Tiffany Shlain Melds Collaboration & Cloudsourcing Into Cloud Filmmaking [Video]

There's a myriad number of techie memes that have entered our zeitgeist derived from a term we use to simply call "collaboration." Pre-Internet, dating back to the idiom or trope of "Hey, Lets Put On A Show," Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney were the first in movies to introduce a plot line signaling the need for collaboration. Today, instead of orphans trying to raise money to turn a barn into a stage, filmmakers are looking to the clouds not only for funding but also inspiration. 

Tiffany Shlain is a filmmaker who believes the future of filmmaking should be based on collaboration. However her resources are found beyond the neighborhoods of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. Ms Shlain, instead has her head in the clouds. Admittedly, hardly shooting anything herself, her work is the result of remixing and recontextualizing images of others for her documentaries.

In interviewing her today for this post, Shlain notes: "The new tools and technologies that enable video sharing have allowed me and my team at The Moxie Institute to embark on a whole new adventure that we call CLOUD FILMMAKING."

For aspiring filmmakers who'd like to take this awarding-winning filmmaker's lead, Shlain suggests a couple of resources, accessible by anyone. "The Internet Archive ( is an excellent resource for aspiring filmmakers who want to explore making films using existing footage, artwork and other creative assets. It’s essentially an Internet library that offers tons of footage that you can access for free to remix."

"YouTube also has a plethora of video content but users must ask the owners of each video if they can have permission to use their clips. There’s no easy way to get this permission, unfortunately, other than to write to the person who posted it to confirm that they own it and to ask for their permission to use it," adds Shlain.

Shlain's fans are also encouraged to send clips directly to her Facebook and Twitter accounts which have 16K and 12K friends and followers, respectively. By so doing, "they’re granting us permission to use them in our films," she says. Other resource suggestions for clip transfers would be and Dropbox.

Tiffany ShlainTiffany Shlain"Archival aesthetic is the foundation of my filmmaking style," states Shlain.  Her acclaimed documentary titled, CONNECTED: AN AUTOBLOGOGRAPHY ABOUT LOVE, DEATH & TECHNOLOGY, is comprised of a combination of archival images from many eras sewn together with new original animations, in her attempt to understand our world, where we came from, and where we’re headed. Underscoring her theme of human lives moving from independence to interdependence, Shlain's visuals are compassionate eye-candy, as she weaves personal loss into man's need for connections and cross-pollination, while continually asking the thought-provoking question: "Where have all the honeybees gone?" along the way.

The movie premiered in New York City, October, 2011 and was just launched for downloads in its entirety on iTunes, February 5, 2012.

The results of the iTunes premiere is testimony to Shlain's successful filmmaking formula. "In just a couple of days, we were ranked among the top 10 best selling documentaries on the site," bringing in a whole new audience for the filmmaker.

Additionally, the film has won 14 honors, including a 2012 Disruptive Innovation Award from The Tribeca Film Festival, and the Interdependence Film Prize from the Berlin International Film Festival and The Interdependence Movement. Last year, Connected opened the 2012 American Film Showcase hosted by the U.S. Department of State and the USC School of Cinematic Arts that kicked off in Cape Town South Africa.

When asked: What advice Shlain could provide indie filmmakers who have a hard time raising funds and sometimes a harder time organizing and promoting screenings? -- she responded:

                                 Note: Tugg is available here and Gathr can be found at

Shlain cut her teeth on the Internet some 16 years ago when she founded The Webby Awards, the leading international honors for websites.  As business leader and creative director for nearly a decade, Shlain along with Maya Draisin and hundreds of others built The Webby Awards into a global institution and industry bellwether, attracting thousands of entries from more than 40 countries and all 50 states.

For more insight pertaining to Shlain's filmmaking techniques and expertise, please visit her at Twitter: