MONDAY, FEBRUARY 15
A film festival series featuring short television pilots will begin at 8 p.m. Feb. 27 at Oklahoma City University as part of a monthly ongoing contest. The screening is free to the public and will be held in Kerr McGee Auditorium in the Meinders School of Business.
Called flyoverfest, the festival series is open to anyone who has ever thought about how much fun it would be to make a television show, said festival co-organizer Michael Peguero.
“This film festival model allows the public to introduce their idea of a great TV show, and the public gets to decide if it should go on the air,” Peguero said. “Think you have something better than what the networks are giving us? Throw it out there and maybe others will agree.”
"The biggest difference between flyoverfest and most film festivals is that contestants submit the first episode of a series instead of a standalone narrative," said co-founder Brent Cockerham. "Instead of a judge's panel, the audience votes to determine the winners. Instead of prizes, shows compete to keep from getting canceled."
At the first event 10 pilots will be screened, after which the audience will vote for a favorite. The top five shows will be asked to return the next month with a second episode, which will then compete against five new pilots. The contest thus continues indefinitely.
Flyoverfest shares this structure with Channel101, a monthly festival that has been operating in Los Angeles since 2002. Co-founded by comic book artist Rob Schrab and Community and Acceptable.TV producer Dan Harmon, Channel101 has become a proving ground for new comedic talent, Cockerham said.
Breakout acts include “The Lonely Island,” now the creators of SNL Digital Shorts; “Chad Vader,” which became a top-ranking YouTube show; “Yacht Rock,” a musical crossover cult favorite; and most recently “Ikea Heights,” which was featured in the LA Times.
The only other known festival featuring a similar structure is Channel101:NY, Cockerham added. Flyoverfest is hoping to eventually host screenings in Texas and Kansas along with Oklahoma.
“Everyone is welcome to compete, regardless of where they live,” said co-organizer Brandon Stauffer. “We would like to screen as diverse a program as possible, from beautifully crafted professional productions to wacky but well-paced shows dreamed up and shot in an afternoon by filmmaking novices.”
The first pilots are due Feb. 20. There is no entrance fee, and the only requirement is that episodes be less than five minutes in length. Contestants may submit an entry by either posting the show to YouTube of Vimeo and sending a link to email@example.com, or by mailing the show on labeled miniDV tapes to: Brandon Stauffer, Director of Submissions, 1102A N.W. 27th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73106.
The initial Oklahoma City screening is sponsored by the OCU University Center for Interpersonal Studies through Film & Literature in conjunction with the OCU Filmmaker’s Guild.
Learn more about flyoverfest on Facebook, Twitter, or www.flyoverfest.com. For more information, contact Cockerham at (817) 269-2574.