Interview with Pat Battistini, Festival Director for All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival

The “All Sports Los Angeles Film Festival” was established in 2009 by Pat Battistini. The first year of the festival was held on one day and screened thirteen films. Since then, the festival has blossomed into a three-day event screening an average of seventy films.

To learn more about the festival, go to http://allsportslafilmfest.com/

Matthew Toffolo recently sat down with Festival Founder Pat Battistini:

Matthew Toffolo: What is the festival attempting to accomplish for filmmakers and the attendees?

Pat Battistini: The festival was started because there really wasn’t another outlet for independent sports films and documentaries. As in other niche festivals, we wanted to create an atmosphere for sports enthusiasts. As for the attendees, ultimately, we’d love to have a complete sports festival with everything to clinics to memorabilia. But as of now, our attendees get a lot of sports films to watch in 3 days.

Matthew: Are there a lot of sports genre films being made around the world? Besides the United States, what other countries make great sports films?

Pat: We have screened films from 31 countries. I was surprised at how many filmmakers out there are making the sports genre film. Every year I think that we’ve exhausted the surplus but every year we get more and more films.

I imagine each country has their own great film or films. As to what other countries I feel make great sports films, that answer probably lies within the country itself. I think the difference to why a film in the US might be more well received here than in China is because of the pop-culture. We have our heroes, our folklore, and our favorite sports and they have theirs. I’m partial to our films because I’m usually familiar with the sport or the story. I don’t think Brian’s Song would fare well in India. But on the same note, I don’t think a film about one of their Cricket stars would fare here. That’s not saying their films aren’t great, but if you did a search for the top 25 sports films, probably 90% of them would be from the US because these are the films we see.

Matthew: How did the festival get started?

Pat: I always thought someone should do a sports genre festival so I waited a couple of years to see if anyone was going to do it. When nobody did, I talked with a friend of mine who runs a horror film festival and asked her how I woul dgo about starting a festival. She showed me the ropes that first year. I learned a lot in those first few years but now, it’s kind of a well oiled machine.

Matthew: Where do you see the festival in 5 years?

Pat: I hope we can continue to grow and actually be an outlet for the studios to release their big films during our festival. Also, as I mentioned earlier, the sky is the limit with the festival. Since sports is such a huge part of so many people’s lives, I hope to create something that gets people excited to attend and participate.

Matthew: What obstacles has your festival faced (if any) in the last few years?

Pat: The hardest thing for us has been the lack of sponsors. In any give year in Los Angeles, there are over 80 film festivals. That’s a lot of festivals fighting for sponsorship money, advertising, and media time. Having a festival here in LA is like having a pizzeria in New York; lots of them and everyone says theirs is the best.

Matthew: How many films do you anticipate showcasing at your 2016 Film Festival?

Pat: If I could, I’d screen 100 of them. But with time constraints, I hope to screen about 70. That sounds a lot but that includes everything from spec commercials to shorts to features.

Matthew: Can you give us a sneak peak of what to expect for the 2016 Festival?

Pat: Every year there seems to be a certain sport that takes center stage. One year we had a lot of MMA films. But this year there is a huge variety. I’ve seen films about ceremonial lacrosse sticks to world record skydiving. However, the one common denominator that I can say is that almost all of the films are about the human spirit. Sports are more than competitions. Especially sports films. These films are about people and what they do to achieve their dreams and goals.

Matthew: What do you think the best sports film of all-time is? If you can’t pick one, do you have a top 5?

Pat: I guess I’d have to pick my top 5 because some days I like more than others. Here they are in no particular order:

5.) The Natural
4.) Miracle
3.) Rudy
4.) Field of Dreams
5.) Moneyball

Matthew: What sport generally has the best made sports films? You assume it’s baseball, but is there another sport that also stands out?

Pat: Football, Boxing and Basketball probably have to be close seconds. But when it comes to comedy, I think that doesn’t matter. Caddyshack and Dodgeball are always fun to watch.

Matthew: You you have a favorite sport and sports team?

Pat: I grew up watching and supporting all of the Chicago teams. Si if I had to pick from those, I’d go with the Blackhawks. But now I think I enjoy watching college football more than anything.

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

Pat: If it’s any film, probably The Godfather. Since it came out around 1972, I’ve had plenty of years to watch. ;o) I don’t know why but I just can’t turn it off if it’s on. As for sports films, I’ve probably The Natural a million times

—–

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the festival director for the WILDsound Film & Writing Festival.

Interviewee Pat Battistini is a former college wrestler and football player, Pat started his professional career as an Offensive Line Coach at Grand Valley State University.  After several years of coaching, he traded in his whistle for a career in filmmaking.  He has resided in Los Angeles since 1998 where he established the All Sports Film Festival in 2009. Pat has personally represented the festival as an invited guest to Russia, Turkey, India and Italy serving on the jury of their festivals.

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