Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Just in Time for The Oscars: Think Inside the Box

Couldn’t make it to Sundance? Always wanted to see the New York Film Festival but never got the chance? Living in a place where “art film” means Eat, Pray, Love?

Pine no more. Scilla Andreen, award-winning producer, director, costume-designer, co-founder and CEO of Indieflix — and one of very few voting members of The Academy (as in the Oscars) here in Seattle — brings indie films to your living room with her interactive movie game Film Festival in a Box.

IndieFlix's Film Festival in a Box

If it looks like a pizza box, that was Andreen’s intent. Designed in Seattle, each box includes four short films and is currently sold in eight genres: Chillers, Comedy, Dark Comedy, Love, Pottymouth Comedies, Powered by Girls, Fantastical and Zombies. “Boxes might include Oscar winners, Sundance films, foreign films,” says Andreen.

Playing the game moves movies into your living room– or any other place you’d like to watch them. After watching the films with family and friends, you can discuss (okay, argue about) them and then choose “winners” in three categories: Best Picture, Best Performance and Best Original Story. “It’s basically a film festival and an award show at your place,” explains Andreen.

Viewers can then hop online to Indieflix.com, take a trivia test and enter their winning film for each category. “It notifies the film-maker,” adds Andreen, “and you can even upload a video of yourself announcing the winner or commenting on the films. In this way, we’re connecting filmmakers with their audience and giving them another vehicle to distribute their work.”

Scilla Andreen with her Film Festival in a Box. Photo: Chris Karges

Filmmakers also receive financial rewards. “Once winners are announced on line,” says Andreen, “each winning filmmaker receives $1,000 for each box.”

The idea for a personal film festival came to the Seattle-native a few years ago. “I started to make compilations as Christmas gifts, and people just loved them,” she recalls. “People were hungry for something with some meat but didn’t have the time to watch full-length features.”

To test the waters, she began showing a selection of short films at her local Starbucks in Madison Park. “At the first showing 100 people showed up — and at the second there were 200. We realized that people wanted us to bring the films to them.”

Andreen also believes that timing has benefited Film Festival in a Box. “In this economy, people are embracing having to operate within certain confines,” she observes. “It challenges all of us to be more focused and more creative.” The Emmy nominee — for costume design for The Wonder Years — insists that the strength of independent films is in their storytelling.

“They tell a great story,” she points out. “Still, it has to be marketed and then they will come. All viewers know is that they’ve watched four great films.”

Andreen adds that the boxes are doing especially well in high-end lifestyle stores. Boxes to come include such themes as Adrenalin, Animation and a Sci-Fi collection. Digital versions of FFB are also in the works. “I don’t see why we can’t keep expanding,” contends Andreen. “Indie films are movies, too — and they should be watched, shared and discussed, just like big Hollywood movies.”

So, microwave the popcorn, put up your feet and let the arguing — er, dialog — begin. Just in time for The Oscars!

Mark Mussari, a freelance writer, translator and educator, is the author of a number of educational books and a Udub grad with a Ph.D. in Scandinavian Languages & Literature.

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  • Great interview Mark! But really, who did Scilla cast her vote for in the Oscars 😉 Know that one of IndieFlix film’s actually got the award for best animated short film, so cause for celebration for sure!



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