Interview with Festival Director Alex Gardner (PHILADELPHIA UNNAMED FILM FESTIVAL)

It’s year three of the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival! Last year’s PUFF brought an eclectic mix of horror, science fiction, and bizarre films to the genre fans at the beautiful Proscenium Theater at The Drake in Philadelphia.


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

Alex Gardner: PUFF is not an awards farm like some film festivals. We succeed at promoting great films and connecting them to distributors. Almost every single feature film we have screened has gone on to find distribution.

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

PUFF is four days of film, food and fun! We don’t want the festival to be where you see one film and go home. We want people to come to Philadelphia and have a great time. We try to make PUFF an experience the minute you walk in the door. This year we hope to have more of an interactive experience in the lobby, and there is always plenty of booze floating around. We hope people not only see a bunch of great films, but that they stick around, have a beer and talk to each other about what they just saw. Then they can go out and enjoy the great nightlife our city has to offer.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We are an alternative film festival. We are looking for great, unreleased films that are typically ignored by mainstream film festivals. This includes horror, sci-fi, experimental and so on.

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

Depends on the film festival. While I think some type of films get ignored by more mainstream festivals, there are plenty of genre and alternative film festivals to accommodate most films.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Fun. There’s no point in doing this unless we’re having fun.

Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Hopefully I’m just alive by 2023, but if we make it that far I want PUFF to be a multimedia experience that is a destination for film fanatics. The aim of PUFF is to not only bring great films to Philadelphia, but to incorporate the city nightlife. Philadelphia is an up and coming city that offers our own culture, history, art, great food, beer and more.

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

Unfortunately, Look Who’s Talking. I feel like that film was on television every second on my teenage years, but if you mean on purpose it has to be Congo. Congo is an underappreciated master piece of comedy, action and horror.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

The ability entertain.

How is the film scene in your city?

To be honest, not so great, and that’s why we created PUFF. Philly is a sports town first, and it always will be, but it has grown so much over the last few years. We hope to be the driving force behind making the film scene better in Philadelphia.


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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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