Interview with the American Youth Film Festival

The American Youth Film Festival™ is an opportunity for the youth to showcase their movie making skills. Many young people regularly produce movies that are then posted on websites such as YouTube and Facebook. We want to capture that interest and channel it to understand the “love of film or film making” through the eyes of youth filmmakers.

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

    The American Youth Film Festival succeeds at providing a platform for student filmmakers to showcase their talents as writers, storytellers and directors.

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

    Attendees can expect screenings from up-and-coming student filmmakers from around the world. You can also expect workshops and panel discussions featuring some of the leading actors, producers, and industry professionals.

    What are the qualifications for the selected films?

    All “Official Selections” will be chosen based on originality/creativity, cinematography, sound, direction, length, and ability to capture its audience.

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

    No, I think most films are judged based on how well they follow the rules set forth by the festival.

    What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

    After working with thousands of children in after-school programs since 2006, the American Youth Film Festival was developed to give student filmmakers an opportunity to express their creative writing, directing and storytelling skills on film, plus the festival is an extension of traditional arts programs.

    How has your Film Freeway subm ission process been?

    The Film Freeway submission process has been great for our festival, it’s simple and easy to use, which is very appealing to our filmmakers.

    Where do you see the festival by 2020?

    Our goal for The American Youth Film Festival is to be the premiere student film festival in the country, a Cannes-type festival for student filmmakers that is the “top destination” event to showcase their films and network with industry professionals.

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

    Silver Streak, with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, arguably the greatest comedy duo in the history of film.

    In one sentence, what makes a great film?

    The ability to connect with the audience through laughter and make them forget about the pressure and/or problems they may be facing makes a film great.

    How is the film scene in your city?

    Over the last few years the film scene in Atlanta has grown rapidly to become the third largest producer of movies in the country with over 125 movies being shot in and around the metropolitan area yearly.

    Inspiring Positive Youth Expression thru Film and Photography!
    The American Youth Film Festival…

    Launched in Columbus, GA on June 12, 2015 at the Columbus State University Center for International Studies after three years of market research. The festival launch screened film from ten states and one foreign country, it also included an awards ceremony, panel discussions and workshops featuring industry professionals such as, actress and film maker Stacy Cunningham (, whose credits includes over 40 stage and screen productions including an upcoming episode of Tyler Perry’s ” If Loving You Is Wrong,” discussed her experiences in the entertainment industry and moderated the panel discussion. Also facilitating a workshop was actress, image consultant, multi-media producer Alima Albari ( ) and ( whose industry experience includes film, music video & event production, talent booking & model representation, conducted a talent workshop and explained to the students the importance of image in the entertainment industry.

    Participating via SKYPE was Los Angeles, CA-based producer Ian Mallahan, an Emmy nominated producer whose past credits include Survivor, Undercover Boss, American Chopper and he is currently the Executive Producer of HGTV”s “Ellen’s Design Challenge” with Ellen DeGeneres.

    The 2016 American Youth Film Festival was hosted in July 2016 at The Conference Center at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in Atlanta, GA and screened film from twenty-seven states and eight foreign countries. The opening night meet & greet at the Microsoft store at Lenox Mall was attended by over forty industry professionals and student filmmakers and screened four “Official Selection” shorts. Festival workshops were conducted by VH1 Reality star David Dees, actress and image consultant Alima Albari, actress and storyteller Roxann Remekie, director and producer Paul Fant and a photography workshop by TWR Photography.

    The 2017 American Youth Film Festival, to be held June 8 – 10, 2017 at The Conference Center at Atlanta Metropolitan State College, promises to be the largest, most exciting festival ever with many of the most fascinating industry professionals the Atlanta entertainment film scene has to offer.

    Since inception, the American Youth Film Festival has worked closely with the Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA and Girls Inc . to introduce their respective members to filmmaking. This is a family event and parents, students, and educators from around the country attend the festival to support the film makers.



    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.

    SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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    Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
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    Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
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