Interview with Festival Director Henry C.M. Wong (Toronto Youth Shorts Festival)

Toronto Youth Shorts is a spotlight showcase of cinematic short form content created by young emerging artists in the Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario Area. Each year, the festival acts as a professional forum for these young artists to engage their peers and the industry whilegrowing their professional profiles through learning and networking opportunities. An industry jury hands out the annual festival awards that come with production prizes. Behind the scenes, Toronto Youth Shorts is run by a volunteer force of savvy young professionals with a combination of training in the arts, event management, marketing, and media.

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Watch Video Testimonials of Festival

Interview with Henry C.M. Wong:

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

Henry C.M. Wong: Toronto Youth Shorts primarily serves the young filmmaking crowd of the Greater Toronto and Southern Ontario area. A lot of our participants are either students or young graduates getting their start in the industry and Toronto Youth Shorts act as a platform for them to see what the market is like. We invite established pros each year to give the filmmakers feedback on their work so the festival is also a great learning opportunity for them.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?  

HW: As an emerging filmmaker showing your film at Toronto Youth Shorts, there will be many opportunities for you to engage your peers, the industry, and potentially win cash prizes and production services toward their next project. As an audience, you will see what the future of the industry looks like through the lens of a young person in the city. The content we show tends to be raw, provocative, whimsical, and emotionally engaging and I predict this year’s lineup to be the same.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?  

HW: For Toronto Youth Shorts, you have to be 30 years old or younger and your film must be 20 minutes or under. Any genre is accepted. Other than your typical drama, comedy, animation, and documentary pieces, we’ve screened video art, web series, news type pieces, experimental works, music videos, and PSAs. Content is becoming more and more of a blur that these distinctions don’t really matter anymore in a festival cinematic context.

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

HW: I don’t think that’s a fair statement to make. Just looking at Toronto as an example, there are hundreds of submissions-based events with different mandates and programming sensibilities. Even two festivals working within the same genre space will not be identical. Sure, there are some big events like TIFF and Hot Docs that are extremely competitive but overall, with the available platforms there are out there, a good film with audience appeal will likely find a home somewhere.

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

HW: I enjoy the engagement with these young artists. It’s great to see content that’s different from your standard wide-release made on almost nonexistent budgets with a local touch.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?  

HW: I was a student in my postgraduate program when I started this festival. My personal and professional growth since have certainly influenced the way the event is structured. I look at films from that demographic a lot differently than when I first started and my tastes have certainly evolved. But I have a wonderful dedicated team that ensures there is an array of viewpoints and perspectives involved when choosing the films.
Our program is bigger than before due to the accessibility of the artform. The work we show is more daring and bold than it has ever been. One thing I take pride in though is how we still manage to maintain that intimacy for young emerging filmmakers in such a setting. It can be extremely daunting to try and navigate a beast like Cannes or TIFF when you’re new to this world and I hope Toronto Youth Shorts can provide the adequate baby steps for these young filmmakers to climb towards the diving board, so to speak.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?  

HW: I hope Toronto Youth Shorts will become the official hub for young emerging filmmakers starting out in the industry. In a way, it already is as we have a lot of industry support and what we offer for young filmmakers is very unique even in the festival space. But it would be nice to see the same level of funding support come to us in the way that some of our peer festivals have.

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

HW: A great short film has a strong but concise story with compelling characters.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?  

HW: As an audience member, Toronto has a very vibrant film scene. Many big titles from all around the world play in Toronto on a regular movie screen. There are also many film festivals taking place in any given month, showcasing all kinds of content that could please any niche audience. Between blockbusters at the multiplex, the indie screening of a local artist at a community cinema, and critically acclaimed work playing at the local arthouse theatre, there is literally something for everyone.

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Festival Director Bio: Henry founded Toronto Youth Shorts in 2009. His industry experience includes event management and marketing for the Banff World Media Festival, the Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival, the Canadian Film Festival, and the Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival. Henry was awarded a Legacy Award in 2016 and a Chinese Canadian Youth Achievement Award in 2011 for his contributions to the Toronto arts community.

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 www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

 

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Interview with the Festival Director of Cinema Camp

Cinema Camp Film Festival is a festival connected to the Cinema Camp film course, in wich teenagers from 13 to 17 spend a week learning the process of filmmaking. The Film Festival has a double purpose, on one hand it seeks to give visibility to the short film as a whole, on the other it wants to serve the students of the film course as a formative tool that may be inspiring by its original ideas or unique techniques.

