George Reese, filmmaker, founder of seeka.tv, and former IPR student was the keynote speaker for this event. Seeka.tv was founded in Minnesota, as an online distribution platform for filmmakers by filmmakers, and it is where you go for the best in independent web series.
Web series from around the globe showed in four different blocks spread throughout the day, along with a ‘Made in Minnesota’ section. Filmmakers from Texas, New York, Ontario, California, Wisconsin, Florida, and more with submissions coming from all over the world, including Australia, Argentina, the UK, Germany, France, Spain, and India.
“Web festivals have been popping up all over the world to focus just on the web series,”said Reese. “But there are no web festivals in the USA that aren’t located on one of the coasts. So, Minnesota WebFest is the only upper-midwest festival dedicated to the web series.”
The main screening took place in the Live Lab at the Edina Studios, which can seat more than 100 people. There was also a filmmaker’s lounge set up in Classroom 6, and a red carpet area in the lobby.
“The new Live Lab at IPR has amazing sound. One of the keys of any film festival is doing justice to the filmmaker’s creation. Because web festivals are so new as a format, they often end up in places with less than ideal screening facilities. The Live Lab at IPR is, of course, a great place to watch a show or a film, but it’s an unbelievable place to hear one. The shows with great soundtracks really stood out at the Minnesota WebFest in a way that they couldn’t at other web festivals,” said Reese.
Three professionals in television and film judged each Minnesota WebFest category (one International and two Minnesota-based judges). They gave awards for best Student, Action, Comedy, Documentary, Drama, Horror, Mockumentary, Narrative Vlog, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Thriller web series and also Best Representation of Communities of Color, Best Representation of Women, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Performance, Best Foreign, and Best Overall Web Series.
“As a film student, you can produce a pilot to a series with the same budget/effort as a short film and, if it works out, explore a larger universe episodically while still maintaining the focus of a short film,” said Reese.
A party for the filmmakers, attendees, and fans closed out the night with a very Minnesota WebFest.
“As always, we are thrilled to partner with local festivals and filmmakers. These are the future peers and employers of our grads, and anything that we can do to connect and contribute to the local filmmaking community a win-win for us and our students,” said Trey Wodele, associate campus director at IPR. “We cannot wait to see what the 2nd Minnesota WebFest will have in store for viewers!”