Saturday, January 31, 2009


January 31st, 2009

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Monday, January 26, 2009
HollyShorts Founders Have Their Heads in the Right Place

By Jess Novak, Haydenfilms Hollywood Corrrespondent

Founders Daniel Sol and Theo Dumont have earned significant recognition for their film festival, HollyShorts, which takes place annually in Los Angeles. By integrating independent filmmakers from all over the world and industry professionals including Josh Brolin, Jessica Biel, David Arquette and a long list of others, HollyShorts is quickly becoming the independent festival to watch.

HollyShorts offers filmmakers the opportunity to share their work with an ever-growing audience in the heart of Los Angeles. Through question and answer sessions following films, industry panels addressing important issues facing the film business, and various opportunities to mingle with other filmmakers, producers, actors and professionals, HollyShorts offers an ideal environment for up and coming filmmakers and film viewers.

“Initially we had no idea the festival would get so much attention,” explained co-founder Daniel Sol. “However, now it annually brings attention and awareness to some really incredible talent.”

Last year the event featured many world premieres among films also submitted to other festivals, including Haydenfilms own competition. The screenings offer filmmakers the chance to share their work with fellow industry professionals and general audiences on the big screen in several L.A. theaters. Since HollyShorts began in 2005, films from the United States, Poland, the U.K., Canada, Thailand and France have been featured.

Plans for this year’s festival are already finalized and submissions are being accepted. Films to be considered must be 30 minutes or less and can be submitted on or through

This year’s festival runs from August 6-9 in Hollywood and will be sponsored by Martini Crew Booking, h magazine, Moving Pictures magazine, Clifton Coast, Holiday Inn Express Hollywood, Film Specific, Dry Soda Co., Pura Casta Tequila, Showbiz Software Stores and others, many of which contribute significantly to the events’ impressive list of prizes and awards.

“Last year ShowBiz Software Store donated film software packages worth $2,000,” said Sol. “Normally people wouldn’t go out and buy these types of programs and tools, but they really should have them. They are a huge benefit.”
In addition to offering the opportunity for exposure, other software packages, coverage in magazines including Moving Pictures, complementary hotel stays, and equipment rentals offer filmmakers additional incentive to become involved in HollyShorts.

“We chose to give prizes like these out for a reason,” explained Dumont. “Rather than just giving winners cash, we give them something they can directly use and benefit from, which is exciting for young filmmakers.”

One of the most endearing qualities of the festival is its strong attempt to draw in not only professional and more experienced filmmakers, but students as well.

“Many times student films are the best submissions we receive,” said Dumont. “We showcase students every year and regularly receive films from major film schools including USC and NYU. We also offer students a discount and really encourage their participation. The more entries, the better.”

However, students aren’t the only filmmakers submitting. In fact, many professionals from another end of the experience spectrum have also become extremely involved throughout the festival’s history.

HollyShorts boasts an impressive list of professional involvement through film submissions, actors in the films and panel participants. David Lynch, Adrien Grenier, Jason Ritter, Richard Reel and Mark Fergus are just a few celebrity professionals, who have participated in the event.

“The goal of HollyShorts is to create a community,” said Sol. “We’re bringing together a variety of people involved in the film industry in a way where they can benefit each other.”

Since it began, HollyShorts has seen tremendous growth, starting with 23 short films and ending last year with 57 in competition. Last year 615 submissions were received and the anticipated goal for this year is 1,000. The festival has also garnered coverage from outlets including Access Hollywood, The Los Angeles Times, US Weekly, E! News and an impressive number of film media outlets (

HollyShorts has enjoyed so much success, that Sol and Dumont decided to begin monthly film showcases after last year’s event. The showcase offers filmmakers who just missed the festival cut, an opportunity to still share their work, network with other professionals and answer questions regarding their films.

“It’s a smaller, simpler, more intimate and casual event that really helps to spread awareness of HollyShorts and offers really good films a chance to be seen,” explained Sol. “We showcase as many as possible throughout the year in an effort to help support these independent filmmakers as much as possible.”

Having both studied and worked in the film industry in several capacities prior to beginning the festival, Sol and Dumont understand the importance of this exposure and opportunity to reach out to audiences and other professionals.

“After studying film in school I saw what I difficult process it was for students and felt like it was something we should try to help,” said Sol. “Our festival has gone so well since.”

However, the success of HollyShorts isn’t simply attributable to a smart idea and thorough execution, but also to the personal involvement of both founders.

“We are very personally involved in every aspect of HollyShorts,” said Dumont. “We really care about the event and are constantly working to make improvements so people see why they should become involved.”

HollyShorts has been making significant improvements recently including working toward a more prominent web-based technological presence, composing compilation DVDs of past festivals and working to create a better atmosphere for everyone involved.

“We really work hard to pick the very best films so we don’t over-saturate the event and so we can guarantee everyone prime times for their film to be shown,” said Sol. “We work hard to bring in credible names to the panels and try to pick timely topics that will be worthwhile and helpful for audiences.”

It is amazing what artists participating in HollyShorts can create on such small budgets and for no other reason than love of the craft. It is equally amazing how two individuals can aid others by sharing their gifts, talents and creativity for no other reason than their passion to help spread the commendable work of others.

August 6-9, 2009 guarantees to deliver the best HollyShorts to date and you are invited ( Don’t miss your opportunity to experience one of the best and most promising independent film festivals happening today.


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