PEOPLEText: Mayumi Kaneko

RESfest is a digital film festival in its third year. In each year lots of digital films are collected from all over the world and showcased in various cities. It spotlights the future of filmmaking and continues to grope for new technology with the different approach with any other film festival. We interviewed with Jonathan Wells who is the Festival Director of RESfest and the co-founder of RES Magazine.

First of all, please tell us who you are.

My name is Jonathan Wells. I am the Festival Director of RESfest and the co-founder and editor of RES Magazine of Digital Filmmaking.

What is RESfest?

RESfest is a digital film festival. All the films that we showcase at the festival have been produced with DV cameras and/or computer editing/effects/animation software.

From the beginning of RESfest we have presented these films at truly unique film centers – not your everyday movie theater. We believe that these desktop productions (many of which have not been seen except on a 15 inch computer monitor) should be seen by many people on a large movie screens with state-of-the-art digital projection.

Beyond the film screenings, RESfest presents panel discussions, exhibits and parties with the goal of building networks and communities of digital filmmakers.
These are the things that make RESfest unlike any other film festival.

This year is its third year. How did the event start?

While RESfest didn’t start till 1997, the festival has its roots in an event I co-founded in 1995, The Low Res Film Festival. My former partner (Bart Cheever – now of and I decided to screen digital movies that we and our colleagues were making around San Francisco. We discovered that people were beginning to make these desktop digital movies all around the world, and Low Res became the first festival dedicated to showing them.

Is there any differences in each city?

In each city on our tour we present the same films, yet it is exciting to see how audiences interpret the films differently. Each city lends its own vibe to RESfest. We do present a panel series, “The Future of Filmmaking” – and we have different guests speakers / panelists in each city. Our opening night parties and events also feature different guest DJs unique to the city we are in.

This year it will be held in SF, NY and LA. Do you have a plan to hold it in other country?

We held our first overseas RESfest in spring of 1997 at the ICA in London in conjunction with the first onedotzero.

We believe RESfest would be very popular in Japan and are currently working on putting something together in Tokyo.

How many submissions do you have at the present stage?

In our first year we had 75 entries, last year we had just over 350. This year we expect to have 500. We are currently seeking digital short films, digital features and interactive work – we’ve just extended our final deadline to June 15th 1999 – so there is still time for you to submit!

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