Running from May 4th-7th, 2017, the second annual Pilot Light TV Festival in Manchester, England puts forth an incredible lineup of original TV pilots and web series, along with informative panel discussions headlined by the creative forces behind some of today’s most acclaimed episodic content (panelists to be announced). Ticket information for attendees will soon be made available, as well. For even more details on this year’s festival and programming, visit its web site (located at the end of this article).
Submissions for the festival’s content are now being accepted in several categories (and at highly affordable rates) until March 1st via Pilot Light’s FilmFreeway page (see link below). For pilots less than 5 minutes long, the fee to submit is $7.50. Shows running 5-19 minutes cost $15 to enter. Fees for pilot episodes totaling 20-29 minutes cost $22, and the 30-60 minute pilot fee comes out to $30. All submission rates mentioned are in U.S. dollars.
As was the case with last year’s debut edition of the Pilot Light TV Festival, the 2017 event also kicks off an exciting year-long series of themed events; screenings that will feature classic and contemporary small screen favorites. Festival director Greg Walker and head of web series content Elisar Cabrera (who also founded Raindance Web Fest and produced the award-winning comedy 3SOME) spoke to Snobby Robot about what fans and filmmakers alike can expect as the 2017 Pilot Light TV Festival prepares to kick off.
Where will the 2017 festival take place?
Greg Walker: Season 2 will take place at several venues around Manchester. including HOME Cinema, the Manchester Central Library, Gorilla (a local live music, comedy and cinema venue), and Salford University.
Last year, you launched the Pilot Light TV Festival’s first season with the inaugural 3 day event plus various screenings and other events outside of it. What can people expect this season, and what new events (besides the festival and the screenings) will be featured over the course of 2017?
GW: Outside of the usual amazing screenings and panels celebrating the best of the past, present and future of TV, we’re really focusing on expanding the industry and educational side of the festival this year. We’re very excited to have an eclectic, quality line up of industry panelists on board to discuss their craft, and how best to develop our attendees’ careers in TV and web series.
In addition to a great line up of web series & TV pilots that come to us via submissions in competition, we’re also looking forward to presenting award-winning web series from around the world thanks to partnerships with festivals such as the Dublin and Vancouver Web Fests.
Elisar Cabrera: Yes, I am very excited about working with some of the other international web fests. Having been involved in the web fest scene since 2011 (when Raindance first put on a web series program before I created Raindance Web Fest), it’s been an ambition of mine to create a friendly network of festivals dedicated not just to showing web series, but with a proper educational program that benefits creators who attend.
In what ways are you looking to expand upon the Pilot Light TV Festival’s year-round programming in 2017?
GW: At the moment, we are currently programming special monthly events such as our Christmas Sitcom Special and (our) 90’s Kids TV Saturday Morning Special. Going forward, we have some huge monthly events planned, but we are looking to expand our industry events throughout the year with more workshops, Q&A’s and networking sessions throughout the non-festival period of the year.
What (and/or who) inspired you to create the festival?
GW: I come from a background of film festivals and exhibitions, but TV has always been my biggest love. As TV became bigger and bigger in the past few years, it baffled me that I hadn’t heard of any TV festivals in the U.K. (outside of Edinburgh) that celebrate TV on the big screen and give a voice to up-and-coming TV talent. So, I started one! Since then, quite a few have popped up around the world. Here’s hoping there are more in years to come!
EC: As many will know, I come to Pilot Light after founding Raindance Web Fest and running that festival for its first three years. Getting involved with Pilot Light was something I sought out because it takes place in the heart of the U.K.’s TV industry in Salford, Manchester. It’s a natural match for a festival to embrace both television and digital series, giving both an equal platform.
How can the festival itself, and attending its events and panels, benefit fans, industry leaders and creative talent, including web series creators?
GW: That question honestly splits off into so many different benefits for so many people, to be honest! For fans and upcoming creative talent, there’s the chance to meet and learn from the people behind their favorite TV shows & web series. For industry leaders, this is a valuable chance to view the next generation of talent in TV, (to) meet them, and to help (them) make that talent flourish into success. On the flip side of that, this is a valuable opportunity for aspiring content creators to network, learn and get feedback on their projects from the most important people in their careers – both the fans, and industry members.
But, as I mentioned, I think the most beneficial part of the festival is the communal TV experience, which is a very rare thing to find. I first came across it during pub screenings of BREAKING BAD’s last episodes, and it had me hooked. It makes the dramatic a whole new level of tense, the comedic a new tier of hilarious, and (it) brings the water cooler/Twitter aspect of TV fandom together in an exciting new big screen environment.
What sets PILOT LIGHT apart from other TV/web series fests? How does it stand apart in terms of what it offers fans, filmmakers and participants?
GW: I think what I’d like to set us apart is our dedication to the communal TV experience. Whilst there are events that cater to fans and industry separately, (and) some together, we want to create an experience where no matter what your background is, you can come to our festival and celebrate your love of TV with hundreds of other like-minded individuals!
What are your overall hopes for the festival’s success, and do you see it potentially expanding after this year’s event? If so, how?
GW: Ideally, I want the festival to be an annual destination for TV fans and Industry, synonymous with getting together and celebrating amazing TV & web series, in addition to giving the greatest platform for the next generation of TV talent. We will do this by continuing to program to an excellent standard, maintaining our mission to discover and champion new talent, and working with fantastic partners from around the world to deliver the best possible communal TV experience for our attendees!
To submit your web series to the 2017 Pilot Light TV Festival, visit:
For more information on the 2017 Pilot Light TV Festival and its full slate of programming, visit: