The winners of the 2017 NYC Drone Film Festival have been announced, and as in previous years, the films are fantastic. The announcement wraps up the third annual festival celebrating this relatively new art form.
The winners include the usual awe-inspiring shots, from exploring the interior of an old French church to flying over the Australian outback. Also strongly represented are videos from the extreme sports communities, who were the first outside the tech-geek world to recognize the advantages that drones could bring. It would have been difficult for the Narrative award winner to beat last year’s amusing and emotional video game simulation, so luckily this year’s winners took a more whimsical tack with a thrilling tiny Star Wars chase, complete with special effects.
But what really stood out were the Freestyle, Dronie, and Featuring Drones category winners. Though drones are often proxies for expensive camera booms or really expensive helicopters, the winners in these categories display a style and thoughtfulness and that could only be filmed with drones. Freestyle is a term applied to hobbyists zipping around somewhere, dodging obstacles at the last moment and diving through small gaps; this year’s winner triumphed by doing all that facing backwards, an amazing feat of dronesmanship. The Dronie (A selfie snapped by a drone) category winner is the most poignant of the bunch, a sort of deconstructed family vacation photo. The Featuring Drones category winner was the most ambitious of all—a team assembled and decorated a cake using only drones, and while the result is perhaps not the most beautiful cake, it’s a good first attempt for a squadron of robots.
Nominations for the 2018 awards start in August, so if you have a drone and an idea, maybe you can be the next award winner.