Interview with Festival Director Asher Segelken (Teen Faith Film Festival)

Christian filmmakers from high schools across California come together through the celebration of filmmaking in a place of collaboration and exposure!

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I sat down with the Festival Director to talk about the festival.

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

Asher Segelken: The Teen Faith Film Festival is succeeding on three major fronts, the first is exposing stories of faith exploration through film. Our first year hosted very powerful narratives, documentaries and Art-House films that conveyed something deeply spiritual.

Secondly we are succeeding in the networking, for a second year event we have been able to network with Biola University, and other Christian Filmmaking Professionals to bring an event that is very active for networking and internships.

Thirdly we are succeeding in the quality of submissions attracting the best of faith based High School films from across the country.

Matthew: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival?

Asher: If I was at a festival I would expect to see people represented from a lot of places and perspectives I would expect to be blown away by the efforts of the student committee who put on and market the festival as well as expect to know the essential details of each film before I left the Nechita Center.

Matthew:  What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Asher: All films must be under ten minutes and made by a teenager.  That’s it. We assess the spirituality of different submissions looking for profound insights coupled with good filmmaking and then we send the films on to professionals judges that then score the films.

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

Asher: I think festivals want what would sell in that they want the publicity of being the festival where a deal was made because that is what festivals are after. I also think festivals want to see innovation in film and so if either extreme is not met a spiritual margin somehow disqualifies you. At teen faith we look for the best filmmaking and the best story. The only way a film is subjectively disqualified at teen faith after qualifying by being 10  minutes and made by a teen is if that film ignores spirituality which is frankly a difficult thing to ignore in while telling a story.

Matthew:  What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Asher: What motivates my team and I to do this festival is the idea of celebrating what our peers are doing through an art form we love to express faith of all kinds and to further story in a unique way as students.

Matthew:  How has the festival changed since its inception?

Asher: The Festival was originally supposed to be a closed festival to selected schools but then became a much more open and international event.

Matthew:  Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Asher: By 2020 I see the Teen Faith Film Festival being the place to see up and coming christian filmmakers celebrated and then going on to continue to innovate Christian filmmaking changing it for the better by going away from cheesier films that we are used to cringing at when they are in the box office to making films that create legitimate hype regardless of a person’s religious standings.

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

Asher: For me I can’t stop watching Birdman or the Dark Knight those films are so well done and speak so much to the complexities of societial and individual humanity.

Matthew:  In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Asher: A Great film is made when realism is balanced with reasonable suspense forcing the viewer to be present, while also being provocative in a way that changes ones perspective when they leave the theater.

Matthew:  How is the film scene in your city?

Asher: Orange County is better known for the amazing contract/freelance filmmakers in the area who make a good profit for providing film services. The Art-form itself is very beloved being in the greater Los Angeles area.


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 Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Movie Review: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999)

FAN FICTION Film and Writing Festival

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Movie Reviews

Directed by George Lucas
Starring: Liam Neeson, Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L. Jackson, Jake Lloyd
Review by Andrew Kosarko


The first of three prequels to George Lucas’s celebrated STAR WARS films, EPISODE I: THE PHANTOM MENACE is set some 30 years before the original STAR WARS EPISODE IV: A NEW HOPE in the era of the Republic. Naboo, a peaceful planet governed by the young but wise Queen Amidala (Natalie Portman), is being threatened by the corrupt Trade Federation, puppets of an evil Sith lord and his terrifying apprentice, Darth Maul (Ray Park). Jedi knights Qui-Gon Jinn (Liam Neeson) and Obi-Wan Kenobi (Ewan McGregor, performing an amazing vocal imitation of Alec Guinness, the older Obi-Wan) are called on to intervene…

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Movie Review: KUNG FU PANDA 3 (2016)

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kung_fu_panda_3KUNG FU PANDA 3 (USA/China 2016) ***
Directed by Jennifer Yuh Nelson and Alessandro Carloni

Starring: Jack Black, Bryan Cranston, Dustin Hoffman, Angelina Jolie, J.K. Simmons, Seth Rogen, Lucy Liu

Review by Gilbert Seah

The third of the KUNG FU PANDA animated features provides more of the same. However, being family fun entertainment, critics should not be too hard on the filmmakers. As long as KUNG FU PANDA delivers a safe product, everyone especially a less discerning audience should not complain.

The first one in the series that is a Chinese co-production, Fox obviously has an eye for the large Chinese market. There is a Chinese version with Chinese dubbed voices. The previous two films grossed more than $600 million each and this $120 million production should beat those records. To be super safe, the script by Jonathan Aibel and Glenn Berger have added many more pandas into the film – in the form of a secret panda sanctuary.

