Flying Robots! Drone Film Festival Highlights Maker Spirit

Drones Drones & Vehicles
Flying Robots! Drone Film Festival Highlights Maker Spirit


Have a video masterpiece you’ve made using your drone — or made about your drone? A quick submission to the Flying Robot International Film Festival (FRIFF) might be all that it takes to turn your clip into fame, glory, and prizes.

The event, masterminded by live-video producer/consultant Eddie Codel, is one of the easier film-festival programs to participate with, with its $5 submission fee (which bumps up to $10 after the first deadline on September 15th), and six wide ranging categories that cover almost every base, from “Cinematic” to “I Made That” to “LOL WTF.” The only major constraint is a five-minute maximum video duration.

Eddie Codel
FRIFF creator Eddie Codel

FRIFF is not the first drone film festival — earlier this year the New York City Drone Film Festival garnered huge amounts of attention from national outlets and sponsors, and the Interdrone trade show this week also included a film element itself. But Codel feels the big difference is including films about drones themselves — the DIY category that is perfect for Makers to lead.

“The impetus is not just to celebrate the awesomeness of aerial cinematography, but how they’re being used,” Codel explained to me while sitting poolside at the Rio in Las Vegas during a break from Interdrone. “I’m interested in stories about why the drones are interesting. For instance, the ‘I Made That’ category focuses on people who are making their own drones — modding something existing or otherwise. It’s celebrating these unique designs.”

“That same sentiment fits for the ‘Drones for Good’ Category — highlighting drones used for beneficial purposes, and the people behind them,” he continues. “And ‘Student Drone’ is an interesting category. I’m hoping to see a student put together a narrative, ‘all about this drone.’”

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FRIFF submission: My first day with my drone

Despite its low entry fee, the prizes aren’t too shabby. 3D Robotics is supplying a couple Solo drone kits; Parrot has offered a Bebop with Sky Controller; Aerial Sports League is providing an air frame, and more. The total of all the prizes is valued at $10,000, and the winner of each category (plus the “Best Of Show” selection) will take something home.

Codel is no stranger to aerial video himself. He ran the live stream from the 2015 Drone Racing National Championships, and has produced a variety of notable flying videos both personally and professionally, including a great clip from Burning Man in 2013 that may have set off the stringent rules now in place for flying at that event — after watching it, you’ll want to go to Burning Man with a drone and get your own footage too.

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FRIFF submission: Art of Shades

FRIFF launched on July 15th, and has two major deadlines coming up — first submission deadline is September 15th, and then final-final deadline is October 15th. Judging happens shortly after that (the diverse selection of judges includes Bre Pettis, Veronica Belmont, and, full disclosure, myself, among others), the winners are notified around November 1st, and the festival itself occurs on November 19th at the Roxy Theater in San Francisco. Codel has received interest in taking the submissions on the road after the event, as well.

At the end, Codel’s idea is to open the arena of aerial video to everyone, the same way he was motivated to get involved in aerial videography. “I was inspired by the proliferation of aerial videos. I got into flying drones a few years ago after watching a friend of mine shoot an epic video. I bought a Phantom shortly after.”

2 thoughts on “Flying Robots! Drone Film Festival Highlights Maker Spirit

  1. DavidJaySylviann says:

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  2. Nicoledhall says:

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Mike Senese is the Executive Editor of Make: magazine. He is also a TV host, starring in various engineering and science shows for Discovery Channel, including Punkin Chunkin, How Stuff Works, and Catch It Keep It.

An avid maker, Mike spends his spare time tinkering with electronics, doing amateur woodworking, and attempting to cook the perfect pizza.

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