2016 New York City Drone Film Festival

Randy Scott Slavin is the founder of the New York City Drone Film Festival and he recently announced that submissions have opened up for this year’s event which will be held in New York City in early 2016.

The NYCDFF was the first drone film festival that I ever heard about and it ended up selling out after all the amazing press it got. Last year’s judges included Adam Savage of Discovery Channel’s Mythbusters and Eric Cheng, Director of Aerial Imaging at DJI to name a few. In some fun related news, one of my dronie films ended up becoming an official selection which was an honor (you can see it a the :25 sec mark in the video above).

The drone categories this year range from landscape and narrative to architecture and extreme sports. If you want to submit one of your drone films you can get more information by clicking here. If you would like to check out some of the amazing official selections from last year’s festival then check out this link here.

Be sure to scroll below to hear Randy answer some questions related to this years festival as well as his answer to my question about what he thinks goes into making a great film.


Q & A with Randy Scott Slavin, founder of the New York City Drone Film Festival

What exactly is the NYCDFF and how did it come about?
#NYCDFF is the first film festival exclusively dedicated to drone cinema. It came about when my video “Aerial NYC” went viral. I was looking around for a film festival to submit it to but there were none… So I decided to create one.

Drone technology and the creativity of the community is moving so fast. What makes this year different from last year?
As the aerial cinematography tools get better they enable greater creativity. The NYCDFF is dedicated to furthering the ART of aerial cinematography by showcasing the best drone films in the world and hopefully inspiring others to get out there and push the boundaries. This year will be different by virtue of the fact that this years entrants will have had the luxury of seeing the films and winners from last year. Hopefully this will have raised the bar of aerial cinematography.

What is the most popular drone film genre?
By far it was Landscape and Architecture. These categories are the most common subjects shot by drones. As drones have grown in popularity people are starting to shoot a greater variety of subjects.

In your opinion what goes into making a great film?
A good story will always help. Shorter is most always better. Editing is very important to a drone film… unfortunately many aerial cinematographers focus just on the shooting. Editing is a crucial final step in making a film. There should always be something amazing, special, exciting, unique or new in a film. Making a film is about wowing or moving an audience… what are you doing in your film to do that?

How many films do you anticipate showing this year?
Last year we had 155 submissions from around the world, we showed 35 and gave prizes to 8 films. This year we anticipate more submissions but will most likely only show 30 films. As in my editing comment earlier I need to make sure that the live event doesn’t keep people squirming in their seats for 3 hours.

How can people get involved in this year’s event as a filmmaker and as an attendee?
Get out there, shoot and make an excellent film. Submissions are open until December and I can’t wait to be floored by submissions. Tickets for the live event will go on sale early 2016. We hope that the aerial cinematography community will congregate in NYC for the chance to see the finalists on the big screen and take part in the panels, education and the parties.


For more information on this year’s festival or to submit a film check out the official website here.



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