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Meet the 13 Winners of the 2016 New York City Drone Film Festival

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Holy Batman!

The 2016 New York City Drone Film Festival was unbelievable. By the end of the night, after my wife and I had seen 50 different films over the course of 4 hours, we both walked out of the theater beaming and inspired.

This was #NYCDFF’s second annual film festival. This year was different. It was bigger. It included expert panels and a “day of drones” featuring FPV racing and a number of other activities.

TWICE as many films were entered into the film festival this year. 355 film submissions from 45 countries!

Without further ado, here are the winners across each of the 13 categories. Warning, you might need to pick your jaw up off the floor after viewing.

NARRATIVE: The Smallest Empire

By: Corridor Digital
Director: Sam Gorski
Producer: Jake Watson
Film Location: Los Angeles, California
Team Location: Los Angeles, California

A top-down story that pays homage to real-time strategy games, leaving the world smaller than you think.

ARCHITECTURE: Greystone Rising

By: Jody Johnson AKA GlideByJJ
Drone Pilot & Director: Jody Johnson
Editing: Lisa Marie Blohm
Music: Pond5.com
Spoken Words From Interviews Provided By: Antiquity Echoes
Film Location: Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Morris Plains, New Jersey
Team Location: Morris County, New Jersey

This film shows the heartbreaking demolition of Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital – in reverse. Greystone opened its doors in 1876 where it treated and housed the mentally insane. This building was the largest in the US at the time and covered 600,000 square feet. It was very exciting (and creepy) to film at this location.

DRONIE: The Shark Dronie

By: Behind the Mask
Director & Producer: Florian Fischer
Drone Pilot: Christian Back, Florian Fischer
Team: Al Curry, Christian Back, Florian Fischer, Mace, Michael Kugler, Mario Medaveric
Film Location: Island of Eleuthera, Bahamas
Team Location: Germany

The world’s first underwater dronie was accomplished with a 60-foot long carbon pole that hung under a drone which was controlled from underwater with a custom-built underwater remote control.

EXTREME SPORTS: AfterGlow Light Suit Segment

By: Sweetgrass Productions
Director: Mike Brown, Nick Waggoner
Producer: Zac Ramras
Film Location: Golden Alpine Holidays–Sentry Lodge, BC; Alyeska Resort, AK; Alaskan Wilderness, AK
Team Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Night. It’s the hour of infinite possibility. Follow the likes of Pep Fujas and Eric Hjorleifson, Chris Benchetler and Daron Rahlves as they take to Alaskan spines and BC pillows, shredding the biggest and boldest lines ever ridden at night.

FREESTYLE & FPV: Abandonado

By: Carlos Puertolas
Director: Carlos “Charpu” Puertolas
Film Location: Mexico
Team Location: Los Angeles, California

Turns out, abandoned Haciendas in Mexico are the perfect place for extreme droning.

FEATURING DRONES: SPARKED, a Live Interaction Between Humans and Quadcopters

By: Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios
Film Production Company: who’s mcqueen picture GmbH
Music By: Danny Elfman, copyright 2011, Zarkiris Limited Partnership, C:Lab – the Creative Laboratory of Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, Verity Studios
Film Location: ETH Zurich’s Flying Machine Arena at the Institute for Dynamic Systems and Control in the Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering in Zurich, Switzerland
Team Location: Zurich, Switzerland

Cirque du Soleil, ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios have partnered to create a short-film featuring 10 quadcopters in a flying dance performance. Human and drones move in sync in a unique, interactive choreography. Precise computer control allows for a large performance and movement vocabulary opening the door to future applications.

LANDSCAPE: Wild Scotland

By: John Duncan
Director: John Duncan
Colorist: Drew Gibson
Sound Design: Pete Smith
Film Location: Scotland
Team Location: Edinburgh, Scotland

From the Highlands and Islands on the west coast to John O’Groats and North Berwick on the east. I’ve captured just a fraction of the stunning wilderness which Scotland has to offer.

NEWS & DOCUMENTARY: GMA Hidden Worlds, Son Doong Cave

By: Maria Stefanopoulus
GMA Anchor: Ginger Zee
Production Manager and Live Drone Producer: Maria Stefanopoulus
Senior Producer: Morgan Zalkin
Engineering Manager: Josh Hayden
Producer: Bartley Price
DJI Drone Pilot: Ferdinand Wolf
DJI Drone Camera Operator: Romeo Durscher
ENG Camera Operator: Chris Komives
Engineer: John Sweeney, Rick Knipe, Joe Biscotti
Tape Producer: Doug Vollmayer
Editor: Jeremy Phillips, Dan Recalde, Yoni Mintz
Film Location: Son Doong Cave, Central Vietnam
Team Location: New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Miami, Germany, London

GMA was the first program to discover the world’s largest cave system LIVE using a DJI drone team flying an Inspire 1, in a place where there’s no map of a route, a location hidden deep in the jungle of Central Vietnam, 8,000 miles away from our NYC studio. The GMA team pulled off an incredibly difficult broadcast from the earth’s final frontier.

SHOWREEL: Skynamic Pilot Reel

By: Skynamic
Drone Pilot: Ferdinand Wolf
Drone Camera Operators: Julian Glöckner, Gabriel Manz
Film Location: Frankfurt, Germany
Team Location: Berlin, Germany

For years, every Oscar nominated movie for “Best Picture” was shot on an ARRI camera. With the Alexa Mini, we are now able to deliver this famous and renowned cinematic look from the air. This video is like a showcase for both the Alexa and our other cameras, but also a showcase for our pilots, who make these shots in the video possible.

X-FACTOR: Dance Crazy

By: Wild Rabbit Productions
Directed By: Katee Laine and Drew Roberts
Produced By: Dave Radin and Nathan LaBruzza
Drone Pilot: Drew Roberts
Camera Operator: Katee Laine
Visual Observer: Nathan LaBruzza
Ballet Talent: Andie Bartol
Edited By: Aaron Warzynski
BTS By: Chris Whitaker
Motivational Supporter: Dan Kanes
Music By: Teemid (feat. Joie Tran) – Crazy
Film Location: Los Angeles, California
Team Location: Los Angeles, California

There was just something special about that day. A runner becomes intrigued and inspired by music playing from an empty abandoned warehouse. Only using DJI’s Inspire 1 to capture intricate and diverse movements as she playfully performs a ballet solo.

TECHNICAL: Art of Shades “All Away”

By: Colin Solal Cardo and Pascal Anquetil
Director: Colin Solal Cardo
Producer: Phillippe Claverie
Drone Pilot & Camera: Pascal Anquetil (Athenium Films)
Camera Tilt: Lilian Marolleau (Athenium Films)
Dance Performed & Choreographed By: Abdoulaye Barry & Marina Lilia Dessi
Music: “All Away” by Art of Shades (Leonardo Dessi)

It’s never too late to say goodbye… Killer and victim get one last dance in this powerful one-take performance, entirely shot with a choreographed quadcopter.

STILL PHOTOGRAPHY: Al Marmoum Camel Racing

Photo By: Shoayb Khattab
Photo Location: United Arab Emirates

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Alan Perlman – Alan started UAV Coach to help connect drone hobbyists, to provide world-class UAV content, and to educate UAV pilots and aerial videographers with top-notch training programs.

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