Interview with Festival Director Michael Wearing (The Rob Knox Film Festival)

The Rob Knox Film Festival is held annually in Bexley, London. in memory of the actor who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.

Go to the Film Freeway submission page to submit your film:

I sat down with the Festival Director to learn more about this unique festival.

rob_knoxMatthew Toffolo: What is the Rob Knox Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Michael Wearing: The Rob Knox Film Festival has been extremely successful at identifying talented individuals at an early stage in their career and given them recognition, and a renewed motivation to move on to better things. Perhaps the best example of this is Stephen Fingleton who won his first ever award at the festival. (Best director for the his film Driver). This year he was nominated for a BAFTA award for outstanding debut feature by a British writer, Director or Producer. Another good example is Gareth Fient who won his first award at the festival aged just 15, and now aged 21 is getting regular work as a director and editor from producers in New York, LA and London.

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

Michael: The festival exhibits films from around the world, but is proud to ensure that locally made films are screened as well. There’s a real sense of community. Alongside the main awards night we lay on 8days of film related activity, this will include screenings at community venues and workshops. The festival ends with an awards evening and a free networking event.

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Michael: We are very keen to experience films of all genres and lengths. The festival is named after and held in memory of Rob Knox who played Marcus Belby in Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince and was murdered a week after filming his scenes aged just 18. His parents are active in the organisation of the festival, so we are mindful of their sensitivities and wishes.

Matthew: What makes a great independent film?

Michael: It’s a difficult question, I’m often surprised by the decision of the judges…. But from my point of view a great independent film will tell a story in no more time than is required to tell the story. We will allow slight imperfections in the visuals but the sound should be of a high quality.

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

Michael: My principle motivation is to honour the memory of Rob, and I think that is so with the whole team. A side effect of the festival is the increased networking opportunities it has provided to me and the others involved. I’m also keen to raise the positive profile of young people and so we get them involved in all aspects of the festival…

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Michael: The main change is that from being a totally free festival. we have introduced a charge to filmmakers for most categories. This was done to reduce the quantity of entries we receive. The festival is run by volunteers and we were aware that the amount of entries we were receiving would eventually overwhelm the judges. Another change was accepting entries via film freeway instead of requiring DVDs…

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Michael: It would be good to get some increased sponsorship, and more volunteers, so that we can increase the offer.. The general format We see as remaining as it is, but we are always open to suggestions on ways to improve.

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

Michael: I’ve seen many films more than once, a few I would put as having seen 100s of time but there is one film that I have seen thousands of times. And that is Tootsie starring Dustin Hofmann. An incredible piece of writing, I just love the way there are so many sub stories weaved together impeccably.

Matthew: What country (or countries) seem to make the bests short films year after year?

Michael: We get great films from all over the world. I don’t think country comes into it. Our audience is predominately British, but we have had films from Russia, USA, Greece, France, Belguim, Spain, Ireland and Brazil all win awards. We are happy to show films with subtitles..

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Michael: The Rob Knox Film Festival takes place in Bexleyheath in South East London, and part of the reason we started it was because there was nothing going on in this particular area… However across London there is always film related activity going on.


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 for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Today’s Family Novel Reading: To Fly Again – Part 1 Reading by Rachelle Hasnas


Submit your Family Screenplay to the Festival Today:

Watch the Novel Transcript Reading of TO FLY AGAIN:

Poetry Read by actress Maya Woloszyn

Get to know writer Rachelle Hasnas:

1. What is your novel about?

My book is a memoir but so much more. To Fly Again- Portrait of a BIPOLAR Life is the story of my son’s struggle with this mental disorder but also features a substantive section providing educational material on bipolar disorder from the National Institute of Mental Health. The inclusion of Joshua’s poetry appearing throughout the pages of this, his story offers the reader a deeper understanding into the profound anguish he experienced with this oftentimes crippling disease. This work shares my tumultuous journey with my son through many years of pain and struggle, and finally my process of dealing with his death. Both my voice as a mother and my voice as a therapist…

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Interview with Actor James Wallis (Shakespeare BASH’d)

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

I first met James Wallis 5 years ago when he performed at one of our Screenplay Festival events when we were working at the National Film Board of Canada. Right away you could tell he was an actor on the rise as he always served the story he was performing in while also bringing an original and unique take. That is something that is very rare to see in an actor.

