View Full Version : Los Angeles Art House Film Festival Is A Scam!


Weather_Girl
06-10-2011, 12:09 AM
Hi Guys,

I really, really want to warn everyone about this festival. I know a few members have posted about it on here mentioning they entered through Withoutabox.

Please help me get them removed from WAB as they have still got them listed and are still allowing filmmakers to get ripped off even though I have warned them of the scammers.

The entry fee is between $34-55 USD. I unfortunately paid $55 and am demanding a refund from WAB as they have a responsibility to filmmakers to research these festivals before allowing them to post on their site.

http://laartfilmfest.com/Home.html

If your outraged like I am that we have to put up with this kind of BS when we are struggling enough to make our films them write to Withoutbox support and demand they remove this festival and refund all filmmakers.

Thanks
Alice

indietalk
06-10-2011, 12:21 AM
So what was the scam?

Zensteve
06-10-2011, 12:29 AM
Awards list reads like that NYIIFF thing, where everyone is a "winner". That's my guess, anyway.

That particular theater the festival shows at is only a couple of miles from my house, btw. Pretty sure we've held auditions there, at some point. Small & cheap rental space.

But yeah... need more details from OP. :)

Flicker Pictures
06-10-2011, 12:29 AM
Yeah, what's it all about? I submitted a music video for $35 a few months ago. I wouldn't be surprised if it was a scam. It happens. That's the gamble we take I suppose.

I'll send them an email and take it from there.

Weather_Girl
06-10-2011, 01:34 AM
So what was the scam?

The Scam is they are not a real festival. Taking entry fees but never actually having a festival.

Weather_Girl
06-10-2011, 01:45 AM
Besides the many reasons I already know they are a scamfest, the fact that the name of the director which is listed on withoutabox doesn't exist is a huge red flag.

Loren Broadbent is listed as director, when I did an online search for that name the only thing that comes up is the withoutabox listing. A director of a festival would have something online, a post, a blog, a film, something with their name attached to it.

They are saying they will hand out 100 awards at Two Roads Theatre, how is that possible in a theatre the size of my bedroom? It is also a play house not a cinema so there is no screen and only around 30 seats.

The website has no contact name, number or address. The only way to send them the money is through withoutabox. Thats the best way to cover their tracks as withoutabox wont do anything about it.

Zensteve
06-10-2011, 01:45 AM
The Scam is they are not a real festival. Taking entry fees but never actually having a festival.

After July 23rd, you can claim they've never put on a festival... if that's the case.

I can almost guarantee there'll be something playing there, on that date though. Whether or not it rises to your definition of a legit festival is another matter entirely.

You wanna go see it on July 23rd? You're local, apparently. :cool:

Weather_Girl
06-10-2011, 02:47 AM
I am on here to try and make other filmmakers aware of this so they don't waste their money. I could be editing my script right now but I am going to every filmmaker site to try and warn people. I did just sign up today, I don't get why anyone would try and argue with me or make it out like I am up to something... I am not the bad guy I am a filmmaker like everyone else on here trying to get by.

With all the overwhelming circumstantial evidence leading to the festival being a fake, why would anyone wait to find out? If you wait then they will get every entry fee up until the last minute. This is how these guys get away with it and continue to do it. Filmmakers shrug their shoulders and say oh well we have to put up with it. Actually we don't have to and people should be more pissed off than they are.

I will get my money back because I got WAB insurance but for the filmmakers who didn't they will lose out.

If someone claims that they are a festival organized by industry professionals and does not have any industry professionals actually associated with the festival thats a lie and a scam.

If they claim to be putting on a the festival at a location but no one there knows anything about it, thats a scam.

There is no question they are a scam fest no matter what happens on the day, the festival has made claims that are not possible to deliver.

Cracker Funk
06-10-2011, 03:05 AM
One of my favorite scenes from a supremely underrated movie:

hAuSTQUa3tM

Flicker Pictures
06-10-2011, 10:51 AM
:) Fuggedaboutit, CF!

I consider these festivals like playing the lottery. It's a gamble. Even when you don't get accepted your money is good as gone.

I spent $120 ($60 twice) thinking my script would get into the Austin Film Festival. No such luck. Legitimate festival, money still gone. And they had the nerve to send out the same rejection "form" letter each year. Bastards.

