This is a great opportunity for Filmmakers World Wide to Submit their Films. Plans are already in the works to expand the Edmonton FESTIVAL OF FEAR for 2018, and beyond.
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
Barry J. Gillis: This is the First Year for the Edmonton FESTIVAL OF FEAR International Film Festival, which will be a Two Day Film Festival this year, and a Three Day Film Festival next year. We plan on adding more days year after year, as we continue to expand and grow. Our Deadline for Submissions ended yesterday, and we haven’t had a chance to Promote the Official Selections, as they have not been Announced yet. However, when we do Announce the Official Selections that will play on the Big Screen at the Landmark City Centre, in Edmonton, Alberta.
We plan on Promoting the hell out of all of the Fantastic Films that will Screen at this years Film
Festival, and we would expect that the Filmmakers will be very happy with the way we Promote, and push their Amazing Feature Films and Shorts, and the way we are Promoting the Film Festival in general. For instance we already are set to have a 30 Second Film Festival Promo Film play before every Movie that people go to see at the World Class Landmark Cinemas, City Centre Location. The Promo will play on 9 Big Screens, before each and every Movie that people watch every day for 29 days before the Film Festival, and it lets everyone know where they can buy Tickets, which further leads them to all of the Movies that will play, along with Trailers, photos, and info about all of the Filmmakers Movies… The Promo will play in front of huge Audiences who are out to see the latest Great Movies that Landmark Cinemas is playing. These are Huge Audiences, that will be attending movies such as Stephen King’s “IT”. We have been sinking a fair amount of money into Promoting the Film Festival, and we have Sold alot of VIP TICKETS before any of the Movies have even been Announced, and we expect that when the Official Selections are Announced, and when the Public sees what they are in for, Ticket Sales are going to go through the roof.
Landmark Cinemas 9, City Centre Location, is a First Class Venue, and for for all of the Filmmakers who will be attending the Film Festival, they are going to be very happy that they Submitted their Movie to the Edmonton FESTIVAL OF FEAR.
What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?
You can expect to be entertained like there is no tomorrow. You can expect to have the time of your life at the Edmonton FESTIVAL OF FEAR International Film Festival. You can expect to get your monies worth and more. You can expect a Grand Opening on the Red Carpet on Friday the 13th of October, at 6:30pm, before the OPENING NIGHT EXTRAVAGANZA which Starts on the Big Screen at 7pm sharp, with a Phenomenal Feature Film. (which we cannot Announce the name of, until we Announce everything on September 7th.) You can expect that all of the Official Selections are NEW FEATURE FILMS and SHORTS, that have never been seen anywhere, aside from other Film Festivals, unless they are making their World Premiere at our Film Festival.
The line up also includes, North America Premieres, Canada Premieres, Western Canada Premieres, etc. None of the Movies have ever played the Big Screen in Edmonton, Canada. You can expect Films that have Won Awards at other Film Festivals, and you can expect Films that may have been overlooked by other Film Festivals.
You can also expect the Time Of Your Life at the After Party, which will be at Fionn Macool’s Irish Pub, which is right beside Landmark Cinemas. We have Free Food coming in at 11:30pm, (First Come Firsy Come First Served) on Saturday October 14th, afer we give out the Awards for Best Feature Film, Best Short Film, etc, etc. The Filmmakers who Win, will be given the coveted, COREY FELDMAN AWARD OF EXCELLENCE, Which the Film Festival determines. And then there will be AWARDS that the Audience Votes on through Ballots, and the Winners will recieve an AUDIENCE AWARD, as determined by the Audience. People can also expect to be treated like Gold by the wonderful Staff at Landmark Cinemas… Landmark has been so co-operative in this entire process, from Territory Sales Manager Kristin Woodford,(Kushneryk) to Director of Corporate Sales & Sponsorship Scot Benson, in Calgary, to the General Manager of the City Centre Location, Renee Gobeil, to all of the front line workers that we encountered. Everyone is in for the time of their lives…
What are the qualifications for the selected films?
