Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Advice: Find ways to expand project audiences

US International Film & Video Festival (USIFVF) Chairman Lee Gluckman spoke recently on film making at a gathering of the Russian Association of Communication Directors and Corporate Publishing (AKMR) group in Moscow. He discussed filmmaking trends based on his personal experience as a filmmaker and as head of the annual film competition, which accepts Corporate, Documentary, Education and Entertainment films.
Gluckman’s film competition is more than 50 years old and, as he noted, has seen all of the changes in the film industry driven by technology. What has not changed, he stressed, is the need for storytelling. He also encouraged the audience to think about how a specific project might be expanded for greater use.

“I’ve never come across a project that doesn’t have the potential for another audience or two,” he said.

“Often nothing has to be changed in the production to communicate to those other audiences. However, many times a small additional investment in narration and editing can bring the same message to an expanded audience without having to start from the beginning again. In this way, you can spread the expense of the initial production across multiple audiences.”

AKMR was established in 2004; its president Igor Ignatiev, is vice chairman-director of Cooperation with Governmental Authorities at Shell Exploration & Production Services.

The trade group provides opportunities for executives in communications to exchange experiences and expand their professional development and compete with their projects.  Gluckman also announced that FreeMotion Group, one of AKMR’s members -- and a winner in USIFVF competition -- is the newest member of the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers (IQ). Gluckman is the longest-standing member of the global network of producers.

LBL Production (FreeMotion Group), Novosibirsk, won Best of Show in Corporate Films in 2017 with “Breadwinner,” work done for Minsk Traktor Works, Belarus.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Saluting Russian Companies' Videos

Lee Gluckman, chairman of FilmFest, joined members of award-winning FreeMotion Group at a TASS news agency conference recently in Moscow. The conference topic was about the success of Russian companies in international video competitions. LBL Production (FreeMotion Group), Novosibirsk, won Best of Festival in Corporate in the 2017 FilmFest competition. The winning work was for Minsk Traktor Works, Minsk, Belarus. Here, Lee (center) presents a plaque to Ekaterina Kolyada, member of the Board of the Association of Communication Directors and Corporate Media of Russia. Vyacheslav Goldfeld (left) is FreeMotion CEO, co-founder and managing partner, and Alina Kotova (right) is FreeMotion co-founder and managing partner.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

2 Australian filmmakers win in 2017 Festival

Australians won three awards in the 2017 US International Film & Video Festival. A Children’s Television show won a Best of Festival award and a Gold Camera first place award. A Silver Screen award went to a second work, by MindConsole, Sydney.
"Little Lunch"

The Australian Children’s Television Foundation sponsored the Best of Festival-Entertainment work, "Little Lunch – The Nightmare Before Graduation," based on books written by Danny Katz and illustrated by Mitch Vane.  “Little Lunch” refers to a morning tea break, and the shows tell about funny and touching adventures that happen during that 15-minute period.
Gristmill, Melbourne, was the production company for the TV segment with Robyn Butler, Wayne Hope and Ben Grogan as producers. Butler also directed.

The MindConsole award was for "Pernod Ricard Winemakers," which featured the different winemaking regions and how they are woven together. Sarah Descher headed the project for Pernod with Markus Karlseder as producer and Benjamin Shepherd as director. Cinematographer was Benjamin Shepherd with Dominic Dimech as editor.

Entries from 25 countries competed in the festival's 50th year. Find more information about winners at

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

BOF Nominees represent 9 countries

Fourteen productions selected as nominees for Best of Festival in the 2017 U.S. International Film & Video Festival come from nine countries. They also represent multiple nominations for LBL Production (FreeMotion Group) in Russia and NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Tokyo.

The shortlist represents works as broad as a look at the Chopin piano competition and insight into the aftermath of a nuclear plant meltdown or life for two elderly Japanese who shun modern conveniences.

