The Lonely Seal International’s Film, Screenplay and Music Festival derives its name from a moment of awakening early in Hammad Zaidi’s life when he understood that his life’s purpose was to help heal the world. Together with Jonathan Nadeau, they have built a soulful and substantive festival that highlights the best of our humanity. I am honored and grateful to have been part of the 2020 collective of filmmakers and to have been regarded with great care, respect and enthusiasm. Thank you! I hope to return again!
Elizabeth Tobias – October, 2020
This is my 2nd time being in this festival, and it’s always a great experience. Hammad is a passionate lover of film-land filmmakers. Highly recommend!
John Gray, October, 2021
People write glowing reviews all the time of Film Festivals, but I can sincerely say Lonely Seal is a rockstar amongst them.(and I’m a New Yorker. Not much impresses me). Lol Even before my screenplay was selected as a finalist, communication was stellar. Support was amazing from the get-go. I was not able to attend, but I know the networking opportunities were many. Panels were informative. Hammad & his team made us ALL feel special. And as this pandemic continues to kick our butts, Lonely Seal will be remembered as a highlight of 2021. Bravo/Brava!
C. Hope Belmont – October, 2021
The best festival experience I have had, and this includes having won a number of awards at over a dozen other festivals as well as interactions with and selections by many others. Living in China, timely communications are sometimes difficult and Hammad was diligent and thorough and most generous in connecting with me by phone in China and keeping me updated about festival events and my film’s status. I very much regret that pandemic-related circumstances prevented me from attending the festival in person. I highly recommend this festival to any and all who wish their film work to be taken seriously and their projects to be handled with care and respect. A great experience for me, and a truly great film festival.
Joseph Graves – October 2022
Wonderful festival! Wish I could have attended in person but our producer was there and had wonderful things to say about his experience. Hammad and the staff were easy to communicate with via email and we felt welcome with open arms. Thank you, Lonely Seal!
Michael Lippert – Sloane: A Jazz Singer- October, 2023
Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival has been wonderful! The staff are fantastic and their communication is great. Winning best Play/Musical is an honor, and I’m thankful for the recognition of my work. Thank you Lonely Seal!
Sara Dinga – Breaker Lane
Hammad and his team were great with communication! And the event venue is fantastic. Great film festival for your first short or feature films! To top it off we won Best Feature Film and Best Music Score, so we definitely can’t complain. 🙂
Christopher Zawadzki – A Cautionary Tale – November, 2023
The Lonely Seal Film Festival was an amazing experience! Hammad and his team were the best — they provided great content, opportunities to meet fellow film makers, provided an awesome workshop on financing your film and were so generous with their time and resources in connecting personally with festival participants. I’ve been to different festivals and Lonely Seal is an absolute standout. I’ll definitely be back next year!
JP Livingston, Writer Iris (of the Sea) – November, 2023
I had a lovely experience at Lonely Seal. Hammad’s passion and generosity for film and filmmakers is evident in everything he does. His staff was warm and welcoming, and the venue was great. I really appreciated this opportunity to meet other creatives, to see some excellent films, and to have my work validated. Thank you!
Dawn Davis, writer of “Cheat Out.” November, 2023
My short documentary was screened last week at The Lonely Seal FF in Arlington, MA, and it was a terrific experience. This was my first film, and I was unsure of what to expect and more than a wee bit nervous. Hammad and his staff were warm and welcoming, and they turned the evening gathering into a comfortable, entertaining experience. The films were diverse and thought-provoking/eye-opening, generating some great conversations. This team has an eye for stories begging to be told! The theater was the perfect venue, too. I’m so glad this was my first experience as a filmmaker. I learned a lot in a comfortable environment surrounded by enthusiastic and interesting people.
Mary Bradley – A Porchfest Journey – November, 2023
The Lonely Seal film, screenplay, and music festival is destined for greatness. Already a top 100 festival on FilmFreeway, in just 7 short years, the future looks extremely exciting. Hammad Zaidi – festival founder and executive director- and his team, have a passion and talent for running a successful festival. Their attention to detail is exceptional.
Whatever your project is, rest assured it will be reviewed by people that know their crafts. And, if you’re one of the lucky ones to be selected, you’ll have history with a group of festival professionals that will make sure your work is showcased properly on the world stage. The Atomik Age Project is proud to have history with Hammad Zaidi and the Lonely Seal Film Festival. All the best going forward.
-Philip Curcuru – Back to 1964 – November, 2023
I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to screen my film at the Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival at the Regent Theatre in Arlington, Boston. Although I was only able to make it to the final day, I got to see several excellent films and being honoured with ‘Best Short documentary award was truly an amazing moment.
I would like to thank the Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival for the incredible platform they provided for filmmakers like me and I look forward to returning in the future.
Sam Watkins – The Vanishing Strings of the Andres – November, 2023
It was a great festival– Hammad and all at Lonely Seal were warm and welcoming. The films were excellent, and the seminar was helpful- I enjoyed the fest and was thrilled to win a Screenplay prize– which, unlike other festivals, involves FinalDraft software and consultation on my projects. THANK YOU, Lonely Seal!
