by Charmaine Gorman
Some exciting subjects for our latest ‘10 questions with….’ this month are the creators of an awesome online film connecting platform called FilmUp. Based in Westchester NY but accessed worldwide, FilmUp was founded by Aryeh Hoppenstein and Christina Chironna. While working on starting a film business together they became aware of a lack in reliable film connections over the net, through research and networking, and thus: FilmUp was launched!
Want to know some more? Aryeh and Christina answer DUB’s 10 questions. Have a read and learn a little more about these two individuals, as well as the FilmUp platform. There’s even a little exciting giveaway at the end of the interview for our readers – so keep reading!
1. What prompted you both to start Film Up?
Aryeh: We met at a local coffee shop in Ithaca, NY to catch up when we started to discuss our shared passion of using film for good. Both being Media Production majors, we discussed starting a company that would link the social aspects in already established films, or new films, to various volunteer services or non-profits that supported those causes. In turn, we would name this company FilmUp by producing ‘Film’ that move the world in an ‘Up’ ward direction.
In the process of starting this company, we started tapping into our network to create a team that could get this company going and make FilmUp films. So, we started to look into filmmaking platforms that could connect us with the right team. Through this process, we found it very difficult to navigate, find reliable talent, and connect with people we could trust.
Being students, we inherently knew the trouble with finding jobs or internships outside of your university’s network. So we decided to interview countless filmmaking students, professionals, companies, universities and learned that they too were unsatisfied with the current film platforms out there. Once we were aware of the issues that needed to be addressed and fixed, we shifted the trajectory of FilmUp – an online connection and collaboration platform for filmmakers. We went off to enter into the Ithaca Business Plan Competition and won the 2nd place prize of $10,000. From there, we thought “I guess we have to do this now”. Over the following 2 years, we developed the platform and launched the site just a couple months ago which has been growing ever since.
As the platform becomes more established, we will continue to produce films that move the world in an upward direction with the hopes to inspire others to do the same.
2.Top three films of all time?
Aryeh: (1) The Godfather (my grandfather was in that movie) (2) The Dark Knight (3) Gladiator
Christina: (1) Forrest Gump (2) Pursuit of Happyness (3) Good Will Hunting
3.What were the first steps to creating something so big and all-inclusive community for the film industry?
Aryeh: First, we had to learn everything about our community, and the only way to do that was to speak to the filmmakers who we thought needed this most. We met with people from all backgrounds in the industry (from producers to make up artists to company owners) and found out what their issues were with these platforms. Using this information and our own experience, we developed the clean design and functionality that the industry needed. Following our launch (and now), we are taking feedback from our users and implementing it into the platform as FilmUp continues to establish itself as the official place “Where The Filmmakers Go”.
4. What did you want to be when you grew up?
Aryeh: As a kid, I always wanted to be a Police Officer.
Christina: When I was little I was very observant, creative, and loved to help people. I knew I wanted to be a storyteller of some kind — whether it be through art, music, books, or film.
5. How can Australian and New Zealand filmmakers connect with Berlin filmmakers on FilmUp?
Christina: It’s quick and easy! All they need to do is go to www.filmup.co, sign up, fill out their profile as they wish and start connecting with people!
6. Earliest film memory?
Aryeh: Wow that’s tough. Lion King, Home Alone, I think?
Christina: Definitely ANASTASIA
7. What has been the biggest challenge you’ve faced in getting this off the ground and running?
Aryeh: There have been many challenges starting FilmUp. I like to say that all startups are founded on a series of rejections, and it’s how you direct yourself off of those rejections that will make you succeed. You set a hypothesis of what you think will work, and the people who will use it tell you how it needs to work for them to join the network. From a FilmUp standpoint, building the network has been one of the greatest challenges. No matter how perfect our company is, people need to know about it. If they don’t know about it, FilmUp cannot work effectively. To that end, we have been working to build the network while enhancing the platform based on feedback, it is a sensitive process, but our community has been unbelievably supportive and patient with our development. When people get on FilmUp they stick with it. It is only just the beginning.
Christina: I think one of the biggest challenges for me has been letting go of perfection. When we launched the platform I was very hesitant because there were so many little details I wanted to be exactly right but Aryeh and I decided to launch anyways. Afterward, I realized that perfection is the enemy. It’s a dead end. The moment you can no longer find imperfections is the moment you are stagnant. I now love identifying the little imperfections because I know it means FilmUp is constantly evolving.
8. Favourite way to relax right now?
Aryeh: That’s a good question. It depends on the day and the type of work. If it was busy with emails and computer oriented, I like to relax by being social with friends, family, or meeting new people. I love meeting new people. There are those days though where a coffee and some writing, or binge watching Netflix is the way to go.
Christina: Lately, I’d definitely say sitting at the beach after a long run or hanging out with my closest friends and family members.
9. Batman, Spider Man……..or Wonder Woman?
Aryeh: Batman- after all one of my all time favorite movies is The Dark Knight.
Christina: Wonder Woman 🙂
10. What is good filmmaking to you?
Aryeh: Great question. I respect anyone who takes the time to be a part of the process and creates. Passion and commitment lead to good filmmaking in my eyes. It’s not about the end product to me, it is what it took to get there. If you did all that it took and put your love and passion into it, you are a good filmmaker.
Filmmakers are very much entrepreneurs in themselves. They need to craft an idea, raise money, plan and organize, build a team, market, promote, forge partnerships, put in the long hours, overcome uncertainty…. if you are a filmmaker, you are also an entrepreneur.
Christina: Good filmmaking to me is intuitive — where emotion and intellect morph together. In my mind, a great film touches hearts and opens minds to new perspectives. I believe if I smile, laugh, and cry at least one time each during a film and leave reflecting on what just happened, that’s a great film.
See, are you excited now? We are, which is why FilmUp and Down Under Berlin are offering Facebook followers a little somethin’ somethin’. ………..Head to the DUB facebook page – Share our post of this blog piece on your own page and tag a filmy friend, and you will receive one of 5 three-month memberships to FilmUp for free!
Charmaine Gorman is an Australian actress and writer living in Berlin with her family. As a content writer and editor, she works for many clients around the world, she also facilitates the Robert Marchand acting and directing workshops in Berlin.
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