An exclusive independent film festival featuring the the highest quality in independent filmmaking. Our goal is to create the highest quality platform to showcase independent films while giving the filmmakers a place to make money and succeed at selling out their first premiere. Filmmakers will have the opportunity to premiere their film with a sold out audience in a nationally recognized independent theater and benefit from direct ticket sales with the festival.
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
A: Our fest premieres films with filmmakers giving part of the ticket sales directly to the winning filmmakers. We also provide earned media for each of our films here in the southwest along with radio interviews on Phoenix morning radio shows the week of the festival as part of our festival partnerships. Winners also receive cash prizes and in some categories direct distribution to several theaters in the southwest to screen their film after the festival. All of our premiere screenings will be held in downtown Phoenix in the heart of the art community so there is very active audience that filmmakers get to premiere their films in front of.
2) What would you expect to experience if you attend your upcoming festival?
A: An inclusive art experience that premieres new indie films in vintage movie theaters and classic ballrooms, being surrounded by art, artists, and art lovers, the chance to experience VR at our VR installation, or take some fun photos in our photo booth, or catch a panel or our Key Note speaker at Crescent Ballroom and learn what it takes to get to the next step in your filmmaking career, or on opening night catch one of the pop up screenings down on the art walk with short films and music videos being projected on the buildings as you walk by. There will be live music and live art throughout the festivals two days. Unique film viewing experiences is what we are aiming to accomplish this year.
3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?
A: The films must be created under a $250,000 budget. We are looking for true indie films. We want films made by filmmakers not the industry or some major studio system. Of course with each category there are different qualifications. Like the Drone Film category, we are only selecting films in this category filmed on or with a drone. Also we are looking for films that have not had a World Premiere yet in theaters or online. It is our goal to help new films reach audiences faster and with a successful premiere that the filmmakers can move on to more premieres and make money doing it without needing to struggle all along the way with putting films out alone.
4) Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?
A: Our team is made up of filmmakers and artists, we know from our own experiences in submitting films to 100s of festivals that indie films are over looked and passed on more so to give popular icons / studio films more lime light….. even if the the popular icon made a shitty film and the indie film that got passed up was actually amazing and might have been an award winner. Indie films are on the rise though and now is the time to showcase them and celebrate them even more! Our festival is going to give independent films and filmmakers a 100% chance to succeed the second they announce their official selection with INDIE.
5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
A: We have always wanted something in downtown Phoenix to be honest. The art scene in Phoenix needs a great film festival that is more than just one night at one venue. Combining two of the top venues in downtown Phoenix in the festival allows for our audience to walk or ride a bike between venues while on the way possibly catch a pop up screening on the side of building just to keep in fun… no one is doing this here in the downtown area… we almost feel like its up to us to move the film festival concept forward in favor of the artists and become more experimental with the screenings to hopefully evolve the art form.
6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?
It has been great so far, we have had some amazing submissions early on and are very excited to see the outcome of our committee selections!!! Filmfreeway gives us the chance to reach way more filmmakers across the entire planet… we are very excited!!!
7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?
Our plan is to be in the same locations but keep adding days as we grow. Our festival is still only a two day festival at this point but it is our goal to stay small and maintain the highest quality while giving the filmmakers the best opportunity to premiere their film. We do plan on growing into larger and more venues once we can accommodate the right budget for additional venues.
8) What film have you seen the most times in your life?
A: Coming to America, Goodfellas, Citizen Kane, Play The Documentary,
9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?
A: A great film needs to have the ability to tell a story that transports the audience to a different place or time.
10) How is the film scene in your city?
A: The film scene in Phoenix is growing. While the industry itself is not investing into the growth in Phoenix, several groups in Phoenix are working hard to collaborate more to help the growth of the film scene from within. New film companies are starting up everyday and more and more creatives are making indie films and putting them out to the world. We have a very strong activist community in Phoenix that is leading the way with social justice films telling the stories of our communities to help us move closer to an inclusive society as well to tell the stories of our communities correctly on not mislead or conveyed by the mass media.