Flicker Pictures
06-10-2011, 11:47 AM
I posted on Twitter (maybe others will chime in?) and sent WAB an inquiring email.

Uranium City
06-10-2011, 11:49 AM
I don't get why anyone would try and argue with me or make it out like I am up to something... I am not the bad guy I am a filmmaker like everyone else on here trying to get by.

No one is attacking you; we're just curious about why you think this festival is a scam.

Thank you for the information.

directorik
06-10-2011, 12:30 PM
I did just sign up today, I don't get why anyone would try and argue with me or make it out like I am up to something... I am not the bad guy I am a filmmaker like everyone else on here trying to get by.

Welcome Weather_Girl.

Please understand that no one is arguing with you or
trying to make you out as the bad guy. Your very first
post had no information at all. You asked fellow filmmakers
to join you in a battle we knew nothing about. So you
were asked questions.

We all want to draw attention to scam festivals. All of us.
Most of us are willing to help a fellow filmmaker get a fest
removed from WAB that is scamming us. But we also need
to know what the problems are.

That's fair, isn't it?

As the old saying goes; "Just the facts, ma'am." Tell us the
why and you will find support in this group.

Flicker Pictures
06-10-2011, 02:11 PM
I just got a reply via email from the festival:

Hello Jeff,

Thank you for bringing this to our attention, We are not sure where this is coming from. This is absolutely not true. We will be holding screenings as stated on our website next month. We are currently in the judging process for our first season festival. Again thank you for making us aware of this matter.

Best,
Staff @
The Los Angeles Art-House Film Festival
12400 Ventura Blvd. #226
Studio City, CA. 91604

So there ya go.

Weather_Girl
06-11-2011, 03:34 AM
The email is has no name at all... does no one else find that unusual? They also have not provided one single way of getting in direct contact with a person by phone, email or address. The only contact is through info@ email address.

If your festival is legitimate wouldn't you want your name associated with the event? I have never been in contact with any film festival that has excluded their name or the name of their staff in correspondence.

The address they have provided is a mail box. Is this not further evidence that they are not working from any real location and are willing to give that information out?

This is what I know so far:

When I search the name of the festival director Loren Broadbent online, nothing comes up. No information about this person or anything they have done in regards to the film industry or anything else for that matter. The website claims a group of industry professionals are running the event. They are misrepresenting themselves.

They are charging up to $100 in submission fees. Even established film festivals do not charge this amount. $100 for a festival being supposedly held for one day at a performance theatre in Studio City is pretty steep especially considering the space is very small, how many people will be able to attend this 'event' to make the submission fee worth it.

The website shows images of films and awards that are not associated with the festival. Pulp Fiction, The Godfather. The Oscars. Industry professionals would not need to try and legitimize themselves by using such a lame tactic.

Where is the information online about the festival? No blog posts, no magazine articles. They have not promoted the festival at all and it is a month away.

The only information they have given the filmmakers are that they are a group of industry professionals with no phone number, no direct email and are working from a post box.

What else can I provide besides a statement from them that they are scammers that would convince others.

I am still investigating this and I would love support from my fellow filmmakers.

Cracker Funk
06-11-2011, 04:03 AM
I feel like my post has been looked over (except for you, Flicker, wassup!).

My older brother once bought a Sobakawa Pillow. The infomercial looked really convincing, like it would save his back and help him sleep better, or something.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/AS-Seen-on-TV-Sobakawa-Micro-Bead-Cloud-Pillow/14291327

It's a fucking bean bag.

That's my brothers' fault. He has nobody to blame but himself, for making such a poor purchasing decision.

Weather Girl, I agree with you. This festival looks shady as shit. So why did you send them your money?

On a side-note, may I interest you in a lovely slightly-used Sobakawa Pillow? :)

I'm not making fun of you. I'm just trying to have fun with ya. It's my opinion that you are correct, in your suspicion, but you nevertheless should lighten-up. So you sent them some money. You're not getting what you thought was advertised for that money. But they are still going to hold some kind of "festival", and that will mean that they've legally followed-through on their promise, so you'll have no recourse in asking for a refund.

Sometimes it is therapeutic to simply vent your frustrations, and you've done that. It is also healthy to just let it go.

And there's your armchair psychology for the day. Now, take a look in the mirror, and repeat after me,

"I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggonit, people like me!"

