Interview with Festival Director Alex P. Michaels (Prelude2Cinemas)

The festival began as a monthly event created by Prelude2Cinema, a movie and marketing company. The goal was not just to screen movies from all over the world, but offer filmmakers a chance at distribution from the company. After four events, the festival decided a change of venue and a chance to regroup. In August 2017, the festival will relaunch with at least four events per year. The other thing that makes the event different is that there is live entertainment and food served at each event. We have had musicians, magicians and filmmakers interacting with the audience. By the end of the year, Prelude2Cinema presents… looks forward to offering funding for filmmakers.

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

Alex P. Michaels: Prelude2Cinema presents… has given filmmakers more exposure and with a future chance for funding and distribution, we hope to establish ourselves as a film market/ film festival. Being filmmakers ourselves, we are geared toward helping other filmmakers reach an audience.

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

Filmmakers are treated like royalty. We make certain to invite the press and give their film attention and encourage them to talk to the audience about their work and future goals. We also have live entertainment and food at each event as part of the ticket price.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We like a certain level of quality, but realize your movie may not be “Hollywood” standards. We are drawn to movies that have distinct voices and are something you normally don’t see. Short films are better for programming, but we do screen features. We also keep the films from past festivals to screen at other screenings and keep in touch with the filmmakers.

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

A few festivals have turned into Hollywood promotion events and certain movies are selected before they are even finished. A festival should be a chance to discover a movie that does not have movie stars but maybe offer a glimpse at future movie stars and directors. A lot of festivals can be narrow in their film selection as well and advertise they are looking for one type of movie but have a preference for another genre all together.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

As filmmakers, we wanted to give help to fellow filmmakers. Prelude2Cinema is also building a movie studio here in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and want to produce other filmmakers. We thought a festival would be a great way to build a relationship with filmmakers from all over the world.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Great. The process and payments are easy and we appreciate the template so people can discover our festival. We have had movies from Canada, Russia, France and the US. FilmFreeway is a great tool for any festival organizer.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Prelude2Cinema presents… wants to be able to screen trailers of movies and have screenplays submitted that we can later award production deals to. Imagine a film festival where your trailer screens, and you are awarded a budget to produce that movie? Even if we bring in movies with known stars, we always want to make certain there is equal room for new directors and actors. We want the festival to be about discovering the new filmmakers.

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

“Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’ve seen it about 20 times.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Big Money. Big Stars. No. Just kidding. Actually what makes a great movie is one that lingers with you. One that changes how you look at the world. One that you find yourself thinking about years later. I truly believe movies can be art. And art should always touch your soul.

How is the film scene in your city?

The Cleveland film scene is kind of paradoxically. The movie business is Show Business. Yet, here, it is all about SHOW and very little about business. There are talented filmmakers here and the usual jealousy and egos that go along with being an artist. Sadly a lot of artist here wear “Starving Artist” as a badge of honor. They work regular jobs and do some crowdfunding and get patrons but shy away from the business aspects of our industry. I am a director myself and have acted in my movies and for other filmmakers. While I personally would like to create more movies, I do devote a large amount of time to building a pool of funding. Prelude2Cinema has just partnered with a nonprofit Give to Cleveland that is focused on the economic growth of the region. We are able to accept tax deductible donations for our movies and the studio we are working on building. While we definitely have a strong community of filmmakers with great talent, I truly believe unless we get consistent funding, we will never be able to rise above the “Starving Artist” syndrome.
 

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Emmy winning writer and award winning director, Alex has produced a number of indie movies and a TV series in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. He founded the Movie and Marketing Company Prelude2Cinema. Although Prelude2Cinema shoots in Northeast, Ohio, its movies have played all over the world. Alex also acts in other movies from other directors. Alex is the Cinema Czar and dedicated to creating a Cinema Industry in Northeast Ohio that is based on the old Hollywood Studio System and promotes movies and includes Hollywood and Indie filmmakers.

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.

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