Interview with Festival Director Auregan (ANIMATION STUDIO FESTIVAL)

 

Our selection is based on love, emotion, and great talent. The movies we chose to select are creative, sincere and powerful. They drive you somewhere else, or deep inside so you can feel, learn, be surprise, laugh, discover a new perspective.

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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Auregan: We have exclusive categories such as Best Story and Best Design. This way we want to reward the most sensitive films even if they didn’t have the budget for specific animation, and we also want to pick some of the best animators and animation designers. On a general perspective I have always been in love with animated films and by making these festival I want to select the new generation of talented and passionate filmmakers.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

We are planning for high quality screening event involving the filmmakers by sharing and showing their craft and amazing expertise.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We have eight categories, for short and feature films, for 2D, 3D, traditional, digital animation and even stop motion. Shorts must be less than 30 minutes and features over 40 minutes. For the rest we are expected moving and entertaining and funny films from all over the world !

Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

There is some truth in that. Sometimes the bigger festival becomes the more the selection goes to some kind of etablished names, talents and films. It is up to the filmmakers to carrefuly chose the festivals they submit to. At the Animation Studio Festival, we are fully transparent, you can check our website and we answer each and every email. We are looking for the most sincere and involved filmmakers regardless of their status.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We really love animated films. We watch them all the time. We noticed that there is so much more originality in animated films than in other films’ genres. The imagination of the animators and the authors seems unlimited !

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

There is a fisrt selection made by our team, then the selection is sent to the jury members who decide who the winners will be for each category. Nowadays the submission process is made really easy thanks to the platforms. We are on FilmFreeway but also on WithoutaBox, Click for Festivals and Festhome. So far the response as been great from the filmmakers !

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

There are so many artists, animators, screenwriters we would love to have as jury members… Also I guess I want the festival to grow but I also want to keep it close to the audience and the submitters.

What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Probably The Lion King. I know all the dialogues and the songs by heart.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great story. Definitively.

How is the film scene in your city?

You know, films are what Los Angeles is about. The city lives with movies, breathes films, everyday. There is a lot of competition but judging by the response we have to the Animation Studio Festival, we already are standing out.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Happy Birthday: Will Smith

Festival Reviews

willsmith.jpgWill Smith

Born: September 25, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Married to: Jada Pinkett Smith (31 December 1997 – present) (2 children)
Sheree Fletcher (9 May 1992 – 10 December 1995) (divorced) (1 child)

[on refusing to kiss Anthony Michael Hall in Six Degrees of Separation (1993)] It was very immature on my part. I was thinking, ‘How are my friends in Philly going to think about this?’ I wasn’t emotionally stable enough to artistically commit to that aspect of the film. In a movie with actors and a director and writer of this caliber, for me to be the one bringing something cheesy to it… This was a valuable lesson for me. Either you do it or you don’t.

MEN IN BLACKMen in Black
1997
dir. Barry Sonnefeld
also starring
Tommy Lee Jones
Laura Flynn Boyle
ALIAli
2001
dir. Michael Mann
Starring
Smith
Jamie Foxx
Jon Voight
BAD BOYS 2Bad Boys 2
2003

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Interview with Festival Director Karl Rössel (AFRIKA FILM FESTIVAL)

AFRIKA FILM FESTIVAL KÖLN
1992 – 2015: 25 years of Films from Africa in Cologne/Germany

THE FESTIVAL:
FilmInitiativ Köln e.V has been organising the AFRIKA FILM FESTIVAL KÖLN since
1992 in Cologne/Germany. In 25 years more than 750 films from 40 African countries have been shown and the cinema-goers had the opportunity to get to know more than 160 filmmakers.

The AFRIKA FILM FESTIVAL KÖLN presents the most comprehensive range of
contemporary African cinema in Germany. As a result, the festival has grown in
national and international stature during the years.