:)

Weather_Girl
06-11-2011, 04:30 AM
Hi. I didn't ignore it. I actually watched it and had a good laugh.

I completely get what your saying. Trust me, I am not the type of person who makes a big deal about nothing. I am however really passionate about this. I will get a refund as I mentioned because I bought WAB insurance but other filmmakers wont. So why do I care...

I think its the wrong attitude to have that we should just allow this to happen and move on. If you were a scammer and read this post you would think, how perfect is this, their all going to roll over and die while I fly off to Mexico screaming SUCKERS! So then the scammers think no one will ever stop them or step up and demand accountability. WAB needs to show accountability too.

I get that no one on here really cares, I understand why and will stop trying to make people. I will not stop trying to expose this for what it is and I just thought it would be nice to have fellow filmmakers marching next to me. No such luck.

I maybe came across as overly impassioned about something without explaining myself. Next post I write (in a different forum) will start with a thorough explanation of the matter ha ha.

You guys have taught me something... there ya go I am happy again.

Good luck with all your filmmaking adventures!

Weather_Girl
06-11-2011, 04:45 AM
CRACKER FUNK...

Sorry, I didn't answer your question about why I entered.

I naively believed Withoutabox would screen the festivals as they seem like a very professional site that is run for the benefit of filmmakers. I did not look at the film festivals website only the WAB listing. Very foolish of me indeed.

I know realize that WAB must charge a fee for festivals to register and that is the only contact they have with them. If there is a screening process it must not be working as this festival was allowed to slip through.

directorik
06-11-2011, 11:24 AM
Trust me, I am not the type of person who makes a big deal about nothing.
I hope you understand that based on your first post to this
community we couldn't just jump in and trust you. Your
subsequent posts have been excellent. On all message boards
people post in anger about some festival or filmmaker. More
often than not it's a "drive by" post so it's understandable that
the board regulars would be cautious and have questions before
joining in.

I get that no one on here really cares, I understand why and will stop trying to make people.
I'm sorry this is the impression you have gotten. We all care.
Every one of us who has posted on this thread cares. Flicker
posted about this on Twitter and sent an email, I did some on
line research and even called the theater. We care.

I agree with you that this "festival" seems sketchy and from
reading the replies from Cracker, Flicker and Uranium I get the
impression all four of us not only care, but agree with you. I
hope you re-read the posts and change your opinion that no one
here cares. We care.


I naively believed Withoutabox would screen the festivals as they seem like a very professional site that is run for the benefit of filmmakers. I did not look at the film festivals website only the WAB listing. Very foolish of me indeed.
Not foolish at all. It happens to all of us. Lesson learned. As the
saying goes, "Caveat emptor". I bet you never send your money
to anyone ever again without doing a little research. And that's a
good thing in the long run.

I hope you get your money back.

Flicker Pictures
06-11-2011, 11:30 AM
Madeline / Weather_Girl,
I replied to your email and Cd'ed the festival on this matter. Thanks for your concern and let's hope for the best!
Regards,
Jeff

Weather_Girl
06-11-2011, 12:14 PM
Madeline / Weather_Girl,
I replied to your email and Cd'ed the festival on this matter. Thanks for your concern and let's hope for the best!
Regards,
Jeff

Thanks Jeff as you mentioned in your email you do not want me to contact you so I am surprised that you responded on here again.

You cc'd the festival your response to me? Sorry can you tell me what you mean, I don't understand.

Weather_Girl
06-11-2011, 12:18 PM
I do, I must have come across as a troll and I realize it was my mistake for not giving enough details.

I am happy to say I have had over six filmmakers contact me from WAB with concerns about this festival and they all are demanding some answers as well. Hopefully it turns out to be an amazing festival that exposes new talent and we all live happily ever after.

Thanks for responding to my post. I will update if anyone is still interested.


I hope you understand that based on your first post to this
community we couldn't just jump in and trust you. Your
subsequent posts have been excellent. On all message boards
people post in anger about some festival or filmmaker. More
often than not it's a "drive by" post so it's understandable that
the board regulars would be cautious and have questions before
joining in.


I'm sorry this is the impression you have gotten. We all care.
Every one of us who has posted on this thread cares. Flicker
posted about this on Twitter and sent an email, I did some on
line research and even called the theater. We care.

