Interview with Festival Director Jonny Mancini (FROSTBITE International Film Festival)

FROSTBITE is an international online festival devoted to recognizing those who push the boundaries of what cinema can do, regardless of their budget or production quality.

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

Jonny Mancini: Every single one of our judges and festival coordinators is a filmmaker, and know the difficulty of entering your film into bigger festivals to hopefully win awards. Submission prices are generally unaffordable, and even if they are not, indie films tend to not be selected more than bigger budget short films. Our goal as student filmmakers and future teachers of film is to create an environment where professionals, low-budget, and student filmmakers can receive recognition on an equal plane. We offer many different categories and awards, in support of uncommonly recognized genres such as dance film, action sports, and demo reels. We offer a wide range of other categories, and they grow every month as we open themed or genre categories offering unique awards. There are an endless amount of vital aspects which go into the creation of any film, and we offer as many awards as we can for each of these aspects which require a lot of effort on the filmmaker or animators part. We give out awards every month to films for everything from editing and cinematography to concept strength and dialogue design. These small essential details are what can set low-budget or student film far above films with a professional budget, and our jury aims to see they all get the recognition they deserve.

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

Our festival is primarily online in order for us to keep up the pace with giving out awards and getting our winners screened as much and as soon as possible. We have only had local submitters in attendance to our monthly studio screenings, but we offer direct feedback to any of our selections who request it to get the most directly personal experience we can with them as a high pace online festival.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our selections are determined by very specific criteria based on the effort put in by the filmmakers, and the innovative aspects of these underground films which inspire and push the boundaries of what cinema is. We look for things we have never seen before, and regardless of quality of equipment or budget, we look for films which show excellence in storytelling, dialogue, editing, and technique.

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

As student filmmakers we work hard at our passions, and we have experienced first hand what festivals are looking for, as well as what kind of a message they look for in films. What it comes down to is most elite festivals do not consider films fairly based on the merit of their unique or innovative aspects; even some festivals who claim to do this often do not! Most of them look for emotional appeal, inspiring story, or professional camera technique. These methods for storytelling are wonderful, however, they are copies, and do not push the adaptation of cinema for the future.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

It is simple. We want to see unique films which deserve recognition, receive the recognition they deserve. Every filmmaker from every nation has a unique means to telling their stories, and we want to make sure the world looks at their awards, and gives them the consideration they deserve despite not having the quality of equipment of high budget films.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Incredible, FilmFreeway has been our primary platform for receiving submitters and we have managed to receive a very even mix of professional, low-budget, and student films. This has made it easy for us to consider them for awards based on their unique merits.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We aim to see our festival giving out twice the awards, and bringing in professional filmmakers as judges every month. We want to have large theatre screenings for our winners, and promote them to an even more vast online film audience than we already do.

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

The Fifth Element (1997) by Luc Besson

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is simply one which makes a contribution to the development of cinema, and manifests a visceral experience for the viewer, as opposed to just images on a screen.

How is the film scene in your city?

Colorado Springs has often in the past been dubbed “Little Hollywood,” as it is gleaming with young indie filmmakers and innovators creating incredible projects. The city in right on the foothills of the rockies, and offers an immensely diverse filming environment from alien landscapes which feel far from earth, to jungles, and to deserts high with dunes.

 

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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 www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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