all the content and for the films and put it you know, shining a light on them. Good quality schwartzstein everything so it's just it's really good. But it's we want to offer that opportunity, saying this is what has to go and it's in seeing too many films that after the you know, we used to get that question all the time after the fest is over. How do I see that film? I have a guy still nags me my brother's friend from Florida he came to the festival he saw comedy program. He was here in town for like a day he's like let me just pop in and see some movies and just say hi to you. And he comes he's I love this comedy. Where's that film was I felt like Well, finally getting that film up on depicts like, Hey, we have an avenue where it's going to be online now and being on a platform all these years before it's it was just kind of they did the festival stuff. And then they're like, Alright, well, we'll just we'll post it on YouTube or just forget about it and move on to something else. There is an avenue. No more trying to get it out there and showcase the work. And these are good films. They shouldn't just be nothing should be on the floor. I mean,

Alex Ferrari 1:06:46
yeah, no, no, no, yeah, I completely agree with him. And like listen, I I gave you guys nothing but love and all of the just praise for all the amazing stuff you're doing for independent filmmakers and, and trying to help and trying to get the word out on on great films. So man, thank you so much for the work you do brother?

Daniel Sol 1:07:05
No, of course.

Alex Ferrari 1:07:07
So we have I have the three questions I asked all my all my guests. So are you ready? Sir? What is the lesson that took you the longest to learn in the film industry or in life?

Daniel Sol 1:07:19
Probably just what was the longest learn but it's basically you know, it's it's believing in the process but but also on top of that, it's it's it's really is doing, it's just, it's just, it's simple answering sounds, it's just you have to do it, you have to do things you have to you can't just talk about it, just like there's ideas, we talk we discuss, we have to just follow up and stay the process and do it work out work towards it and do something, you know, that was part of the philosophy of the festival, we just didn't want to sit back and say, let's do this, do this and then get overwhelmed by the fact that it can be such a big task, but there's so much money. You know, sometimes you have to just, if you have an idea or vision, you just go for it, you just got to he's got to keep adding to it. You know, and that's that's there was a time when it was like, hard for us to get that idea. out, you know, it's like are we just, you know, sometimes like,

Alex Ferrari 1:08:09
we can plan as much as you want. Yeah, you

Daniel Sol 1:08:12
can try to get loans process, you know, discuss all these things, and all this stuff, and you can talk yourself out of something all the time. Sometimes if you have an idea, you really believe in it, if you want to do it, even if it's small, or if it's not what you want it to be, you can get there, you got to just keep at it. You just got to do it, you got to just try to go do it and not. And that took us some time to figure out like because it was ideas of growth and things were doing the festival in other areas. It was always like, we just we just we were concerned with too many things. And, and we didn't want to like risk things or missing limbs. You have to just Yeah, you got to just just

Alex Ferrari 1:08:44
just get up and do it. So um, what uh, yeah, so what are your three favorite films of all time?

Daniel Sol 1:08:51
It's a tough one. There's so there's a lot in all different areas. But I'll say the three in no particular way I'll just say, for this particular list and just, I won't hold you to it. Yeah, I'll just say it for me. I'm gonna go Clockwork Orange Godfather, Apocalypse Now, I'm gonna go with those three,

Alex Ferrari 1:09:08
nine and three great choices.

Daniel Sol 1:09:09
It's obviously sort of simple, but there's other choices too in other areas. And like, what about this movie? A lot. There's so many I mean, but those are the ones that make that list. But I will say for me like the most influential movie probably, I guess probably Clockwork Orange. There's a lot of reasons and I'll give you quick backstory a few little. My brother would always he was obsessed with Clockwork Orange and it was probably you know, this is he was watching it at home and so we lived in LA and 80s back to Florida. Yeah. And I was a kid I was saying are five, six years old, like you know, keep watching.

Alex Ferrari 1:09:37
You're not watching Clockwork Orange.

Daniel Sol 1:09:41
Many memories of being six but I do remember these guys always watching this movie over and over. They were watching it obsessively watched it. You know he was a skater Pong thing and he had his way I won't get into what he was watching this movie with his friends over and over and I always wanted to come and join them and just kind of hang with it was fascinating. So what is this movie and there were so obsessed with it? He had his poster and the poster was so cool and trip. Yeah, I was always obsessed with this movie. And then so over time, like well, you know, I finally want to watch this movie in full understanding as an adult because I was a kid kind of seeing this thing and my brother's like, yeah, watch it. And of course, a mom kills him that he's like, you can't let him watch this. What are you doing? You know, so getting of age to be able to watch it finally, you know, as more of adult are watching it as a teenager. You know, it just blew my mind. The filmmaking and Kubrick style is the color.

