First annual Pocket Film Fest launches in Provo

Provo community members watch the winning mobile made films at the 2014 Pocket Film Fest's closing ceremony Oct. 18. The Pocket Film Festival only allowed entries made entirely on phones. (Sierra Baker)
Provo community members watch the winning mobile-made films at the 2014 Pocket Film Fest’s closing ceremony Oct. 18. The Pocket Film Fest only allowed entries made entirely on phones. (Sierra Baker)

Provo debuted an unusual film festival featuring 37 movies with one thing in common: they were all filmed on mobile devices.

The Pocket Film Fest proves anyone can be a filmmaker. With the requirement that all entries to be shot on devices such as smartphones or tablets, people who entered the festival were forced to rely on their creative vision rather than the latest equipment or a professional studio.

“What makes a great film is not a great camera,” said Austin Craig, cofounder of the Pocket Film Fest. “What you really need to make great media is your own dedication and a little resourcefulness.”

Hundreds of films were sent to the creators of the Pocket Film Fest Oct. 18 in Downtown Provo. Most of these were from Utah, but they also received submissions from Japan, Iran and other countries. The 37 films screened at the festival ranged from short, humorous clips to more lengthy, serious documentaries.

“I’m blown away by the talent, especially considering this is the first year,” said Mary Webb, a Provo resident who attended the festival. “I was drawn into every film.”

The Pocket Film Fest gave away more than $15,000 in gear and cash to creators of the winning films.

Rob Connolly, a guitarist for Fictionist, won the grand jury prize for “Not Over You,” his band’s new music video that was filmed entirely on mobile devices.

“Phones are perfect for capturing spontaneity,” Connolly said. “That’s what I was going for in the video.”

Connolly enjoyed how the Pocket Film Fest levels the playing field for people with different degrees of film experience.

“I’m not technically a filmmaker,” Connolly said. “This kind of thing is perfect for musicians and creatives because you don’t have to buy expensive gear. You can just make videos for fun.”

Austin Craig, Conrad Nebecker and Joe Wilson are the minds behind the Pocket Film Fest. The three friends are Provo residents with backgrounds in film, art and technology. They plan to make the festival an annual event.

Craig hopes that as the event garners popularity, it will bring people to Provo from around the country within a few years.

“Provo has so much going on,” Craig said. “What I want to do is establish an event in this town that is an anchor for the creative community.”

Rob Connolly and many others involved in the festival plan to submit films at next year’s festival.

“This event is a blast,” said Jordan Petersen, whose film won a prize for his use of the FxGuru app. “I really feel like this could be a big deal in the future.”

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