Interview with Festival Director Freda Sideroff (Garifuna International Indigenous Film Festival)

garifunaThe GIIFF was founded in 2012 with a mission to preserve the values and aspirations of all indigenous people and Garifuna cultures. Founded by Freda Sideroff an indigene of the Garifuna, the GIFF’s mission is to specifically support the preservation of all indigenous cultures in the world through art and film.

Official Website:

Interview with Freda Sideroff

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

Freda Sideroff: GIIFF is succeeding at creating a platform uniting filmmakers from around the globe with common causes to share the stories

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

FS: 41 films with 18 films/docs making Worldwide premieres Screening at 5th Annual GIIFF with a global impact , indigenous art installation International Symposium and cultural performances.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

FS: Supporting the preservation of indigenous cultures. Our filmmakers and films must consist of characters that offers cultural diversity.

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

FS: I suspect that some films don’t get a fair shake from certain film festival if they don’t serve the best interest of the film festival .

And if so, why?

FS: If you choose to accept a certain film subject it means that in some way you become responsible or forced to become aware with what it means to deal with the issues.

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

FS: What motivates me and my team is knowing that the contribution that GIIFF is making brings together leaders from communities from around the globe creating a platform for their voices and the voices of their communities to be heard.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

FS: The first year GIIFF screened only Garifuna related films and now it includes films and documentaries about the indigenous from around the globe including our international symposium which will include leaders from indigenous communities from Fiji , West Papua ,Guatemala , Honduras, Belize , Hawaii, Tribal Leaders from North America to name a few .

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

FS: By 2020 my hope is that GIIFF will attract sponsors and it will no longer be costing us out of personal pocket .

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

FS: Sarafina by director Stephen Spielberg starring Whoopi Goldberg

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

FS: What makes a great film is when you find yourself impacted by the story.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

FS: Hollywood is here we are in the land of where films are made need I say more.


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.


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