Interview with Festival Director George Gänaeaard (Short Film Breaks)

Short Film Breaks is the only film festival taking place in private companies.


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

Our main goal is to promote the independent filmmakers from all around the world. We love to screen films from different cultures and different backgrounds to our audience and we love to see how they react to them. For big chunks of time we accept submissions of films under no fees and when we charge fees, it’s only to transform them into prizes for the filmmakers. All in all, our main mission is to bring the films in front of our audience as easy as we possibly can, for both the filmmakers and the audience.

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

Short Film Breaks is a special festival, because it’s the only festival taking place in private companies. That means that we are showing films to employees of private companies, right where they are working. As we like to say it, SHORT FILM BREAKS is the only film festival taking place in private companies, for an audience formed exclusively by employees, in a bid to offer smart break opportunities while promoting the independent movie industry around the world.

That means that to be able to attend the festival you’d need to be an employee of the companies that are our partners.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Last year we only had two categories, Best International Film and Best Romanian Film and we were expecting films under 30 minutes. But starting with 2017 we’ve expanded to many more categories, for different genres, types and styles. It’s best to check the platforms we have added Short Film Breaks on. At the moment we’re present on the following:
Click For Festivals:
Submissions for next year’s edition will start on September 18, 2017.

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

I couldn’t answer about other festivals. I am part of a Facebook group with many other festival organizers and we all take great care of the films we receive.

At Short Film Breaks, for example, we now have two selection phases. In phase one each film is watched by three judges and only the films with top ratings advance to the second phase. In the second phase, a committee made of four judges watch them and decide who is selected for our festival. That means that before being shows in the festival a film will be watched by seven different judges. And even the ones that do not get selected have been watched by at least three.

Starting with next year we plan to introduce the Extended Deadline. This will be the final deadline, with the highest fees, but all the films that are sent to us during this deadline will receive the judging forms.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Seeing our audience enjoy the films we bring in front of them, discovering new filmmakers and films, those are the best parts of our job.

But something that can’t be compared with anything else is the projections we organized in the remote parts of Nepal and Indonesia. Witnessing your children, or even adults, watch a film for the first time in their life is the highest motivation one could ask for.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We totally love FilmFreeway. It’s the platform we started with, last year, when we received just a bit under 2000 submissions. This year we’ve received 2066 films on FilmFreeway alone. Even if we also joined FestHome and Reelport, we’re received over 90% of our submissions on FilmFreeway. Amazing!!

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We’d love to have screenings in more and more companies, to reach a wider audience. And we’d also love to continue with the special events and screenings we’re organizing in remote parts of the world. We’re in discussions now to also hold screenings in the favelas in Rio.

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

Uhm… I don’t really watch the same film too often. Fight Club and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, each about 3-4 times. But I’ve watched in excess of 4000 films, many of them made before the 70’s, many from Europe, Asia, Latin America. Watching eclectic films, from different cultures and production years, that’s the goal.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A film that succeeds in conveying an emotion, or a film that succeeds in changing your perception about something you were taking for granted.

How is the film scene in your city?

We have a few film festivals in Bucharest, but not the biggest in Romania, TIFF, which is taking place in Cluj-Napoca. But we have the biggest film festival for short films here, NexT International Film Festival, a partner of ours, the festival we started our projections with, back in 2014.

There are a dozen cinemas, though not as many as we’d want them to be, especially as the most of them are multiplexes, inside the malls. For a city as big as Bucharest is, we could have more places where films are shown.

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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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Interview with Festival Director Arilyn Martinez Cora (LATINO FILM MARKET)

The Latino Film Market 2017 (LFM) event focuses on providing community networking opportunities and creating direct tools for upcoming Latino filmmakers and industry professionals internationally. LFM takes place July 28 – 30, 2017, in collaboration with La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, a 37-year old, nonprofit, cultural organization, housed at El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109, in East Harlem, New York. LFM will engage participants from the USA, the Caribbean and other Latin American countries, with a potential participation of 500 – 600 individuals.