Interview with the Festival Director: 

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

We’re a very special festival, because we’re part of a summer film academy called “Cinema Camp” (http://cinemacamp.es/), so we’re screening shortfilms to aspiring filmmakers. This way, Cinema Camp students can appreciate the works that filmmakers create from a full perspective, as well as obtain inspiration in order to create their own films. There’s a complete recognition to the filmmakers whose works are screened.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?  

A great selection of works from all around the world, really, I’m quite surprised about how easy is to get a piece of almost any important cinematography in the world. Great stories that are told in an original way.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?  

They must be less than 15 minutes, and they should be in spanish or have subtitles in spanish or in english. We also appreciate that they’re not older than 2014.

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

Maybe. The problem I think, is that there are thousands of films outhere, so sometimes is hard for a film festival that has recieved hundreds of submissions to value properly each film. In Cinema Camp Film Festival, we’re doing pretty well with this, our selection comitee is working really hard and, don’t know why, we still haven’t recieved many submissions, (I think we’re around 50), so filmmakers, there’s a high probability of getting a selection if you send us your work!

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

Two things, creating new points of exhibition for fantastic pieces that otherwise would be difficult to watch, and give the Cinema Camp Students a great lesson about how many ways there are in order to create a story.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?  

Not very much, we’re still a young festival, however there are little changes, this year for example, we’re becoming a competitive festival with a 100$ cash for the best film, and also special mentions.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?  

We’d like to become bigger, givving more awards, having a bigger budget and inviting some filmmakers to present their works

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

Mmm, It’s difficult to answer that one, dont really know, there are lots of films, as diverse as The Godfather or Star Wars, that I’ve seen lots of times

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

A great story told from an original point of view.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?  

Honestly not very good… But we’re working on that 😉

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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 www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Artistic Director Kate Kaminski (Bluestocking Film Series)

Bluestocking Film Series celebrates and amplifies women’s voices and stories on-screen and promotes talented, emerging and established filmmakers who take the creative risk of placing female characters front and center. Founded in 2010, Bluestocking focuses exclusively on female-driven films that pass the Bechdel-Wallace Test (a film with at least two female characters speaking to each other about something other than men). The only women in film event in Maine, Bluestocking was also the first U.S. film event to receive Sweden’s A-Rating (informing consumers that the festival passes the Bechdel-Wallace Test).

Interview with Kate Kaminski

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

Bluestocking Film Series is a dedicated space for celebrating films that center female characters. We have a vested interest in finding, promoting and nurturing those filmmakers we believe have the chops to succeed in the commercial marketplace, and to influence the future of female representation on-screen. Our relationships with filmmakers extend beyond the annual screenings and, after six years, we’ve connected to an incredibly diverse, global network of people committed to changing the ratio and making great movies.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?  

This year is a total immersive experience of female-driven cinema in every genre. We’ve got wacko comedies, moving dramas, sharp satirical scifi and horror films, and road movies that radically reinterpret a narrative often exclusively male. And we’re also dubbing our 6th annual fest as The Year of The Bad Girls, so people can expect women behaving badly too.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?  

We specifically seek out well-produced films that offer an alternative, more complicated view of what women and girls are capable of. We’re always interested in seeing stories that offer insight into the complex relationships we have with each other. With our focus exclusively on fiction films, good acting is probably the most important qualification for any selected film.

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

Considering that people pay for that consideration, film festivals, by definition, should be giving every filmmaker a fair shake. Does every programmer to an extent have their own taste that drives selection curation? Speaking for myself, yes. There are certain types of characters and situations that especially excite my interest, but I’m open to an extremely wide range of cinematic expression.

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

We’re driven by a desire to see (and nurture) films that provoke new thinking about the possibilities for female-driven stories. Bluestocking screenings are an exciting experience for the audience. We also feel like we’re part of the greater movement toward gender equality in the world of cinema and in general. Of course, we’re motivated by love of the art. Movies have the ability to transport audiences, move them emotionally, and even change them — which is the point of it all.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?  

We started as a biannual showcase and have evolved into an annual celebration of female protagonists. We’re also expanding to 3 days of programming in 2016, opening the festival with an all-star panel of women in film talking about the state of female representation on- and off-screen. We remain committed to the art of the short film, but we are also open to the possibilities of eventually screening features and running a screenwriting competition.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?  

