First and Only Web Series-Only Festival Taking 2011 Submissions
Los Angeles, CA/August 19,
2010— The 2nd Annual Los Angeles Web Series Festival—the
first and only open-air web series-only festival in the world-- is now
considering entries for 2011. LAWEBFEST, as it’s nicknamed,
brings together web series from around the world and screens them in
community, before a live audience, on a big screen. Workshops
and panels covering various aspects of this dynamic new medium are also
held over the three-day event, once again taking place at the Stage
52 Theater in Los Angeles March 25-27, 2011.
“We don’t care if you’re
studio-financed, an industry veteran who’s just experimenting, an
independent producer, or a Regular Joe or Josephine who doesn’t work
or live in Hollywood but made something you’re proud of— we welcome
you to submit,” says LAWEBFEST Founder and Executive Director Michael
Ajakwe, Jr. A former public relations copywriter and sportswriter,
Ajakwe has spent the last 20 years writing and producing for a myriad
of showbiz news and variety shows, sitcoms and dramas like Entertainment
Tonight, Talk Soup, Martin, Eve, Sister Sister, The Brothers Garcia,
Soul Food, Steve Harvey’s Big Time and currently cabler TV One’s Love That Girl. He’s also a web series creator. “The
web series is the most exciting form of visual entertainment since television.
It is truly a people’s medium and some people are making some really
cool shows on the web. LAWEBFEST wants to showcase some of these
gems and hear from the resourceful people who are making them and starring
in them and programming them and trying to successfully adapt them into
other mediums like film, tv and theater,” added the published playwright
and award-winning filmmaker.
The inaugural 2010 LAWEBFEST
drew 2500 web series fans to Stage 52 over three days. Fifty different
web series were screened followed by Q & A sessions with each creative
team. Special tributes honored TV and film star Robert Townsend’s Diary Of A Single Mom, NBC.com’s CTRL and Sony’s The
Bannen Way. Several web series experts, studio and production
company executives, independent producers, actors, and SAG and WGA reps
participated in workshops and panel discussions. At the end of
the fest, awards were bestowed on 28 shows spanning 22 different categories.
But Ajakwe maintains LAWEBFEST is not about the awards.
“LAWEBFEST is about celebrating
the magic and power of the web series. Most of the people who
make web shows have never seen them projected on a big screen or watched
them with a large audience,” the NAACP Award-winning playwright, theater
producer and Emmy-winning TV producer stressed. “They’ve
never heard feedback from a live audience. A lot of the people
who came last year had never even seen a web series. When they
left the theater, they began following these shows at home, on their
laptops and cell phones,” Ajakwe pointed out.
For more information on how
to submit your web series to LAWEBFEST 2011 as well as entry fees and
deadlines, please visit the LAWEBFEST Facebook Group page or www.LAWEBFEST.com.
NEW: Check out the story on LAWEBFEST on the Actors Reporter here!
NEW: Watch the Ustream Interview with founder, Michael Ajakwe here!
Watch the Interview with the Founder & Director here!
Watch the Behind the Scenes video here!
Earlier in the evening, Canadian filmmaker Robert Kirbyson’s “CTRL" was honored as the festival’s Comedy of the Year. Highlight was a screening of Kirbyson’s original six-minute short that was platformed into the first stand-alone web series produced by a major TV network (NBC). The entire 10-episode Season 1 was later shown to a packed and pleased audience at Stage 52 Theater. Saturday night fest bestowed Mark Gantt and Jesse Warren with its Groundbreaker Award for their astonishing Sony-backed web series the Bannen Way." Opening Night, Robert Townsend’s powerful “Diary of a Single Mom" received the Web Series of the Year Award. Stars Monica Calhoun, Janice Lynde, Valery Ortiz and producer Messiah Jacobs were on hand to receive the honor.
Festival Founder and Executive Director Michael Ajakwe Jr. said the historic weekend exceeded his expectations. “Over 2400 people showed up. People walked through our doors curious and left encouraged and inspired, which is what LAWEBFEST is really all about. I can’t wait to do it again next year. It was a lot of work and a lot of fun."
