Film Festivals are canceling but Online Fests are thriving

Who would have thought that this whole dang virus thing would screw up every live event on the planet? I didn’t anticipate this kind of things months ago when I entered my film into Film Festivals via the FilmFreeway website.

And now, I’m getting email notices. The fests I entered are either postponing or canceling until next year. There’s almost no alternative. Except my own Festival.

Yep, I created a film festival 6 years ago. It’s an online Festival that offers the winners the option to have their movie streamed online and on Roku, Fire TV, and Android.

A little more history…I started building Roku channels years ago. In order to get content that was not the usual public domain fair, I operated two Facebook Video/Photo contests and I also contacted some film buddies and I offered them a free deal to get their films streamed to my audience. The formula worked, although none of us made any money. That’s okay, because the exposure was great — and no one makes money on short films anyway.

If you think you can recoup your cost of producing a short film — then you’re dreaming…and may God bless the dreamer.

Next, I asked filmmakers if they wanted their film compiled into a feature film or a 30-minute featurette for streaming purposes. The result was my “Zombie Pix” feature film, distributed by VODO to 15 thousand VODO viewers online. Secondly the 30 minute compilation film project was and is still being streamed on my channels, it’s an all-genre video called “Film Fest Best” — and it is one of the most popular videos that I stream. In the end, these two compilation videos gave filmmakers free exposure, and I have some good content for my streaming TV audience.

In 2015, after successfully running (2) video/photo contests on Facebook, I decided to give my Festival a more tangible presence. I built a website, and then I developed an Amazon Fire TV channel. Both worked very nicely. And the audience has grown ever since.
Now, I have over 375,000 subscribers on my Fire TV channel, called “Movies Plus.” And, I have built several new Roku channels, in which the total subscribers are over 1 million. That’s great reach. And it’s free for filmmakers who would like to stream their film on my channels.

There’s even a success story. A filmmaker named Alex who took the initiative to leverage my Fire TV channel. He streamed his “Down River” feature film for 6 months. Then he took the stats from the streaming experience (about 70,000 views) and he presented this to a venture capitalist. It impressed the money-man so much that he agreed to finance Alex’s next film. Now Alex has his movie, “The Directive” on Hulu. There’s a newspaper article that tells the whole story — read it via my Festival page on FilmFreeway.

Okay, so to wrap things up a little, now I have many channels. The most popular are TMN (The Movie Network) and “Movies Plus TV.” And I have my Film Festival that is online and supported by my Roku and Fire TV channels. I also have an Android App, but that is still in the “launching” phase, so I don’t brag about my Android subscribers just yet. You may add the channels and TV-Apps via

If you’re a filmmaker looking for free film distribution…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free exposure for your movie, TV or web series…You can get in on this, free.
If you’re a filmmaker looking for free publicity and promotion for your movie or TV Pilot or series…You can get in on this, free.

To get started, you may email me directly, BUT I suggest using the free service film freeway. My Festival is only $5 to $8 to enter. That’s cheap! The submission fees are less than 9 dollars. And in return you get access to all the resources I listed above. Free online streaming for your movie, TV show, Pilot, web series and more.

(Please note that the current Festival doesn’t have a category for Features, therefore if you’d like to have your feature streamed, simply contact me directly on Facebook or through the links on my moviesplus website.)

Also, TRAILERS AND TEASERS are FREE TO ENTER, and you may get yours immediately streamed on Android by visiting my Youtube channel, again the link is on the Movies Plus website.

To enter the Festival for FREE or for as low as $5, please visit

Cheers and good Streaming,
Dean Lachiusa
Curator, the Metro Film Festival.

How to Curate a Film Festival 101

Recently I spoke to a filmmaker regarding the amount of submissions I receive.  “…How could I possibly decide which films are right for the Metro Film Festival…How could I judge someones art?”

Well, the answer for me, and I would hope this is the answer anyone serving in my position would use is: I think you have to put your “judge” cap on.

For me, that’s simple.  I use my greatest character flaw.  When I’m watching a film, and if I find myself judging the film…saying to myself “I like this movie…(or more importantly) I DON’T LIKE THIS STORY…” Then I know the film has compelling qualities.  I’ve engaged in the story and the characters whether I like them or not.  And this is one of many qualities that makes a movie take on a life of it’s own.

This is not the only criteria I use of course, but it’s the red-flag that helps me to determine whether I’m going to watch an entire film, or if I’m going to pass the movie on to another Festival programmer who might be interested in watching the entire film.

Another criteria is production quality.  (I like grain, but the images must be clear.)  Then there’s Genre.  (Too much gore or nude stuff can change whether Roku rates a channel as Family friendly, or Adult.)  Length.  (I tend to put videos under 15 minutes into a hour-long “Short Film Showcase.”)  Medium.  (No teasers or trailers, but Featurettes that have complete story are very welcome.)

I hope I’ve shed a little light on things, and offered up some advice for programmers and filmmakers too.

-Dean Lachiusa

PS: If you’re wondering what my background is, during Film School I operated the Media Pool Filmmakers Co-op in Phoenix, with over 200 members in 1997.  Media Pool networked Russo’s Star Theatre in Phoenix, and organizations like the local chapter of WIF (Women in Film.)  I then managed the Pan Left organization’s Tucson office until they decided I wasn’t a Communist (it’s a long story.)  I was influencial in re-launching Tucson’s AIVF chapter and it’s reformation into the IFASA – presided over by Pearry Teo.  And I spent a few seasons working for the good folks at the Arizona International Film Festival in Tucson.  My last stint in the use of actual “celluloid” ended in 2004 when I sold my Moviola flatbed editor for $300.