Dispatch From the West Coast: How Indie Films Are Conquering LA


NewFilmmakers Los Angeles Film Festival audience at AT&T Center in Downtown LA.

The face of Los Angeles independent filmmaking is changing, and it has been for a while. More and more festivals showing short and experimental films are popping up in the capital of the Hollywood machine. Young and new filmmakers are not scared of sharing their vision with others, and different programs provide them with an opportunity to put that vision on the wide screen. 

My first encounter with NewFilmmakers LA (NFMLA) was in 2011 when I participated in the inaugural program for On Location: The Los Angeles Video Project with the director with whom I produced a Women In Film LA PSA, Journey to Safety (winner of a 2012 Silver Telly). My team’s film won that year’s NFMLA jury and the audience awards. But I got so much more out of the competition than just awards. The producing team that developed while working on this project is still alive and strong and collaborating four years later, the cinematographer has been tapped to shoot a documentary that benefited from the prize’s in-kind donations, and other professional relationships blossomed.

This year I was invited to chair the Events and Programming Committee for NFMLA, an opportunity that I couldn’t refuse. I felt I had to give others a chance to get the experiences I received when working with NFMLA. Since joining the organization, I’ve learned how tedious the process to secure a perfect program is, how complex getting that elusive sponsor can be, and how exciting meeting local, national, and international filmmakers has become to the LA community.

The strength of NFMLA for me resides in their encouraging, approach to hear the voices of often-overlooked groups in the film industry: the female auteurs with stories that range from standard genre approaches to “out-there” ideas, the LGBT community, veterans, international filmmakers, and many others. Everyone is given a chance.

I encourage anyone who wants to be a part of a supportive film community to check out NewFilmmakers LA. We have monthly film festivals without hard deadlines, offer a yearly On Location competition, and acknowledge the NFMLA alumni in our yearly “Best of” awards.

Join us in celebrating the art of film, and submit your short, documentary or feature!


Marina is a freelance film, television, and commercials producer, film festival organizer, and avid chocolate enthusiast.

(Edited on Dec 17, 5:39 pm EST.)


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