Interview with Festival Director Marc D. Lyons (Variety International Film Festival)

The First Annual Variety International Film Festival (June 1st & 2nd, 2018) will feature emerging filmmakers in various mediums.


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

Marc D. Lyons : Our festival is providing a platform of exposure for independent filmmakers, specifically targeting minority filmmakers with a unique approach to the craft and a fresh voice and vision to the industry as a whole.

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

This year we couldn’t be happier with our submissions! Variety is definitely the word to describe this years festival. From the storylines, to the unique subject matters, our festival audience is sure to leave enlightened as well as entertained.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our rules are simple. Entries must be no longer than 25 mins. That’s it!, other than that, we maintain a strict rule of never stifling anyone’s creativity, the sky’s the limit! If you can dream it, we can screen it! (cheesy yes!, but it’s true!)

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

Absolutely!, it can be so hard just starting out in this industry!, all you want is a chance for your work to get seen and your voice to get heard, but the problem is, you have to start at the bottom, and unfortunately that means the quality of your work may not be up to certain festival standards. We try to look past budget issues and see the artists vision. That’s what makes us so different from other festivals.

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

The children and young adults!, we have a huge adolescent following, seeing the hard work and dedication these young people have put into these films makes it all worth it. Seeing what they did on a shoestring budget and through pure hard work and determination is remarkable.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We love partnering with filmfreeway!, its literally a one stop shop for fillmakers and festivals!, we can screen and judge all in one place. It makes life so much easier not having to chase down the many different formats films today come in.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

We hope to continue to be the launching pad for emerging filmamkers, our ultimate goal is to inspire the youth of today to think outside of the box and create the next multimedia phenomenon. Finding their voices through life’s most powerful medium. The cinema!

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

That’s a difficult questions Personally, there aren’t many films that I have NOT seen. I am a true film fanatic. But to answer your question, it’s a tie between “Giant” and “Good Will Hunting”. I’m a sucker for a great storyline and character ark.

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

A great film is a film that never gets old, no matter how many times you’ve seen it!

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Astoria is truly America’s melting pot. It’s a unique, very diverse city filled with character and creativity.



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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