I was happy to sit down with James as he’s preparing to play Hamlet at the Monarch Tavern in downtown Toronto, Canada from February 2-7 2016. Go to for more information.

James also serves as the Artistic Director for the successful theatre company Shakespeare BASH’d.

shakespeare_basdhMatthew Toffolo: What motivated you and your team to start the Shakespeare BASH’d company?

James Wallis: For me I was interested in doing Shakespeare’s plays very simply, with a bare bones approach to…

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Movie Review: I Confess (1953) Directed by Alfred Hitchcock

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

Classic Movie Review

Directed by Alfred Hitchcock
Starring Montgomery Cliff, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden
Review by Steve Painter


Refusing to give into police investigators’ questions of suspicion, due to the seal of confession, a priest becomes the prime suspect in a murder.


Alfred Hitchcock was notorious for loathing actors. He once famously remarked that actors should be “treated like cattle.” His least favorite kind of actors were those who used “The Method” technique pioneered by Stanislavski and taught by Lee Strasberg at The Actors’ Studio. Despite his dislike for method actors, one of Hitchcock’s best films starred one of the greatest Method technicians. The movie was I Confess (1953), and its star was Montgomery Clift.

I Confess is not one of Hitchcock’s well known movies. This is hard to believe considering that the cast includes Clift, Anne Baxter and Karl Malden. The story is also top notch. Its premise involves the binding nature of the confession on Catholic priests.

The story begins as the church’s groundskeeper, Otto, happens to get in an argument one night with a man, Villette, who he gardens for on the weekends. Otto wants Villette’s money, but the he won’t give it to him, so Otto kills Villette.

The only witnesses to the murder are two young girls who say that they saw a man wearing a cassock walking from the scene. A small note about the cassock needs to be inserted here. Not only does the cassock play a large role in the movie’s story, but it played an even bigger role in the movie’s filming. Quebec was the only city Hitchcock could find where priests still wore cassocks. So, the cast and crew shot most of the movie on location in Quebec.

Feeling remorse, Otto heads to the confessional. There Father Logan, played by Clift, hears Otto confess to the murder of the rich lawyer Villette. Of course, being a priest who is bound to keep confessions a secret, Father Logan can not go to the police.

The suspense becomes enhanced when it is learned that Father Logan has become the prime suspect in the murder. Hitchcock has created his trademark “innocent man accused” situation. He then ratchets up the suspense like only he can.

We learn that before becoming a priest, Father Logan had been a war hero who had fallen for Anne Baxter’s character, Ruth. The two were lovers before World War II, but Logan never wrote her during the war. When he returns he finds Ruth. The two spend the day together and get caught in a rainstorm, while on an island. They spend the night in a gazebo. In the morning, a man appears and he asks Logan why he spent the night with a married woman.

From here on the man, who happens to be Villette, begins to blackmail Ruth. When Father Logan comes to view the body the day after hearing Otto’s confession, he spots Ruth who tells him that she was being blackmailed by Villette.

Karl Malden’s Inspector Larrue sees the two talking and begins to investigate their relationship. He figures out that Ruth still loves Logan and that she was being blackmailed by Villette. Putting two and two together he accuses Logan of the murder. The climax of the movie occurs in the courtroom where all the major players are. Otto sits in his seat, smugly knowing that Logan will not break his vow. Ruth knows Logan is innocent, but can’t provide any proof. Worst of all, Logan knows who the real killer is, but can’t say anything about it.

