Interview with Eric Simonson, Creative Director DOOR KINETIC ARTS FESTIVAL

Oscar-winning “Lombardi” playwright Eric Simonson is bringing some major creative talent to Björklunden for the inaugural Door Kinetic Arts Festival in June. The week-long festival will provide Door County residents and visitors a peek at the creative process through two staged readings, a dance presentation and the premiere of a commissioned film by Campbell Scott, an award-winning filmmaker and actor, best known for “The Amazing Spiderman,” “Big Night” and “Longtime Companion.”

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

Eric Simonson: Like all film festivals, the most important thing we do is give a filmmaker a platform. We also invite artists to participate in the festival, which also includes art, dance and theatre. The point of DKAF is to encourage cross-polynization of artistic mediums. As the moving arts become more sophisticated, so does the way in which we express ourselves. DKAF offers 9 days in which which artists from all disciplines come together, see one another’s work, and exchange ideas — all in the inspirational environs of Door County, Wisconsin.

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

ES: Really innovative and rich storytelling experiences from filmmakers, playwrights, directors, actors, artists, choreographers and dancers. We also host several workshops and seminars — all open to the public — headed by internationally renowned artists.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

ES: Good story-telling, inventiveness in story-telling, economy, a willingness to branch out and express oneself in innovative ways.

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

ES: Yes. I believe that most festivals have challenging selection processes. There are so many good films out there, but screening committees are often too ad hoc and not fair. We strive for a thorough vetting of quality films at DKAF.

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

ES: We love a good story. We love creating and presenting things in Door County, which is an artist’s home for many working in different mediums. We want people to experience Door County first hand and to find inspiration to create more and better art.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

ES: Pretty Great. The folks FilmFreeway are always coming up with intriguing ways to make the submissions process easier, and allow the filmmakers to find the festivals that are right for them.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

ES: We’re new and very young. We don’t want to become an overly big festival, but we want the quality of our work to improve annually. We want to pack as much art and inspiration as we can in 9 days!

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

ES: 8 1/2 by Frederico Fellini. Hands down my favorite film of all time. Though CITIZEN KANE is up there too.

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


MT: How is the film scene in your city?

ES: I live in LA (if that’s what you mean). It’s hopping. In Bailey’s Harbor WI, there’s not much going on, though there is a growing local interest in filmmaking. Why not? The medium is becoming easier and easier every year.



Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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