That will be Bluestocking’s 10th anniversary! Hopefully, by then, Bluestocking is a destination for film lovers who are as fascinated by complex female protagonists as we are, and they’re making an annual trek to see what cinematic riches we have in store for them.

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

This is probably the hardest question of all! I’ve seen so many movies multiple times. If I’m pressed, I admit that I re-watch “Jaws” every year so it probably wins for most times. Plus, shark-driven films are perhaps my second favorite genre. But I’ve also watched (and taught) Barbara Loden’s film “Wanda” enough times that it’s a close second.

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

My notion of a great film might be somebody else’s trash, but I know it when I see it.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?  

I’ve been making films in Portland since the early 1990s when there were only a few of us, so I’ve seen the scene grow exponentially in the last 15-20 years. Now there’s a very active indie scene for sure. The beauty of being a low-budget, indie filmmaker in Portland (and Maine, in general) is that you really have your pick of locations. You can shoot urban or rural scenes, seaside or mountain, and do so with very little travel time. So that’s pretty sweet.

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Kate Kaminski is an independent filmmaker whose films have screened all over the world. As Gitgo Productions, she and partner Betsy Carson have produced more than 30 films, including 4 feature films and numerous short fiction and non-fiction films. Gitgo’s 53-episode improvised Willard Beach was the first web series produced in Maine. In 2010, Kaminski founded the Bluestocking Film Series.

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 www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Sound Effects Editor Matt Snedecor (Revolutionary Road, The Jinx)

Matthew Toffolo's Summary

Starting off as an Engineer in the music industry, Matt Snedecor worked with Beyonce, Kelly Clarkson, Faith Hill, and Luther Vandross, to name a few. Since 2005, he’s one of the top  movie sound effects designers working today. It was an honor to chat with Matt about his job and career.

Matthew Toffolo: What is the main job being a sound effects editor?

Matt Snedecor: Effects editors are responsible for building the entire sonic environment for a film, everything from backgrounds to the sync effects we see on screen. The majority (90% and up) of the sounds heard in film are added by editors. But it’s more than just see car, hear car. We also need to come up with sounds that identify with characters or moods or that tell stories without the audience having to see something on screen to know what’s happening. There’s also sound design moments we…

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Happy Birthday: Jill Clayburgh

jillclayburgh.jpgHappy Birthday actor Jill Clayburgh

Born: April 30, 1944 in New York City, New York, USA

Died: November 5, 2010 (age 66) in Lakeville, Connecticut, USA

Married to: David Rabe (8 March 1979 – 5 November 2010) (her death) (2 children)

Read reviews of the actress:

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MOVIE POSTERRUNNING WITH SCISSORS
2006
dir. Ryan Murphy
Stars:
Joseph Cross
Annette Bening
bridesmaidsBRIDESMAIDS
2011
dir. Paul Feig
Stars:
Kristen Wiig
Maya Rudolph

LOVE AND OTHER DRUGSLOVE AND OTHER DRUGS
dir. Edward Zwick
Stars:
Jake Gyllenhaal
Anne Hathaway

Happy Birthday: Burt Young

burtyoung.jpgHappy Birthday actor Burt Young

Born: Richard Morea
April 30, 1940 in New York City, New York, USA

Read reviews of the best of the actor:

ROCKYRocky
1976
dir. John G Avildsen
starring
Sylvestor Stallone
Tia Shire
Young

ROCKY IIRocky II
1979
dir. Sylvestor Stallone
starring
Sylvestor Stallone
Carl Weathers

ROCKY IIIRocky III
1982
dir. Sylvestor Stallone
starring
Sylvestor Stallone
Talia Shire
Mr. T

ROCKY IVRocky IV
1985
dir. Sylvestor Stallone
starring
Sylvestor Stallone
Dolph Lundgren </a
ROCKY VRocky V
1990
dir. John G Avildsen
starring
Sylvestor Stallone
Tommy Morrison

ROCKY BALBOARocky Balboa
2006
dir. Sylvestor Stallone
starring
Sylvestor Stallone
Young
Milo Ventimiglia

WIN WINWIN WIN
dir. Thomas McCarthy
Stars:
Paul Giamatti
Amy Ryan