Elizabeth Searle, writer of “Lock Her Up” – November 2023
Lonely Seal is the rare festival that doesn’t merely give lip service to cultivating scripts about/by/for the disempowered. Its ethos — namely “stories aching to be told,” and its founder’s genuine affinity for underdogs — makes Hammad Zaidi’s international film festival uniquely important.
Thus you can imagine I was tremendously humbled that Lonely Seal crowned my “Serenade of the Vulture” script (about a homeless Asian woman battling a tech billionaire) as “Best Overall Feature Screenplay” and “Best Dramatic Feature Screenplay.” Winning any competition validates a screenwriter’s hard work, but Lonely Seal’s mission statement resonates emotionally with my fascination with provocative tales of social injustice.
Our great nation has a long, troubled history of disrespecting people’s otherness… whether it’s race, religion, immigrants, physical ability, orientation, culture or poverty. I thank Lonely Seal for raising awareness of ALL films and scripts that amplify America’s forgotten voices. Thus it’s no coincidence that its categories include “Best Indigenous Film” and “Best Film Focused on Disabilities.”
I’m not the first screenwriter to delve into class warfare, income disparity, and cultural inequity, and I won’t be the last. That’s why a contest like Lonely Seal is so vital… it shines a light on the human condition of today’s era. And isn’t that the very definition of great art?
Joseph Dionisio – October, 2022
This festival was like no other, it really felt like being part of a family. All the films were truly of the highest caliber.
Javier Prato – Far From The Sun – November 2022
What a fantastic film festival. Nestled in the adorable and upscale neighborhood of Arlington, MA. and scheduled during Boston’s most beautiful fall weather, The Lonely Seal International Film Festival is A+ from beginning to end. My short film CARROTS premiered there and also won an Honorable Mention, but the real reward was the one-on-one time with the founder of the festival Hammad Zaidi – (who happened to be on our flight from Los Angeles too!) and also the interesting and important connections with other filmmakers. Tara (my lead actress) and I made memories that will last a lifetime. Great festival!
Karen Kennedy – “Carrots,” – October 2022
I was thrilled to learn my feature screenplay, “The Mulligan Caper,” won in its category and from such a wonderful festival! Very helpful, upfront and actually respond to queries! How many do that!! Thanks, Lonely Seal! As Arnold says, “I’ll be back.” A FIVE STAR for sure.
Henry P. Gravelle – The Mulligan Caper – October 2022
L.A. has Dances with Films. And the East Coast has Lonely Seal.
This festival champions the independent film as much as possible. 100% of the films accepted are from blind submissions. With nearly 50 screeners you will get a fair shot just like everyone else. And it’s at the magnificent Regent Theatre, which drips with history.
I was incredibly fortunate to not only get accepted but to win the Grand Jury prize for the music doc Oklahoma Breakdown. But the most valuable part of the experience was the in-person connection I had with Hammad Zaidi, who really cares about helping you make the most out of the direction of your film after production.
This festival might be under-the-radar for now but it will soon be recognized as a destination for filmmakers trying to break into the industry. 5***
Christopher Fitzpatrick – Oklahoma Breakdown. October, 2022
A great festival in a great venue! We’re so honored that our documentary “The Drive to Sing” was selected and won an award. Hammad and the Regent theater staff were very responsive and welcoming. They even allowed us do a live music performance on stage before the screening, and the tech director provided just the right amount of amplification and lighting.
Bryce Denney – The Drive to Sing – October 2022
A warm, inviting atmosphere in a charming historic theater made this festival special. Hammad Zaidi is passionate about films and has a wealth of information about the industry; a scheduled, hour and a half seminar ran to almost three hours, and he has continued to communicate with me even after the festival’s close. I’m so glad Lonely Seal was my first in-person festival experience. It was great to see my film, Dear Lily, Love Patrick among other thought-provoking, beautifully crafted films.
Jennifer Bartels – Dear Lilly, Love Patrick – October, 2022
Excellent service and advice, an extremely positive experience all around for us to be honoured to be involved.
Voices of Women (Australia)
In the suburbs of Boston, this film festival takes place at one of the most charming vintage theaters that has a long and celebrated history among locals. Hammad is the best communicator who will care for your personally. I highly recommend this in-person film festival.
Daniel Kennedy – Director, Living Through It – October, 2022
Five stars in every category for Hammad Zaidi and the Lonely Seal Festival! This is a hidden gem, and I can only hope it will gain more notice as the years go by. The summary of my experience is that the festival absolutely lives up to its two promises: 1) telling “stories aching to be told” and 2) offering excellent career advice and networking opportunities.
My film was selected for the festival, and I wanted to attend, but I had to miss the middle days since I was the maid of honor in a wedding in a different city. Hammad was so good about accommodating me, and I was able to see my film being screened. The wedding also meant I missed the scheduled career talk session. When I asked Hammad if it would be recorded, he said I could just set up a time with him to talk over the phone instead. Indeed, I walked away from every conversation I had with him having learned a new and valuable piece of advice.