I agree with you that this "festival" seems sketchy and from
reading the replies from Cracker, Flicker and Uranium I get the
impression all four of us not only care, but agree with you. I
hope you re-read the posts and change your opinion that no one
here cares. We care.


Not foolish at all. It happens to all of us. Lesson learned. As the
saying goes, "Caveat emptor". I bet you never send your money
to anyone ever again without doing a little research. And that's a
good thing in the long run.

I hope you get your money back.

NickClapper
06-11-2011, 12:22 PM
Speaking subjectively: this festival doesn't seem nearly as scamlike as some others that have been exposed in the past. You might very well be right about it, but I think it is unfair to judge it to so harshly when they are stillmin the collecting entries phase.

Sure, the theatre where they're going to be shown might be small but these festivals make very little money and cinema rental in LA is bound to be expensive. If, after the date of the festival, there're still no word then your concerns are, of course, legitimate. But other than that I think it's up to each filmmaker and WAB user to decide which festivals are right for their submission, and which ones won't give them the exposure that they think their $50 merits.

Flicker Pictures
06-11-2011, 12:23 PM
Hey Madeline, your concerns are with the festival, not with me, so please keep fighting and doing what you need to do. I'm all for it, I just don't need to be directly involved.

I have submitted to dozens of festivals over the years and, sadly, not all of them are legit, but most are. That's how it goes. Caveat emptor indeed.

Keep us all posted here!

Best,

Jeff

Flicker Pictures
06-11-2011, 12:46 PM
* also, I have contacted the festival to invite them into this discussion/debate. Whether they decide to join in is completely out of my hands.

Zensteve
06-11-2011, 02:11 PM
Heh, hilarious clip, Funk-Meister :lol:

Back to OP...

I'm not saying suck it up and move on. Noone else is, either.

I would not use the size of the theater to judge a festival's "worthiness", though.

I'd definitely use the information they provide, however. The information from both WAB & their own website tells us absolutely nothing, aside from how to send them money.

For my own curiosity, why did you decide to enter this particular festival? Actually, Flicker, too?

Another q: let's assume it's one of those "everyone's a winner!" festivals, and the film gets a token "award". Would you use that award to further promote your film? Using the leaf-logo & fest-name, etc even though it's worthless... or is it?

I'm not implying anything with these q's. I just always have why on my mind.

cmefilms
06-14-2011, 11:27 AM
We are making a expose documentary on scam festivals.

If anyone has evidence on this festival please send it to info@cmefilms.co.uk. We have written to the festival and have not heard back from them yet

Tyrone

Zensteve
07-03-2011, 09:30 PM
Did Weather_Girl happen to mention the name of his/her film anywhere?

Results are in, and I wanna know if I get to see his/her film at the theater.

directorik
07-04-2011, 02:59 AM
I've got the date on my calendar - I'm going.

Jamster
07-04-2011, 05:19 PM
Good un' Rik...

just have a 'plan b' in case ;-0

Jim.

Nate North
07-04-2011, 05:56 PM
One of my favorite scenes from a supremely underrated movie:


How is Bronx Tale underrated? I thought everyone loved this classic piece of cinematic perfection?

(not sarcastic)

About the film festival.

It can be tough to tell the difference between a scammer, and something just starting up.

By some of your criteria, I probably would look like a scammer, but I'm an honest and reliable business person

The rough news about all festivals is that they are pre-selling 10,000 boxes of hope per year and there are only 20 actual boxes out there.

directorik
07-04-2011, 09:42 PM
Good un' Rik...

just have a 'plan b' in case

Not sure what you mean, Jim. I don't really need a "plan B".
I'll go, pay my admission and watch some movies.

Weather_Girl
07-21-2011, 02:32 AM
I wanted to update everyone who is interested on the current situation of The Los Angeles Art House Film Festival and wrap this up in a pretty little bow.

First off, it looks like the film festival will go ahead on the dates and the theatre mentioned on their website. I am writing this post because I want to just point out some facts and figures those who wish to take the facts and make the sensible judgement can and for everyone else who still think this is worth while... well... lucky I have a brick wall in my apartment to bang my head against.