The Official Selections must be Completed on or after January 1st, 2016. We have had to disqualify some Films, because they were Completed before that date. However, because they overlooked the Rules, and paid a Submission Fee to Enter the Competition, Vice President, Len J. Phillips and I decided that we would give all of the Filmmakers a FREE WAIVER, for the next Film
that they Submit to the Film Festival, and in a couple of cases, we did not have to wait until next years Film Festival, or at some other time in the future, because a couple of the Filmmakers, got back to us right away and Submitted another Movie free of charge.
The Official Selections must not be boring. We are looking for Feature Films and Shorts that excite us, and will excite our Audiences. I hate to say this but we have had some Feature Films that came in for instance that had great Movie Trailers that would bring in the fans by the boatload. However, upon watching the actual Movie… 20 and 30 minutes in, etc, etc, there was nothing happening… Some of these Movies had the great pay off at the end, etc, etc, but we are looking for Movies that grab us right away, and turn the excitement level up right away, and then keep the pace going…
Some of these Feature Films were awesome in every way, and some were made on big budgets, and the Acting was top notch, and the Cinematography, and Screenplay, etc, etc, are World Class, but these kinds of Movies where nothing much is happening for long periods of time, are better off playing at another Film Festival where Boring Drama is King… Yes we want great Stories, and yes, we love great Acting, and even great Drama, and yes these Movies were great, but if the Movie is too boring, and the pace is slow as hell, and we are not being entertained every step of the way, save your Submission Fee, and Submit your Feature Film to another Film Festival.
You must be over 18 to Attend our Film Festival, and the Official Films are for Mature Audiences, not the faint at heart. This is the Edmonton FESTIVAL OF FEAR International Film Festival, not the ANNE OF GREEN GABLES FAMILY FILMS FESTIVAL, lol..
Do you think that some films don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?
Yes I do, and I truly believe that, and not only do I believe that, I know it because I am a Writer, Producer, Director myself, and I have dealt with various Film Festivals over the years. However, on the other end of the coin, Film Festivals have time constraints and cannot Screen every Movie that has been Submitted. There are some great Films that we would like to play at this years Film Festival, but we just cannot fit these Films in, and we had to make some tough choices, and in some cases, it bothers me to no end, that a certain Film will not play at this years Film Festival, because we just cannot fit all of the Films in this year that we would like to Screen. However, if the Film was Completed after January 1st, 2017 it will still be Eligible to play at next years Film Festival, and we will have an extra day, with more time slots to fit in more Films.
I not only believe that some Films are over looked, I know it from hearing back from the Filmmakers themselves. We have contacted some of the Filmmakers to let them know that there Film was in high contention to play at the Film Festival, and to ask them one question or another about their Film, and in many cases they said that they Submitted their Movie to other Film Festivals, and we were the first Film Festival to Contact them.
Some of these Movies have been Completed in 2016, and have had World Premieres, and only Screened at a Festival or two, and even though their Films have been Submitted to other Film Festivals, but never got Selected to play at other Film Festivals, and these are great Films that we are talking about, and I would have been the first person to Select a certain Film over, another Film that the Film Festival Screened…
But at the same time, every Film Festival has their own needs, and they have their own ways that they want to Program the Film Festival, plus, as I was mentioning before, there are only so many time slots, and tough choices have to be made between what you are going to Screen at your Film Festival, and what you are not going to Screen at your Film Festival. Your Film could be great, but maybe the Film Festival thinks the Film is too long, or two short to Screen at their Film Festival. Maybe they already have 10 Feature Length and Short Films set to play their Film Festival from the United States, Canada, or wherever, and they want to now include a Film from Germany… I mean there is a tonne of reasons why a Film might not play a Film Festival, outside of whether the Film is a great Film or not.