Being at a festival committed to supporting diverse voices was also a delight. This year’s Grand Prize film (Oklahoma Breakdown) taught me about an incredible musician I had never heard of. I saw films that centered around disabled main characters *and* films with disabled side characters. While both are important, it is so rare to see the latter. At Lonely Seal I got to see a film with a deaf character where their deafness isn’t remarkable, where they are allowed to just be another friend in a group, in addition to incredible films that did center around characters’ disabilities. What a joy it was.
Lonely Seal puts their money where their mouth is: they support diverse storytellers and stories through the films they screen and the fountain of advice and networking opportunities they offer.
Margot Bruce – Director, Harbor – October, 2022
A smooth running festival with clear guidelines and helpful feedback on your work. The festival takes place in a traditional movie theater with fantastic sound and a huge screen giving it an authentic cinema lovers feel. Hammad is generous with his time and available for insight.
This was a well-executed and phenomenally run film festival. It would be one of my top recommendations to enter for any filmmaker or screenwriter.
– Virginia Austin October, 2021
It’s a great festival to submit to and gain exposure and also to mix and mingle with other filmmakers. They communicate with you through the entire film festival as well, in case there are changes.
Arturo Portillo, October, 2021
The festival went beyond my expectations and clearly supports excellent films and art above everything else!
Daniel Osorio – October, 2021
This festival is a hidden gem, nestled in a historic theater right outside Boston, with phenomenal films, top-notch hospitality and personal attention. I am grateful to Hammad and the entire Lonely Seal staff for making it such a warm and positive environment and with really high-quality films spurring amazing conversations. It cannot be missed.
Debated with myself about traveling from California, during a pandemic, and with all that’s on my plate. I’m SO glad I did. In my experience, Lonely Seal is a one-of-a-kind festival. The films I saw were on the whole fantastic, soul-stirring, even life-changing. I had a wonderful time networking with filmmakers and writers. And the fest’s dedication to educate and support every filmmaker and writer for their future career success is unparalleled. THANK YOU so much!
Laurie Lamson – October, 2021
My screenplay, Sub Rosa, was a finalist at Lonely Seal and while I couldn’t attend because I’m based in Europe, and was so impressed that despite COVID they were one of the few festivals to host live events (with safety protocols, of course). It’s so important for filmmakers to meet and mingle. I hope I’m lucky enough to be selected for another project so that I can finally meet the wonderful founders of Lonely Seal in person.
This wonderful, caring and brilliant festival director is the real deal. And therefore filmmakers or screenwriters should submit their projects with the confidence in knowing their story will be carefully appreciated and loved. Be assured that this Producer/Director/Writer will follow your “stories aching to be told” well after the festival has ended. For he gives himself unconditionally to all creatives, shares his knowledge and truths. From Sundance to Cannes, Hammad is the real deal.
Kelly Jean Karam – October 2021
This festival was a wonderful experience that I’d recommend to any filmmaker trying to get their work out there. Lonely Seal really cares about their films and filmmakers – I hope to go back next year!
Zachary Smolar – October, 2021
Great festival! Excellent communication, films, and presentation! I wish I could have attended in person. Lonely Seal is a gem. All the best to the team for the next event!
Nick Brandestini – October, 2021
A great festival whose organizer is always willing to help writers and filmmakers in their early career and networking.
Jacobo Fe Gismera – October, 2021
Really excellent event, one of the best I have attended. A stellar lineup of films, a great venue, and Hammad + the other organizers were really generous, supportive and encouraging. Made some great connections. Looking forward to the next one!
Malcolm St-Pierre – October, 2021
Lonely Seal Film, Screenplay & Music Festival: I have participated before and I love your mission. Your work is important to so many people. Thank you for recognizing my short accessible script, “When You’re Dead.”
David J. Schroeder – October, 2021
It was an excellent Festival! I really appreciate for choosing my short to be part of Lonely Seal! Every Staff was friendly, and they have worked super hard to make the festival happens! The theatre was amazing. I was gratefully glad that I attended. I have met a lot of great filmmakers and working professionals at the festival. Thank you so much again and look forward to next year’s Lonely Seal Festival!
Juseung Lee, October, 2021
This was an outstanding festival! I’ve attended a number of film festivals over the years, and this was probably my favorite. The film selections were top notch and the personal attention was unmatched. Highly recommend this festival, especially if you’re able to attend in person.
Terri Kauffman – Screenwriter – 2021
It was a great honor to have my screenplay, “Bode” selected as a finalist in the Script Accessible Category. Thank you so very much for all the hard work and dedication.
Steven B. Newman – October, 2021
The festival was so well organized and programmed. I was honored to have ODD BIRD included in the excellent films in 2020. Many thanks to the Lonely Seal Team for the enthusiastic response to our work and for organizing such a wonderful festival.
Katy Dory, director of “Odd Bird.” October, 2021
My team applied to Lonely Seal (with many festivals under our belts for other shorts — including top-level fests) because we thought it sounded interesting — like a filmmaker-focused event where we could see great films, but also connect with like-minded artists. Unfortunately, the pandemic didn’t give us the opportunity to gather in person (for any festival), but Hammad and Jonathan really delivered on the filmmaker-focused feel in spite of the obstacles.
