Las Vegas Lift-Off Film Festival Showcases Emerging Filmmakers

Las Vegas plays host to the latest in the series of international Lift-Off film festivals, which aim to act as a springboard for grassroots filmmaking talent. The event aims to create both a level playing field and a supportive network for the promotion of new work.

The ethos of the festival is that the selection process is focused on “great delivery of an honest story”, regardless of budget, commercial concerns or technical gloss. Student films have as much of a shot at making the selection as independent or professional movies. With more than 700 entrants from around the world, the Las Vegas leg of Lift-Off promises an array of films from animations to live action narrative to documentaries, with the festival’s winners selected by the audience.

The Lift-Off initiative, which has seen festivals take place in LA, Amsterdam, London and Tokyo, is also dedicated to the idea of giving emerging filmmakers value for their submission fee, by in return offering them access to support and advice on marketing, crowdfunding and artistic development as well as opportunities for networking and critical feedback. The creation of a community and network of creatives is their long-term goal, and they also aim to become a distribution platform, with winners having the option to place their work on an on-demand service.

Among the movies showing this week at Lift-Off are An Opening to Closure by Angelo Agojo from the Philippines, in which an unexpected dinner meeting opens up past wounds for an ex-couple – at the most inconvenient of times – and Him Upstairs by Zoe Guilford from the UK, whose character-led film is a window into the colourful world of Liverpool fortune-teller Margaret Conroy and her husband, Frank.

The fluidity of gender and the inadequacy of labels for sexual orientation is the theme of Moon People by Alexandra Grace from the US, while in LOW/FI by Alejandro Montoya, protagonist Lea is disillusioned with the pop culture that has defined her life up until the age of 30, as the way love is represented in music and movies has entirely failed to help her find the man of her dreams.

As the technology of filmmaking becomes ever more accessible, it becomes ever harder for talent to get noticed. Lift-Off aim to help filmmakers get a foothold in the industry through their approach to programming and the support they offer to all who participate. The winners will be announced on June 27.

Las Vegas Lift-Off; Palms Casino Resort, 4321 West Flamingo Road, Las Vegas; 24-26 June, winners night 27 June. For more informations visit

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1. Courtesy of Lift-Off Film Festival.