Interview with Festival Director Michael McLaughlin (Disappear Here Film Festival)

The Disappear Here Film Festival is a first of its kind in Donegal, Ireland. The inaugural DHFF is a 3 day festival taking place in Ballyliffin, Co Donegal from (Culture Night) Friday 22nd September 2017.  Our versatile programme will include screenings, talks, educational workshops and a host of entertainment events through which we will provide a unique festival experience.



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

Michael McLaughlin: It is offering them the opportunity to have their work seen by an audience that wouldn’t necessarily get a chance to see it. It also gives them the chance to network and make connections with others working within the industry. Gaining feedback from an impartial audience is something that can be worthwhile, especially for those that are starting out in the industry. To showcase your work on a big screen, in an environment such as a film festival is a an excellent platform for all filmmakers to avail of.

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

The festival is for anyone that loves films, as well as those working or considering working within the industry in the future. We are aiming to offer something for children and adults alike. Disappear Here Film Festival will be another opportunity for the people to get together and celebrate the creative talent on offer through the medium of film. There will be various art installations dotted around the village, allowing people to experience not only film but also, other forms of creative expression.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

There are no set qualifications and we decided against running with a theme for this inaugural year. What we are after is film making that is engaging, that is entertaining and ultimately that challenges audiences, & makes an audience feel something.

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

Yes, I would probably accept that, but obviously I can’t speak on behalf of other film festivals. Films that are maybe high quality and tick all the boxes in terms of one panel member, might be deemed exceptional while another might deem it average, meaning that some films get dropped and don’t make it to selection. Also programmers have a very specific programme duration for short films, so lots of longer short films cannot get shown. My advice to filmmakers making shorts, is to actually keep them short – below 12mins max.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

The film festival came about by a desire to showcase the talents of
independent film making in Ireland and to allow audiences in Donegal
access to films they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

In a word, incredible. It streamlined the whole application and submission process. It allowed us to make direct contact iwhtdirectors to clarify any information during the submission process. It made the experience more seamless and less stressful.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

As a major player not just on the national scene here in Ireland, but internationally as well.

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

True Romance! Loved the screenplay by Tarantino and it’s one of Tony Scotts best as far as I’m concerned. Also, like everyone else I fell in love with Alabama, just a little bit!

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film needs to be always entertaining, never ever boring.

How is the film scene in your city?

Getting better all the time! Lots of great filmmakers, crew & locations that have to be seen to be believed! Actually Star Wars- The Last Jedi filmed here last year, so we can’t wait to see our area showcased for an international audience in that film.

Disappear Here Film Festival2.jpg


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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