by Special Contributor Rachael Fisher

The 16th annual HollyShorts Film Festival, scheduled from November 9-15, 2020, sets the start of each day with a wide range of insight covered through panels of industry experts. Filmmakers and audiences can listen and learn tips from monetizing short films to casting secrets to the how-to’s of continuing production under the Covid-19 guidelines.

Starting today, the first panel launches with Kat Coiro, a HollyShorts alumna and acclaimed director working on series such as Dead to Me, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and the upcoming Jennifer Lopez film Marry Me. Tuning into this talk, the listeners learn about her journey starting as an HollyShorts filmmaker with an acting background to a renowned industry writer and director. Working on various present projects, Kat shares her philosophies for aspiring filmmakers.


‘Festival Formula’s’ Secrets to Submissions – Noon PST

The ‘Festival Formula’ is revealed first on Tuesday. The team itself speaks on strategies, submissions and seizing show-stopping tips to catching a judge’s eye. The field is very competitive and their honesty is the best approach to hearing the insiders’ guidance of what to expect from the worldwide limitless compass.

Monetizing your Short Film – 3 p.m. PST

Monetizing the market for short films can be a challenge, but with the right approach, a filmmaker can utilize many outlets to attract an audience. The second panelists present the perspective from a buyer on the short film market. They each discuss the requirements, expectations, and the process the industry entails.

Film Threat’s Indie Filmmakers Survival Guide – 6 p.m. PST

Presented by Film Threat, the keys to indie filmmaking are unlocked by this panel. The conversation dives into the challenges and how to capitalize on approaching opportunities. Even during these uncertain times, this conversation gives hope to the realm of the indie genre and the power of creativity each filmmaker holds.


Launching your Career with your leading Short Film- Noon PST

Sponsored by Los Angeles Media Consultants, audiences can listen in on the ways to make that ‘big break’ into Hollywood. It’s all about opening doors and connections. Learn from this panel of writers, producers and managers and their roads to success. Not only will you learn the ‘ins’ getting through that door, but how your short film can be the path to lead you there.

‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ – 3 p.m. PST

These words were spoken by Dr. Joely Proudfit, one of the joining panelists. Each of these dedicated, strong and persevering women of color discuss the marginalized communities represented on- and off-screen in the entertainment world. Bringing together and celebrating their identities, this conversation will not only be a special moment for the viewers looking to find their place in film and for audiences, but also to educate and speak about what this phrase means to them.

Agents & Managers Roundtable – 6 p.m. PST

Agents and managers talk about the current state of the industry during these rapidly changing times. Describing not only what they are scouting out, but these panelists will illustrate how filmmakers can keep up with the changing climate.


Tracy ‘Twinkie’ Byrd on Casting & Evolution of Short Filmmaking – Noon PST

Audiences are in for a treat as Twinkie Byrd (known for The Clark Sisters: First Ladies of Gospel, Christmas Unwrapped, Notorious), veteran casting director and producer, dives into her own story. She will deliberate on her transition to directing and the filmmaking world. Discussing new changes, Twinkie will share her advice to the innovative approach to filmmaking. 

The New Normal Presented by SAGIndie – 3 p.m. PST

This conversation comes from industry veterans holding positions as CEO, actors, producers, directors and playwrights. These panelists come together to review the challenges that lie ahead revealing what is to come for aspiring indie filmmakers ready to make it in Hollywood.

HollyShorts Screenwriters Roundtable – 6 p.m. PST

This roundtable of HollyShorts screenwriting alumni gather to chat about their current projects and how far they’ve come along on their journeys. Panelists writing for television shows like iZombie, Schitt’s Creek, and films like The Exorcist share the lessons they’ve learned to inspire other writers today.


Immigration Law for Filmmakers presented by Zoe Kevork Law – Noon PST

Calling all international filmmakers and artists: listen in to watch attorney Zoe Kevork talk about different options for working in the United States. The industries both in the U.S. and internationally are growing. Zoe will go further into answering your questions about developing plans for work opportunities in the U.S. market.

Fireside Chat with Seed & Spark Founder Emily Best – 3 p.m. PST

Seed & Spark, a well-known crowdfunding and event platform, introduces founder Emily Best. This chat is all about how her creation came to be and upcoming opportunities she sees in the industry for filmmakers. Emily will analyze a few of the twists and turns she’s come across and experienced with ways to manage them.

HollyShorts Alumni — After your First Feature – 6 p.m. PST

Top HollyShorts alumni strategize on ways filmmakers who have finished their first feature can rise up to continue on. These panelists will give advice and note what to look out for filmmakers preparing for what’s ahead.

Saturday & Sunday:

In for a weekend treat, there will be three panels on Saturday: The Film Festival Directors Roundtable (Noon PST), COVID Workforce Paradigm Shift presented by Easterseals Disability Film Challenge (3 p.m. PST), and Industry Insights with Top Tips & Takeaways from industry executives (6 p.m. PST).

On Sunday, there will be a Spotlight Conversation with Andrew Carlberg (Noon PST), HollyShorts alum and award-winning Producer and a closing with Tom Ortenberg of Open Roads Films (3 p.m. PST).

Keep an eye out for the award show on Sunday revealing the festival’s award winners.

Tune in for this incredible opportunity for the panelists discussions each day for industry insights, tips and much more!