The Paris Art and Movie Awards is the leading independent film festival in Paris. The « PAMA » has been ranked, as soon as its second year, the second festival not to miss in Paris, by The Culture Trip Magazine. Their goal is to help independent filmmakers screening their films, awarding them, show their films to high level industry talents and public figures.
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
A: The best feedback proof we have is filmmakers coming back to the PAMA and submit again when they have a new film. They tell us our festival is a real opportunity to network. We had directors finding actresses, we had filmmaker matching with a producer, scriptwriters connecting with directors. And of course with the audience. We’re going to try and continue this so the Paris Art and Movie Awards stay human and films connected.
MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?
A: As we move to a new movie theatre every year, audience and filmmakers will have the films screen in a new location in 2017 again. Every year we get bigger in attendance, so in seats capacity.
Also the Judges : we usually have about 5 international judges. We had Mark Dacascos, and French legendary actor Alain Doutey. This year, we already announced 10 judges, and I can tell you two more are coming, minimum.
MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?
A: We’re looking for quality of course, but we’re not ashamed to say we’re expecting ambition. The PAMA is the leading independent film festival in Paris, and we want to screen and promote filmmakers who want to reach out, to jump out of the box, to achieve something. Out selection process rewards the ambition you have, and how you manage to make a movie, to fully complete it, which is no easy task.
MT: Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?
A: It is less and less true. Because there are more and more film festivals, and that’s, in some ways, good for filmmakers : they can target the events that fit them, where their films will be a match. What I personally think, is that there is a huge gap between the A-Class worldwide film festivals, and the indy festivals. This is why the Paris Art and Movie Award was created ; to stand there, remain accessible, but clearly offering high quality screenings, events, networking.
MT: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
A: The people. The filmmakers, and the lovers of cinema. During the 2016 opening speech of the festival, I said we care about the people who make the films, and I mean it. When you se all the artists and filmmakers that stayed in touch after the different editions of the festival, that is truly rewarding to us. That feeling makes me want to go on and on for that.
MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?
A: We just opened submissions, and that’s amazing : that’s the biggests start we had since the creation of the festival. It’s like people were somehow expecting us to accept entries and… Here we are !
MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?
A: I would love the festival to reach a large venue, and even several venue to host the many screenings and events. 2020, I’d also say we’ll have secured partnerships with USA and the festival being included in an international network connecting Paris, Los Angeles, Vancouver and London…
MT: What film have you seen the most times in your life?
A: The Frighteners, by Peter Jackson. The perfect, most ignored and under-estimated feature by Jackson, which is the perfect balance between comedy and genre. And Terminator 2 by James Cameron. One of the film that founded my love for cinema.
MT: In one sentence, what makes a great film?
A: Not a sentence, a word: script.
MT: How is the film scene in your city?
A: The festival scene is booming, but I wonder how many festivals will still be around in two to three years. As for the movie business in Paris, the films in the middle -between 1 and 4M€ budget- are disappearing and that’s a dramatic loss for independent filmmakers. The influence of Luc Besson did some real good, for tax rebate and obviously to give something the new generation of artists can build from. Regarding the independent short films scene, it is hard to tell as it’s mostly in the dark. I will tell you that when we’ll have the 2017 selection at the PAMA.
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 www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.