Before the festival even started, Hammad spoke with me for over an hour, offering guidance and feedback on future projects. He was very generous and helpful. It didn’t stop there, as he and Jonathan (Hammad’s partner in ‘crime’) held meetups throughout the festival for filmmakers to connect and ask questions. And the selections of films were really top-notch.
If you want to apply to a festival that will nurture you as a filmmaker and offer an outlet for networking, this is a great festival.
I am so grateful to Lonely Seal for honouring my documentary “STRIVE” with Best Film Accessible Award. Thank you, Hammad and Jonathan, for bringing the stories that matter to a single platform for the world and giving a chance to filmmakers like myself to showcase their work. Everything about the festival was top-notch. I will definitely look forward to experiencing this festival every year.
Aamir Ali – October, 2020
We created meaningful connections at Lonely Seal this year not only with the incredible Jonathan and Hammad but also with fellow festival participants. The online seminars and get-to-know-you’s were a successful covid-19 pivot, as was the viewer-friendly streaming platform they created, which ended up increasing viewership beyond what would have been possible in a traditional in-person venue. Jonathan and Hammad are engaged, generous, and authentic, and the high caliber of films, scripts, and other work in the festival is inspiring.
Hammad Zaidi and Jonathan Nadeau throw a great festival. Unique in that it throws different-disciplined artists together under the same umbrella. The venue was super sweet and Hammad is generous with his vast and relevant knowledge drawn from his years in the business. It was a bonding experience that created a community I know I’ll be in touch with for years to come—highly recommended!
Sue Scarlett Montgomery, Director of “Bussed.” October, 2019
I love the Lonely Seal Festival. I am touched by its origin, of Hammad and his sister coming up with the name as children, inspired by a documentary in which a large group of seals was clubbed, except for one and that one died of loneliness.
Hammad and Jonathan have created an ultra-safe and friendly space for filmmakers. It is really true, as it says in its description, that these are stories aching to be told.
The festival took place in the classic, beautiful, charming and welcoming Regent Theatre in Arlington/Boston. It is a gorgeous space and the staff there were very kind and helpful.
From the very beginning, when I applied, Lonely Seal has been friendly and kind. They contacted me before they even made their decisions of who would be in the festival, to be in touch and let me know how things were going.
Hammad truly pays attention to every detail of the festival, putting like-minded people together and doing his best to help everyone have the best possible time and get what they need/are looking for as a filmmaker.
Jonathan is a very experienced and wonderful tech genius and has even offered to help the Lonely Seal filmmakers with their websites!
I also love the inclusiveness of the festival, especially including people with special needs and women (50% of the filmmakers in the festival this year were women!).
I met a lot of very creative, fun and friendly people at the festival and saw many unique, touching films.
Hammad shared his vast expertise at a very helpful seminar during the festival as well.
Also, Hammad has gotten right back to me, whenever I have contacted him and has encouraged me to keep in touch and is also going to be putting together a message system for the filmmakers to keep in touch.
Again, I can’t say enough how friendly Hammad and Jonathan are and how much they care about you as a filmmaker; they made me feel very special, appreciated and respected.
They really went above and beyond.
Thanks for giving me, a first-time, untrained filmmaker a chance.
Laura Scruggs, director of Best Documentary Winner, Uncle Fun: You’re the One.
I cannot say enough good things about the Lonely Seal festival! Hammad Zaidi and Jonathan Nadeau have created a gem of a fest: friendly, intimate, professionally curated, and filled with some of the most talented and interesting creatives I’ve met. The quality of the films blew me away, and the Lonely Seal website is a work of art showcasing trailers for all the films. This is one of the most organized, thoughtful, professionally crafted festivals out there. I can’t wait to see how it develops as it grows. Also, location location location. The festival is held in the super cool, historic Regent Theater in Arlington, MA. Snuggle down in one of the velour seats for a thematically-grouped block of films, then dash out for a meal or coffee in the adorable, pedestrian-friendly downtown lined with terrific food and drink options. I never ate at the same place twice because there was too much to choose from, but I would happily have returned for a second round to any of the establishments. So happy I attended. I feel like I went to summer camp with the best ever group of filmmakers and now have friends from around the world.
Get thee to the Lonely Seal!
Laura Jaques, writer of Best Feature Screenplay Winner, Deepa By Design.
In a field of literally thousands of film festivals, the Lonely Seal Festival stands out among one of the best in so many ways. Hammad, Jonathan, and their staff have provided a world stage for artists of all crafts to showcase their hard work.
It was an honor for us as song finalists, to be included with so many worldwide talented artists. Wishing everyone at Lonely Seal many more years of success. Most of all, good health. The Atomik Age Project is proud to have a history with you.
Philip Curcuru/AAP Music Group October, 2019
Great festival and wonderful people (organizers and artists). The venue was perfect and the movies looked great on the big screen – and it was big! Organizer Hammad Zaidi went out of his way to be helpful and made sure everything went off without a hitch. Highly recommended.