Po finally gets to meet his real biological father in this film. The segment of their meeting, as shown in a promotional clip before is the funniest of the film. Of course, his adoptive father, Mr. Ping (James Hong) the goose who wants to open his own dumpling stall is incredibly jealous. Po is brought to a Panda sanitary where he trains panda students in martial-arts. Po also meets Mei Mei, an overly eager panda, who had been promised to Po through an arranged marriage when they were children. But the main plot involves an evil ancient supernatural spirit called Kai begins terrorizing China and stealing the powers of defeated kung fu masters. Now in the face of incredible odds, Po must learn to train the village of clumsy, fun-loving pandas to become a band of Kung Fu Pandas.

Added to the film are new characters like Po’s (Jack Black) biological father, Li Shan (Bryan Cranston) and Mei Mei (a brilliant Kate Hudson), a female panda who has the hots for Po. Hudson does a marvellous job resulting in the audience wanting to see more of Mei Mei. The villain of the piece is Kai (Oscar winning J.J. Simmons) who adds a some humour to his role. His voice is easily recognized from the low tones. The usually Po gang is still present. So, for those KUNG FU PANDA fans, Viper (Lucy Liu), Mantis (Seth Rogen), Monkey (Jackie Chan), Crane (David Cross) and even Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) are back.

The climatic fight between Po and Kai is ok but nothing too exciting nor out of the ordinary. But the antics of Po is enough to entertain despite the relatively weak plot.

The Chinese influence in this entry is clearly evident. There is more oriental folklore, more oriental colours and more oriental architectural drawings. This entry is also the most colourful of the three with the animation at its peak. The ‘Kung Fu Fighting’ song is also given a Chinese slant. Hans Zimmer hits with the overall musical score.

KUNG FU PANDA 3 should be a big hit. At the end of the promo screening, kids can be seen in front of the screen imitating the martial-arts moves of their hero, Po.


Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
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Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

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Movie Review: THE FINEST HOURS (2016)

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the_finest_hoursTHE FINEST HOURS (USA 2016) **
Directed by Craig Gillespie

Starring: Chris Pine, Holliday Grainger, Casey Affleck

Review by Gilbert Seah

Following hot on the heels (or rather on the keel) of Ron Howard’s recently released sea adventure, the critically and box-office flop IN THE HEART OF THE SEA, THE FINEST HOURS follows a crew of men fighting the elements, which is just as intense though without a Moby Dick-type monster. The plus of the two films is the authentic claustrophobic atmosphere in the vessel when the men are sailing, something that will surely discourage those intending to take a cruise some time soon.
The title ‘based on a true story’ immediately flashes on the screen at the film’s start and the film is clear to remind its audience of this fact throughout the film.

The film is a Hollywood account of the daring 1950s rescue mission by the American Coast Guard. An oil tanker, the Pendleton is split in half by a perfect storm. The surviving sailors are left adrift with no means of communication exempt to blast the horn. A member of the nearby community hears the call and a coast guard boat led by the hero, Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) with his crew then risk their lives to find and rescue the sailors. On the tanker’s side, the hero is the chief engineer, Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck).

Director Gillespie spends too much screen time at the start with the romance between Webber and Miriam (Holliday Grainger). All this is to emphasize the heroism and sacrifice of both the men and the women by their side. Gillespie directed LARS AND THE REAL GIRL and therefore uses his past experience in putting in relationships into this film. As in most Disney films, the money making formula is kept to a ’t’.
Romance, action, a happy ending with good heroic dialogue like: “We are all going home.” The problem resulting is a too predictable film.

There is one segment in which all power is lost in the town as a result of the storm and the rescue boat, without a compass needs to find land. I could predict all the cars turning on the headlamps to signal the boat way before that scene occurred.

Once the storm occurs, Gillespie crosscuts between the action in the oil tanker and the action in the Coast Guard boat. It is a 50-50 division. What occurs inn the tanker turns out the more interesting, aided by the fact that the script emphasizes problems between Ray and a disagreeable mate (Michael Raymond McTavish) who has his own ideas on survival. The introduction of a singing cook (Abraham Benrubi) lifts the spirit of an otherwise too serious film.

But one can only endure special effects (not bad ones though) for only so long.

Disney’s THE FINEST HOURS ends up one of the most boring tales of an incredible true mission despite all the enormous effort put in. THE FINEST HOURS is a tad better than IN THE HEART OF THE SEA but that is not saying much.


Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out:

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:

Movie Review: UNDER CAPRICORN, 1949. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

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Movie Review
Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring: Ingrid Bergman, Joseph Cotten
Review by Steve Painter


In 1831, Irishman Charles Adare travels to Australia to start a new life with the help of his cousin who has just been appointed governor…


Alfred Hitchcock is known as “The Master of Suspense.” It is rare to see a movie made by him without much suspense in it then. Typically the movies that he made without suspense did not do well with critics or at the box office. It was something that Hitchcock had to live with his whole career. He wanted to do more than suspense movies, but he knew audiences would reject them. He learned this tough lesson after making Under Capricorn (1949).

The movie is set in colonial Australia. That might be all you need to know about what type of movie this will be. It is a costume drama. It is similar in some respects to Rebecca (1940). Rebecca of course won the Academy Award for Best Picture. Under Capricorn did not. Based on this alone, there must be a big difference in the quality of each picture.

Under Capricorn doesn’t suffer because of its cast though. Ingrid Bergman and Joseph Cotton star. It would be the last time each appeared in a Hitchcock movie. Bergman and Hitchcock got into a dispute over her character. This dispute led Hitchcock to never call her again when he was casting a movie. Cotton would appear in a few Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes in the 1950s, but didn’t get another shot in a full length Hitchcock movie.

Michael Wilding plays Charles Adare, the nephew of the governor of Australia. He is visiting the English colony. At this point in time Australia was being used to hold convicts. One of the convicts, who has done well for himself since coming to Australia, is Cotton’s character, Sam Flusky. Flusky has become a respected businessman in the colony and is married to Bergman’s Lady Henrietta, a wealthy woman.

Flusky has been banished to Australia because he has murdered Lady Henrietta’s brother. At this point in time the caste system was in effect, so Flusky and Charles, members of the upper-class, would attend the same parties and host dinners for each other.

Since Charles has arrived in Australia he has heard about Lady Henrietta. He is disappointed when at Flusky’s dinner party she is unable to come down to eat because she is sick. Midway through the meal Lady Henrietta makes an appearance, in probably one of the best entrances in all of Hitchcock. She is an alcoholic and ends up embarrassing herself and her husband at the dinner. This doesn’t stop Charles though, as he has become smitten by her.

Housekeeper, Millie, is not smitten with Lady Henrietta. She acts like she is taking care of her, but she is slowly killing her. First mentally, by blaming all of the household’s problems on her because she is unable to be the lady of the house. Then she begins killing her physically, by giving her poison.

This does not stop Charles from taking an interest in Henrietta’s affairs. He believes that he is capable of reforming her. He seems to be making some progress. The two begin to fall in love. This doesn’t sit well with Flusky. Spurred on by Millie, who is in love with Flusky, he takes a gun and shoots Charles.

Charles doesn’t die, but enough sympathy is stirred in Henrietta that she leaves Flusky for Charles. Things seem like they will end happily for Charles and Millie, as they will both get what they want. Then Henrietta reveals that it was she, not Flusky, who murdered her brother and Flusky took responsibility for the act.

This act by Flusky stirs something in Henrietta and she wants to go back to him. Charles is reluctant to let her go, but he finally does. As a parting gift, Charles tells Flusky that Millie has been poisoning his wife. Flusky takes care of Millie. Henrietta and Flusky finally are able to live a normal life.

Under Capricorn is not a good movie if you expect to see an Alfred Hitchcock-type story. But if you enjoy historical costume pictures, this might be for you. There is enough here to keep you entertained, just ignore the directed by credit.



Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out:

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:

Movie Review: RETURN OF THE JEDI (1983)

FAN FICTION Film and Writing Festival

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Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

Movie Review
Directed by Richard Marquand
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, Peter Mayhew, Sebastian Shaw, Ian McDiarmid, Frank Oz, James Earl Jones, David Prowse, Alec Guinness
Review by Andrew Kosarko


The third and final chapter in the wondrous STAR WARS saga is RETURN OF THE JEDI. Luke (Mark Hamill) must save Han Solo (Harrison Ford) from the clutches of the monstrous Jabba the Hut, and bring down the newly reconstructed–and even more powerful–Death Star. With Solo imprisoned, Luke accompanies his faithful droids R2D2 (Kenny Baker) and C3PO (Anthony Daniels) in a rescue bid, with Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and Chewbacca (Peter Mayhew) also lending a hand. After they valiantly disentangle their friends from Jabba’s clutches, Luke returns…

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Today’s Twitter Posts: Thursday January 28 2016

WILDsound Festival

Best of Twitter Posts Today: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Original Screenplay. FEEDBACK Film Festival January 28 2016. January 2016 Winning Writers.

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