What You Missed At The First Ever Drone Film Festival

New York City was buzzing this past weekend but it wasn’t the usual suspects of taxis and car horns. It was the inauguration of the first ever Drone Film Festival held at The Directors Guild of America Theater in midtown Manhattan. The event is the first from what analysts expect to be a growing industry since their introduction to the consumer market in early 2012.

The festival founded by director, landscape photographer, and aerial cinematographer Randy Scott Slavin said he had hoped to change the perception of the drones through the event. The drones have come under fire lately with the media and the FAA working with drone producers to make both government and user appeased.

The festival boasted a star-studded list of celebrity and industry judges including Hollywood director Steve Carr (Mall Cop, Next Friday, Daddy Day Care) and co-Mythbuster and avid drone user Adam Savage among others. Filmmakers, photographers and users submitted entries that were no longer than 5 minutes in length and shot using a drone or UAV. A select group of television and film professionals decided the winners in several categories and award the accomplishments in drone use based on specific categories. The categories are: Narrative, Landscape/Travel, Reel, FPV/Proximity/Technical Flying, Architecture, X-Factor, Most epic Dronie, Best In Show and Audience Choice award.

“Superman with a GoPro” took both the Narrative and Best In Show titles home for it’s creative viral video showing Superman in action. The video has received over 16 million views on YouTube and was one of the most shared videos on the web in 2014. The Audience Choice went to “Mexico City International Airport from Above” by Tarsicio Sanudo Suarez. A complete list of winners can be found on the New York City Drone Film Festival’s website.

The festival is the first of its kind but it most certainly will not be the last. While the Secret Service is testing drone disruption efforts after a recent crash on The White House lawn, demand continues to increase for the high-flying vehicles. Hollywood is already buying drones up for use in giant blockbuster films. Turn on the television and you’re bound to see a commercial using a drone for some unique and riveting shots. Retailers are also capitalizing on the market appeal present. Amazon has a home for Dronies on the retail giants’ site offering a Drone Store complete with drones, cameras and accessories all with the tagline, “Fly Responsibly.”

Fan or not the drone market is exploding with increased consumer demand and newer models expected later this year that will inevitably test the limits of what they will be capable of doing. Working with government agencies like the FAA and encouraging users to use drones responsibly are key factors in the continued success of these highly coveted and widely used vehicles. One can only wonder if the drones will be the next frontier and take over the world with the help of Skynet or simply fizzle out in the years to come quicker than Chevy Chase’s talk show?


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