Jerry Robbins, Best Feature Screenplay Honorable Mention, Jimmy and the Star Angel. October, 2019
This is a small film festival that is growing really fast. I was really happy to win the Best International Short for my film SWAP. Hammad, the producer of this festival is a great man who really wants to help the filmmakers. He is respectful and generous of his time. You should submit here. I already submitted another project for next year. See you there.
Andre Gaumond, director of Best International Short Film Winner, Swap.
This is a unique festival with a personal touch. The Lonely Seal folks have a heart for artists and filmmakers and make themselves available in ways that go above and beyond. I heartily recommend submitting to and attending this joyful festival!
Wendy Young, screenplay finalist for The Superb Lyrebird and Other Creatures – October, 2019
This is a very special festival. The organizers are passionate about film, filmmakers and screenwriters who want all the projects to succeed and are very proactive in helping everyone. The vibe is incredible among the attendees, and the films themselves are outstanding. It’s one of the best networking festivals, with much time for mingling before and after. As a bonus, the seminar that Hammad ran on day 2 was among the best I’ve attended.
Tom Anastasi, writer & producer of Best Feature Film and Audience Award winner Spin the Plate.
Excellent festival. The organizers know the filmmaker’s and the screenwriter’s work and are considerate, knowledgeable and insightful. The venue is terrific for seeing films. The seminar was particularly valuable. So glad I participated in the Lonely Seal Film Festival.
Lee Kitchen, screenwriting finalist for The JoJo Mama and the Voodoo Queen – October, 2019
What a lovely, warm, validating festival. Right from the beginning, we have had a great connection with the festival. Every communication seemed personalized and authentic. The updates were regular and information easily accessed. Most importantly, their support goes beyond one festival edition. If they believe in your work Lonely Seal tries to create further opportunities for exposure and showcasing, which goes a long way in the journey of one’s film.
This is what a film festival should be; a mix of great films and easy networking in a classy location. We all had a great time. Big thanks to Hammad, Jonathan, and the back-up team, especially Hugh and Noah.
This was such a lovely festival. I’m glad to have gone there and seen all the wonderful films playing. The festival was very well organized. And I’m so happy to have met the talented filmmakers that made them. Such a warm embracing event set in one of the most perfect of settings to view films: an old charming Vaudevillian theatre at the heart of a beautiful and friendly community. And Hammad’s seminar was insightful, such a treat to have in the middle. I returned home a changed man. Thank you, Hammad and Jonathan, for putting this gem together!
Loved showing my film THE PROMISE this year at the fest. Loved the reaction it got from the festival and all the support Lonely Seal and Hammad gave to our little movie. You can really tell Hammad’s passion for his festival and all who take part in it. Keep at the dream Hammad and keep running an amazing film festival.
This is one of the most exciting and also one of the friendliest festivals that I have ever attended. The atmosphere is one of true creative camaraderie. Along with the chance to see some unique and fabulous films, the networking and learning opportunities are not to be missed. Lonely Seal is a world-class event and well worth the trip to attend no matter where in the world you are. Heartfelt thanks to Hammad, Jonathan, Hugh and everyone at the festival for working so hard to give us all such a memorable and dynamic experience. I was truly honored to be a part of it.
The Lonely Seal Festival is an amazing and very important event that highlights the works of filmmakers, screenwriters, musicians/music artists and disabled artists from all over the world. Hammad and Jonathan are great folks who are so supportive of their alumni. Whenever we reached out to them for any questions, they answered right away and were always helpful.
Our short film screenplay ‘I’m Not Going to Hurt You’ actually won the “Best Short Film Screenplay” award and we’re very grateful to be among the many talented winners this year.
We highly recommend submitting your films, screenplays, and music at this wonderful festival.
When I learned of this Festival’s inspirational and courageous beginnings and its passion to be inclusive and create opportunities for underrepresented filmmakers and writers, I knew I wanted to support it by sending in my work. I’m so glad I did. Though I couldn’t make the trip east this time, Festival Directors Hammad and Jonathan kept me well informed with warm and positive emails. Their commitment to the growth of their Fest and the expanding of opportunities for the creative community is evident. “When life throws you challenges…overcome them with positive actions that also help others!” could be the motto of this Fest. I look forward to participating again.
My deep appreciation to Hammad Zaidi and Jonathan Nadeau for all their hard work in making the Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival the success that it is. Thank you very much for honoring “Aktion T-4” as a top-9 finalist in your Script Accessible Best Screenplay category. My apologies for not being able to attend your Festival due to a family health crisis. The very best in all things to both of you gentlemen.
Communication excellent was pleased that two of my scripts made it all the way to the finals.
Great festival that treated us very well! Thank you so much!
Lonely Seal is run by such a warm, enthusiastic group of film lovers who were so attentive to the film’s needs and on top of all communication. Hammad was a joy to deal with. We were honored to play amongst such a great group of films. It’s on our list for next year!
