The MIA Film Festival (#MiaFF) is an underground festival based out of Miami, Florida that features films and screenplays of all length and genres worldwide. #MiaFF is unique from the rest because it’s an underground festival that expands the capability of networking with other filmmakers and showcasing films in one location for 9 days in December.
I was fortunate enough to interview Festival Director Oscar Piloto:
Matthew Toffolo: What is the Miami Indie Artist Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
Oscar Piloto: What makes us successful is that it’s a new festival and it continues to grow. There are people who believe in the festival and are working with us to achieve our goals. Our goals of giving filmmakers hope for a greater brighter future by helping them create relationships that will last a lifetime. We want to introduce like minded people and guiding them in working together. We want to create a real community that truly allows the growth for individual achievement.
Matthew: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival?
Oscar: We are big in creating a positive atmosphere with lots of fun in the process but most importantly making sure artists leave the festival with more knowledge of this wonderful industry that we love.
Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?
Oscar: We understand many films are done by striving artists and in many cases even students. However, we would love to see flashes of greatness in all the different facets of filmmaking.
Matthew: As per your festival statement, do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?
Oscar: I absolutely feel that many films do not get a fair shake. I believe some festivals become too big but aren’t relevant or influential, because they accept quantity instead of quality, like a “first come first serve” basis. I’ve seen films win other festivals that didn’t even get accepted in other big festivals. I’ve also known filmmakers ask for their materials from a festival back and they got their films returned and sealed exactly as they were mailed originally.
Matthew: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
Oscar: As a filmmaker that had struggled getting a break, I want to help discover new talent and making a difference in the film industry. We want to help create those connections that are desperately needed to succeed.
Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?
Oscar: We are only going on our second year but the big changes are having more sponsors. In our first year, the amount of submissions was outstanding. More than I could have hoped for. Now, with the sponsors I hope it will bring opportunity for bigger and better prizes to our filmmakers.
Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?
Oscar: There is a big difference between big festivals and relevant festivals. I see the MIA FILM FESTIVAL as the most relevant film festival in South Florida, where deals get made and talents get discovered!
Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?
Oscar: I’ve personally seen “Greese” the most when I was around 12 years old. Not only was I a big fan of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John but I was also a big fan of the music.
Matthew: In one sentence, what makes a great film?
Oscar: A great film occurs when all the little pieces come together, in particular the attention to detail.
Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?
Oscar: I think it is great! There’s great diversity here in Miami from all ethnic backgrounds. In addition, Miami is a beautiful city where everyone wants to come, and the more people the city attracts, the film scene will continue to grow.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.