LAWEBFEST awards process strays from tradition. Every web series accepted into the fest is automatically nominated in key areas that apply and the festival does not limit the number of awards it can hand out in a single category. The word “Best…" is not used. Instead, winners are recognized for their Outstanding Achievement. There are no Audience Awards, which Ajakwe believes can be easily tainted, and all awards are decided prior to the start of the festival. “It’s like how they do in sports like the NBA, NFL and MLB. The play-offs and championship have no bearing on the regular season. All the campaigning and schmoozing in the world won’t help you so everyone can just relax and enjoy the festival." Ajakwe added that he feels the LAWEBFEST system makes the awards process less divisive among shows and the actual event more exciting and unpredictable. “Every series truly has a chance to shine. But, at the end of the day, it’s still an awards ceremony. Some people will win something and some won’t. All I can say is that while awards are always nice to win, at the end of the day it’s about doing good work— win, lose or draw." (See the complete list of awardees below)
LAWEBFEST 2010 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD WINNERS
Los Angeles, California—The Los Angeles Web Series Festival
has picked 47 shows to screen at this first-of-its-kind assembly of web
series.“We received close to 100
submissions," said LAWEBFEST Executive Director and Founder Michael Ajakwe
Jr..“I wish we could’ve accepted
them all."The shows cover a
diverse landscape of genres—drama, comedy, dramedy, horror, scifi,
documentary, Vlog, lifestyle, travel, talk, even a 60-second soap opera.There will also be several “world
LAWEBFEST runs March 26-28 at the Stage 52 Theater with Opening
Night festivities paying tribute to Robert Townsend’s “Diary of a Single Mom"
which the festival is recognizing as “Web Series of the Year."The urban drama’s eight-episode Season
1 will be screened and the show’s producers and stars like Monica Calhoun,
Valery Ortiz, and Janice Lynde will be on hand for a brief Q & A.On Saturday evening, another series
will be feted with the festival’s “Groundbreaker Award", but the identity of
the honoree won’t be revealed until the night of the event.It’s what the festival calls its “Saturday
Night Mystery Guest."Closing
Night will pay homage to NBC.com’s “CTRL".All 10 episodes of Season 1 will screen and series’ creator Robert
Kirbyson will be on hand to receive the “Web Comedy of the Year" award and
participate in a 30-minute Q & A.Closing Night also features
an awards ceremony covering 15 categories.However, Ajakwe says anyone expecting a traditional trophy
contest may be disappointed.“We’re
open to recognizing multiple stand-outs in a single category as opposed to
being married to the convention that says you can only have one winner.Hell, you had to be really good just to
get here.We want our creators to
view each other as comrades rather than competitors.It’s a web series festival not a cage match."The festival is also going without
traditional category nominations.“Every
show, every actor, writer, director, producer, editor etc. became a nominee the
moment their series was chosen for the fest."Ajakwe, who’s also a web series creator and web channel
owner, says that even though his online comedy “Who…" made this year’s cut, it’s
the only series not eligible for any awards. “It just wouldn’t look right and
credibility is important to us."
Along with screenings and evening tributes, LAWEBFEST will also
hold over a dozen workshops and panels covering various aspects of creating
content for the web.“Our goal
that weekend is to both entertain and educate our audience.The web is like a baby on a super growth
spurt so there’s always something new to learn," said Ajakwe, who is also an Emmy-winning
TV producer. Confirmed panelists
include Curt Marvis who heads Lionsgate’s digital arm, Ryan Stoner of the maverick
indie prod Omelet, pioneering web superstars The Fine Brothers, “In the
Motherhood" co-creator Jordana Arkin, “Lonelygirl15" writer Glenn Rubenstein, “Josh
Jennings for Congress" creator Nathan Gotsch, Freemantle Head of Production and
Development Tom Hoffman, veteran online strategist Jaymes Hines,
CreatiingTheWeb.com chief web designer Ben McAllister, and Jay Rondot and Sara
Fletcher-- the respective producer and star of “Secret Girlfriend" which
recently platformed from a web-based series to a Comedy Central tv series.
The LAWEBFEST Class of 2010 mostly reside in California with New
York a distant second.Other shows
came from Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and Canada.
Los Angeles Web Series Festival Class of 2010 (and series creators):