Surreal Love Story Wins Drone Film Festival

Ken Kaplan Executive Editor, iQ by Intel

A French short film of love, death and dance told from a soaring bird’s-eye perspective wins Best of Show at the first Flying Robot International Film Festival.

Flying drones are lifting human imagination by opening new perspectives, understanding and possibilities.

This is evident in each of the 20 innovative videos selected for the first Flying Robot International Film Festival (FRiFF).

It drew makers, artists and thrill-seekers to fill the legendary Roxie Theater in San Francisco’s Mission District on November 19.

All Way by Colin Solal Cardo of France won Best in Show.

Festival host Justin Hall set the stage by reminding the audience that the word drone still makes most people think of a technology the government uses for military purposes.

“But remember that the government also built the Internet for military needs and look how we’re all using it today.”

In January, festival founder and director Eddie Codel pointed out that in the past two years, cheap, easy, ready-to-fly quadcopters and drones have proliferated because of new innovation and the fact that most components are now commodities.

“While two years is not very long, it is a lifetime in the development of consumer drone technology,” he said.

As the drone economy expands, Codel is seeing first-hand how these flying robots are sparking creativity across generations and around the world. Drones fuse his life-long passions for videography and tinkering. The idea to create FRiFF sparked from his desire to build a community for drone video makers.


“With the proliferation of drones today, there’s just a ton of people making great content,” he told iQ. “I felt like there needed to be a place to celebrate that.”

Codel amassed more than 150 drone-shot video submissions from 35 different countries to find the best films in seven categories: Cinematic Postcard, Drones for Good, Student Film, I Made That!, WTF LOL, Aerial Sport and Cinematic Narrative.

Videos struck deep emotions in the audience. They laughed at humorous taxidermy drones, gaped at death-defying surfing in Tahiti and smiled as a runner discovered the wonders of flying.

Codel plans to make FRiFFest an annual event.

“This time next year, robots might be entering themselves into the festival,” Codal wrote in the program. “Well, let’s hope not. They’ll still need us to watch the magic they create.”

Here are the winners and runners up:

Cinematic Postcard
Running into the Air – Sebastian Wöber

Runner up: Teahupo’o, Du Ciel – Eric Sterman

Cinematic Narrative
All Away – Colin Solal Cardo (video at top)

Runner up: My forest – Sébastien Pins

Drones For Good
Mark Jacobsen – The Syria Airlift Project

Runner up: Mapeando las Invasiones de la Comarca Embera-Wounaan – James Cameron Ellis

Hello World – PRENAV

Runner up: Targeted Advertising – Mitchell Rose

Student Film
Quinn Muller – Electric Africa

Runner up: Butterfly – Ryan Rizzo

Aerial Sports
Office Space FPV – Jonathon Davis aka Skitzo

Runner up: Tommy Tibajia aka Ummagawd – FPV Paradise Hawaii

I Made That!
Compilation Bart Jansen – Bart Jansen (more from the dead animal drone series)

Runner up: Chocolate Copter – Michael Niedermayr

Photo credit: Eddie Codel on San Francisco rooftop by Doctor Popular


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