SF Web Fest hosted the Bay Area’s first annual web series festival at New People Cinema the weekend of June 5-7, 2015, concluding with a red carpet awards ceremony – the first annual Bolty Awards – at AMC Van Ness Theatres on Sunday evening.
The inaugural festival featured a jam-packed lineup of original web content and online video series by filmmakers from around the world as well as a wide variety of presentations and panels by industry players and online celebrities. Featured guest speakers included Webby’s founder and acclaimed filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, YouTube personality Tim Schmoyer, Bernie Su, executive producer of the highly-acclaimed series The Lizzie Bennett Diaries, Endemol Beyond President Will Keenan, and closing speaker Issa Rae. Ms. Rae, creator of the hit web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl, has earned over 25 million views and nearly 200,000 subscribers on YouTube, and was twice named to the Forbes “30 under 30″ List.
Over 200 entries from independent creators and filmmakers from 15 different countries – eight of which were represented at the festival (Australia, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Spain, the US and the UK) – were submitted and considered for inclusion in the Festival program. SF Web Fest was proud to showcase forty-four of these original web series over the course of the weekend, selected by a jury of media executives and film professionals.
Some highlights of the 2015 San Francisco International Web Series Festival:
- SFWF Launch Party at Monarch SF was a blast! Nearly 150 attendees came to celebrate the Opening of San Francisco’s newest media institution
- Executives from TubeMogul, Tivo and Portal A came together for a fascinating panel on entrepreneurship in web entertainment
- Tim Schmoyer enlightened the crowd on YouTube tactics and audience growth
- Bernie Su awed everyone with his successful web series branding strategies
- TIffany Shlain inspired with her film clips and stories creating the Webby Awards, and spoke about her AOL Originals series “The Future Starts Here” which has received over 40 million views and was nominated for an Emmy Award in the new category, New Approaches to Art, Lifestyle, and Culture.
- Issa Rae had everyone cracking up as she kept it real talking about the frills, thrills and hills in creating her new series for HBO
- Many attendees took part in the inaugural 10-Minute Mentorship program, an opportunity to solicit invaluable advice and insights from select industry players and media executives in a format akin to speed dating
- Series nominee L.A. Macabre struck a distribution deal with executives from Proven Entertainment, following the invitational SF Web Fest Acquisition Forum
- The first-ever mobile app developed for a web series festival, powered by Guidebook, was downloaded over 200 times and over 700 votes were cast for the Audience Choice Award
- The red carpet closing ceremony – aka the Inaugural Bolty Awards – was an enormous success:
- Proven Entertainment announced its distribution deal
- Dolby Institute Founder Glenn Kiser presented the award for Best Sound Design. The winning series had received automatic entry to SF Web Fest by virtue of its Raindance Web Fest last year as the winner of Best British Series
- Indiegogo presented a $500 cash prize to the Audience Choice award winners
- Best Director winner proposed to his girlfriend and collaborator (and Best Editing nominee) during his acceptance speech!!
- Issa Rae presented the first-ever Best in Festival Bolty award to Fusion.net documentary series Street Cuts
- SF Web Fest partners at Raindance Web Fest in the UK grant Street Cuts automatic entry to their annual festival
We were thrilled to welcome over 200 enthusiastic attendees throughout the weekend. The energy was vibrant. The camaraderie that developed among festivalgoers was noticeable. We’ve been pleased to hear so much praise for all the speakers, volunteers and the organization of a first-year festival!!
Please follow our social media, share our posts and stay tuned for upcoming announcements. We have so much room to grow in 2016 and we hope you will all join us again!
To our sponsors, supporters and amazing volunteers – we can not thank you enough.
Festivalgoers celebrate and mingle at the Friday Night Launch Party at Monarch SF
Endemol Beyond President Will Keenan opens the Festival at New People Cinema with his trademark wit and wisdom
Indiegogo presents the 2015 Audience Choice Award to the creators of BE Bettina & Elaine
Content Branding panelists Yuri Baranovsky (HLG Studios), Luke Simmons (CollegeHumor), Rafi Mamalian (theAmplify) and Rob Sandie (VidIQ)
Acclaimed filmmaker and Webbys founder Tiffany Shlain, the Centerpiece Speaker of SF Web Fest 2015, shares a photo op with Bay Area Women in Film and Media members
Festival Directors from Austin Web Fest, Bliboa Web Fest (Spain) and Vancouver Web Fest all made the trip to support SF Web Fest!!
The stars of “Zac And Me”, winner of Best of Laughs and Best Production Design. Shown here shedding their pre-show nerves with Chris Knox.
Proven Entertainment represented by Will Howe, Conrad Ricketts and David Divona celebrate with acquired and nominated series “STILL” from Seattle, Washington.
Issa Rae announces the BEST OF FEST Bolty award goes to Fusion.net documentary series “Street Cuts”. Accepting is Fusion editor Kashmir Hill and presenting the award is Jon Vlassopulos, Founder of the Fabric app.
Bernie Su shares his design and model of the incredibly successful series “The Lizzie Bennet Diaries” and announces his new series “Vanity”, which launched June 11.
An energized audience of creators and innovators getting fired up for the presentation of the first-ever Bolty Awards, moments before showtime
Glenn Kiser and Steven Cahill from the Dolby Institute thrilled attendees with their presentation on Creative Sound Design for the Web
Entreprenurial panelists: Jason Lopatecki (TubeMogul), Jennifer Schumacher (Tivo), Zach Blume (Portal A) and moderator Simone Nelson
Issa Rae, creator extraordinaire, speaks about “The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl” and her new pilot for HBO in development with Larry Wilmore. She has everyone cracking up, especially interviewer Kriz Bell.
SF Web Fest Founder Laura Wainer raises a glass to the first-ever Bolty Awards audience.
Multi-nomintated series “L.A.Macabre” takes home the biggest prize of the night, a distribution deal with Proven Entertainment!
Engaged at SF Web Fest!! Upon winning the Best Directing Bolty for their series “Burning Wishes”, director Vincent Gallagher took the stage and proposed to his colleague and girlfriend, Best Editing nominee Martha Meyler, and she said yes!
Thank you to all our sponsors, donors and community supporters!
Will you take home a Bolty next year?