Interview with Festival Director Loren W. Lepre (Freedom Shorts)

Now entering it’s 5th year, the film industry of Philadelphia has come together to make this city an active spot for short films from around the world to be screened and celebrated. Average Superstar films has stepped up and lead the way for this massive event. This event truly gives both local and international filmmakers their due over a 3 day weekend! It is held at the world famous Trocadero Theatre in Philadelphia. With a $60,000 sound system, and a FULL screen, the theater seats up to 600 movie-goers.

Go to the website for more information.

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

Giving filmmakers from around the world a major stage to shine on. Philadelphia is one of the biggest cities in the U.S. and our main stage The Trocadero is an amazing place to have an event. PhilaMOCA is another great place to have a screening and is active weekly with screenings. This event really makes the filmmakers shine and our venues are a great place to showcase their films.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

Expect the best short films from around the world! Our team selects the best of the best and the event keeps growing and growing. Freedom Shorts is FUN! The Audience always seems to walk out with a smile with the entertainment that comes along with our events!

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

I can only say that when a film is submitted to our event. It’s fully watched by our team no matter how good or bad if somebody took the time to submit to us we got the time to watch. We only run short films and charge low punk rock prices to submit. It’s only “a short film” I think it’s gross seeing the fees at some of these festivals. The price they’re charging to watch a short flick! I see some charging $40-$60 at some these things! IT’S A SHORT FILM! How can you ask a price like that? The higher the price to submit at a fest I wonder if everybody is getting a fair shake or not. I will say that The Trocadero Theatre can match or come pretty damn close to any of the heavyweight festivals in the world. I don’t think that gives me the right to charge the filmmakers out the ass.

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

I’m an actor and director myself and I can tell you that I LOVE watching all the films from around the world that are submitted. It makes me want to be better actor . It allows me to see as a director where I need to go. Where the bar is set. The watching process is the most enjoyable part. I did ALL of this myself for the first 2 years. Than help came strong help Brenden Hubbard (Curfew 2013) he is part of the Curfew Team. He has seen it all and was a great help with upgrading Freedom Shorts. Steven Carino (The Unsung Hero) of the event. This guy has endless thanks for what he brought to the table. The rest of my Average Superstar T.V. team helped take this event to the next level.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

I can tell you that FilmFreeway was the spark that opened the doors to the world for Freedom Shorts. They really have been great.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We hope “A Must Stop” for a filmmaker and the torch of Philadelphia as far as Film Festivals go.

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

Red Dawn (1984) Lost Boys, Young Guns, Porkys 1,2,and 3.

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

Taking your time with pre production, filming and editing.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

Philadelphia has a sea of problems that won’t be fixed anytime soon. I try to be a good help desk where I can. Philadelphia is well mislead on how to make a film as far as independent films go. Most films made here are by actors that have been in a few films and than decide it’s time to direct. The problem with that is most of the films that they’re in had NO LIGHTING, NO SOUND, NO SHOT LIST, NO STORYBOARD, NO funding for an editor, NO funding to shoot, NO funding for marketing. When these films finally surface and are screened in front of family and friends they get praise. This leads to the virus growing and growing. Philadelphia needs cleansing the ACTORS should be outing these people. The ACTORS should also hold DIRECTORS accountable on completing a GOOD project. Philadelphia has a awful sea of directors that start and don’t finish the film or shelf it and move onto the next one. This boils my blood. Whats about all that time that actors gave you? What does that do for him or her? You wasted the actors time! This person believed in you and got NOTHING out of it. These directors should be dragged out in the street and beaten with hammers. The city is filled with directors that cast and than roll the dice with Indie Go Go and this is NOT how you fund a film. Philadelphia is filled with false directors that are more about the praise on social media than putting out the work itself. I would like the see the actors show stronger backbone and put these directors in check or stomp them out. 90% of the independent actors CAN’T direct family and friends to anything to watch due to poor leadership. To put all that time and effort into something and yet you can show off your skills by showing it to anybody is NOT helping The Philly actors advance. 90% of the actors work full time jobs and act on the weekends for free hoping this can be the one that launches them to the next level. It’s a shame because Philly is filled with good actors that deserve a shot at the dance.
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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 at least twice a month in Toronto & Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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