Lights. Camera. Help. Opens Submissions for Nonprofit Film Festival with Pre-screening in Austin, Texas

Last Thursday night I attended the Lights. Camera. Help. opening night pre-screening here in Austin and was blown away by the powerful videos shared by the four nonprofit organizations screening their video entries. David Neff shared with me info about the organization’s event and I thought this was something all Connection Cafe readers should hear about.


Lights. Camera. Help., the premiere film festival exclusively for non-profit and grassroots organizations, officially opened its submission process Thursday, April 30.

Four prominent non-profit organizations showed their support for the festival by formally submitting their films at the Reel-to-Reality event held at Southwest Key’s East Side Community Center.

Representatives from the American Cancer Society, United Way, the Capital Area Food Bank and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary spoke about the value of the films-for-a-cause genre, showed trailers for their films and then formally submitted their films.

This is the first annual Lights. Camera. Help. festival, where films and videos with a cause directly related to a non-profit or grass roots organization will be evaluated on a rigorous criteria by a panel of judges. The films and videos will gain recognition by being considered the best in one of several distinct categories. Proceeds from the event with go to the organization that is the subject of the winning video.

This festival is the first of its kind in the nation and reflects the spirit of Austin, a city with prominent non-profit, grassroots and activism communities. Non-profits, grassroots organizations and filmmakers will use the festival to spread the word about their cause, develop a community of followers, and expand the film-for-a-cause genre.

It’s free to submit to Lights. Camera. Help. and any film or video is welcome, so long as the emphasis of the video is on a non-profit or grassroots organization.

“We really wanted to make sure that every non-profit organization is able to tell its story, regardless of resources. A lot of film festivals charge 50, 60 even 100 dollars to enter a film. We do not.” – Co-founder David J. Neff

In its first year, Lights. Camera. Help. was conceived by three friends, Aaron Bramley, David J. Neff and Rich Vázquez. “We created Lights. Camera. Help. because we want to help non-profits and grassroots organizations gain visibility through film and video,” said Co-founder Aaron Bramley. “It’s a phenomenal way to tell your story, and it doesn’t have to be expensive.”

“The idea was to give non-profit videos validity and merit by judging them. We want people to see these videos, know they’re important and say ‘hey, that’s a cause I want to support.’” – Rich Vázquez, Co-founder of Lights. Camera. Help.

And without further ado, here are the amazing videos screened last week:

American Cancer Society’s Heroes of Hope