What a fun fest. Hammad and his crew made it easy to participate and we always knew what was needed of us. There was a kind, happy energy around the whole thing. I hope to make it in with a new project next year!
I wasn’t able to attend but this is an event well worth the entry fee and very kind people.
Lonely Seal did a great job in all ways! While I was unable to personally attend, I had friends who were able to be there, and Hammad communicated at each step of the way, answering all my questions. I’m hoping to be selected in the future so I can personally attend this festival. They went above and beyond to make sure all films got the exposure we are all looking for. I highly recommend! And thanks again for selecting our music video Love Me So Much to be included with so many other great films!
My experience with Lonely Seals and organizers Hammad Zaidi and Jonathan Nadeau was nothing short of life-altering. Not only was I honored to receive an honorable mention award for short films (my first writing/production of one); but the two organizers were so generous with their time and attention to my film. Hammad gave a 3-hour master class in production, funding, distribution, and marketing of films which greatly re-focused my energies and strategy for moving forward to produce a full-length feature. He has continued to stay in contact and I will be participating in his traveling show. I feel I have gained a mentor, partner, and friend in Hameed who is sincerely interested in fostering new and diverse voices. I have attended 7 festivals this year with my film, and this was head and heels above the rest in terms of personal interactions, networking, education, and empowerment. I’m already planning my 2020 submission! –David Lally, writer/producer Dream House
I’m so grateful for this festival’s appreciation of quality projects. Thank you so much, Hammad, for screening Anne Frank Meets God. Hammad has been very generous and supportive in my career as a filmmaker and I celebrate his festival!
Although I could not attend the Lonely Seal International Film festival, it was an amazing experience. There are not many film festivals that give their filmmakers’ so much attention and respect. This is one that does. I look so forward to continuing a rapport with the festival heads and also to submitting again. Highly recommended.
Thank you to Hammad and team for a great festival!! Highly recommend!
You couldn’t ask for a better festival, or for better organizers. Hammad and Jonathan are incredible. They communicate quickly and with such personal care. You can tell they really want the participants to succeed and grow, and they have created a beautiful opportunity here. Lonely Seal was wonderful for artists to network, and for high-quality films and music to be showcased. I thought this was a brilliant festival, and I look forward to being a part of it over the years as it continues to grow. Awesome fest.
What a great festival experience! Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to attend, but communication has been unbelievable. It was great to see someone who I met at another Festival, earlier this year be recognized as an honorable mention in the screenplay competition. I’ve already scheduled the event dates for 2020 on my calendar. I can’t wait to attend. I highly recommend this festival to all filmmakers and screenwriters!
This was an incredible festival! Hammad was great and communicated extremely well, even moving my film when I had conflicts with another festival. I am humbled to be an honorable mention among such great films in such a great festival.
I love the Lonely Seal festival! In my first year being at this festival, I had an awesome experience! Huge thank you to very friendly and welcoming Hammad Zaidi and Jonathan Nadeau for the organization of this festival, big support of filmmakers and creative people! I will remember this festival as a great time of inspiring conversations, finding new friends and watching great movies! Highly recommend!
I absolutely loved this festival! After seeing the high quality of films/music I’m honored that one of my feature screenplays was included as a finalist. Hammad and Jonathan have created a very special event that provides an intimate setting for mingling and meeting other filmmakers (Hammad’s seminar was especially helpful)! Thank you so much for this opportunity…I’m planning on submitting again and would love to come back next year!
My experience with Lonely Seal and organizers Hammad Zaidi and Jonathan Nadeau was nothing short of life-altering. Not only was I honored to receive an honorable mention award for short films (my first writing/production of one); but the two organizers were so generous with their time and attention to my film. Hammad gave a 3-hour master class in production, funding, distribution, and marketing of films which greatly re-focused my energies and strategy for moving forward to produce a full-length feature. He has continued to stay in contact, and I will be participating in his traveling show.I feel I have gained a mentor, partner, and friend in Hameed who is sincerely interested in fostering new and diverse voices. I have attended 7 festivals this year with my film, and this was head and heels above the rest in terms of personal interactions, networking, education, and empowerment. I’m already planning my 2020 submission!
David Lally, writer/producer Dream House. October, 2019.
I can’t say enough good things about Hammad, Jon, and the MVP, Hugh. They couldn’t have been more welcoming and more passionate about the festival, the filmmakers, and every movie there. Hammad even accommodated our travel schedule when arranging the blocks to ensure we could be in attendance for our screening. The Going Bionic seminar was loaded with practical, firsthand industry information and was invaluable. Submit to this festival, and if you’re fortunate enough to get in, make no hesitations about attending.
Mark Ward – October, 2019
Producer, Hammad Zaidi, and his team know the film industry first hand and have organized an amazing film festival with quality screening facilities, top-notch panels and discussions, and fun receptions/parties. I highly recommend this festival!
Lorette Bayle, Director of “The Bake Shop Ghost,” and “Scarlett-Angelina.”