Corporate nominees:
  • LBL Production (FreeMotion Group), Novosibirsk, Russia, for "The 31st  Kilometer," produced for Salym Petroleum Development, Moscow, to demonstrate efforts to prevent environmental problems;
  • "Breadwinner," a first-person for Minsk Traktor Works, Minsk, Russia, done by LBL Production to expand knowledge of the product, which is sold in 130 countries;
  • Omnicron Productions, Auckland, NZ, for "Vodafone," a safety film for Vodafone New Zealand featuring real staff;
  • Wizard Films, New Taipei City, Taiwan, for "The Master," which shows an artist who draws inspiration from pottery, calligraphy and tea ceremony rituals;

  • NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Tokyo, for "Tuning the Battle: Behind the Chopin Piano Competition," the world’s most prestigious and demanding contest for young pianists;
  • NHK for "88 Hours: The Fukushima Nuclear Meltdown," views the background of the March 2011 accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant through interviews with more than 500 people involved in the crisis;
  • China Global Television Network, Beijing, for "Operation: Drug War," which documents Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte’s bloody war against drug dealers and users;
  • RT, Moscow, for "H2Woe," a look at the water crisis in several Indian states as a way to increase awareness of ecological challenges;
  • GMA Network Inc., Quezon City, Philippines, for "I-'Witness: Busal (Muzzled)" tells the horrific effects of President Duterte’s “War on Drugs” through the experiences of the group most affected, the marginalized sector of society.

  • NHK (Japan Broadcasting Corporation), Tokyo, for "Design Ah! #109," a film aimed at ages 5-10 that demonstrates design through everyday objects;
  • Centre For Electronic Media, Bern, Switzerland, for "Focus – Federal Intelligence Service" showing Switzerland as a business and research place sensitive to the threat of espionage and proliferation.

  • Australian Children's Television Foundation, Melbourne, for "Little Lunch – The Nightmare Before Graduation," done for Australian Children's Television tells about funny and touching adventures during snack time in the school playground, based on books written by Danny Katz and illustrated by Mitch Vane;
  • Pacific Television, London, for "Life's A Party with David Burtka," done for Food Network USA, New York, and featuring actor Burtka preparing a birthday party for husband Neil Patrick Harris with help of their twins, Harper and Gideon;
  • "An Eden for Two" by Yamaguchi Broadcasting Co. Ltd., Shunan, Japan, features a couple who after World War II chose to live deep in the mountains without electricity, a telephone, or plumbing.

Videos and/or photos of the nominees along with Gold Camera, Silver Screen and Certificate winners can be viewed at

Best of Festival winners and the recipient of the One World Award presented by the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers will be announced June 21.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Festival promotes global cooperation theme

Filmmakers whose topics speak to global understanding were invited to compete for the 2017  One World Award in the US International Film & Video Festival. The award recognizes a production that demonstrates international cooperation and has been sponsored for 25 years by the International Quorum of Motion Picture Producers (IQ).

2012 Statuette

In the past decade, winners have represented 10 countries and addressed topics such as AIDS, nuclear power, religious tolerance, green technology, child labor and counterfeit products. US International Film & Video entrants nominate their own works for One World consideration. Judges in the festival also can recommend works for the award.

We are just a few weeks away from knowing more about this year's One World participants. IQ judges are in the process of viewing nominees, and the insider info is that it will be a tough duty.  

Here's a quick look back at some past One World winners:
In 2016, Arizona Films, Brussels, won for “Wattway – Solar Roads.”  The film was done for Colas Group Paris, a civil engineering firm, and considers the possibilities of innovative road technology as a source for energy.

GMA News TV, The Philippines, received the award in both 2014 and 2015. A 2014 documentary, "Brigada (The Brigade): Gintong Krudo (Black Gold)," raised awareness of the 5.5 million Filipino children considered child laborers. The 2015 winning program, “Front Row: ALS,” exposed the hardships of families caring for members with the debilitating disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Other One World winners:

