Interview with Festival Director Amanda Drewniak (Ardor Creative Media)

 Ardor Creative Media is a “NO BULLSHIT” Non Profit for film and filmmakers. They strive to bring forth the best in Seattle Independent Film making.

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

Amanda Drewniak: Cine City is curated by our non-profit Ardor Creative Media. Cine City is only the piece of the puzzle for local Washington State Filmmakers. This monthly Screening encourages our local filmmakers not only to create but exposes their film(s) to audiences that may have not seen it or known about local made films in our community. Especially since Cine-City has no submission fees, we reach out to more local participants who both can and cannot afford the steepening fees of other festivals. We also have very basic rules to encourage “unknown” filmmakers to create: 1. The film overall must be playable 2. You must show up to the screening (filmmakers get 2 free tickets) and support your film otherwise you do not qualify for the “Best Of” final competition of the Year. 3. You must live in Washington State to participate.

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

We hold our monthly screenings at Naked City Brewery and Taphouse in their screening room, it’s a small space (75 max occupancy) so it can fill up fast. During all screenings you get full food and bar service. In addition to our film screening, Jeffrey Robert (aka The Gay Uncle) a wonderful local comedian and host works the crowd, conducts trivia (with prizes) at the beginning of the event, leads the Q & A session with the filmmakers at the end of the event and enforces the rules on voting for audience favorite films. At our end of year festival or “Best Of” in November we take all the films that were voted best during the year and have them compete against one another for prizes. Films are voted on by the audience and we announce the winners at the end of the night. At this event, we have harder trivia questions (with better prizes) and a silent auction.

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

As someone who has screened for local festivals, I really think that most festivals are revenue driven. I understand the need to cover overhead and pay your employees but I do feel more could be done to encourage our local filmmaker scene. I mean of course I have turned downed films at Cine City, you have to have a quality standard. I usually send an email explaining why the film was not accepted. Few times I have had a filmmaker comeback with a better film. I do not think there is enough encouragement of talent and cultivating a supportive scene that will ensure quality films are made locally.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Over all, we love film. We love watching films, making films. We want to see more of what Seattle has to offer. It’s hard at times and we feel we want to quit because some screenings have a tough crowd or you get your share of egos thrown at you but every month we comeback to it. We push through and cultivate the type of screenings we want to see more of. We want our neighborhoods and communities to see we have strong talent and quality local entertainment.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

I personal feel the FilmFreeway process has definitely made receiving submissions easier. It helps me organize submitted films into subcategories and helps me stay organized for the Best Of at the end of the year.

Where do you see the festival by 2023?

We are so low budget, I really just take it a year at a time. I hope by 2023, our screenings will become more popular and we can have several a month in different areas of the city and create a really nice Best Of that attracts audiences from out of state to come just to see what Seattle and Washington State has to offer. In general I think Seattle should be the film epicenter of the Pacific Northwest.

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

What a tough question. I am constantly looking for something new. Hmm.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

For me, the ride. It doesn’t have to be the greatest fim created, I just have to enjoy myself. Sorry that was two sentences and this one makes three.

How is the film scene in your city?

Are you asking me to ruffle some feathers? I mean that’s what I do, in my city with film, I ruffle feathers. I love the filmmakers, I love the talent, I think it’s disorganized. I think we need a big wig or two to come through and encourage filmmakers to be proud of their work and encourage our communities to stand behind them. I am originally from Miami and it was a culture shock to see how many filmmakers rush to finish a record amount of films a year and do not slow down and cultivate a project, market a project, and support a project. It’s been a bit of an uphill battle but I am slowly winning people over. I really truly believe there is more to the Seattle film scene and Seattleites just haven’t discovered it in themselves yet. I am hopefully that by 2023 Seattle’s filmmakers will have more courage under their belt to pour their hearts into their projects. I have hope for all the talented people here.


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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