I guess at the end of the day, I see it as a yes, and no answer, on the one hand your Film may get overlooked, I mean who knows if every Film Festival is even watching all of the Films??? Your guess is as good as mine. However, these Film Festivals would be crazy not to watch all of the Films, because you never know what you may discover… We don’t build our lineup on what STIGES, or FANTASIA, or any other Film Festival has Screened… or just because your Film Screened at FRIGHT FEST, doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to have your Film Screen at the Edmonton FESTIVAL OF FEAR International Film Festival. We watch all of the Films, and give them all a chance, and if we believe that the Film should play at our Film Festival,
we will Screen it, if we can fit it in. But, as I also say, sometimes you have to choose one Film over another because maybe one Film is 30 Minutes, and the other is 8 Minutes, and you only have room to Screen an 8 Minute Film, because all of the Time Slots are taken… This is a big reason why I look forward to next year, when we will have Three Days to Screen Movies, and then keep adding more days, and more time slots to play more Films at the Film Festival in the future… A Film Festival also has a tough choices when it comes to various Films, because I know in our case, for instance you have three great Films that you would love to Screen at the Film Festival, and it’s tough to decide what should be played and what should not be played, because the Films are so amazing… But, maybe one of the Films is going to be a World Premiere, or a Canadian Premiere… Whereas, maybe the other Film(s) are only going to be a Western Canada Premiere, or an Edmonton Premiere, because the Film already played at the great Calgary International Film Festival, and it has already Premiered in Alberta… That’s not to say we won’t Screen your Film if it played Calgary, but we have a choice to make between two awesome Films… We also want to Screen a few Amazing Local Films in the lineup as well. These are Movies that were made in the Province of Alberta, and it comes down to those kinds of decisions as well…
What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
First of all, I have been secretly thinking about Founding a Film Festival for over 30 years… I grew up in a time when you could go to the Saturday or Sunday Matinee a couple of blocks up the road from where I grew up in Parkdale, Toronto, and watch Feature Films and Shorts all day long. For example, when I went to see JAWS in 1977, or whatever year it was, they would build JAWS up, or any other New Feature Length Film, and it might play at let’s say, 7pm… But, before all of that went down, (getting to see JAWS) you would get to the Movie Theatre early in the day, and they would be Screening other Films that were already released. So before JAWS, you might watch ENTER THE DRAGON, Starring Bruce Lee, and then they would play a THREE STOOGES, Short, or an Animated Short, or two, or three, and then they might play an Alfred Hitchcock Movie that was already Released, years previously, or a Western, or a Comedy, or whatever… These were great times to be growing up in, and I used to go to the Movies almost every week, and I would see all kinds of great Feature Films and Shorts… From LAUREL AND HARDY, to SQUIRM, and all of the old TARZAN MOVIES, and the list goes on and on… This was Cinema at it’s finest… You would watch all of these Movies, but in the back of your mind, you new the Big Movie of the day, (JAWS) was going to be playing at 7pm… You would be buying popcorn, candy bars, licorice, chips, and drinking pop all day at the Theatre, and after the Big Movie of the day was over, they were still Screening another Movie or two…
It’s not like that anymore, but, people can get a similar “fix” by Attending a Film Festival… And I can hardly wait to see all of these Movies play on the Big Screen, even though I have already watched all of the Movies already. I can hardly wait to see the Films Screen one after the other, and re-live that experience. An experience, for the most part that you can only get at a Film Festival. The only difference between watching Movies all day on a Saturday or Sunday when I was a kid, is that these will be all New Feature and Short Films, that were Completed after January 1st, 2016, and have not been Released anywhere yet. We don’t Screen Movies that
are Available on Youtube, Vimeo, or anywhere else on the Internet either. If the Movie has been Privately Screened, or it has played other Film Festivals, that’s fine, but if it has already been Released, it won’t be playing the Film Festival…
Personally, I am motivated to treat people the way that I was treated at the World Class Calgary International Film Festival by awesome people like Executive Director Steve Schroeder, Programmer Brenda Lieberman, and one of the Programmers at the time, Bruce Fletcher.