In preparation for the Cologne festivals FilmInitiativ has regularly attended the panafrican film festival FESPACO in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso. FilmInitiativ has also attended African film festivals in Durban, Tunis (Carthage), Rabat and Cairo, as well as those in Milan, Amsterdam, Leuven, Tarifa/Cordoba and Frankfurt a.M. Special programmes featuring films from Africa that are screened at international film festivals, such as Cannes, Berlin, Rotterdam, Venice, Locarno, Toronto and Innsbruck, are also reviewed and evaluated for the Cologne festival.

FilmInitiativ offers information about all films and guests that were presented at the festivals in Cologne via a database in three languages on the website:
http://www.films-from-africa.com

The 15th edition of the festival will be held from September 21 to October 3, 2017. It will mark the 25th anniversary of the festival.

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Matthew Toffolo What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Karl Rössel: The festival provides an opportunity for filmmakers from Africa and from the global African diaspora to present their films to the German audience. We promote those films not only by presenting them at our festival in Cologne, but also by recommanding them to cinemas and festivals in other German cites. We also subtitle some of the festival films as it makes it easier to distribute them in Germany.

For those filmmakers who come to visit the festival we organise meetings with the documentary and feature departments of the WDR. The WDR is Germanys biggest
public TV station and based in Cologne.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year
(2017)?

Given that we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the AFRIKA FILM FESTIVAL KÖLN,
people attending our festival can not only expect about 80 new films from more than 20 countries in Africa and from the diaspora, but also 30 guests, two exhibitions, four live music acts including an anniversary concert (with the Kasai Allstars from Kinshasa) and a party (with the Steven Ouma Band from Cologne).

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The films for our festival are selected by the whole festivalteam. If the opinions in our team on certain films are inconsistent we also ask friends from African communities and others for their advise. We always try to present the best films from festivals in Africa, including those winning major awards.

The most important criteria for the selection is, that films should be directed by people from Africa or the African diaspora and not by Europeans or Americans. We deliberately present films from Africa, not about Africa. All genres and styles are welcome as long the content and form of the films are interesting and
inspiring. Given that we see cinema as a form of art we are not interested in
mainstream films, which are just shot for commercial reasons.

Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

At festivals like the Berlinale (as well as other international A-festivals like Cannes, Venice and Rotterdam for example) films from Africa still are widely ignored. The few exceptions from this rule do not represent the great variety of genres, styles and contents of contemporary filmmaking in Africa. While films from Asia and Latin America are more regulary presented at international festivals, they still seem to be not interested or capable to do comprehensive research on new developments in African cinema.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

The association organising the festival, FilmInitiativ Köln e.V., was founded in 1988 when it set itself the objective of “arousing interest in cinematic art by screening films and giving lectures and seminars and also to stimulate and encourage political discussions”. In doing so, “primarily films that are not represented in the listings of commercial cinemas should be given a platform. These could be significant films in cinematic history or culture which document the cinematographic works of non-European filmmakers”. After presenting a first series of films from West Africa in 1992, the whole team of FilmInitiativ in 1993 traveled to Burkina Faso to attend the legendary panafrican film festival FESPACO. Overwhelmed by the amount of fascinating films from African directors, which we discoverd at this festival inOuagadougou, we decided soon after to concentrate on the presentation of films from Africa. By providing opportunities to watch those films and to discuss with African directors at eye level we also try to overcome sterotypes and racist prejudices, which are still widely spread in Germany when it come to Africa and its people.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We received more than 400 film submission via FilmFreeway. The problem is, that
even if you define certain criteria, many filmmakers submit their films without fulfilling the criteria.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We hope that we will be able to present (and finance!) a festival in 2020, which will be as comprehensive, diversified and ambitious as our anniversary festival this year.

What film have you seen the most times in your life?

„Hyènes“ by Djibril Diop Mambety from Senegal, because we have presented this
masterpiece several times in the last 25 year.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film moves and changes the audience watching it.

How is the film scene in your city?

