Interview with Festival Director of the Hamilton Film Festival

Interview with Nathan Fleet, Festival Director:

Filmmaker / Composer Nathan Fleet has been running the Hamilton Film Festival for 8 years out of the historic Staircase Theatre in Hamilton On, Canada.

With an emphasis on local, the Hamilton Film Festival has grown into an internationally recognized festival receiving entries from over 40 countries.

10th Annual Hamilton Film Festival
Nov 2 – 8th 2015

Matthew Toffolo interviews Nathan Fleet:

Matthew Toffolo: Why is the city of Hamilton the perfect fit for what you’re showcasing at the festival?

Nathan: The art scene in Hamilton is booming in many ways and people are looking for alternates from the traditional or popular multiplex screenings. The Hamilton Film Festival offers people a chance to see some amazing films that were made by local filmmakers as well as seeing some international gems that they would otherwise never hear about.

MT: What is the goal of your film festival?

Nathan: Our goal is, and has always been, very simple. Show great films.

MT: How has the festival changed since is began until now?

Nathan: Originally, we only screened local submissions but as word spread, we started getting national and international entries. Once we started accepting online, our submissions quadrupled. We also started in a single theatre and last year we expanded to four.

MT: How many films are you showcasing at your Film Festival this year in how many days?

Nathan: In 2014 we screened 149 films over 7 days in 4 theatres. Many of those films were shorts and we screened about 14 feature length.

MT: Can you give us a sneak peak of what to expect for the 2015 Festival?

Nathan: In 2015, our 10th anniversary, we want to honour our alumni and host a few “best of” screenings leading up to the festival. As for the festival itself, if it isn’t broke… We want to make changes slowly and as needed. We are confident that our programming and atmosphere will always be the main draw of the festival.

MT: Is there going to be an overall theme for the 2015 festival?

Nathan: The overall theme will be a celebration of our 10th year with a spotlight on the great filmmakers that helped us get there. Remembering our roots.

MT: Where do you see your festival in 5 years?

Nathan: I do see us expanding into a multi theatre, cross city festival. While we have primarily existed in the downtown area, we want to earn the “Hamilton” in our title and bring films to all communities in this growing city

MT: What’s the current status of the Film Scene in Hamilton?

Nathan: The film scene is vibrant and growing but isn’t without it’s struggles and barriers. While we have some incredible talent, there aren’t a lot of jobs for them within the city. Hamilton has been a working town in the past and that holds true today. The work doesn’t just come to you, you have to work to get it.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Nathan: Star Wars: A New Hope (1977 version) Easily in the 200 times mark. Once VHS came into my life, it was on constant repeat.

MT: What else are you passionate about besides running this festival?

Nathan: My main passion and career is in music (teaching, composing for film & tv) and the festival was just a side project. Now I am balancing the two. I also make a movie once every few years. I do love cinema. After administering 560 films, selecting 149 of them, projecting about 130 of them, I went to the library and borrowed some movies. I’m a Cinemaniac.

    * * * *

Matthew Toffolo, Interviewer BIO

Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival ( He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.

Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes. Took over full reins of the WILDsound Festival in May 2013. From then to the end of 2014, he’s presented over 90 movies at the monthly FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto, plus has had over 60 screenplays and stories performed by professional actors at the bi-monthly Writing Festival.

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