I really got to know Bruce Fletcher, and he was instrumental in getting my Feature Film Screened, in San Francisco, at ANOTHER HOLE IN THE HEAD FILM FESTIVAL. Bruce Showed me around San Francisco when I flew down there for the U.S. Premiere of THE KILLING GAMES, and he’s just an all around great guy. That’s how I want the Filmmakers, and Fans to be treated at our Film Festival.
The entire Team is Motivated by Films, Films, and more Films… We love discovering Great Films. If we can make a few dollars on the side, that would be great too… But the Motivation is our extreme passion for wanting to Screen Great Movies, and having everyone experience the times of their lives…
How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?
The Film Freeway is the GREATEST Site known to human kind… The Submission Process has been FLAWLESS, and I cannot say enough about the Customer Service that I get from Anna, and others at the Film Freeway. We had tonnes and tonnes of Submissions through the Film Freeway, and we are very happy with the Film Freeway, and have no plans of Signing up with any other site… EVER… 🙂
Where do you see the festival by 2020?
I see the Festival as a 5 or 7 Day Film Festival by 2020…
What film have you seen the most times in your life?
Aside from THNGS (1989), Starring Amber Lynn, which I have watched who knows how many times, at Screenings and Events, and at home every now and then to try and figure out how we ever got this monstrosity of a Terrible Film completed and Released by Mel Lieberman in the first place, and how it ever became a Feature Film with a huge Cult Following, lol Hmmm… I would have to say I am not 100% sure, but I have watched the following Movies alot of times. SCARFACE, TAXI DRIVER, COMBAT SHOCK, (the Uncut version) RAMBO (2008), which is my Favorite RAMBO Movie of all time, and one of my favorite top Movies of all time… UNLAWFUL ENTRY Starring Ray Liotta, Kurt Russel, and Madeleine Stowe is another Movie that I have watched many times… And come to think of it the Italian Film CINEMA PARADISO. I just love that Movie, and it’s time for another viewing… The Short Film that I have watched more than any other, is POLICE STATE by Director NICK ZEDD…
In one sentence, what makes a great film?
A Great Film has to touch you, excite you, bring you to a place where everything else in your life is forgotten, where nothing else in life matters, with the exception of this great film that you are
watching and experiencing right now…
How is the film scene in your city?
The Film Scene in Edmonton is huge… Edmonton has the biggest Movie going Population in Canada. More people go to the Movie Theatre here to watch Movies than in any other City in Canada. I believe that is Per Capita… but I’m not 100% sure… But we are number one over my hometown of Toronto, and other Cities such as Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver. People love going to the Movies in Edmonton… In Terms of Filmmaking… There are alot of people making Independent Feature Length, and Short Films in Edmonton, and we have some great Filmmakers making great Films in this City, and I believe that it is going to continue and thrive here in Edmonton, as far as Filmmaking goes…
I believe that we could be doing more in General as a City to influence Producers, and Directors, and Hollywood in general, to Shoot their next Feature Film in Edmonton, and if I had anything to do with any part of the process to bring Hollywood to Edmonton, there would be alot of changes in the way we do business here as a City, and Hollywood, and the Big Independents, etc, would be coming to Edmonton by the Boatloads to shoot their Feature Length Films in Edmonton. Edmonton is truly a great City. I was born and raised in Toronto, but in terms of the friendliness factor… Edmonton is leaps and bounds over Toronto when in terms of being a friendly City… I moved here because I found the people so friendly and relaxed… Toronto is more of a rat race… Toronto is a great City… Don’t get me wrong, I love visiting my hometown, and going to see my mother and friends, and having a great overall time in Toronto at various attractions, etc, etc… However, there is something special about Edmonton, and the people here. It is a very friendly city, and very easy to get to know people here, and there is always something new to discover in Edmonton, even if you were born here, or living here for almost 20 years, like I have… There is always something new to discover in this great City.
In any event, maybe we can Attract Hollywood, along with all kinds of other Production companies to shoot their Feature Films in Edmonton. Maybe even the Edmonton FESTIVAL OF FEAR International Film Festival can be instrumental in that process as well…
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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