I will stop the plot summary here, as I don’t want the end of the movie to be ruined. This great story is also filmed brilliantly. The murder is pointed out to us during one of the best opening sequences Hitchcock ever did. This movie should really be on more lists of the best movies made by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a worthwhile watch for any fan of Hitchcock, Baxter or Clift.



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Movie Review: THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK (1980)

FAN FICTION Film and Writing Festival

Submit your Fan Fiction Screenplay to the Festival:

Read Interview with Star Wars Storyboard Artist Kurt Van der Basch

Movie Review
Directed by Irvin Kershner
Starring: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Alec Guinness, Peter Cushing
Review by Andrew Kosarko


THE EMPIRE STRIKE BACK continues creator George Lucas’s epic saga where STAR WARS: A NEW HOPE left off. The Rebel Forces–which include young adventurer Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), rogue pilot Han Solo (Harrison Ford), and the beautiful but seemingly humorless Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher)–have been successful in destroying the Evil Empire’s Death Star. However, the Empire’s top commander, the terrifying Lord Darth Vader (played by David Prowse, voiced by James Earl Jones), is scanning the galaxy for the Rebels’ secret location. After a visually stunning showdown on the ice planet Hoth, the Rebels are forced to flee, and Luke separates from Han and…

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February 25 2016 – Festival Lineup

Thriller/Suspense Film and Writing Festival

The Thriller Film Festival lineup for the February 25 2016 event has been scheduled.

Take a look at the 7 films that will be showcased. Featuring the best of thriller shorts from all over the world. (Full details of the films will be posted by February 5 2016).

CANTATA IN C MAJOR, 7min, USA, Horror/Musical
Directed by Ronnie Cramer

Six-hundred-five film clips are assembled and used to create a piece of electronic music. As the visual component appears in the center of the screen, the original analog audio is sent to the left channel while it is simultaneously converted into digital music data and sent to the right channel. The digital data is also transposed into traditional musical notation and displayed on the screen as it is converted. The film includes an animated ‘chalkboard’ introduction that explains the entire process.

Directed by David Maire


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Today’s Instagram Posts: Tuesday January 26 2016

Today’s Twitter Posts: Tuesday January 26 2016

WILDsound Festival

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Interview with Graphic Designer Tina Charad (Maleficent, Fifty Shades of Grey)

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

Graphic Designer creates the props and set-pieces for film productions and works directly with the Production Designer. Depending on the period and genre, these can be newspapers, love letters, shop signs, posters, cigarette boxes, logos. Basically, they create the original materials needed for a film that haven’t yet been invented.  

I was fortunate enough to interview the extremely talented Graphic Designer Tina Charad. In the last 10 years she has worked on over 30 productions including the films “Robin Hood”, “Edge of Tomorrow”, “World War Z”, “Pirates of the Caribbean”, “The Fifth Wave”, and “RocknRolla”.

Matthew Toffolo: Is there a film or two that you’re most proud of?

Tina: Well, in terms of pure indulgence, of being spoilt and designing beauty day after day, it would be 47 Ronin. Perhaps Maleficent too – for the same reasons.

Tina created images in the film “47 Ronin”:
47_ronin_imageMatthew: How long…

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TV Festival Announces its January 2016 Screenplay Winners

WILDsound Festival

Watch each winning screenplay performed by professional actors. 

Deadline to Submit your TV PILOT/SPEC to the Festival:

January 2016 Reading
Written by Jameel Khan


LACIE BIDWELL is about a girl who’s father created a zombie virus that killed thousands. It’s twelve years later and she’s in college and still has to deal with being the daughter of one of the most hated men in the world.


NARRATOR – Sean Ballantyne
LACIE – Elizabeth Owens Skidmore
CHALMERS – Nick Baillie
HOPE – Maya Woloszyn
JEFF/BEN – Jovan Kocic
DAVID/OMAR – Christopher Huron
SAITO – Mandy May Cheetham


January 2016 Reading
Written by Debi Calabro


Life in the Fast Lane is about three very different families and how their involvement in the sport of horse racing brings them together.


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