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.

short film breaks 1.jpg


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
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed

2 thoughts on “Interview with Festival Director George Gänaeaard (Short Film Breaks)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s