Inside Move: Faux fest circuit

Interpol tips tyros to Internet fraud

As if impoverished filmmakers struggling to get noticed didn’t have enough to contend with.

Interpol has issued a computer crime warning concerning a Web site billing itself as the Film Festivals Intl. Federation or Annual Program Without Frontiers.

The site — www.filmart.org — purports to represent a number of film fests both in the U.S. and abroad, including the New York Short Film Festival, Golden Gate Fiction & Documentary Festival, Honolulu Intl. Festival, Festival de Cine de Granada and Festival de Court Metrage de Lyon.

The fests all share generic names that are close to existing events, but under closer inspection, no concrete evidence can be found that these fests have ever taken place. (None of them appears on Variety‘s annual film fest guide either.)

A check on fest Web site ww.filmfestivals.com lists each fest with no direct contact aside from the Santa Monica phone/fax number given on the filmart homepage. Several calls to this number elicited only a fax reply.

Filmmakers trying to access data on these alleged fests are invited to email the site, which reportedly generates a response instructing the would-be fest entrant to submit a copy of the film, together with a submission fee.

A Web investigation of filmart.org’s origins produces fuzzy results, tracing the page back to a Norwegian hosting service.

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