Jake Smollett is a 22 year old actor with his last credits from 2009 on IMdB, on a short film. He appears to be running it and/or is the registered owner of the domain name and also finally replied to my email directly after I requested a direct name after receiving emails signed off by 'Staff Member'.

The website claims to be giving out over 100 prizes. This means that there had to be more than 100 entries. I will make a guess and yes this is only a guess that they would have received maybe 200. The entry fees were between $35-$100 USD. So lets just take the $55 as an average fee and do some math, 200 x 55 = $11 000. Very nice. Now none of the prizes are cash prizes, well at least the website does not state this so thats a nice tidy profit there. Thats if there were only 200 entries it could be more.

The festival is selling tickets at $12 USD. Okay, so the theatre has 58 seats, there is still no marketing online anywhere that the festival has done. Except they have got a event listing with a payment option attached to the side, this is not a promotion for the festival just a ticket purchase page. With no promo I am guessing at a 58 seat cinema with over 30 films screening over 2 days the only people who will be attending are friends and family of the filmmakers and the filmmakers themselves. So the filmmakers friends and family will pay $12 each to attend. Lets do some more maths.... lets say the cinema is half full and sells 29 seats so 12 x 29 is $348 per film. There are 30 films showing $10,400 profit. Very nice.

I understand that these are all estimates. I am not claiming to know the real figures, these are just to give an idea of what the festival could be making of this two day event.

So Jake Smollett a 22 year old actor and the festival director who no one can get in touch with and has no info online, has possibly made over $20 000 USD. Without forking out any money for advertising just the cost to rent a domain name and open some envelopes. I am in the wrong job.

This isn't illegal and I am not saying it is. What I have a problem with is the misrepresentation of the festival and the fact that they are really just people who are working in the industry here and there as sometimes employed writers and actors and yet claiming to be industry professionals alluding to some high up status in the industry.

The festivals address is a post office box in Burbank yet they use it to sign off their 'Staff' emails.

The emails were signed off without names in all my contact until it became clear to them I was the one questioning their legitimacy.

The number I was given to contact them on did not work, however I was calling from overseas and they made not have had the ability to receive overseas phone calls so this is not confirmed.

They have not done any promotion but are charging huge fees.

The festival director does not seems to exist in the film world unless they have changed their name or are using a different name for this event, which is very unusual.

The theatre the festival will screen at has 58 seats but 30 films will be playing in two days... its going to have to be a tightly run ship.

The festival used The Oscars statue on their website and posters of Pulp Fiction and Scarface... films that have nothing to do with the festival.


Other facts worth mentioning, I did get a refund and Jim a member of this site who forwarded my emails that I wrote to him to the festival or Cc'd the festival or something along those lines has had his music video accepted. Congratulations Jim.

So there the details. Those who are attending enjoy the films and popcorn.

Peace and Love.

Murdock
07-21-2011, 02:37 AM
Sooooo, I guess you guys better get ready for the Murdock International Film Festival next year. :)

directorik
07-21-2011, 03:03 AM
Thanks for the update.

I really admire anyone who can put together a festival. Itís a lot
of hard work and takes time, dedication and a little money. You
called this festival a scam - it doesnít appear to be a scam. You
even got your entry fee back. In my book that means they are a
legit group. Or if itís being run by one, 22 year old aspiring
actor, then he is an upstanding guy.

Frankly, you coming back to to let us know the outcome was a very
good thing, too. I admire that.

Iím going to go Sunday to support this festival being run by a 22
year old actor with only one credit to his name. Heís getting $22
from me.

BTW - tickets are $11 and not being sold per movie but per
ďblockĒ. Looks like heís got a feature and some shorts in each of
the 7 blocks. If he totally sells out all 7 blocks thatís about
$4,400. If he sells half (more likely) thatís $2,200. I hope he
made some money on entry fees because thatís not enough to cover
the theater rental and staff for the weekend.

Zensteve
07-24-2011, 01:57 AM
Got to see Blocks 3 & 4 on Saturday, with Mr FlickerPictures. :cool:

Was expecting to see at least some super-dodgy entries, but all were top-notch films & music vids. Sure, a few had their structural faults, but that was just good material to debate the rest of the night.

Won't be able to make it on Sunday, but I'm dyin' to see the short called The Clone and the Tree of Life. Anything involving mad scientists cloning Hitler in an attempt for world domination sounds just too good to miss. :lol:

Small event, yah. Theater about 1/2 full, with about 50% of that being cast/crew of the feature in the block. Just my estimate.

