Lonely Seal Intl Film, Screenplay & Music Festival

In the Beginning

Hammad Zaidi, a disabled kid with a rail-thin left arm, useless hand a cowboy limp, watched a documentary on the clubbing of harp seals with his little sister Mona. All of the snow-white pups perished, except for one, which they called “The Lonely Seal.” The name stuck, as did Hammad’s intent to make the world a better place.

A few decades and several charitable endeavors later, from wrangling donations for the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon in the 1970s to donating to several film festivals in the 1990s and beyond, Hammad started judging film festivals. His first two opportunities were at Flickerfest in Bondi Beach, Australia in 1997 and 1998, a timeless experience where he and his fellow judges would dive into the ocean in between screenings. From there, Hammad went on to become a judge, world cinema screener, filmmaker advisor, panelist, screenwriting contest founder/judge, program curator, advisory board member, and or sponsor at multiple film festivals. These include, but are not limited to, Sundance, Slamdance, SXSW, Nashville, Cinequest,  and the UCLA Screenwriting Showcase.

Hammad also produced and wrote independent films and TV, started an international film distribution company, wrote 300+ published film-industry related articles (256 of which were published on FilmThreat) and became a member of the Producers Guild of America and the Writers Guild of America along the way. But, throughout the years, he always told close friends that he would someday build a film festival. Then, in 2016, Hammad met Jonathan Nadeau, a blind technologist, when Jonathan interviewed Hammad for his “Crowdfunding Cast” podcast. he two hit it off famously, and soon thereafter, Jonathan started encouraging Hammad to harness his 20+ years of film experience and build this festival. So, one year later, The Lonely Seal Film, Screenplay and Music Festival was born.

Our 2019 Festival 

 

Our second annual festival, which took place on October 11-13 at the Regent Theatre, a 103-year-old Vaudeville gem in Arlington, MA (Boston), welcomed 64 films, 77 screenplays, and four songs from 18 countries. Fifty-percent of our creators were women, and we also showcased disabled filmmakers, LBGTQIA filmmakers, and minority filmmakers. We showcase stories aching to be told.

Expanding in 2020

We’re expanding to a five-day festival in 2020 (October 7-11), when we will showcase writers, present a showcase feature film, have a concert, and house a host of panels and seminars.

Traveling Film Festival 

The Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival is selecting wonderfully inspiring, humorous and thought-provoking feature films, short films, documentaries, web series, and music videos that promote positive images for disabled, women, minorities and LBGTQIA people. Of course, we are open to considering all projects, but the specifics listed above are what we’re concentrating on. We are screening our collection to a minimum of four North American cities in 2020. 

Prizes

Our prizes total $400,000 + of in-kind services.

Film Prizes (In-Kind)


Grand Prize – $100,000 (in-kind) One-year of international film distribution from Lonely Seal Releasing, ($50,000),  a dedicated custom page hosted on our website for 12 months, showcasing the film and filmmaker(s), complete with monthly updates, trailers, ($12,000) and SEO, ($18,000), targeted marketing to cinema buyers at Cannes in May 2020 ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Best Script Accessible Feature Film $20,000 – (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Script Accessible Best Screenplay $20,000 (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at the Lonely Seal Releasing booth at Cannes in May 2020.

Best Script Accessible Short Film $20,000 (in-kind) – A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Best Woman Filmmaker $20,000 – (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Best Documentary $20,000 – (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Best International Film $20,000 – (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Best Short Film $20,000 – (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).


“An Incomplete Truth” $20,000 (in-kind) Post Production Credit Award, sponsored by 5A Studios in London. The winner of this award will be given a $20,000 post-production credit to use on their current film or future production.


Screenplay Writing Contest Awards (in-kind)

Best Screenplay $20,000 – A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).


Music Awards

Best Music Video $20,000 – (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).


Audience Award Prizes

Narrative Audience Award $20,000 (in-kind) – A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Documentary Audience Award $20,000 (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Short Film Audience Award $20,000 (in-kind) – A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

International Prizes

Best International Film $20,000 – (in-kind) A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Best International Short Film $20,000 (in-kind) – A showcase and targeted marketing to worldwide cinema buyers at Cannes ($10,000) and four months of strategic advice ($10,000).

Key Dates
Submissions open on August 20, 2019
The early bird submission deadline is October 31, 2019.
The regular submission deadline is February 28, 2020.
The late submission deadline is April 30, 2020.
The extended deadline is May 31, 2020.

Selected films and Screenplays will be notified by July 7, 2020.

All winners will be announced on Sunday, October 11, 2020, at our awards ceremony.