There are not enough cinemas and screens in Cologne.

Film does not play the role it should. If people in Cologne still get a chance to watch important films from around the world, it is due to the efforts of independent film groups (like FilmInitiativ Köln e.V.) and a few art house cinemas.

afrika.jpg

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Festival Directors Daniel Foreman & Sharlene Millang (Edmonton Short Film Festival)

 

The Edmonton Short Film Festival (ESFF) is dedicated to the elevation of Alberta Independent film. The ESFF showcases Alberta filmmakers outside of the “normal” festival market and features diverse projects (newly created or “dusted off” favourites) including: trailers, music videos, web series, commercials, short films … as long as it’s less than 15 minutes, we’ll accept it! There are two main screening events: a Red Carpet Gala on October 14 and a Family Fun Film Fest on October 15.

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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers? ​

Daniel Foreman & Sharlene Millang: We are a jumping point to take emerging Alberta filmmakers and help them progress in their careers. A lot of them have only known YouTube as an audience and never played in a sold out theatre or networked with industry professionals. We give them the opportunity to move forward professionally with a filmmaker skills class (included in each submission), and we offer cash prizes for best of category. We also bring them up on stage to be recognized.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year
(2017)?​


Saturday night Gala:

As a film lover, you will be greeted by ushers at the door and directed to the ticket table, refreshment bars and to volunteers serving free, fresh, hot popcorn. There is a selection of pre-gala movies playing on the screens in the lobby and many opportunities to network and interact with other filmmakers and film fans. There is a silent auction where you can bid on exciting prizes. If you prefer, you can relax in the theatre and experience the pre-show on the big screen. We encourage our patrons to become engaged by tagging #ESFF2017 and
seeing their posts live on our Twitter wall.​

The first batch of films run for about 45 minutes and the audience will experience documentaries, commercials, comedies, dramas, animations and more. The maximum length of each film is 15 minutes so if someone doesn’t like what they’re seeing, they can just wait a few minutes and they will experience something new​

At the intermission, you will be entertained by live music by Olivia Rose and be fed hot food served by Drift Food Truck, which is all included in your ticket price of under $20. Free popcorn and bars serving local beer (as well as wine and soft drinks) give you get a great chance to meet new people and have fun in our festive atmosphere. Take a moment to have your photo taken on the red carpet!​

The second act has another 45 minutes of film and then the audience votes on the their choice from all the films that have been screened. ​

Sunday afternoon Family Fun Film Fest​

This FREE event includes a variety of activities for younger children including virtual reality demonstrations, facepainting, green screen backgrounds to play against, a GPS scavenger hunt, a photobooth with costumes and more. ​

The movies in the theatre include many excellent student films and family friendly shorts, and will showcase a special presentation by Edmonton born Hollywood actor Josh Emerson.

Filmmakers in attendance will also be recognized.​

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The only mandatory requirements are Alberta-created, under 15 minutes, screenable content (e.g., no pornography, extreme violence or extreme language). We accept all genres and any date of creation. Our selection process is based on production value, story and performance. Then the program is pulled from the best technical films to create an awesome audience experience.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival? ​


Our biggest motivation is to help emerging Alberta filmmakers move their careers forward. It is a great feeling to have the filmmakers on stage beside us at the end of the evening and celebrating with them in front of a packed house.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?​

This was our first year on Film Freeway and it has been fabulous. It’s been a great way to supplement direct submissions on our site and opened a whole new group of Alberta filmmakers who may not otherwise have found our festival.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We see it including the western provinces and territories in Canada: BC, Yukon, NWT, Nunavut, Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It will be a week-long festival with speakers from across Canada, industry professionals and agents buying films. The short film section will still be the focus but we will expand to features as well.

What film have you seen the most times in your life? ​

Dan: Ghostbusters. I saw it at least 10 times in the theatre and countless times on video after. I still own and watch the original VHS tape which has held up remarkably well.

