2010 Vimeo Festival: Interview with Blake Whitman, Vimeo Founder

Categories Filmspiration, Inspired Release, The Inspired List

The year is 2010, and Vimeo.com has planted the first annual seed of the Vimeo Festival and Awards, which provides filmmakers with the opportunity to win $25,000, and more importantly, an opening to expand the audience of their film, beyond just family and friends. Cinema demands an audience; the artist creates film, video, and animation for other’s viewing.

The festival features an eclectic mix of genres in competition, including: narrative, documentary, animation, motion graphics, music video, experimental, remix, captured, and original series. Those judging submissions include David Lynch, Morgan Spurlock, Roman Coppola, DJ Spooky, Nick Campbell (aka greyscalegorilla dude), Jos̩ Luis de Vicente, and many other notables. The Festival and Awards will take place in New York City on 8-9 October, 2010, and will include a preview event in Amsterdam in early September. Submissions for the Awards are open from June 3 РJuly 31, 2010.

Below is a five question interview with Blake Whitman, a vimeo founder. Blake shares his thoughts on the upcoming festival.

(1) The seed has been planted for the 1st annual Vimeo Film Festival and Awards. Why have you planted this seed, what will this seed grow into, and how will it help filmmakers and artists?

The Vimeo Festival and Awards was born from the unparalleled creativity and innovation in video work being shared on sites like Vimeo. We really feel that it is important to highlight and recognize the independent creators choosing the internet to premiere and share their work with audiences all over the world. What we have started with the Vimeo Festival and Awards is an opportunity for these filmmakers and artists to get the recognition and support they deserve that they may not get anywhere else as well as come together in a physical setting to meet and learn from each other. It’s going to be a very unique event and we hope to see it continue to grow and expand beyond the boundaries of New York City in the coming years.

(2) What’s striking is the category for experimental film — an often overlooked genre — Vimeo seemingly embraces this genre. Care to elaborate?

Experimental video is really the backbone of a lot of what we see on the web today. As people gain more access to video and the ability to share on the web, they look to experiment with different filming and editing techniques and often create experimental films in the process of learning how to become better filmmakers. Those people, combined with artists who are breaking ground with new forms of storytelling or non-linear filmmaking are pioneering the newer experimental genres we see emerging from video online. We embrace all forms of video creation and watching the experimental genre expand over these last few years has been fascinating and is something we are very interested in discussing at the Festival.


(3) How do you define experimental film and why embrace it? What does experimental film bring to the kitchen table?

Traditionally, experimental film often refers to the absence of a linear narrative or those who choose to comment on the actual process of filmmaking itself. We like to look at experimental film as just that: the process of experimenting. Those who try new forms of storytelling and use imaginative and innovative ways to create videos are creating “experimental” films because they do not necessarily fall into traditional filmmaking categories.

(4) It’s exciting that David Lynch is a judge of the experimental genre; also, the greyscalegorilla dude, Nick Campbell, a native of my city, Chicago, is judging the motion graphics sector. Who are the other judges, what categories are they judging, and what was the process in selecting?

We have many other judges, including folks like Roman Coppola, Morgan Spurlock, Nicolas Schmerkin and more. You can find the full list and learn all about the categories here vimeo.com/awards/categories. Some categories of note that are specific to online video art that of ‘Remix’ and Captured’. The remix category focuses on works that are derivatives of other films, pop culture, and other media and was born from the access the web gave to artists and their ability to reorder works into new meanings. Captured is a category that Vimeo created specifically for these awards to celebrate works of art that are shared through the medium of video itself but are not necessarily artistic videos in and of themselves. A good example of Captured videos would be art installation, gallery exhibits and other live performances that are beautiful works of art that wouldn’t necessarily be able to be shared with the masses without the internet and sites like Vimeo.

(5) What is the linchpin of Vimeo and the Vimeo Festival and Awards?

Illuminating creativity and the actual individuals behind these innovative works of art.

I am a Chicago-based filmmaker, motion designer, and web developer. I’m an avid blogger for http://dinca.org, a site focusing on avant-garde/underground cinema and subterranean art.

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