The best part about this fest is the connections you make, especially with Hammad, the festival director. Hammad is a very wise filmmaker himself, with many years of experience; and plenty of advice to give. He was so kind in sharing his wisdom throughout the fest. He and the rest of the festival team are all so nice and very easy to communicate with. I had a blast at this little fest, and I am very excited to see how it grows in the future.
Jacob Padilla, Director, “The Being Who Fell From the Stars.”
Awesome feedback and inspiration. Great communication and encouragement for writers and filmmakers.
Ernie Charles, Director, “I Think I Need a Drink.”
Dear Lonely Seal Film Festival,
Thank you for helping young filmmakers to succeed and see their work.
I am very happy to have played my film and share it, at this great festival.
Be part of your amazing festival is an honor to me.
Hamze Zarei, Director, “Song of Hands.”
This is a great festival! Worth it.
Tony Mouleart, Director, “The Newcomer.”
This is a beautiful film festival. From the very beginning, the communication was great and personal, you never felt like just another number. Hammad understands how to run a film festival, and more importantly, really cares about the films he programs and the filmmakers behind them. I was unable to attend the festival, but Lonely Seal was great about updating their FB page, so even though I was unable to be there, I still felt like I was a part of the festivities. It’s hard to believe that this was their first year because everything ran so smoothly. I plan on submitting all of my future projects to them, I recommend everyone submit to this festival, you won’t regret it!
Taryn Hough, “The Last Doll Lady.”
It was an absolute pleasure to be involved in The Lonely Seal. We traveled from Sydney to Boston to attend this inaugural event. Hammad, the festival director, was extremely communicative before, during and after the event. The filmmaker strategy advice offered by Hammad was invaluable. We feel that we have been taken into the fold and that our journey as filmmakers will be nurtured and supported into the future. It will be interesting to see how this poignant and touching festival, with its values of giving voice to the disenfranchised and supporting the underdog, will develop.
Rachele Windmare, Director, “The Paper Boat.”
This was a wonderful Festival experience and a very warm atmosphere. The Lonely Seal team made me feel very welcome. It was an honor to be there as a filmmaker from Zimbabwe, and meet so many amazing filmmakers from all over the world! I look forward to attending next year!!
Tatenda Mbudzi, Director, “Zim High”
Although I couldn’t attend this year’s festival, I felt like I was a part of the event ahead of time. Hammad is a very humble and simple man, despite his busy schedule he cared to contact me personally to show appreciation for my work. I would start preparing a trip for next year’s festival from today!
Anne Abdalla, “Fhedi.”
Lonely Seal was very proactive in communicating with us, and that really stood out. An organized, helpful arts organization with goals I appreciate.
Greg Bowen, Director, “Kids Table, What Happened to Alicia?”
The festival prize package is worth the price of admission. Plus, it is run by a great team of people. Check it out!
Jeffrey Orig, Director, “Waikiki PD.”
What an amazing festival with great people and awesome prizes!
Najla Zaidi, Director, “The Christmas Tree.”
Many thanks to the organizers! This Festival has been one of the most enjoyable experiences for my film and myself. The organizers gave us a warm, supportive welcome. The best of all: the Main Awards are convert to real support and distribution helps! I would recommend entering your film here!
Michel Finazzi, Director, “Central Bloc.”
Really enjoyed being a part of the festival! Great communication and people. Looking forward to another shot next year.
Chason Liang, Director, “Breakers: Saving Harper Ross.”
Hammad, the Founder, and Director of Lonely Seal International Film Festival have a very good communication with the cineastes, He really cares about filmmakers, and I thanks a lot for he works hard and kind. I am honored, and grateful to Lonely Seal chose my film Home of Mephibosheth for showcase in the Regent Theatre, a 100+-year-old cinema house. I am looking forward to coming back with my new movie for this GREAT film festival!!!
Li Guang, “Director, “Home of Mephibosheth.”
Hammad was very personal and a great selection of films. Thanks so much for including my film and screenplay!
Mary C. Ferrara, Director, “Schmoopie.”
Good Communication. Thanks for selecting our short film Kainaatu (Uneducated). Will surely submit my works in next edition also.
Harish Gokul, Director, “Kianaatu.”
Words can not describe how enjoyable this festival was to both screen at and attend. First off, it took place in the historic Regent Theatre in Arlington, MA – the most beautiful of theaters in the most quaint little area with so much to do. The films selected were beyond impressive with a wide range of both documentaries and short/feature films. I was honored the festival directors, Hammad and Jonathan selected my film to be screened among such incredible award-winning pieces. This film festival is what all festivals need to strive for – the community, support, and resources Lonely Seal provided reminded why I got into filmmaking and why visual storytelling is so enriching. Thank you thank you thank you!
Ian Stack, Director, “Close to Home.”
We are glad we attended the Lonely Seal International Film and Screenplay Festival and screen our film “Starlit” there. Before the screening were we able to talk to other interesting filmmakers and I was able to talk to the organizer Hammad Zaidi about distribution. Then we saw two really good short films. After our screening, we had a very nice Q&A with the audience where we exchanged ideas.
Kerry Borchardt, “Producer, “Starlit.”
