Home > Film Festivals > AOF (Action on Film) Festival Review

AOF (Action on Film) Festival Review

Let me just start with: What a great place to screen your film and meet other equally dedicated filmmakers!
AOF Film Festival runs during the last week of July in Pasadena, which is roughly 15 min drive from the center of Los Angeles.
What’s great about this place is that Pasadena lives and breaths filmmakers during this week.
Right upon arrival, we were welcomed with a nice goodie bag filled with helpful filmmaking things, magazine subscriptions, some gifts and invitations to local places.
Also, the full festival schedule and promo material for each film screening was included.

Our film poster was framed in front of the theater and other posters kept rotating throughout
the week inside the main screening hall.
We were first advised to walk few block over to get our filmmaker interviews videotaped and enjoy
free coffee and wifi.
While there, we met the organizer of the festival, Del Weston, who introduced himself and
immediately recognized the film we were representing. He was very excited to meet us and helpful
with whatever questions we had.
Let me just point out, that this was our first feature film. Nobody in the film has a name, there are
no celebrities, the budget is minimal. The welcome was great! We kept running into festival
filmmakers throughout the whole week and made lots of new connections.
Whenever we had a question or concern, somebody took care of us immediately and solved or fixed whatever was needed.
There were 2 parties happening every night after the screenings where both of the organizers attended and hand out free drink coupons to filmmakers.

Considering press and media, there definitely were opportunities to meet people involved and get your word about your film out. Most screenings were properly announced and filmmakers were invited for Q&A after their film finished.

To be fair, I also need to point out the few of the weaknesses of this festival:
First of all, there were some films we saw that should have never been screened at a festival.
I am sure it is all politics and friends of friends, but there were films with production quality
worse than home made videos. That being said, it wasn’t many and the worse films were all scheduled at “less convenient” times. 🙂
Also, all filmmakers have to pay for their Award Show tickets, which are $150 per person and do not include free alcohol!!!! This is a “bit” much for any indie filmmaker especially if you have a larger crew attending.
But, if you do have a good project in your hands, the film festival will reward you for your art with
special acknowledgment, nomination or award.

The submission fee is anywhere between $45-$70 depending what and when you are submitting and I think it is absolutely worth the money. The connections we made, the films we saw and the treatment we received was exceptional. The screening rooms quality is exceptional and there were no major technical issues throughout the whole week!!! 🙂

Final evaluation:
Price: expensive
Perks: some goodies, some free drinks

Media: some
Professionalism: excellent
Interaction with filmmaker: better than awesome

Rating on a scale from 1-10:  9

Final thought: Would I screen here again?

Yes, Absolutely! This is really a great place to showcase your film and meet filmmakers from all around the world ( I can briefly recall connecting with artists that flew all the way from UK, India, Netherlands or Germany).
I am hoping to submit here again next year! And yes, I will mostlikely pay the $150 Award Show ticket again and will start saving for it right now! 🙂

Please, let me know if reviews of this type are helpful to you.
What other information shall I add?
Shall I be more detailed? Shall I give shoutouts to films that are screened?
Please, leave a comment with your feedback or experience 🙂
Thank you filmmakers. Cheers!

  1. October 28, 2009 at 2:11 am

    I liked your take on film Festivals. We have an alternative to festivals – we broadcast on air in over 3 million homes n So. Cal, including parts of LA, plus reach a global audience online with our online marketplace. Every film accepted gets either television or online (or both) exposure for up to one month – and they can submit for an Emmy! Plus every film accepted can be voted on and win cash prizes! http://www.shortsshowcase.com Thanks!

  2. January 8, 2010 at 2:49 am

    I yanked my award-winning short “The Swear Police” (2009 LA Comedy Shorts Film Festival) from the Action on Film Film Festival or AOF after it was “officially” selected for the 2009 AOF fest.

    Charging filmmakers $150 per ticket FOR ANYONE to attend the awards show is a scam, period, end of story.

    You guys have it wrong. A ‘9’? Think for a minute.

    To attend the awards show for just myself and my wife would cost $300, for my 4-minute short. How ’bout I just take that money and make more shorts?

