On Saturday, established and aspiring professionals from every element of the process will be in town to discuss the art and craft of filmmaking.
The inaugural In Motion Filmmaking Conference, organized by Continuity – a non-profit organization that seeks to expand diversity in the field of media and media arts – will give locals an opportunity to get knowledge not typically afforded to those outside of the coasts and major film festivals.
The conference is really intended to bring together that’s in the production community, not only in St. Louis, but the Midwest region,” said Michael Francis, producer for the In Motion Filmmaking Conference. “To give them a place where they can get the resources and the things that they need to take their careers, crafts and projects to the next level – and give them the access to the people that can help them get there.”
The all-day conference will take place at COVO and will include more than 200 filmmakers, 30 speakers and a pitch competition.
“The support for the conference has truly blown away our expectations, and we continually hear from filmmakers ‘Thank you so much for organizing this! Our region really needs it,’” explains Dan Parris, conference director of In Motion and executive director of Continuity.
Francis says In Motion is for everyone from beginning to professional.
“Whether they are trying to figure out how to shoot, whether they are writers or actors or people looking to get more work in the industry or people who are trying to figure out how to create their own stuff,” Francis. “They will learn more about how to find funding, how to get distribution, how you sell your project and everything in between. We have people who will be there and available to give them those pieces to move forward with what they want to do.”
Among the professionals that will speak at In Motion is St. Louis native MarKus Burns. He is one of the executive producers of Bravo’s Real Housewives of Atlanta – part of a franchise of another St. Louisan, Andy Cohen – and a producer on the USA hit “Chrisley Knows Best.”
“He’s from St. Louis and producing multiple shows and has climbed the ranks from PA (production assistant) to producer and is looking to help grow people from St. Louis and bring people to St. Louis,” Francis said of Burns.
Others on the roster with roots in the region include filmmakers Damon Davis, Christopher Phillips, Bradley J. Rayford, David Kirkman, New York based Martisse Hill and L.A. based content creator Brittney Janae.
“She’s been doing content development for a-list celebrities and making her mark,” Francis said. “She’s trying to inspire and build pathways for young women to be able to find their space and get their voice out there.”
Francis helps run the three largest production groups in St. Louis – the St. Louis Production Team Facebook group, Film Everything St. Louis Facebook group and Film Everything St. Louis the meetup group.
Two of the groups have more than a thousand people and the third has 800.
He was approached by Parris about getting the people attempting to find their way in the filmmaking industry to acclimate them to the conference’s intention and get them on board for it.
He ended up as the producer of the first In Motion Conference.
“One of the great benefits of the what we are doing and the partnerships that have come out of this is that people right here are going to have access,” Francis said. “It will spur more people to do more things and create higher quality work – which is really key for the conference.”
Francis wants people to know how much more accessible the art of filmmaking has become thanks to technological advancements.
“Technology has made it a lot more affordable for people to start creating things,” Francis said. “Doing film – we call it film, but we really shoot on videos these days – but film [back when it was actually film ] was very, very expensive to produce anything because you needed so much stuff.
“You can shoot things on phones and you can actually get decent pictures on phones. And if you really know what you’re doing, you can make a phone look like a real camera.”
Francis says the beauty of what’s happening with technology and the beauty of what the conference will provide is that it will give people in the region – including people who have felt historically that they aren’t seeing themselves on screen or on the production credits, or feel that they don’t have access – the opportunity to see how they can go about creating space for themselves within the industry.
“It is totally possible to achieve their production dreams right here in this part of the country- right here in St. Louis specifically,” said Francis. “It is totally possible, doable and there are people already doing it.”
The In Motion Filmmaking Conference will take place from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 2 at COVO. For tickets or more information – including to purchase tickets, a full schedule and complete list of speakers and programming – visit www.inmotionconference.com.