Interview with Festival Director Ronald Quigley (PITTSBURGH INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL)

The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival is Pittsburgh’s own film festival for truly independent films, and a headline event for micro-budget films in the USA and world wide. PIIF offers a fantastic opportunity for undiscovered filmmakers to showcase their achievements, filmmakers who posses an independent vision and operate to create innovative work outside the studio system. Two recent winners of the festival have secured a distribution deal, as a result of entering our festival. Both our 2016 and 2018 winners are now in worldwide distribution. The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival was founded by Ronald Quigley a Pittsburgh native who now lives and works as an  Actor / Director in Los Angeles.  Ronald, re-located from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles in April 2002.  He is the CEO of Last Act Entertainment a production company with several credits to it’s name.  Ronald acts as the Festival Director while our panel of judges are comprised of industry professionals from different fields within the film making community of Hollywood. The PIFF was created in 2010 and screened 48 films from around the world at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont PA,  a suburb of Pittsburgh.  Although the Hollywood worked well for the first year, Ronald felt a need for a venue that was more conducive to a film festival atmosphere. In 2013 the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival moved to The Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks. For the 2019 season the PIFF is being held at the newly remodeled Parkway Theater. Aaron Stubna has taken an old theater and turned it into a hip modern cafe screening room with a Restaurant and Bar integrated all together to make this one of the coolest places to have a Film festival I have ever seen. We hope to be here for many years to come.    Link

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

Ronald Quigley: The competition in the independent film world has become fierce, the quality of films has grown exponentially almost every year over the 9 years of our existence. We give an opportunity to filmmakers to screen their film on the big screen and perhaps secure distribution.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend your next festival?

This year we have found a newly remodeled hip little theater in Pittsburgh The Parkway Theater. Aaron Stubna the owner, has taken an old theater and turned it into a hip modern cafe screening room with a Restaurant and Bar integrated all together to make this one of the coolest places to have a Film festival I have ever seen. We hope to be here for many years to come. In addition to our already one of a kind official submission plaque that is presented to every selected submission. We are the only festival in the world that does this.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The only qualification is that they be good. They must be shot on a very high level sound, picture and color all have to be great. I have said that you will be judged by your lowest common denominator not only by my festival but that holds true for your audience you wont be remembered as getting it pretty good your will be remembered as the film with bad sound or color whatever the worst part of your film is is what they remember.

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

I don’t know about any other festival but at our festival every film is reviewed very carefully.

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

The love of film. We are all filmmakers in one way or another. Our team is comprised of directors, producers, sound people, and just plain old filmmakers. We don’t make money from this the festival barely breaks even every year. We are a smaller festival because of where we are located,.but don’t get me wrong Pittsburgh is a great place to have a festival.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Filmfreeway is now our main portal for submissions we get most of our submissions through them. They have come on like gangbusters and have done everything for the better.I love Filmfreeway.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

That’s a good question. We have grown every year and now that we have a hip new venue I think we could have like a little Sundance where everyone can’t wait to come. Anyhow that’s my dream.

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

The Wizzard of OZ still to me the greatest film ever made. No one disagrees with me when I say that, but they may have a different favorite. I vever miss it when it comes on TV.

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

A great film takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride you don’t think about anything else you are invested and engaged and you forget about the real world.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Well that’s kind of a loaded question I live in Hollywood but my festival is in Pittsburgh. But the Pittsburgh film scene has been pretty vibrant Pittsburgh gets about 8 to 10 Major motion pictures a year made there.

These are multi -million dollar productions. Pittsburgh is a very cinematic city and many top rate filmmakers have no problem coming there to shoot 

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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