A Chat With Openfilm CEO Dmitry Kozko

Our Rating is an excellent new venue for the work of beginning filmmakers. We checked in with Openfilm CEO Dmitry Kozko to learn how the site can help new talent get started in the film industry: Do you think the Internet has made the film industry more accessible to newcomers?

Dmitry Kozko: Absolutely! The Internet opens doors to newcomers. Aspiring filmmakers can now connect with the film industry community from anywhere. In addition to networking opportunities, sites like Openfilm offer exposure opportunities that were never before possible. The high-definition video streaming capabilities of the most advanced Web sites allows work to be seen in the quality it was meant to be seen in by a virtually unlimited audience This gives newcomers an easy and affordable way to test their content and when they are ready a platform by which to distribute and monetize their content. They also benefit from receiving feedback from a large and vibrant community of film professionals and fans – something the Internet can uniquely support. The fact that Openfilm members can vote on their favorite videos is a huge boon to anyone who posts a film. Is the Internet beginning to force Hollywood to recognize popular phenomena and audience demands?

Dmitry Kozko: We think a vibrant independent film community is vital to the motion picture industry, which has a tendency to be slow to change and rely on proven formulas. We see fostering grassroots filmmaking and providing a creative stimulus to commercial filmmaking as complementary goals. Our chairman, James Caan, and our other directors, including Robert Duvall, Mark Rydell and Scott Caan, agree with this idea and that is why they are devoting their energies to our site. We want to stimulate and celebrate independent film and build links from the independent film community to mainstream Hollywood. What role can screenwriters and actors play in the Openfilm community? Will they also have the opportunity to post their work and find venues for their talent, even if they are unable to submit a completed film?

Dmitry Kozko: Filmmaking is the most collaborative art form and we have the goal of creating a platform that will provide career advancement to practitioners of all necessary roles of filmmaking. Very soon, we will be announcing our first actor’s competition. It’s designed to give budding actors a chance to realize their ambitions, just as our $1 million Get It Made competition is helping to bring recognition to aspiring directors. In addition to large cash prizes and industry exposure, winners of these competitions receive productive feedback from Openfilm’s board members and advisors, who are some of the industry’s leading actors and directors. As for screenwriters, we are testing several concepts right now, so stay tuned for those exciting developments. Openfilm has the potential to be an ideal place for filmmakers to network and collaborate. Do you anticipate the development of a strong online community on your site?

Dmitry Kozko: We’ve already fostered a strong online community, which continues to grow. The independent filmmaking community is using our social networking tools to come together, to engage with one another, to offer feedback and encouragement. In addition to supporting this type of dialogue, we also have dedicated chat sessions, which enable our community to interact with respected and seasoned industry professionals. Recently, Academy Award nominated director and renowned acting instructor Mark Rydell conducted an Openfilm Live webcam chat for members. Earlier this year, our premiere online chat James Caan conducted for film festival representatives was exposed to millions of viewers. And we have plans to add more collaboration tools. What words of wisdom or encouragement would you offer to someone just starting a career in film?

Dmitry Kozko: It’s not a new formula – persistence and passion and hard work. Very simple; great passion and commitment will be projected in your work and it’s a matter of time until the “right eyes” notice you. Continue to better yourself, don’t stop producing content and don’t be afraid to let your work be seen by everyone. You never know when opportunity will knock. Find places like to get in front of the right people that can make a real change in your career. Like our chairman, James Caan says: “Openfilm is that right place and that right time.” Thanks Dmitry!

For more information and advice, be sure to keep checking for new web chats, contests, and opportunities.

Openfilm board member James Caan and CEO Dmitry Kozko


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