Meet the Visionaries Behind MILC and The Film Verdict’s Alpha Film Festival, the First Metaverse Film Festival

When MILC metaverse founder Hendrik Hey decided that he wanted to launch a full-scale film festival in the metaverse, he knew he needed to collaborate with someone who held similar visionary views to execute his vision.

Enter The Film Verdict, lead by Eric Mika. Mika was who MILC initially partnered with to bring this vision to life, as they both share the same vision of the role of technology in furthering the industry, and together, the concept of the film festival was born.

Mika was happily retired when the need for The Film Verdict emerged due to a lack of focus from U.S. trade magazines at film festivals. He partnered with Deborah Young, one of the magazine’s editors, to launch their platform at the Venice Film Festival and the success of The Film Verdict only continued from there. And when it was time to begin laying the foundation for what would become the Alpha Film Festival, Deborah knew just who to call.

Ben Nicholson, has been a member of The Film Verdict since the digital publication launched in 2021. He specializes in experimental film and artists, often writing pieces that pose questions about the changing film industry.

“I am always asking questions about the new digital landscape,” he said. “Though we’ve seen the far-reaching potential for the metaverse across a number of industries, apart from the NFT craze, we have not seen extensive forays into the arts yet.”

Nicholson is a passionate lover of the space where cinema and technology collide, and a distinct voice in the film review world. Due to his expertise in  short films, which are the focus of the virtual festival, and his years of experience in festival programming, Young suggested that Nicholson be the point person for the film festival collaboration.

MILC Meets The Film Verdict

MILC partnered with The Film Verdict to produce Alpha Film Festival after Hey became impressed by the magazine’s success and quick rise to the top of the industry, though their partnership extends beyond this event. Mika has a willingness to explore the opportunities that web3 and the MILC metaverse have to offer, and Hey and his team want to actively support the growth and continued success of The Film Verdict.

In just 18 months, the publication became an extraordinarily recognized brand. It was graciously accepted at every major international film festival and treated on par or better than established trade papers with 200-year histories.

This revealed to both Hey and Mika that the film industry and the film-loving public were looking for more in-depth and serious film reviews, commentary, and ideas. The logic behind the film festival is that, if people are looking for a new kind of magazine, they are most likely looking for a new kind of film festival as well.

As Festival Director, Nicholson was tasked with curating the programme of “Future” themed screenings and panel discussions, which would best fit the festival theme and the virtual environment. Both from an attention and data load perspective, short films make the most sense for the metaverse right now and the festival provides the perfect opportunity for key voices from innovators in that particular space.

“Short films are made for the metaverse. Most experimental films aren’t feature-length, and they appeal to open-minded audiences. What you find in the metaverse are objective people interested in exploring new ideas,” said the Festival Director. “I’ve never viewed short films as shortcuts to feature films or calling cards for what a director can do. It’s just not the case. Short films are their own entity and not just a path to feature films. Short films are more direct and compact.”

What the entire team envisioned together was, not an encroachment on traditional film festivals, but a complementary event. One that they hope will become a new standard for how digital metaverse festivals can develop symbiotic relationships with traditional festivals.

To bring the vision together would require extensive regular planning amongst the wider teams of MILC and The Film Verdict, with MILC providing a breakthrough, paradigm-shifting platform, and The Film Verdict leading expertise in the entertainment industry.

Would write this more broadly. In reality it involved regular planning as a group (mainly Ben, myself and the wider TFV Verdict were involved in the details of how the festival was designed). But Ben had full responsibility over the programming of the festivals, the concepts & which films were to be included.

About the Programming

The festival is planned for five full days in March and is public, with tickets costing five dollars or less on their website Designed for general audiences, the program is will also appeal to industry veterans curious about what they can expect for the future of film in the metaverse, dubbed film3 since it exists in web3.

“In considering the programming, there were many questions to ask ourselves,” said Nicholson. “For example, how does the experience of watching several shorts at home on your computer differ from attending a festival and seeing multiple shorts in a day?” he asked. Questions like this led the team to consider how to operate a festival in this medium, create the best experience possible, and encourage the largest number of people to log in and attend.

The programme will include shorts and panels. The official selections will be shared via three programs debuting at official screening events at 6 pm UTC Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The main section of the programme, called the Official Selection, will provide an on-demand viewing of all 12 films in this section. For these 12 films, there will also be a community voting to determine who will win the 2023 Audience Award.

The first program is called Present Is Prologue and will be a selection of films centered on the idea of Visions of Future Past. “This is a selection of films that create links using various perspectives to cast the present — or indeed, the future — as history to be mined and excavated,” said Nicholson.

Next up is ‘Behold This Strange Intelligence,’ a series on the hot topic of AI. These films engage with notions of artificial intelligence in several ways, from fictional stories built around the complexities of non-human intelligence to shorts that position AI as a helpful tool of the future.

The final program revolves around machinima, games, and film. ‘Kings of Infinite Space’ explores the boundaries between video games and real life. It consists of films made inside of game environments that probe the societies reflected in our cultural creations.

Nicholson’s passionate ideas on how film3 will affect the movie industry provide an intriguing glimpse of what we can expect to be wowed by in years to come. Reserve your tickets to the Alpha Film Festival in the MILC Metaverse at

About Hendrik Hey and MILC

Hendrik Hey is the founder of MILC (Media Industry Licensing Content), a blockchain-based content licensing company aimed at democratizing the content media buying and distribution industry. MILC is a sister company of European media giant Welt der Wunder, which Hey also founded more than 25 years ago. For more information about how MILC empowers content creators in web3, please visit

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