Interview with Festival Director Chris Velazquez (THE VIOLETTE FILM FESTIVAL)

The Violette Film Festival is an Independent film festival that will be going on side by side with the CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC COMIC CON in MERCED,CA.

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

Chris Velaquez: Our festival’s number one goal is to get exposure for film makers who might not have had the chance to show their work before, or first time film makers that do not have enough experience. Both professional and first timers alike have the opportunity to show their work and in the process get a festival under their belt to help them in the first step to building their craft and audience in the festival circuit.

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

We plan on having screenings of all of the film entries selected as well as a few film premiers. The festival will be happening along side a Comic Con so not only will there be an audience attending the festival but attendees of the Comic Con have access to the festival as well. This way for the film makers their films have the potential of reaching more people. We also plan to have a guest speaker as well as guest celebrity award presenters including Julie Dolan of Star Wars Rebels and Steven Skyler of Power Rangers and more!

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

They need to be well thought out, put together as best as possible nu the film maker and most importantly they need to tell a story. For us it does not matter the type of camera or experience you have, it is how you tell your story and entertain an audience. If you are a good story teller and film maker it will show. We are looking for films as well as Fan Films for our fan film contest that have clean audio, a well put together story and something entertaining of the audience to enjoy.

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

yes and no…Yes in a way because of the reason why we started this festival. As a film maker myself it was very hard to get in to my first festival. It seemed to me a lot of film festivals where, in my opinion, only selecting films from people that either A) had a backing such as money or a company putting up the film and or B) Had work that was known or had prerequisites for the film makers or films( Previous screenings at festivals, Film Students only, Film vs Digital, Budgets, Etc.) for first timers like me at the time, it was very hard to get in to a festival. That is why we created our festival…no Experience needed, if you are a great film maker it will show and we will accept your film.

With that said the part I think they do get a fair shake in is that once you get a film in to a film festival the opportunities are amazing. The networking, exposure and talent that is in the festivals is a great atmosphere for creative minds to get together and make the connections that will lead to amazing things.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

To give people a chance to live their dreams and show their work. For me film making is a passion in I love and I am thankful for being able to do what I love for a living and through this festival we can give other film makers a chance to show their work, get exposure and help them in the step to making their dreams come true and further their careers.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It has been so easy and great. The selection process is so simple and when the submissions close the judging process is already set up and simple to use. I love this site and will be using film freeway for future festivals

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Currently we are contracted and sponsored by the awesome people at the California Republic Comic Con ( the event that is going on side by side with the festival) and we hope that by 2020 We will have an even bigger foot print and possibly just our own event. We are currently the largest film festival to come to our town and our goal is to some day reach the level of Sundance…of course that is a long ways away but its a dream.

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

That is a tough one, let me think…I think the answer to that would be…I don’t know for sure. I am a huge movie buff and I own a huge collection of films. I think it is safe to say for me the top four films I’ve seen the most would be Psycho, Edward Scissorhands, The Fifth Element and Star Wars a new hope.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film to me has the ability to transport an audience by visually telling a great story and giving them something they can enjoy over and over again with the feeling of you have never seen anything like it before.

How is the film scene in your city?

As of early 2017 it is starting to grow rapidly. Myself and other film makers in the city banded together to create films, we started to show them at local screenings and within some time we have been able to get new film makers to join us not only in our town but from out of the city as well.

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Chris Velazquez:

Born and raised in the central valley, Chris Velazquez has had a love for everything film from a very young age. He received his first camera when he was 5 years old and never looked back. He is an award winning film maker with close to 60 projects completed to date from music videos to short films. He is the co owner of Violette Films along side his wife Margarita. Chris is also currently working as the Violette Film Festival Director as well as Creating a Web series based on a short film that received high praise in 2016 called Chrono•Film that is set to start production in fall 2017. He lives in the central Valley with his wife Margarita and their Daughter Violette, whom their film company and festival are named after.

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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