Sharlene: Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

In one sentence, what makes a great film? ​

A great film comprises of compelling story and interesting characters all woven together with fantastic visuals and stellar sound.

How is the film scene in your city? ​

Edmonton has a dynamic, vibrant film scene that is very, very indie. We don’t get a lot of big productions here currently but we make up for it with rich grassroots filmmaking. ​

Here’s a tidbit just for your information (not part of our official response):​
The newly-created Edmonton Screen Industries Office includes the full range of
screen-based entertainment, education and training – from mobile, television, Internet streaming and theatrical release inclusive of live action, animation and interactive video games. http://www.edmontonscreenindustries.com/​

With the creation of this new organization Edmonton is poised to become a leader in digital entertainment across Canada, North America and the globe.

Edmonton Short Film Festival.jpg

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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Interview with Festival Director Matthew Rooney (VideoDrunk Film Festival)

Ranking as one of Toronto’s Top Alternative Film Festivals, Videodrunk is a small indie/experimental/underground/genre film festival that will be taking place in Toronto this November and December at Farside. The festival is run by filmmakers and video artists and aims to present an eclectic collection of films in an almost mixtape sort of way to audiences in a non-formal easy going non-cinema environment. We’re basically a party film festival. Amateurs, students, DIYers and pros all are treated as equals.

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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Matthew Rooney: We’re providing a fun event for filmmakers to show their films in a different atmosphere than other festivals around Toronto. We’ve given filmmakers that might not get a chance because of their genre or style get a chance to show where they might not have.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

A little more party-like than last year I’d say thanks to the venue we’re using being less gallery/theatre like. We’re also trying to build a line up that’s a little more off the wall than past years but also more accessible at the same time. We like having active and energetic crowds but film loving crowds that are respectful of what’s going on.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Be enjoyable or interesting. Pretty simple.

Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

I do even with smaller festivals. I feel a lot of them have rules that are too strict and sometimes genre festivals have a narrow scope of what fits their festivals.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Love of film, the fun of the final festival and the satisfaction of a job well done.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Simply amazing.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

This one is a little tricky because there are so many factors at play with it. For example, I might be moving out of the country in the next 2 years and maybe Videodrunk retires or goes on hiatus or moves with me and brings its style to Luxemburgish or goes digital or my friend Emil takes it over and turns it into his Uncanny Beauty Film Festival. I don’t know, we’ll see.

What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Not sure, maybe “Duck Soup”

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Can’t answer that because any answer I give will be wrong.

How is the film scene in your city?

We have 100 some odd festivals and dozens of productions (both big and small and domestic and international) going on at any given time plus some amazing video stores. It’s very strong. Strong enough that TIFF makes traveling around downtown nearly impossible.

videodrunk.jpg

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed

Interview with Festival Programmer Ross Williams (KILLER VALLEY HORROR FILM FESTIVAL)

The Killer Valley Horror Film Festival was founded in 2007 by filmmaker Randy Granstrom. For 10 years we’ve been showcasing the best in indie horror and sci-fi.

Interview with Festival Director Jorge Blanco (THE HELL CHESS FILM FESTIVAL)

The Hell Chess Film festival is an event celebrated in Campo de Gibraltar, Spain.

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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Jorge Blanco: My personal experience as filmmaker in Festivals is negative. The most part of festivals got nothing to do with the filmmakers dreams, but with another interests. The Hell Chess Festival is all about creativity, constant communication with the filmmakers and a beautiful message to the world.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

This year 2017 we had three venues, two in Madrid (Spain) and another in a big cinema of St Julian’s (Malta). Now, we are opening the submissions to the 2018 edition, probably in January. The new venues are still in searching process.
You will find pureness in terms of faith in creativity and faith in the best of the human spirit.

And probably if you are sensitive enough, a big surprise will change your life vision.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

When you select a film, even in the most honest way you choose what you like not what is always the best.