Interview with Festival Director Karen Ndumia (The Cump Film Festival)

CUMP is an upcoming independent documentary and film festival drawn from Colleges and Universities that offer Film and Electronic Media studies in East Africa, and the only independent film festival in Nairobi. CUMP shall screen in Nairobi -Kenya and other East African cities and shall premiere local and international films and documentaries.

LGBT Inside Out Film Festival Review: WOMAN ON FIRE (USA 216) ***

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

woman on fire.jpgWoman on Fire follows Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender firefighter in New York City. A character-driven documentary, the film follows Brooke as she sets out to challenge perceptions of what it means to be transgender in America today.

Director: Julie Sokolow
Writer: Julie Sokolow
Stars: Brooke Guinan, James L. Baker, George Guinan

Review by Gilbert Seah
Woman on Fire follows Brooke Guinan, the first openly transgender firefighter in New York City. At the start of the film, Brooke tells the audience, while looking in the mirror to follow your heart.

Well, Brooke did follow her heart to become a woman, the gender he/she was comfortable with. As a third-generation firefighter, Brooke has a passion for heroism that runs in her blood. Her father George is a respected lieutenant and 9/11 survivor with a 35-year legacy in the FDNY.

The film shows Brooke transitioning from male to female in her father’s workplace, as it poses not only a challenge to a macho profession, but also to the customs of the people she cares about the most – her traditional family.

The film also charts Brooke’s boyfriend of two years, Jim, struggling to come out to his family. A wise-cracking Air Force veteran, Jim still hasn’t told his mother that Brooke is a transwoman. But besides the transgender issue, the film also reveals the life of a firefighter and their sacrifice for society.

A film that proudly celebrates diversity!

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out:

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:


Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

captain underpantsTwo overly imaginative pranksters named George and Harold, hypnotize their principal into thinking he’s a ridiculously enthusiastic, incredibly dimwitted superhero named Captain Underpants.

Director: David Soren
Writers: Nicholas Stoller (screenplay), Dav Pilkey (based on the epic novels by)
Stars: Kevin Hart, Thomas Middleditch, Ed Helms

Review by Gilbert Seah

once saw a skit of Superman and Batman at an unemployment office. Superman tells Batman that they will never get a job. Why Batman asks? Because no one would hire anyone who wears underpants over their clothes – was the answer. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS the animated movie takes the joke to another level. The hero only wears underpants!
This last collaboration between Dreamworks and 20th Century Fox (before Dreamworks moves with Universal) is fortunately a huge animated comic success. As the title of the film implies, the story involves lots of goofy absurdity and toilet jokes (there is even a symphony of body fluid noises performed on the school stage in the middle of the film), but who cares as CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS is a very funny movie, almost matching the best of the SHREK films. The comic song “I Love Saturdays” at the film’s stet sets up the mood of the film.

The film is based on the children’s novel series of the same name created in 1997 by Dav Pilkey, who sold the rights to Dreamworks in 2011. The plot follows two imaginative elementary school prankster students, George Beard and Harold Hutchins (Kevin Hart and Thomas Middleditch) who hypnotize using a hypnotic ring from a cereal box, their mean-spirited principal, Mr. Krupp (Ed Helms), into thinking he is Captain Underpants, a hero in comic books George and Harold write together. Mr. Krupp runs all over the place trying to what he thinks he is doing, saving the world. But the story includes a villain, Professor Poopypants (Nikc Kroll) (looking like the child catcher in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG), the new science teacher who wants to rid the wold of laughter. His assistant is one of George and Harold’s fellow students, a swatter and a rotter called Melvin (Jordan Peele) with an uncanny resemblance to minions in DESPICABLE ME. Yes, as in all animated films, the world needs to be saved – but always for a good cause – as the return of laughter in this story.

