Interview with the Executive Director of VanChan (The Vancouver Channel)

vanchan_2.jpgVanChan or “The Vancouver Channel” is a North American, MONTHLY, webisode festival in where the contestants create a pilot WEB SERIES. Comedy, Drama, Cooking show? Anything goes and any genre is allowed as long as it has a Series Title, is 5 minute’s or less in length and it’s an episode 1 to a larger story you want to tell.

For more information go to:

Interview with Executive Director Zia Marashi

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

Zia Marashi: Our festival connects emerging artists with the community of filmmakers (and film lovers) of Vancouver. Together we are shaping the film culture in our city.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend your festival?

ZM: VanChan is the best way to spend 3 hours every month. We are a budding community that supports emerging filmmakers by providing a space where ‘stretch their creative muscles’.

As an audience member, you can expect a playlist of amazing short films and night full of mingling, networking and drinks.

As a filmmaker, you can expect to meet fellow passionate filmmakers and connect face-to-face with your audience and experience.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

ZM: To qualify for VanChan we only have three rules:

1) Must be under 5 minutes
2) Must be intended to be a web series
3) Must have the Web-Series title featured on-screen at some point.

And that’s it. Oh and it has to be good. We get a lot of good stuff and we only select 5 films every month.

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

ZM: I’d have to say the #1 reason for films not to be considered for film festivals is for “breaking Festival rules” – the only films have immediately disqualified are those that did not follow the our 3-rule instructions (listed above).

With everyone and their mom making movies nowadays, the other main reason films don’t get ‘their fair shake’ in film festival is because of the film’s quality and creativeness. (e.g. boring / redundant story (or lack there of), poor sound quality and bad casting choices, to name a few.)

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

ZM: We at were all at one point unemployed, starving artists, who grew up in the art vacuum that was Vancouver, Canada.

We love making our film festival a reality every month because our city struggles to support its local artists.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

ZM: Its only been 18 months, but our film festival has reported increases in attendance, increase in quality films and increase in brand recognition.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

ZM: To become a live streaming subscription based website.

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

ZM: Me? Thats tough. Probably the LOTR triolgy. It never gets old.

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

ZM: A great film is a form of ‘translation’ – great artists see the world differently and a film is how they communicate that world to us.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

ZM: Good, the BCFilm Industry is booming with work pouring in from the US – we help shoot popular TV/Film like ‘Once upon a time’, ‘Star Trek: Beyond’ and ‘A series of Unfortunate events’ – there is also a lot of support for local artists from Telus StoryHive, Crazy8s Film Society and Vancouver International Film Festival.

Our festival hopes to add onto our cities growing set of ‘wins’

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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