    The best place to network is the most expensive – the awards show.

    What’s the only thing that’s not free? The awards show.

    It’s a bait & switch.

    If the AOF truly supported filmmakers, they would hold the awards show in a venue where dinner is not included, where more people can attend for free and where filmmakers can be made to feel like they matter as more than just part of the overhead for a poorly organized festival.

    It’s not a ‘9’, it’s a scam.

    The AOF CHOOSES to charge filmmakers because they cannot imagine a way to include more people.

    That is their CHOICE, they are not cornered into this system.

    In THIS economy? Airfare, hotel, food, time away from being able to earn a living and then on top of that, the AOF CHOOSES to fist filmmakers because of their own lack of imagination, business acumen and ability to attract sponsorship. That is wrong, that is criminal, that is not even close to supportive.

    MovieMaker got it wrong! AOF is NOT WORTH THE ENTRY FEE!

    They did NOT know that the AOF charged filmmakers to attend the awards show when they made that determination.

    I know that for a FACT because I contacted them about this awards show ticket price and they told me they were not informed about it. They also told me they will not print a retraction or even an editorial note telling filmmakers about the awards show ticket price.

    MovieMaker Magazine knows who buys ad space – film festivals, not filmmakers, film festivals, so they chose.

    MovieMaker Magazine FAIL.


  3. February 15, 2010 at 9:05 pm

    Wow, thank you for the kind words and great review. The AOF Team works very hard to make sure that we do as much as we can to make the filmmakers and writer’s who grace us with their work know just how much we appreciate them. I just wanted to clear up a few points that might have been missed.
    1. Every filmmaker and writer receives Free Passes to Every Screening Program and Free Passes to every party.
    2. Every filmmaker and writer receives Free access to the Sunday Symposium and Brunch.
    3. We checked with the Withoutabox Staff and confirmed that our entry fees are among the lowest, especially if you enter early.
    4. Every filmmaker and writer can get Free HD interviews that we shoot, cut and convert and then mail to them for their own use. You can see samples at http://www.youtube.com/user/Aoffest
    5. Yes, we charge for our Award Show and Dinner and we do a great Award Show and Dinner. That show sells out every year and a lot of the seats are purchased by sponsors and advertisers who want to meet our filmmakers and writers and to show their support of the event, that’s how we were able to give out nearly $100,000 in cash and prizes last year. In addition, we have hosted some of the top industry professionals working today, studio heads, producers, industry insiders, etc., and you have access to them. No red ropes, no VIP, just you and open floor. Go get ’em. All access for everyone but if we were held in the back of MacDonald’s, I guarantee they wouldn’t show. Would we like to do it for Free? Yes, but we can’t, not and deliver the level and quality of show we are trying to create for our guests, stars, celebrities, filmmakers, writers and sponsors.
    6. Quality of productions. This is a big one, there are thousands of filmmakers who’s work will never be seen. That’s a problem for the AOF. Everyone deserves a chance at one point or another. Six years ago, Stan Harrington sent us a film that had been turned down by every other festival he entered. AOF saw something in that film which later went on to take top honors at not just the AOF but at other festivals as well. Through showing his work, getting feedback and criticism, Harrington has become one hell of a director and a great writer. We have a lot of Stan Harrington stories. So while we show some work that lacks, the technical qualities or budgets of some of the other projects; if we see the filmmaker’s desire, vision, and passion on the screen. We are going to show that work. We are going to give them a chance.
    That being said, THANK YOU FOR THE GREAT REVIEW, I am floored and grateful that you are seeing what the entire AOF Team, Josh, John, Scott, Sandra, T-sa, Briana, Mary, Nick, Sarah, etc., etc, etc, are trying to do; Give you a great place to show your work. Simply put, we love filmmakers and writers and we try to show it. Yes, we have a huge International family of filmmakers who come from China, Japan, Germany, England, UK, Australia, Canada, etc., and they come to meet, share, see and experience along with our fantastic family of US writers, producers, and directors. And that’s a good thing. Hope to see more of your work and again, thank you for your honesty and criticism, we do appreciate both.

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