There is plenty of laughter in this film, thanks to the goofy antics of the animators, the smart script by Brit Nicholas Stoller and the comedic timing of director David Soren. Writer Stoller directed the very funny NEIGHBOURS, NEIGHBOURS II and FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL and Toronto-own Stoller had proven his animation mettle in TURBO (the animated on snails). Kevin Hart is funny voicing George but the surprise comes from Ed Helms who voices both the principal and Captain Underpants.

The animation is 3D computer animated, with the heads of the characters rounded, similar to THE PEANUTS MOVIE. The characters have a 3D rather than a two dimensional look.

Despite all the toilet humour, the film contains a decent message of genuinely doing good in the world.

There is a fine line between stupidity and goofiness. Animated films often have to tread this fine line between success and failure. CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS succeeds in this respect while another cent animated feature THE LEGO BATMAN failed because it was too manic and incomprehensible. It should be a worthwhile wait for CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE SECOND EPIC MOVIE


Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out:

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

Watch recent Writing Festival Videos. At least 15 winning videos a month:

Film Review: CARGO (Netherlands)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival

Poster cargo small

On a lonely ship, in the middle of the North Sea, fourteen men work together for a month. Day and night they sail around oilrigs to provide them of supplies. In this world of fellowship, waves, storms and containers, Frans, an Amsterdam sailor, seems to be at his best. However, the longer the journey lasts, the more it becomes apparent that something essential is missing in this male microcosm at sea. A small film about loneliness and the importance of love.


Review by Kierston Drier

CARGO a documentary about love, family and men at sea, will pull on your heart. It follows the 14 men that make up a deep sea water crew, and their time away from their families while out. Gone for long stretches of time, the crew make peace with themselves by reliving their youth, their young loves, talking of their families, their children, their birthdays.

Like any good documentary, the filming team captures moments of the crew where they take no notice of the bulky machine recording their lives. Instead, the camera floats among them like a phantom, seeing the moments they hide from the rest of the world- a birthday shared at sea, a long-lost love, a phone call home to one’s’ children: Daddy will be home soon.

Another remarkable thing about CARGO and to director Marina Meijer’s credit- is the spectacular B-Roll in this piece. Bright colors, remarkable shots and beautiful moments litter this film like gems along the ocean floor. They elevate this piece to a mastery level.

You may never have spent a day at sea, but you will feel the ocean mist on your skin while you watch CARGO.


Film Review: THE ARK (France)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival


A rhino is walking into the ruins of a cathedral under a heavy rain.


Review by Kierston Drier

A two minute animation directed by Jean-Baptiste Aziere, The Ark is a powerful, riveting and emotionally provocative piece. Highly symbolic and deeply moving, it follows a Rhino slowly making its’ way to a dilapidated Christian altar where it bows with it’s final breath, then falls to its’ knees. It gives us no answers, asks us no riddles- it is simply a sharp, dramatic piece that will take your breath away.

You may argue that this is a piece about religion, or a piece about spirituality and the animal kingdom, or that it is about environmentalism, you may even argue it has no deeper meaning that what is visually there. But it cannot be denied- this is a film so hauntingly beautiful and so visually rich that once it begins, it demands your attention. Perhaps that is the most symbolic and meaningful part of the entire piece. In a world run by humanity, where things that not human are often ignored in favor of the things that are, there is not a single person in this film. Yet our hero bows like a praying human being, and dies soon after. You cannot help but be moved at the sight, interpret what you will.

THE ARK is a brave cinematic piece. Short, stunning and impactful, this is a piece that carries itself with beauty and deep meaning.


Film Review: FAREWELL (Switzerland)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival


What happens if you want to say goodbye to a loved one but this suddenly no longer find ? The short film “Farewell” tells how want to accompany a group of friends with different characters their deceased friend and brother on a last trip and so much goes wrong.

In bizarre and comical way this short satire will pull you in its spell – and what, if such a thing happened once to me?

Review by Kierston Drier

When we love something, we let it go. Right? It is certainly something we have all been taught. But when you have your buddy’s urn with his ashes in it, you might want to keep it where you know you can find it- just in case. But for five friends charged with the task of caring for their dead friend’s ashes, things don’t go so smoothly.

