Interview with Festival Director Banks Helfrich (LIFE SCREENINGS Festival)

This 80 minute event goes beyond movie night and into a shared experience which includes films, filmmakers, lovers of film and engaging conversation. International filmmakers are Skyped in to partake in an encouraged, relaxed exchange of ideas.


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

Banks Helfrich: Life Screenings exposes filmmakers to inquisitive audiences. Through Skyping, it also fosters direct feedback for the filmmaker.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

Life Screenings is an exploration of life through film. Audiences receive direct contact with the filmmaker’s minds through a thorough talkback.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Life Screenings criteria encompasses two qualifications: 1. All films must be under 15 minutes; 2. All films must show a world that we want to live in.

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

I can only speak for Life Screenings and we specifically search out films which meet our criteria.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Life Screenings sole purpose is to share a world that we want to live in through film; to connect filmmakers and film lovers in a conversation to better understand each other.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

The FilmFreeway submission process has been thoroughly helpful in connecting filmmakers from around the world to us.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Life Screenings 2023 will be in every major city in the world; it will be invited to the top attended film festivals in the world to curate at least one two hour block; it will be invited into people’s living rooms to share with others in a communal intimate atmosphere.

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


9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is one that has a connective quality of specificity in telling a story based on the human condition. In other words, it’s story.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Orlando has a thriving educational film scene with three colleges. It is exploding with students learning to tell a story with moving pictures.


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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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