The first juror in our spotlight is Emily Best, Founder and CEO of Seed&Spark, the world’s first crowd-funding and digital distribution platform made just for independent film. Emily has provided an important platform for countless independent filmmakers, and her passion and vision continues to offer hope and means for DIY filmmakers all over the world. Emily’s commitment to championing story and filmmakers makes her a perfect addition to our jury. Not only will Emily be serving on the Narrative Feature jury, but she will meet with every Narrative Feature finalist during the Festival, schedules permitting, and provide her experience and insight on filmmakers’ next steps and options. Learn more about Emily below and check out all of our confirmed jurors here. Visit Seed&Spark’s website here.
What does a typical day look like for you?
These days it probably involves an airplane. I am traveling around teaching Crowdfunding to Build Independence workshops as a part of the #Stayindietour. (AFF was an amazing stop on the tour last year, and will be again this year!) I’m behind my computer a lot, to be sure, but we’re constantly talking to new partners – festivals, distribution outlets, brands – to connect filmmakers with wider and wider access to audiences. If I’m lucky enough to be in the office, it will involve lunch with the team at The Park (in Echo Park, LA) and “shooting hoops” in the afternoon for a break. That’s in quotes because what I do is more like blindly hurling the basketball and then crossing my fingers. It’s relaxing nonetheless, and has become a part of our routine.
What’s the best part of your job?
My team. I work every day with people I love like limbs. And we’re all filmmakers, so that we get to feel like we’re a part of hundreds of films every year is thrilling.
What’s your favorite movie and why?
I have seen West Side Story more than any other movie and I love it like it was the first time, every time. I didn’t know the first time I saw it (age 5) that it’s the Shakespearian scope of the story that so appeals to me.
Who’s your favorite writer and why?
Well, if I have to pick one I have to say Shakespeare. I come from a theatre background and – I think it was Chiwetel Ejiofor who said recently that once you speak his words you know you’ve spoken the best ones. It can inform everything (for actors, writers, directors). The structure of those stories have inspired thousands of incredible versions. (A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley, based on King Lear, is one of my favorite books.)
What’s your favorite part about Austin Film Festival?
The people. The festival collects such incredibly inspiring, motivated, hard working, creative people that you can’t but have a great time and leave filled with ideas!
What was your first job? Or worst job?
First job was plucking and prepping angora rabbit fur for yarn. (From live bunnies who actually love to be plucked.) I was nine.
Worst job was as a tour guide for English bachelor parties in Barcelona.