Welcome to a new hub dedicated to the growth, preservation of talent, and expansion of the success of our world's most determined alumni.
Being a filmmaker has become frustrating, now more than ever. Before the pandemic, breaking into this industry, which is used to playing it safe, was already complex, but today it has become something diabolical.
The FilmFreeway platform has allowed over 5,000 film festivals born during the pandemic to be listed on their website, increasing the number from 7,000 festivals in 2019 to over 12,300 in just three years...and the numbers continue to grow.
In addition, more than two million filmmakers are registered on their platform, and if we consider the other platforms and the millions of content creators on platforms such as YouTube, all looking for the same thing, you will realize that it has never been as difficult as now to stand out from the crowd.
Especially if the filmmaker himself unconsciously condemns himself to failure, entrusting his personal and work happiness to external conditions, and being blocked by his own strong limiting beliefs that, in fact, end up making you lose confidence in your ability to become a successful person.
I know this well, because they were the same mistakes I made when I started my festival circuit journey more than five years ago. And I see them unconsciously repeating themselves in hundreds of you every day, and I cannot help but tell you that this attitude only keeps you stepping on the accelerator to crash into a wall.
I am Sergio Barbasso, an award-winning producer and social entrepreneur, a Television Academy® (Emmys®) and Annie Awards® voting member, who has worked tirelessly for the last four years to make a difference in the careers of thousands of artists worldwide through the creation and Direction of the Vegas Movie Awards™, a member of the prestigious Film Festival Alliance.
And now, after four years of study, analysis, sacrifice, attempts, errors, and above all, listening to the thousands of filmmakers who have trusted the Vegas Movie Awards™, it is time to inaugurate together with my entrepreneurial partners this new gym for the complete fulfillment of you filmmakers, called Vegas Movie Academy™.
Why a platform like this NOW?
Honestly answer these questions:
How long have you been frustrated with wasting money on film festivals and not making any progress?
Or the frustration of going against everyone to see your projects come to life, only to realize that no one really cares about what you were able to do?
Or even worse, having to give up a career doing what you love the most, or having to do it as a hobby in your free time because it doesn't pay the bills?
These are questions I asked myself for years, but instead of finding answers, I only felt frustration and pessimism. It was only when I changed my perspective and went from being ‘judged’ to ‘judging’ that I saw that by constantly blaming film festivals for their lack of ethics or ‘the industry’ for being so cynical, I wasn't seeing the major mistakes I was making by taking things for granted that decision-makers did not consider as such.
I'm honest: I hoped for a long time that a platform like this would never be necessary.
I hoped that the pandemic would shake things up a bit in favor of indie filmmakers, or that someone else would take the trouble to tell you clearly how things are, finally speaking on your behalf; because with all the work already to do with VMA, my film productions, my volunteer activities, and a family to take care of, I already had enough work to do.
But in our creative field, there is an unsustainable situation that no one seems to want to address. In my opinion, the stupid logic behind the decisions made in this industry is that with more and more filmmakers around, if you don't give them quality products, someone else will.
And while on one hand I completely understand the law of numbers, on the other hand, I won't tolerate artists who can create the impossible being treated like just numbers.
During the pandemic, my tireless VMA Team and I have become used to hosting thousands of filmmakers every year, eager for shelter, protection, and respect. Artists from all over the world who were demotivated and insecure about their future, who didn't know what to do with their work in an industry that was completely closed, and if they would ever be able to create new ones.
What those in this industry don't seem to care about is that without filmmakers, indie cinema couldn't exist. If you get tired (and you're doing it en masse) of creating quality products because even the worst projects win and no one encourages you to continue pursuing excellence, INDIE CINEMA IS DONE.
They’re so focused on numbers that they’re failing to realize a now emergent situation, with the average quality of productions constantly decreasing, which will explode when it's too late.
As far as I'm concerned, I've decided to take action because I'm tired of working in an increasingly inhumane environment, where a paying and domesticated filmmaker is always better than an aware and happy artist.
My Personal Promise to You
For those who don't know me yet, I am a simple underdog who is not afraid to put my face out there and take bold actions to change the world.
I have been a graphic designer and entrepreneur for over 25 years, a filmmaker for over 12, and a Festival Director for 4+. In my first 40 years, I explored everything related to art, without setting limits. Simply, like many of you, I can't breathe without creativity.
And although my work and personal life are always in progress, because you never stop learning and improving, I have a clear idea of the legacy I want to leave for art and cinematography, which have saved my life more than once
Anyone who has already been to the Vegas Movie Awards™ knows that our motto has always been only one: "To make indie cinema a better place for filmmakers." And it's not just an attention-grabbing phrase: it's the mission we have tattooed on our hearts, our North Star in every single decision we make.
As a filmmaker, I have experienced firsthand the abuses we artists must endure in order to get some visibility; with our frantic search for a little consideration from the world and recognition of our talent, but unfortunately without any training, relying on websites that claim to be there for our success.
And when I found myself on the side of the decision-maker, as Festival Director and part of the Judging Committee of my Film Festival, I had the opportunity to notice things about film festivals and filmmakers that filmmakers themselves usually miss, but that determine the long-term:
Dissatisfaction in your careers
Frustration over wasted money and time
The annoying feeling of failure
In recent years, I have spent thousands of dollars on marketing and personal growth courses, and both for me and for my professors and mentors (who have spent considerably more than me...), the only courses that have worked are those where the teachers had actually experienced the things they teach. And that have a bigger mission than themselves and their desire to accumulate money by selling you premium courses.
The professionals you will see on this educational hub are all people who have mastered the art of filmmaking through trial and error. If they teach you a method, it's because it worked for them first.
We are not here to sell commodities, we are here to transform your careers and your lives and pass on the awareness that you won't find anywhere else; the awareness that I and hundreds of my peers I have known over the years would have liked to find BEFORE facing our careers almost completely randomly.
A foundation to give more meaning to your talents
The Vegas Movie Awards™ has been reinvesting its earnings in new opportunities for filmmakers since day one. Now it was time for us to close the circle and create a Foundation that could give back to artists and underprivileged kids who can find purpose in life through art.
Fromtheart™ is a Foundation that inspires artists and kids in need to pursue their passions through art. All profits from website sales and your generous donations will be returned to filmmakers in the form of educational materials and opportunities to make their work meaningful.
My partners and I want to leave the film industry with something deeper and more heartfelt than a typical personal growth platform where only the bank account of the designer grows. We strongly believe that we can return to thinking as a community, where we listen to each other and help each other. And we know that artists have that extra sensitivity that can truly make a difference in the world, and we want to help you use it to make your career and life the best film ever written.
What Vegas Movie Academy™ Will Be for You
This will not be the typical blog or channel that explains how to make a good film. We will delve deeper, tackling the thorniest issues that block your progress, to allow you to:
Identify the true needs behind your choices
Dispel limiting beliefs that block your growth
Help you make better use of your talents
Focus on the best skills to acquire to carry out your project
Learn the rules of marketing and how to use them to your advantage
Define a more aware and complete career purpose
Stop procrastinating and take action!