The hostess doing the Q&A was pretty good, too. Always had a few q's up her sleeve when the audience wasn't piping up.

Could have used a better quality projector, but it was good enough for the small theater.

Btw, FlickerPictures' music video of the band Grey Mouse was pretty trippy. Held off on watching it online, to see it on the big screen. Good job, sir! http://zenweasel.com/images/smilies/smiley_tiphat.gif

indietalk
07-24-2011, 02:03 AM
Sounds like a success. Good for them. It's hard to run a fest, especially when you have people calling it a scam when it apparently is just the opposite, a true indie fest.

Zensteve
07-24-2011, 02:38 AM
Oh, for anyone going on Sunday - Block 1 looks to be the weakest choice. A single 3-hour screening of the latest Zeitgeist offering, which is fine & dandy if you rely Alex Jones or Coast To Coast AM as your sole news sources, I 'spose. :lol:

No shorts in that block, either. Try block 2 or 3 for best value.

http://bit.ly/n0M5CW

Sounds like a success. Good for them. It's hard to run a fest

Yup, but still... they really did do a poor job of presenting their online image. 90% of their credibility issues could have been resolved by hiring a web-monkey for $200 to design the few pages on their website.

At any rate, it was great to see a whole slew of films that you just don't get to exposed to anywhere else. :cool:

Zensteve
07-24-2011, 02:54 AM
Sooooo, I guess you guys better get ready for the Murdock International Film Festival next year. :)

Name it the Murdock International & Local Film Festival, and you'd get quite a crowd.

After all, who wouldn't want to attend something known as the MILF Fest? ;)

CamVader
07-24-2011, 03:08 AM
Name it the Murdock International & Local Film Festival, and you'd get quite a crowd.

After all, who wouldn't want to attend something known as the MILF Fest? ;)

The T-shirts alone would bring in thousands. "MILF Fest 2012 - OB-SCENE."

Flicker Pictures
07-24-2011, 01:23 PM
It was a good time, Steve. Always a reminder that seeing indie films in a theater setting is really what it's all about while the home viewing experience is it's own beast, but each have their own advantages. The theater was very cramped and the seats were way uncomfortable.

I agree about the webmaster and website gripe. Just someone maintaining a blog would have been useful.

It happened, people were there, mostly other filmmakers, cast and crew, but it happened, despite the poster here who claimed it was a fraud. Good group of people, good films, lots of fun. They even had one of those backdrops for photos which I thought was funny and a bit much, but it will be a riot to see the pics on their site.

And then we went back to Steve's and watched another independent film that made us cry with tears of laughter. :lol::(

Thanks again for the delicious dinner spread, Zen!

directorik
07-26-2011, 08:34 PM
So I managed to get into block three Sunday night. Missed block two
because of work ("Zombies & Assholes" !!!!). My girl came with me
and they quickly allowed me to use the ticket I bought in advance for
Block 2 for Block 3 - nice of them.

Nothing really caught my attention but all films were worth seeing.
Very few people - so I suspect they did not make as much money as
Weather_Girl figured. We talked with a woman after the screening
about the difficulties of putting together a film festival. She indicated
they lost a lot of money and we spoke about the poor website.

So this was in no way a "scam". They did what they said there were
going to do. I admire them for their first attempt. I hope they do
another one.

Zensteve
01-29-2012, 05:05 AM
I admire them for their first attempt. I hope they do
another one.

They just did. Was at it. :cool:

Their website still looks like ass, though.

Saw the block with Strange Fruit music video (great animation), and Underbelly Blues - a hilarious crime-comedy. Oh, and the dude who wrote a screenplay called Rated R, that's currently being shot, talked about it.

Block #1 was leaving as I arrived... looked like a lot of peeps. Block #2 was jam-packed; standing room only left. Probably mostly cast & producers of Underbelly, but still... a much larger draw than last time.

The playbill refers to the event as the second season for the film fest... it's definitely not an annual event, since it's only been 6 months since the last one. Maybe that effects the prestige of the fest... maybe not. At any rate, I got to see some quality flicks that you're not going to catch at the local AMC and that counts for more. :tongue: