Fresh from the web! Drea Clark’s indie snacks @LAFilmFest

LA Film Fest is breaking ground on many fronts (greater diversity behind the camera, more world premieres than before), and now, get ready for the Launch.  The freshest and tightest stories out there (literally, most webisodes are around the 3 min mark) are part of the Indie Series from the Web screening this Thursday 7pm, June 11 which features a round up of 13 webisodes representing a multitude of innovative, hilarious, genre and character-driven serials.

From the down-home slices of besties and roomies, I Love Lucy and Bekka, co-starring Gina Rodriguez by Rachael Holder, to The Impossibilities by Anna Kerrigan, an impressively produced and sympathetic series about a Lesbian Yogi, to deadpan and quirky The Incredible Life of Darrell by Darrell Lake, and the bust-a-gut laughs of The Oversharer by Ali Le Roi, this program is a high octane zone of bold talent and content.  Who’s behind this #HotNow program?  None other than Programmer/Curator Drea Clark who went internet surfing like a Pro to bring us a wild snackable program.  In addition to being a Programmer on the features and shorts committees, Drea curates the music videos, this new Launch program that includes the Interactive Storytelling: Indiecade Gaming Favorites  – which pass holders can experience at the Festival Lounge.  Oh, she also programs for Slamdance.  Oh, she is also a Producer (Lake Los Angeles, The Last Time you had Fun).  After my own heart that one.  From an undisclosed remote location during the annual LA Film Fest Filmmaker retreat, Drea answered a few of my q’s  about programming this exciting new program.

  Sifting through the world wide web for quality series sounds daunting.  What’s your approach?  Where did you find them?

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Mad props to Ms. Clark for her curatorial drive, insanely good eye for talent and story, and incomparable wit @TheDreaClark.

Totally daunting, but there’s actually a lot more really well-crafted work out there than I thought there was going to be when I started. We got a number of the webseries through our general submissions when we added it as a new category this year, and for almost all of the submissions that I liked I would also find them online and watch all of their episodes in case there was one that would play better at the Festival, or improved upon something I dug in the submitted piece. And as anyone who has ever spent quality time on the internet knows, it’s VERY easy to start to wormhole and lose hours watching more and more content. I was following a ton of random links that YouTube was auto-generating based on what I was already watching, that sort of thing. I also went through and read pretty much every “Best of the Web” wrap up I could find, and had some discoveries that way as well.


Is it your curation, or do you find that there are more female, comedy, multi-culti voices exploring and having fun on the new digital platform?
It was definitely a goal of mine to have a webseries line-up with a lot of different authorial voices. I basically approached it like programming my own TV network, and since a lot of my own complaints (and the industry’s in general) are how underrepresented certain voices are, I wanted to prove how many great stories were actually out there and being told from a wide variety of perspectives. The good news is, there is a LOT to choose from, and I do think it makes sense that people who have traditionally felt ignored or pigeon-holed by mainstream television would just make their own damn show on the web. That’s the beauty of the internet, and what balances out all the ugly comment threads and nightmare garbage people – it’s a place where anyone can be heard. If you’re an artist with an idea and a work ethic, you can put something out there… I was lucky that so much of what was being created was also really smart and enjoyable.

What’s exciting to you about this new medium?  More risks?  More voices?
What I love, in addition to the access to so many different perspectives and their subsequent various takes on these mini-shows, is how each creator is also defining what it MEANS to be a webseries. Some of the pieces I selected for the program reminded me of old Saturday Night Live or Kids in the Hall character bits, where there was an entire sketch built around one super eccentric character. And then some of them had entire ensembles of characters, or really unique tones, or really hilarious moments, or combinations of all those things. It does come down to risk, that they are already leaping without a net but there are also not terrible consequences if they fail – so people can push boundaries, or try something ridiculous, in a way that they couldn’t with “regular” television. As someone whose background is programming film festivals, the other element that makes webseries so special is that they really are episodic, they’re built to be watched one after another, and the stories and characters grow as you go. These aren’t short films, they’re moments of a larger whole that can still be enjoyed piecemeal. I think they’re really impressive.
To buy tickets to the showcase (and a chance to meet these talented creators) click here.  Or watch right now.  Click on the titles of the whole lineup below.

Charged
Dir. Ndosi Anyabwile
In the wake of a viral epidemic, a novice fighter struggles to survive illegal experimentation in order to escape from the company that imprisoned him.

Croissant Man
Dir. Tulica Singh
A depressed croissant trying to find meaning in the superficial world of Bourgeois pastries.

Downtown Girls
Dir. Emebeit Beyene, Chandra Russell
Four recent college grads decide to call their own shots, raising money to launch their own business by turning their NYC apartment into a lucrative nightclub.

The Genderton Project (World Premiere)
Dir. Anna Martemucci, Victor Quinaz
A modern group of young gay men head to Palm Springs for a gay wedding weekend, when their story is interrupted by the tale of a 1960’s Pasadena housewife whose life is anything but a piece of cake in this gender-swapped comedy.

Happy And You Know It
Created, written and directed by Kira Hesser, Jeremy Howe and Ramsey Robinson
Having just moved to Los Angeles to take care of her grandmother, an aimless girl meets a small-time drug dealer who is similarly searching for purpose.

I Love Lucy & Bekka
Dir. Rachael Holder
Lucy & Bekka have been roommates and best friends since the beginning of their twenties. They are so close that they finish each other’s sandwiches.

The Impossibilities
Dir. Anna Kerrigan
The unexpected connections of Harry, a jaded children’s party magician and Willa, a daffy, lesbian yogi.

The Incredible Life of Darrell
Dir. Darrell Lake
The spectacularly mundane adventures of an incredible average Joe in small town
Wakooki, Arizona.

Jon and Jen Are Married
Dir. Gregory Fitzsimmons
Jon and Jen are married, they’re expecting a child, and they take absurd measures to influence their fetus.

The Oversharer
Dir. Ali Le Roi
A friendly woman embodies the phrase “too much information”.

Toybox Theater: Sad Little People
Dir. Marty Schousboe / Creator Barry Hite
Stan is a Minotaur managing a midlife crisis while working at the hottest ad agency in town.

Trip Advisor
Dir. Melinda Cohen, Adam Roa
A man whose sole skill in life is his mastery of drugs begins offering his services to the public, providing guided ‘trips’ to a variety of eccentric characters.

Unusual Targets
Dir. Tom Huang
A hit man specializing in supernatural beings tries to learn on the job while taking down monsters that live and hide among the people of Los Angeles.

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