Alex Ferrari 1:10:31
I'll tell. I actually I went on a Kubrick run a few years ago, where I just was, I became obsessed with Kubrick, like I just went deep down dark into the Kubrick rabbit hole. And I read everything I saw everything I saw every documentary, I read every book, you know, analysis, everything. And I sat and watched all of course, all of them back to back. And I hadn't seen Clockwork Orange since I was a teenager. And when I watched it again, I was just in awe of like, Oh my god, like, if this movie would come out today, it would be you know, controversial, like it just Oh, it just showed up today. It would be so controversial and so impactful if it just showed up today and I can't even imagine what happened when it was released in the in the 1970s

Daniel Sol 1:11:24
there were so many especially like in the UK there was all this like oh yeah, they banned it in the UK. Yeah, it was just like there's all these problems. So it had that that affected obviously Of course these things in the band and movie and it becomes it almost really adds to the movie. Right? Right. Right, what is this about? So it kind of just sort of does the lower the middle one? Yeah, the lower to the movie. And so it kind of creates a different effect than the people who hate the movie are going for. But yeah, I mean, that's a great movie. I just definitely loved Kubrick and even it's one of the you know, as moving here my dad knew I was like he didn't film in the movie business and he bought me books and so he bought me some Kubrick books and things and he was as much as he didn't pay much attention to all this stuff and he was kind of Yeah, he was aware enough to know that I liked them a lot and I love the film so he got me the book and as I read that Cockrell orange book and and also gets all the different stuff on Kubrick and different filmmaker books and things of that nature as a cool little gesture that he noticed that that's awesome thing but he still knew that it was something that that I was into and yeah i mean i think that that's you know there's so many other this

Alex Ferrari 1:12:25
I mean no no

Daniel Sol 1:12:27
that's a good starting point as a certain personal thing for me you know, just just you know the the visual aspect of the poster or the story of the film

Alex Ferrari 1:12:35
so everything that's so now so now what you're gonna get now and this year submissions you're gonna get a lot of Clockwork Orange ripoffs because everyone's gonna say Oh, Danny Danny will love clock reports we got to do some

Daniel Sol 1:12:48
like this and they're gonna try to play but if you do is to be good. harsher curve there come you know making a film it's a week rip off of chocolate Warren Yeah, it's not gonna have any bad memory for sure. But

Alex Ferrari 1:13:06
so um, so last question. What is the most underrated film you've ever seen?

Daniel Sol 1:13:12
I thought a lot about this before it's a hard this is even hardest the hardest question. I'm gonna take it back to to my days at Lions Gate and talk about once a warrior I'm gonna go with Oh man. What

Alex Ferrari 1:13:24
an underrated movie.

Daniel Sol 1:13:26
Yeah, I'm gonna go the warrior because Oh, so there's some stuff and it was like hard it was like I was gonna go this way. I mean, some of the movies aren't really overrated underrated so it's like okay, they're not really underrated so it's like a

Alex Ferrari 1:13:33
warrior is if you guys haven't seen warm air

Daniel Sol 1:13:38
I've actually I felt good I was like wait worried kind of run off physically warrior has to be worried there's a lot of reasons because not just underrated but working on it. It was a tough thing to work on. We had a lot of problems with the movie did not sell theatrically at all No, no. And it was it was a massive struggle and it was a Yeah, it was it was really tough.

Alex Ferrari 1:13:56
It was very strange. Such a good movie. Yeah,

Daniel Sol 1:13:58
because when we screened it so we screened the movie at cinema con in Vegas for all the theater owners in the country sir. What's your why huge the giant the Celine Dion theater at Caesar's Palace? Yeah. 1000 people in this place is huge room. People walking out of there you have exhibitors and tears and it's just like, theater owners into like, Oh man, this is this is like arising in my family. It was crazy. Like the motion. Oh, we got it. You know, so everyone's like, I'm gonna book this movie. I'm booking this I'm gonna push all this excitement from the clients out of it. And then you get down to the tracking and it wasn't there and the marketing wasn't working and the audience's weren't really responding. You're like what is going on here?

Alex Ferrari 1:14:33
It's a tough movie to sell. It's a it's basically an MMA movie. But it's not not it's not it's MMA is a small part of the movie. Yeah,

Daniel Sol 1:14:42
it's tough because women thought it wasn't for them. But it actually is and then when they when the marketing found out about that, like oh, women love this so then it was like a push to too late. But then women don't really want to be marketed the movie because the trailers is speak to them. Right? And I'm seeing the movie and knowing you when they see it, so it was this whole

Alex Ferrari 1:14:59
I saw I saw it in the theater and all I remember is bawling bawling and emotional I was bawling during that

Daniel Sol 1:15:06
No it's great it touches the heartstrings and you know it's it's nothing terribly original in some ways obviously but no but it was just well done it's a good well done actors obviously are now you knew Tom already is going to be the star so knowing that was like this guy is gonna blow up and being there at the time as to do everyone knew that he was going to be this is before Batman and so you're like oh this guy's gonna be huge he's amazing George was good be great another both massive actors now they're both huge like everyone thought they were gonna be and knew they were gonna be

Alex Ferrari 1:15:33
And now everyone goes back and looks at this movie and go oh my god this is so

Daniel Sol 1:15:36
I think it's gonna be a movie that lives on DVD and VOD and blu ray and everything for years to come if we're going to look back and watch it and buy it and it's going to be one of these things Oh, let me let me see this movie Tom Hardy before he was Tom Hardy or whatever this kind of thing I think it's gonna

Alex Ferrari 1:15:48
I think everybody whoever's listening to this today please if you haven't seen the warrior just what it's called warrior yeah go I mean go watch it go rent it go buy it It is amazing. It really isn't great.