Enter FAREWELL, a comedy with a curious mixture of strange happenings and humor styles. The dialogue is punchy, the action is raucous and outlandish and the tone is similar to Analyze That with it’s back to back escalation of unbelievable stakes.

Our heroes lose their friend while out to dinner before delivering him to have his ashes scattered. Where they find him? Well they need to backtrack through their steps, stopping at the restaurant, tracking down the waitresses, going through the kitchen and…well things only get more complicated from there.

Boasting some hilarious twists and turns and some great recurring humor, every character in the piece is bright, sharp and full of life. A great piece about learning not to take life too seriously.

Film Review: SEEDS (UK)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival

A young female astronaut trains for the first expedition to Mars.


Review by Kierston Drier

A gorgeous and deeply layered piece of cinema, SEEDS does what all science-fiction genre piece hope to do: dissect a part of our modern world by throwing it through the lense of the future. A young female astronaut must decide to leave her brother (the only family she has) to go into isolation training for a settlement to be built on Mars. She will likely never return. There is an echo of other well loved science fiction pieces like “The Martian”, or even “Stranded” in this piece, although in SEEDS, our heroine is only prepping for her journey. But this film, like others before it, puts human relationships under a microscope through the examination of isolation and space. Bravo to SEEDS for being able to do this in a short film format.

Our heroine has not yet left Earth, but she is already worlds apart from her brother. Emotionally, they must make peace with one another before she leaves. But what he views as abandonment, she views as her ultimate sacrifice to her home- rising a colony on another planet may pave the way to ensure human survival for generations to come.

Science fiction is a genre used to soften the blow of asking really hard questions. SEEDS fits perfectly within its’ medium: It asks us to look at human relationships and the difficult feelings of isolation, separation and loss. It is palatable for us, because it is accompanied by the fantastical, beautiful, adventurous notion of crossing the boundaries of our own world. It asks us a big question: Do the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Would your love for your family keep you from being part of the journey that could save the world? Our Heroine has asked herself this. To find her answer, you’ll have to watch SEEDS.


Film Review: EAT ME! (Bulgaria)

Played at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival

Eatmeposter jan 2017small

Glittering socialite Laura starts slipping from the daily reality of a weight obsessed rich man’s mistress. While on a fancy dinner with her gluttonous lover she enters a strange world where food dances and sings. The whirlwind of dance blows the air out of Laura’s head and she becomes a different type of girl…

How people treat each other is mirrored in the way we treat our environment and our food. That’s why “Eat me” focuses on our attitude to food, its dubious contents and food waste through the prism of a skewed relationship.

Review by Kierston Drier

A twenty minute dive into food and psychology, EAT ME, is an adventurous musical romp telling the tale of a beautiful young woman having dinner with her very hungry partner. She fights the internal battle between craving and self control, as she stares down at various lavish plates sent to their table. Seemingly driven crazy by hungry, she slips slowly into hallucinations- her food literally sprouting legs and dancing in front of her, singing and tempting her to eat them.

She tries desperately to escape her phantom food, but to little avail. They torment her with jazz hands, seamless choreography and painfully catchy tunes. In a desperate attempt to flee her visions, she ends up making a scene, and is escorted outside. She is left in a dumpster, where all unwanted things go. Among piles of forgotten food, she can finally be alone with her thoughts, and give in.

What is interesting about this piece- besides the obvious humor of singing and dancing foodstuffs, is the careful detail in the visuals. Our leading lady is a stunningly flawless beauty, and the plates put before her are equally gorgeous. Yet the film is shot primarily in black and white, with a few choice scenes and items being colored. Seeing the film in black and white acts as a constant distinction between the audience’s’ reality and the story. Until, that is, our heroine lies in a pile of trash. In this scene, the piece is colored naturally- as though her illusions are shattered, and reality has seeped in.

It can be interpreted in any number of ways and that is part of its’ mystique. EAT ME is delightfully fresh, something you want to look for in your films, and well as your food.