Monday, April 24, 2023

The 14th Annual LA WEBFEST 2023 Press Release


"Combining the best of traditional film and television festivals with emerging technologies like AI, OTT platform series, podcasts, and social media videos, we are the media festival where seasoned veterans and newcomers can come together with one goal in mind: create amazing art." 

The LA WEBFEST is turning 14 this year and is proud to announce that this years festival will be held at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre, located at 4800 Hollywood Blvd., in Los Angeles on May 4-5, 2023. 

This year, the LA WEBFEST will feature 150 international long-form series, short-form web series, short films, pilots, and podcasts.

For the first time ever, LA WEBFEST will be honoring long-form series from ABC, Netflix, Apple TV, and LionsGate+, South Korea KT Studiogenie, and recognizing their creators, directors, writers, actresses, and actors.

Among the nominees are Jason Momoa, who is a best actor nominee for his role in "See," an American science fiction drama television series produced for Apple TV+ and starring Momoa and Alfre Woodard in leading roles, and Paula Patton, who is a best actress nominee for her role in "Somewhere Between," an American drama television series commissioned by ABC and produced by ITV Studios America and Thunderbird Entertainment. The creator of "Somewhere Between" is Stephen Tolkin. 

Additionally, TV writer Randy Huggins is being honored for creating the popular crime drama "BMF." Produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, "BMF" (which stands for “Black Mafia Family”) was inspired by the true story of two brothers who rose from the decaying streets of southwest Detroit in the late 1980s and gave birth to one of the most influential criminal organizations in the country.

Yim Si-wan is a South Korean singer and actor who is nominated for best actor from the long-form series Summer Strike,” produced by South Korea KT Studiogenie.

Particularly notable best actor nominees include Michael Pare, who was one of top stars in the 1980s and is best known for his roles in the films “Eddie and the Cruisers” (1983) and “Street of Fire” (1984). A rising star Madison Ekstrand is nominated best actress of “The Curse of Stone Hill”.  

And Joe Vulpis, a social media influencer known for being one of the internet's top stars. 

The LA WEBFEST also has a great alumni network. Issa Rae originally screened her show Awkward Black Girl” at the LA WEBFEST, and her co-star on her later hit show “Insecure,” Yvonne Orgi, was formerly a volunteer at the LA WEBFEST and was discovered by fellow Nigerian and LA WEBFEST founder Michale Ajakwe, Jr.

In 2005, with the upload of the first online video to YouTube, the world of web video content was officially born. Several years later, the first international festival dedicated specifically to web series, LA WEBFEST, was established in Hollywood/Los Angeles in 2009 by TV writer/producer Michael Ajakwe Jr. 

The following year, the Marseille Webfest was born in the French port city of Marseille, soon followed by the Melbourne Webfest in Australia, the Rome Webfest in Italy, and the DC Webfest in Washington DC.

Since then, webfests have spread all over the world, fulfilling Michael's vision of a global celebration of the web series format. Currently, there are more than 50 webfests that form a worldwide webfest network.

Serving as the godfather of the webfest community, the LAWEBFEST has continually grown since its founding. However, in 2018, the LAWEBFEST lost its founder and guiding light, Michael Ajakwe Jr. Having traveled extensively around the globe helping to start new webfests, Michael visited the Seoul Webfest twice and continued to actively support the event and its founder, Young Man Kang. This made Young the natural choice to assume the position left vacant after Michael's passing.

Upon his selection as the new director of LA WEBFEST, Young Man Kang stated, "I am honored to assume the role of LA WEBFEST's festival director, a position that carries on the legacy of the godfather of all webfests, my friend and webfest mentor, Michael Ajakwe Jr. I look forward to working closely with the board to ensure that Michael Ajakwe Jr's vision continues to inspire generations of web series creators for years to come.”

Honorary President Jean-Michel Albert, founder of the Marseille Webfest in France, remarked, "Webfests have spread all over the world, fulfilling Michael's vision of a global celebration of the web series format. Currently, there are more than 50 webfests that form a worldwide webfest network. With the rapid growth of YouTube, OTT platforms, and social media, web series festivals are constantly growing in number."


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