Interview with Festival Director Joe Sanchez (Catch & Release Showcase Festival)

The showcase is a meeting point among artists, innovators and media consumers. We aim to spark creativity for both beginners and professionals. Grab your phone and create. Together we can make this world more beautiful with our artistry.


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

Joe Sanchez: We are all about distribution. Right now our focus is for the filmmakers to find a way to stream their films to a wider audience and be able to make revenue.

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

Our goal is a traditional one given this is our first year, just aiming for a good time and that people find us memorable. And for the content to be good.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

As long as the material is shot on an cellphone and under 20 minutes, we will consider it.

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

I’m not sure how to answer this question. I believe in general film festivals are always looking to showcase some of the best and finest in the market to be. I do believe the bigger ones; TRIBECA, SUNDANCE, SOUTH BY SOUTHWEST have monopolize. No longer about what’s next, more so what’s going to bring more celebrities. I remember when CLERKS was the biggest thing at SUNDANCE. Now, that’s not so much the case. This is why smaller festivals are needed. People forget that even film festivals have their roots.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

For me, personally, it has always been about helping filmmakers spread their voice. As a writer / producer myself I know that most filmmakers, if not all of them, are simply wanting to be heard. This is why creating is an outlet / a way to coop with the world. And right now that outlet is needed the most. Our festival is just another way for them to speak.

And, on a personal mission, I’m aiming to bring more social awareness about a greater cause, human trafficking. This is why we teamed up with A21. As a fighter against this global monstrosity, it’s my way to give back while implementing change.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

It’s been fair, first year festival have a lot to overcome. So just getting people to submit is an accomplishment on its own. And having the FilmFreeway brand behind us does give us some type of credibility.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

By 2020 I anticipate for us to be globally recognizable and a higher attendance, just kidding. But seriously isn’t the goal always the same, it’s all about longevity. Whether this festival is still around, that’s without question. Ultimately the goal for us is to be trusted. To be one of the go to festivals where you, a. get some validity and b. be handed a distribution deal. We plan to expand to feature film submissions, at some point.

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

El Mariachi, is one of my all time favorite flicks, as Robert Rodriguez likes to refer them as. I can watch it over and over again. From a filmmakers perspective I can appreciate it for what it is, a film that visually accomplish what it set out to do with it’s minimal budget. As a writer, it’s mind blowing how he took a simple story and gave it a creative spin. And now that I’m a film festival director, I can see it’s charm. But then again, I probably always saw that, ha.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Simply the story. A good story can go along way.

How is the film scene in your city?

I’m in Los Angeles, so my scene is thee scene. I’m joking but I will say this though, I’ve lived in a few cities and an each one there are pockets of people doing film. And even L.A. has it’s own local scene but regardless it’s all part of the same spectrum. The struggle is very real but as long as you do your part, you take solace in knowing that you’re partaking in making your dreams come true.


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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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