  • 2004 "Walk the World" Momentum NL, The Netherlands 
  • 2005 “Gorbachev’s Revolution” Director Fern Levitt and Barna-Alper Productions, Toronto, Canada 2006 "Tracking the Monster: Confronting AIDS in Africa" Boom Pictures, New York City 
  • 2007 "The Battle of Chernobyl" Discovery Networks International (USA) 
  • 2008 "Five Times God" Kanguruh-Film Berline GmbH, Berlin
  • 2009 "Beyond Beliefs" Closer Productions, Adelaide for Issues Deliberation Australia/America (IDA) 
  • 2010 "IBM Multitask—Popsicle—Heart" Wizz Design, Clichy, France 
  • 2011 “New Standard for Environmental Action” Pohjantahti-Elokuva, Helsinki, Finland 
  • 2012 “Heritage Saved is History Preserved” Henk van Mierlo VOF for NV Bergkwartier, Deventer, The Netherlands 
  • 2013 “Counterfeit Culture” Tell Tale Productions, Halifax, Nova Scotia 

More as soon as we know.  

Thursday, February 23, 2017

ReelChicago Ratney a Real Journalist

Ruth Louise Ratny, founder and editor of ReelChicago and Screen Magazine – and a friend to those of us at Mobius Awards and US International Film & Video Festival – died Feb. 21 in her sleep. The only daughter of German immigrants who settled in Chicago, she jumped from high school to become a dedicated and successful supporter of the Chicago film and advertising communities.

At the beginning of her career, Ruth worked as a producer in the post-production industry and earned an Emmy. In 1979, she founded the print-based advertising and film publication Screen Magazine and served as editor and publisher for 23 years before selling it in 2001. She founded the digitally exclusive in 2004 and continued editing and writing much of the publication’s content until last week. She filed her final story on Feb. 10, 2017.

Along the way, Ruth earned distinction as a Chicago and Midwest Ad Woman of the Year, a member of Today’s Women Chicago 100 Hall of Fame, an honoree on Newcity Magazine’s “Film 50” list, a recipient of the Hugo Legend Film Award and a recipient of the Chicago Film Critics Award, among others. Additionally, she served on dozens of film juries, discussion panels, volunteer organizations and awards shows.

Lee Gluckman, also a Chicago native and chairman of Mobius Awards and US International Film & Video Festival, which were founded in Chicago, had known Ruth “going back to the late ‘60s not long after I formed Producers Group Ltd., a Chicago-based production company,” he said. “I always had great respect for her approach and opinions on everything about the business in Chicago. It seemed that she knew everyone who was anyone in in advertising and film.”

Gluckman, now based in Los Angeles, kept in touch with Ruth occasionally in person and more often by phone. “She had a sharp wit and strong opinions, but she was usually right. I will miss her,” Gluckman said.

In her personal time, Ruth completed two film scripts that generated a number of offers, but none of them matched the deal that she had hoped for. One was a love story about a young couple on different sides of the U.S./Mexican border; the other, a feature documentary about Mahalia Jackson, “The Queen of Soul,” who earned her fame and spent much of her career in Chicago. Ruth was also a fierce supporter of liberal causes, especially those devoted to women and children. Her contributions to charitable organizations would have been legendary if she had chosen to publicize them, according to her staff at

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

1992 Gold winner good as ever

As part of the 50th anniversary competition of FilmFest, we are revisiting past winners and have uncovered some real gems. “The Show Must Go On” video promoting the band Queen’s “Greatest Hits II” album was certainly one of those. This film is a rich to watch now as it was on first release. It received a Gold Camera award in the 1992 US International Film & Video Festival.  

The Vienna, Austria, team of Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher –DoRo—won for the video, which was a montage of clips from the group’s 1981 to 1991 videos. Last year, Rossacher spoke to the 2016 gathering of the Queen Fan Club  about working on the video. Queen’s “Latest Hits II” compact disc was released in the UK in October 199 and in the U.S. in February 1992.

Dolezal and Rossacher started in the industry producing TV series for Austrian and German stations. Then they stormed the music video world. DoRo produced a string of videos for artists that included The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Miles Davis, and Frank Zappa. The team also produced documentaries, most related to the music world. The pair are known as the “Torpedo Twins” when they work together.

Both men ontinue to work as directors and producers. Dolezal’s credits include “Austropop-Legenden” (2012) and “Freddie Mercury, the Untold Story” (2000). Rossacher produced “Elvis in Las Vegas” in 2010, among other works. 

Read more about Queen here: The Show Must Go On Promo
View the promo video: