Interview with Festival Director Christopher Rohde (Mirror Mountain Film Festival)

Mirror Mountain Film Festival brings the best in independent and alternative cinema to Canada’s capital. Mirror Mountain is an inclusive festival that welcomes all types of films and all types of people to share in the collective cinema experience. In addition to film screenings, our festival features live performances, parties, panel discussions, Q&A sessions and more.

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

Christopher Rohde: I started Mirror Mountain with a philosophy of doing it from a filmmaker’s perspective, including things I think most filmmakers would like to see when they submit to festivals. We keep filmmakers informed of the status of their submission. We refund your submission fee if your work is selected. We play your film in the correct aspect ratio and in high resolution on a big screen with quality projection. We promote the films and filmmakers as much as we can on social media. Even if your film isn’t selected, you still get a complimentary festival pass as a thank you for your hard work as an artist.

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

Some of the most original films from unique creative minds around the world, plus spectacular live performances and great parties. It’s also an opportunity to meet cool like-minded people and talk with the artists about their work.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We look for films to screen at Mirror Mountain that come from a distinct voice. A big part of what makes the festival special is that the audience can experience different points of view, and see something they wouldn’t get at home on Netflix or from a Hollywood movie.

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

As an independent filmmaker who also submits to festivals regularly, I can relate to this dilemma. I think filmmakers want to know that when they send their project in, the people there look at your work carefully and that the festival is run professionally.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Our team is made up of filmmakers, actors, musicians, writers, arts administrators and technicians. But what unites us all is our mutual love for the artistry and creativity of filmmaking, and getting the opportunity to share some amazing films with captivated audiences.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

I still remember sending short films to festivals on VHS tapes through the postal service, so we’re grateful for the convenience to both filmmakers and festivals that online submission platforms give us. They also provide a greater global reach and connect us with filmmakers in many more distant parts of the world.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Hopefully still providing an enjoyable experience for our community!

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

Probably the last short film I directed! It spent several years in post-production and I feel like I saw it a thousand times during colour correction and sound mixing.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Passion, ingenuity, emotion, originality, fun.

How is the film scene in your city?

The Ottawa filmmaking scene is filled with collaboration and a sense of generosity. It’s a community where people support one another, and we’re always proud to feature many locally-produced films each year.
 

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Christopher Rohde (b. 1983) is an award-winning filmmaker from Ottawa, Ontario. His video The Pink Ghosts (2006) was screened across Canada and was one of the first four films selected for the inaugural edition of EnRoute, Air Canada’s in-flight film festival. Odd One Out (2014) was screened internationally and won awards for Best Film by an Emerging Filmmaker at the Jasper Short Film and Media Arts Festival and Best Director (Experimental) at the 2015 Ottawa Independent Video Awards. He received his M.A. in Film Studies from Carleton University in 2007. He was a member of Available Light Screening Collective from 2006 to 2013 and curated several programmes for the group including Stellar Regions: Jazz & Avant-Garde Film and Raw Power: Rock & Avant-Garde Film. From 2010 to 2014, he was the Programmer at SAW Video Media Art Centre, a dynamic artist-run-centre in the nation’s capital, where he curated dozens of screenings, installations, exhibitions, performances and other projects with many of Canada’s top media artists.

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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