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13th March 2018

The Lift-Off Global Network story

The story behind the ever-growing global independent film network, Lift-Off
The Lift-Off Global Network story

From out-of-work actors with a bedroom-based company, to a network hosting Oscar winners and a unique platform for all budding filmmakers. UK based independent film festival founders James Bradley and Ben Pohlman started the Lift-Off Network from small beginnings in 2011 with the first London Lift-Off Film Festival.

Now in its eighth year, with eleven host cities, the Network has well and truly gone global.

Thousands of indie films have screened at Lift-Off festivals, from LA to Tokyo to Sydney, and plenty of cities in between. With over 35,000 filmmakers in the Lift-Off family, and over 100,000 followers on social media, the growth of this network really has been remarkable.

The Lift-Off ethos is centred around providing a launch-pad for filmmakers’ careers, no matter how much experience they have. The team are dedicated to providing focused feedback to help filmmakers improve, securing distribution deals for Lift-Off screened projects, and connecting filmmakers with each other — after all, collaboration is the key to creativity. From seasoned industry veterans to amateurs with professional dreams — Lift-Off is perfect for everyone who’s passionate about film-making.

There are some truly incredible features submitted to Lift-Off festivals, and the team are passionate about championing them. Securing distribution deals is the natural next step in the film’s journey, and they do their best to help filmmakers achieve that.

‘The Trade’ screened first in London, then went to New York, and on to the Tokyo festival too. The film follows notorious Combat Zone Wrestler Nick Mondo, and Lift-Off saw a gap in the market for a film catering to the huge following of CZW in the wrestling world. As you can see, the film is now available on Amazon Prime.

The Short Film (Live Action) winner at the Oscars this year, ‘The Silent Child’ was first screened at one of the Lift-Off First Time Filmmakers Showcases, which take place regularly throughout the year at their base in the illustrious Pinewood Studios. First time filmmakers Rachel Shenton and Chris Overton’s trajectory from Lift-Off to the Oscars in a year is the perfect example of standards and quality of Lift-Off selected films, as well as the support they offer their filmmakers.

‘The Silent Child’ won Best Acting Ensemble at the Lift-Off Season Awards 2017 and will be screened as part of the programme in the Manchester Lift-Off Film Festival later this month. To view the full programme and buy tickets, click here.

The Community:

The Lift-Off Global Network is now launching a highly anticipated platform for independent filmmakers to creatively collaborate, develop, and work together — The Lift-Off Community. Not only is The Lift-Off Community a place to find work and opportunities with other members, but the platform also presents job openings within established film companies.

Members will also benefit from the online calendar, which ensures they stay up to date with upcoming film events and festivals all around the world. The platform is full of interesting and exciting film related resources such as articles, videos, podcasts, and interviews with established names in the industry.

The platform offers:

– COLLABORATION — Find creatives for your next project. Post job opportunities and connect with other Community members.

– EMPLOYMENT — Search and apply for top jobs in the industry, from internships to management positions.

– CAREER ROAD-MAPPING — Apply for exclusive and tailored workshops or one to ones, helping you build a foundation for a successful career in film.

– SCRIPTS — Browse the database of scripts whose writers are looking to collaborate.

– EVENTS — All the must-have dates for your film calendar, searchable by date or keyword

– EDUCATION — This is a cache of practical resources that have been specially curated. Categories include: Interviews with Industry, Downloads, Recommended Reading, Videos, Podcasts, Feedback, and News — all focused towards helping indie filmmakers develop their skills.

– FORUM — Split into categories to help focus discussion, here you can post and receive replies from fellow members of the Community, as well as get feedback on your work.

– DISCOUNTS — Money off a whole range of filmmaker essentials, from equipment to set catering, thanks to Lift-Off’s many partners who are just as passionate about supporting indie filmmakers.

– FEE WAIVERS — Discounts and waivers to submit to Lift-Off Festivals.

Register for Lift-Off Community membership:


James Bradley Co-Director and Co-Founder of Lift-Off commented:

“The film festival route is nowadays the only real viable option for a filmmaker with a modest production budget to ever get their film onto the big screen and in front of live audiences inside a cinema setting. We feel that this is unfair and limiting to all of the artists associated with a film project.

“So, instead of creating a typical film festival event where a local community comes to enjoy the wonder of indie film, and then afterwards they go home — we took the model a few steps further and created what we call a professional showcase. When filmmakers screen with us they get a consultancy approach to not just their film and its marketing activities but also to that filmmaker’s career.

“We look at the next steps and guide filmmakers through the murky waters right from festival screenings all of the way to distribution and beyond. Our network of filmmakers is like an agency — finding job opportunities, gaining valuable press inches and building a career support network like no other.”

Ben Pohlman Co-Director and Co-Founder of Lift-Off commented:

“Our film festivals are the perfect place to meet up-and-coming filmmakers at various stages of their careers, from new to award-winning talent, as well as other industry professionals. Through the Lift-Of Film Festivals, we aim to build a community of talented filmmakers and film enthusiasts. We’re all people who love compelling storytelling and good cinema.”

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