Daniel Sol 1:16:02
Well that's what we'll have to drama family drama Nick Nolte. He's awesome and it's amazing so it's like there's yeah I remember when we were screening we're loving it we're like oh you know he felt like such a connection like you want this thing to do? Well you love the movie we

Alex Ferrari 1:16:14
Made and made it I remember that year made a bunch of top 10 lists like

Daniel Sol 1:16:18
People love the movie like it was totally flat. Yeah,

Alex Ferrari 1:16:22
It just it was it was a Shawshank Redemption of year sir.

Daniel Sol 1:16:29
People live on that way that would be

Alex Ferrari 1:16:30
It didn't make any money in the theater but it picked up later on.

Daniel Sol 1:16:33
Yeah, you can have that kind of that kind of live especially those Eno's to the stars the movie at the time you put it on the poster no one knows who the hell these guys are. Right that marketing campaign now everyone's like oh Tom Hardy shirt off fighter okay yeah. People want to see it women love them but back then everyone's like who is this dude you know it was like this kind of you know it's we're all that works but

Alex Ferrari 1:16:52
Yeah, no, that's just the way it is man that's the way Yes. So whereas so where so where can people find you learn about Holly shorts learn about the monthly screenings where Oh yeah,

Daniel Sol 1:17:01
Yeah, so so the monthly screenings are next one coming up is February 25. The Chinese Theater we do screenings once a month the Chinese and the festivals in August the month is going around that so the summer we kind of block off just for the festival and then fall and winter and spring we're doing the monthly screenings. So the next one February 25 in Chinese Theater, all the informations that Holly shorts calm the screening information next monthly ticket links, all that stuff, submission info information as well for that box and feel free we were listening on both of those and other sites click festivals Film Festival life. So we're on all the different submission platforms for the festival. We could find all those links on the website as well in the submission section for Holly shores calm

Alex Ferrari 1:17:38
Your Facebook and what was your what's your social media?

Daniel Sol 1:17:41
Personal festival so if you search Hollywood Film Festival on Facebook, find us there. And Twitter Twitter's Twitter's Holly shorts our handles at Holly shorts Amy's Instagram Instagrams also at Holly shorts so just type in Holly shorts any of those platforms you're gonna our stuff will come up her Facebook, Twitter, Instagram all that we're also on our on our Tumblr as well for our shorts Film Festival. So yeah, yeah, we're pretty easy to find. Yeah, Ron Aaron, I'm on there as well and and yeah, we're we're looking for films always and, and relationships with filmmakers and sponsors and people want to work with us. We're always trying to be open to engaging and trying to grow the festival and work with people and try to make this thing and then

Alex Ferrari 1:18:18
Put on a good show and put on a good show. Danny man, thank you so much for taking the time out to do this brother. It was been it's been wonderful. I hope everybody listening got a little bit of insight behind the scenes look at what it really takes to put a festival on and to listen to someone who really loves Film Fest filmmakers films and really cares about what they're doing. So Dan, thanks again for coming on man.

Daniel Sol 1:18:43
Of course. Thanks Alex.

Alex Ferrari 1:18:45
I hope you guys enjoyed that as much as I did. Danny and Theo have done an amazing job with Holly shorts man I really wanted to spotlight what they've been doing and how they help filmmakers get the word out man so also I wanted to let you know in the show notes you will be able to get a code for submission this year for this year's Holly shorts Film Festival so if you are submitting to to the festival, go to indiefilmhustle.com/055 and I will have some coupon codes there so you can submit to Holly shorts at a discount Danny was nice enough to give us that and by the way, I am not getting paid a dime for this for anything I literally full disclosure just love Holly shorts love what these guys are doing what they've done, and they'll always have a special place in my heart for taking care of me as a filmmaker so many years ago and just wanting to pass the love along guys so you guys are now aware that I am in a soft pre production on my new film Anya and we are creating that membership site that we keep talking about and building it all up soon. But if you want to get be the first to get in on this This whole membership site about how we're making the movie get the behind the scenes of actually what it takes to make a real, independent film and today's world head over to indie film hustle calm for slash full access. So you'll be the first one to be notified when it goes live in the next few weeks or so. And you will get a discount on the monthly subscription cost because you were an early adopter because you jumped in first, so give it a shot guys indie film, hustle comm forward slash full access. And don't forget to head over to filmmaking podcast calm that's filmmaking podcast calm and leave us an honest review on the show. It really helps us out a lot to get the word out on what we're trying to do for filmmakers all around the world. So, as always, guys, keep that hustle going. Keep that dream alive. And I'll talk to you soon.


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