Flying Robots Conquer San Fran! — on Film

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For the third year in a row, flying robots will take over the City by the Bay – or at least their film footage.

The 2017 Flying Robot international Film Festival launches on Nov. 16 at San Francisco’s historic Roxie Theater.

Billed as “an open competitive drone film festival focused on aerial cinema created from the perspective of flying camera robots (drones),” the event is the brain child of local video producer and aerial film auteur Eddie Codel.

“With more drones in the hands of new and experienced filmmakers, we’re seeing the natural result of that expansion,” Codel said in a 2016 press release.

In six days, drone filmmakers will learn if their submission makes the cut of 25 short films to be featured at the fest.

In 2016, FRiFF received 180 submissions across eight categories from 40 countries and this year is expected to draw even more as drone cinema explodes.

Categories include:

  • Cinematic Narrative
  • Epic Landscape
  • Drones for Good
  • FPV Racing & Freestyle
  • WTF LOL (which is exactly what it sounds like)
  • Promotional
  • Student Film

Finalist and Runner Up selections will garner awards and the respect of their peers; Best of Show and Audience Choice selections will also be unveiled.

FRiFF is the first of its kind for the West Coast; however, the pioneer for such an event goes to the New York City Drone Film Festival which debuted in 2014.

Top judges from across the drone world will decide whose entry flies the highest — judges such as Avery Bazan (DJI), Natalie Cheng (Autel Robotics) and Marque Cornblatt (Aerial Sports League).

2016 Winners

Cinematic Narrative

  • Darkhad Valley, Jeff Colhoun [USA]
  • Drona, Chafic Saad [USA]
  • The Drone, Jordan Rubin [USA]

Epic Landscape

  • An Aerial Perspective of Nordland, Michael Fletcher & Alan Mathieson [Australia]
  • Drone Poem: Always Take The Window Seat, Alexander Hotz [USA]
  • Into The West, Mike Bishop [Canada]
  • Midnight Sun, Christian Linares [USA]
  • Vietnam from Above, Max Seigal [USA]

Drones For Good

  • Help Us Give Elephants and Rhinos Wings, Michael Parfit [USA]
  • Zipline in Rwanda, Jimmy Collins [USA]

FPV/Aerial Sports

  • ascent, Jonas Kunze [Germany]
  • The First Racing Drone In Chernobyl, Steele Davis [USA]


  • Byzantine, Joris Favraud [France]
  • Drone Blender, Billy May & Damien Gallagher [United Kingdom]
  • Marinière, Athanasia Lykoudi [Greece]
  • Moon Line, Frédéric Rousseau [France]

I Made That!

  • Mario Copter, Michael Niedermayr [Austria]
  • Robot Quadrotors Perform James Bond Theme, Kurtis Sensenig [USA]

Student Film

  • Spectacular Norway, Simen Haughom [Norway]
  • The Making of Expedition Alaska, Brian Leitten [USA]
  • This is Chapman, Kevin Wolf [USA]


  • Digitized 2016 – Opening Titles, Athanasia Lykoudi [Greece]
  • Drone100, Sergio Abuja [USA]
  • San Francisco Drone Rescue, Chris Lindland, Robbie Wiedie & Tyler MacNiven [USA]
  • This is Tilt, Daniell Ashby [Norway]

Best in Show

  • Moon Line, Frédéric Rousseau [France]

Audience Choice

  • Drone Poem: Always Take The Window Seat, Alexander Hotz [USA]



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