LA Music Video Festival


The 7th annual Los Angeles Music Video Festival is now underway in the heart of Downtown. Opening this past Sunday, October 1st, LAMVF is showcasing MVs for 4 nights at Downtown Independent: Oct. 1st to the 4th. Tonight's featured guest... Macy Gray!

On Thursday and Friday evening, they move to 72andSunny Studio as well as the Masonic Lodge at Hollywood Forever. Each screening features a selection of local & international music videos, both in + out of competition, followed by Q & A’s with musicians, directors and special panelists.

Last Tuesday night Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker), was scheduled to premiere his latest music video as well as participate on panel after its screening. Unfortunately, Nick came down with an unexpected flu leaving him unable to attend, although his video still screened to an eager audience.

Theatre at Ace Hotel is the historic venue for Saturday’s closing awards ceremony. Programming includes an encore screening of the most winningest videos, a retrospective of Björk’s iconic collaborations with Andrew Thomas Huang and Encyclopedia Pictura– think Wanderlust, Mutual Core, Black Lake, Family and fresh-off-the-grill, The Gate– all culminating in a special live performance by hip hop artist, George Watsky, and collaborator Carlos Lopez Estrada.

In conjunction with the festival we are offering 5 pairs of free tickets to Saturday night’s grand finale. Additional information regarding our giveaway can be found at the end of this article. Stay cool.

Before Tuesday’s program (on the sidewalk outside the Downtown Independent) we were able to meet up with Festival Director and Founder, Sami Kriegstein. As the United States' oldest music video festival, we were excited to uncover what led her to create a creative home for the music video community.


Q. Why Start a Music Video Festival?

A. I remember for Hanukkah, or my birthday one year, I got the DVD box set of Chris Cunningham, Spike Jones and Michel Gondry’s music videos... which I watched over and over. I was always enamored with music videos because I thought it was such a cool abstract, poetic, weirdo art form.

When I was at USC, right around the time that DSLR cameras became super affordable, I woke up and realized that all my friends were aspiring musicians or filmmakers and they were all making really cool music videos. However, the only way that you could see their gorgeous HD work was on Youtube using a crappy laptop and crumby speakers. It just seemed like such a waste!

During that time, I attended my very first film festival. I remember sitting in a shorts screening watching this really weirdo stuff... which I thought was amazing... with 300 people who equally thought it was amazing! That shared experience really affected me and it was the moment that the lightning struck. I realized that music videos are basically just experimental short films and should be screened in a movie theater with a live audience.

Music videos captured my imagination. Everyone was talking about them or making them but nobody in the mainstream media seemed to care. I just felt like someone had to champion this community.


Q.  Why hold the festival in downtown?

A. I was living in downtown at the time we started it and it just felt like it made sense to do it here. Plus, I knew about this theater (The Downtown Independent), and I loved it.


Q. Are there any directors that really stand out to you in the festival’s history?

A. For our first screening ever we exhibited the Daniels’ (Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert) first music video. They just directed Swiss Army Men, which was at Sundance last year. They’re going to be massive and they’re super talented and I’m so proud that we screened their first thing ever.

Hiro Murai is another one, who has been a part of the festival every year but most notably the first year. I actually knew Hiro at USC; around the time that he started directing videos, I started the festival. Today he’s making music videos for some of the biggest artists in the world. He just did A Tribe Called Quest's video as well as the last five or so videos for Childish Gambino. After that, Donald Glover asked him to help create the TV show Atlanta.

We have some examples of people that we stood by from early on in their careers and now they are doing amazing things.


Q. Are you thematically seeking anything specific in your curation?

A. At this point, people are making technically perfect music videos— it’s not that hard to find a well-executed video. So, I look for videos that affect me emotionally.


Q. How do you see the festival evolving?

A. I always had this dream of taking this to other cities. I live in New York now, and think it would be cool to do a festival out there, because it would have a totally different flavor. If we did a festival in Nashville– the flavor would be so different than the flavor in Los Angeles or Miami. I think that it would be cool to tap into those communities and see what comes out of that.


Q. Anything you'd want the downtown community to know?

A. DTLA represents the beating heart of the independent music scene and the independent film community. It would make sense that we’d have the festival here because downtown is where those two communities come together.


For the ticket give away....

Every share counts as a submission! We'll pop you in a generator and 5 win!

*Winners to be announced on Friday, October 7th.