You got your own tastes. So the concept of winning means nothing when art itself is not objective.

So, all the non accepted films receive a letter explaining our reasons and our reviews to improve future films. In fact, the winner of our last edition got an incredible story behind. This filmmaker sent us a lot of films which were the most part of them rejected, but she improved the quality of her films until being the winner of the festival (what was a big surprise to her). The criteria of the festival is based in innovation, good taste and ethical values.

Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

We live in a dark period to cinema. All the commercial films are based on remakes or old ideas but in the worst possible way. So, the lack of an ethical commitment penalizes the original works. So, many good brave films do not get a fair shake, but an unfair treatment. That´s why we invent the Hell Chess Festival, to all filmmakers who are hungry of justice.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

I tell you a story, Matthew. A real story. We needed an upper force to decide a prize to our festival. We were confused. It was a difficult decision. And when we chose the most beautiful verdict based in high ideals then something supernatural (or unknown) happened. It´s difficult to explain, so the best thing is watching the final minutes of this video made by our last season winner:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFEFqriK59g . The Hell chess Trophy has been the most important prize of her life, a prize guessed from beyond our reality.

This is our intimate motivation. Because we knew our path.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Very hard. Filmfreeway is a good tool but I personally hate the “Not Accepted” button. So, in the future I want to change the selection process. Maybe, we´d search for films and ask the directors to be included in the festival, or maybe creating special films only for the Hell Chess Festival. Something unique and compatible with our spirit.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

I see a bigger one but not a better one. Today´s Hell Chess Festival is heroic and pure. We need go on so. The last thing we want to be is a fake independent festival run by a Hollywood actor who wants all the cinema honey but none of the real independent sourness. If you decided to be a rich slave you cannot pretend to be a free adventurer.

My Festival got only one sponsor: From the ruin to paradise, society.
That´s the secret of being unique.

What film have you seen the most times in your life?

The Sidney Pollack´s romantic comedy Tootsie. Around 50 times, specially when I was a child. I remember our video Beta and I related the coming of home video with this film. Maybe Tootsie is more deeper than it looks, with a bunch of inspired actors and a story of acting, Television, good tips about men and women psychology, and the irony of success and failure in the audiovisual world.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

When you watch a great film you feel your life becomes important.

How is the film scene in your city?

Very funny. This is a spanish town with no cinemas in the centre (the old cinema disappeared) so you got to drive 7 kilometres to the unique cinema in 1.529 km². The decadence of cinemas is evident. Once upon a time things were different. But the key is not only Internet or tv or videoclubs. The key of this decadence is the decadence of cinema itself. I think in the place I live there was an actor of silent films. Everything is silence and I´m the only who speaks, that´s why I need to make festival far away my place. Sometimes I feel more closed to people like you than from my neighbours. I was 4 years old when I watched my first film Superman (1978) in a cinema room. I still remember my sensations. And not only I want to make movies, but being a saviour. Thanks for the questions.
 

Festival Director BIO: 

I founded a society called “From the ruin to Paradise” in 1998. 
Since that moment nothing is more important to me than this project. 
This society got cinema, educative and spiritual goals. 
The main project of this society is a feature film which is still the biggest, rebel and intelligent project you can imagine. 
In the meanwhile, I directed a 30 minutes film called Hell Chess. A totally innovative 
film in terms of narrative forms and a revision of our values as humans. 
And this film gives the name to our cinema event, The Hell Chess Festival. 
The Festival was a private event 5 years ago (where we played a chess tournament and watched our own movies) but in the Summer of 2016 the Festival began in Centro Cultural Pilar Miró, one of the best theatres in Madrid. We discovered experimental filmmakers like the veteran australian David King, a man of true talent who never won a prize until our event. We do not make any difference between actor/actress all compete in the same category of “Best Acting” like the last season where the actress Lola Manzano won her prize against many men. So our purpose is different indeed.

hellchess.jpg

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed