Lonely Seal Film Festival


We are gifting $225,000+ of in-kind prizes.

Mission Statement

We cherish inclusiveness, independent voices, and stories that are aching to be told. 

Our Cinematic Oasis

The Lonely Seal Film Festival is combining a virtual reality streaming cinema with the ambiance of the Regent Theatre, a 102-year-old classic cinema house in Arlington, MA (Boston). We launch into cyberspace October 1, 2018, and we land at the Regent on October 5th and 6th for live screenings, panels, screenplay readings and an awards ceremony.

Our festival attendees at the Regent Theatre can also watch our online screening room in a shared, VR experience. Thus, we are showcasing cinema like never before.

(The Regent Theatre, circa 1916)

Films don’t have to have been made in virtual reality to screen, and if selected, filmmakers can forgo their online screenings if they so choose. However, our streaming and SEO technology are built to wrangle several million views worldwide, so the films that screen in our VR screening room online will enjoy a substantial social media footprint. 

Our Story

Way back in the 1970’s, Hammad Zaidi and his sister Mona watched a documentary on the clubbing of harp seals. All of the snow-white pups perished, except for one, which they called “The Lonely Seal.” Soon thereafter, Hammad began his lifelong quest to help the voices of the few. 



In 1997, Hammad began producing, and executive producing indie films under the Lonely Seal banner. In the same year, he began a 20+ year journey of serving as a judge, panelist, filmmaker advisor, showcase curator, screenwriting judge, advisory board member, sponsor and world cinema screener at several film festivals worldwide, like Sundance, SXSW, Slamdance, Nashville, Cinequest and many more.

In 2005, Hammad founded Lonely Seal Releasing, an international film distribution, and production company.

In 2010, he created “Script Accessible,” a screenwriting contest for writers with disabilities and non-disabled writers who write about disabled lead characters. “Script Accessible ” was showcased at Slamdance in conjunction with the Writers Guild of America-West. The 2010 winner, “All the Wrong Reasons,” was produced and went on to win the Discovery Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival. 

Also in 2010, Zaidi created and wrote “Going Bionic,” a distribution and career strategy column that started at FilmThreat. New articles are on this site, and our 300+ archived articles are at www.GoingBionic.com.


 In 2016, Zaidi met Jonathan Nadeau, a blind technologist, and soon thereafter, Nadeau became the CTO of Lonely Seal Releasing.


 In 2018, Jonathan Nadeau and Hammad Zaidi cofounded Hourglass24, a sales and distribution platform for the brightest new creations available today.