The Lonely Seal International Film Screenplay and Music Festival accepted my short A MEDITATION to play their inaugural event. For the first acceptance, communication with the festival was clear, professional and timely. The head of the festival Hammad Zaidi himself reached out and sent instruction a number of times. I was unable to attend the festival but was there in spirit and followed Facebook postings. Following the festival, I received an email thanking me for participating and with a software offer. All in all a professional, positive, emerging festival worth the application.
Joe Petricca, Director, “A Meditation.”
Absolutely loved screening my film Mrs. Murphy’s Confession with these other filmmakers. Such an honor! Loved the programming for this new, enthusiastic festival.
Catherine Haun, Producer & Writer, “Mrs. Murphy’s Confession.”
Hammad and Jonathan have started a really beautiful festival with an enlightened curatorship. I am honored to have taken part and would encourage others to do the same.
Dina Rudick, Emmy-Award-Winning documentarian, Director, “The Race.”
I am very thankful to be a part of this film festival especially the first year of it. I loved the diversity throughout the films from all over the world. Hammad, the festival director, is very organized and lovely to work with. Can’t wait for next year!
Bridget Johnson, Director, “The Girl at the Library.”
I loved that this festival had such a wide variety of films. Hammad and Jonathan are genuine in their love of filmmaking and helping filmmakers.
Becky Paige, Director, “The Stand: How One Gesture Shook the world.”
I wish I could attend Boston to be a part of the first edition of the festival as an Iranian filmmaker. However, my fully independent short film was selected by Hammad to be screened in competition. Also in his review, he suggested te turn my short film to a feature film. It could be the praise for a short film!!! I hope such independent films could screen in other festivals in the US.
Zardosht Afshari, Director, “Burning Smell of Stone.”
I am so grateful I had the opportunity to work with such an incredible festival. Lonely Seal was very informative and such a great group to work with. I would definitely recommend this festival to all filmmakers!
Mia Simmons, Director, “I, Object.”
What an incredible experience I had at the Lonely Seal Film Fest! From start to finish it was nothing but pure joy and fun filled with wonderful people. Hope to attend the festival next year!
Noah Pitifer, Director, “Three Courses.”
Lonely Seal International Film, Screenplay and Music Festival is a filmmaker’s dream come true for filmmakers! It’s hard work to complete a film, but it’s even harder to get your film marketed and seen by a larger distributor. Hammad and his business partner Jonathan help filmmakers get their content in front of world cinema and television buyers. Lonely Seal Releasing, has a booth at the Cannes Film Market for over 15 years. Our film won “Best Picture” and audience choice award. We’ve been invited to go to Cannes!! The overall experience was AMAZING!! This is a festival is filled with so much heart and support. This festival is a huge advocate for filmmakers. I cannot recommend this festival enough!! Truly a MAJOR GEM for filmmakers.
Kasha Fauscett, “My Amish World.”
Awesome Festival – my screenplay was selected as a finalist. Hammad and the team really provide a very personal and tailored approach. Their advice and knowledge on marketing scripts and next steps for writers are invaluable.
Jaspal Kunner, Writer, “Eye for Eye.”
What a beautifully curated festival! I was very impressed by the other films, and Hammad and Jonathan were wonderful hosts. The atmosphere of the festival is very supportive and nurturing and focused on building community. The theater is beautiful, and I can’t wait to attend next year.
Rachel Grissom, Writer & Producer, “Ripe Figs.”
This was a beautifully curated festival. I was so proud to be selected along with an another Australian Rachelle Mare’s Paper Boats She and her partner is consummate artists and the winning feature My Amish World was an exhilarating drama drawn from real life. 50% of selected filmmakers were women and the section from Boston filmmakers was also a show of unbridled creativity. There were some outstanding international entries. I didn’t win but I couldn’t be prouder to be premiered alongside these wonderful filmmakers.
Roshan Hill, Director, “This is or Us.”
Although unable to attend this festival, I was very honoured to have been selected to screen my film here and felt very nurtured and appreciated at every step of the way by Hammad and his team. I love the festival’s mission to be diverse, inclusive and accessible. As a young filmmaker just starting out, the festival circuit can be brutal. This one felt like a warm homecoming. I’m just so happy to know that there are people like Hammad and Jonathan who deeply care about the journey of the indie filmmaker and look forward to the possibility of screening here again one day. So much gratitude – thank you!!
Kasha Sequoia Slavner, Director “The Sunrise Storyteller.”
A top-notch new festival created by two guys who really care about presenting quality films and the filmmakers who make them. Communication was excellent throughout, and Boston’s Regent Theatre is a superb venue. So pleased we could screen ‘In Everyone’s Eyes – El último!’ here.
Lloyd Frost Director, “In Everyone’s Eyes.”
We had an absolute blast attending this exciting & diverse inaugural festival. With an inspiring line up of 50/50 split of female directors / female-driven films, Hammad & Johnathan are truly standing for inclusivity in the film industry. Our film came up beautifully on this historic screen. I’m looking forward to seeing how this festival grows over the coming years.
Miri Stone, Director of “Light Me Up.”