Interview with Festival Director Avery Cohen (Macoproject Film Festival)

The Macoproject Film Festival is a New York City based festival open internationally to all filmmakers and screenwriters who understand that film is much more than expensive equipment with impractical budgets.

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1) What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

The Macoproject Film Festival has had the pleasure of awarding over 200 Filmmakers & Screening over 50 short films from all across the world, as well as being recognized by HBO, Backstage, FilmDaily and many others. Our objective is to deduct adversities that many film festivals place on their artists. Our films and screenplays are judged based on the factors that make them come to life. If a student or first time filmmaker releases something truly special, who’s to say they don’t deserve a chance to be acknowledged?

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

Expect to be treated like a professional. Whether your work has been selected by us, or If you’re a film lover exploring the heart of what we do, or if you’re in New York and want to try something different, here you will be treated with the utmost respect and proficiency. Guest’s are able to come, relax, and forget about the world for a few hours. Our audience is also joined with special guests including HBO producers, news outlets, and other filmmakers. Our selections are able to watch a live audience perceive their message, while our screenwriters are able see us breakdown their work to the crowd. The top 3 Filmmakers and Screenwriters will both receive official Macoproject plaques.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our judges are checking for many factors. This includes direction, cinematography (for films), the chemistry between characters, inclusive dialogue, etcetera. We leave the creativity to you, however, we do ask that our submitters considers that this will be in front of a live audience in New York City. If you show us professionalism you will receive it in return.

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

One of the very reasons I created The Macoproject Film Festival was due to the negligence that many filmmakers are subject to in our industry. If you take a look at the grand scheme of things, Hollywood is doing everything in their power to keep corporate multiplexes afloat. Due to the success of Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, recognition for quality works have practically been overlooked. With theaters releasing A-list actors with D- minus story telling, of course indie films won’t get their fair shake! We must remember that filmmaking is also a business, not just an art. With that being said, film festivals must remember that filmmaking is an art, not just a business.

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

My judges have a vast background and interest in film which places them perfectly in the position they’re in. I feel that (career speaking) there comes a point in everyone’s life where they ask themselves what they’d like to do, not only themselves, but for the community. Some venture into medicine, because they want to help people. Others become politicians do try and help their community. I run The Macoproject Film Festival because I’d like to turn an artist’s passion into something more than just a fantasy.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been a great help in the success of Macoproject. I began the festival on FilmFreeway, so I don’t have any intentions on leaving them, However, what I do plan on is having two seperate submission platforms, either on filmfreeway or through our website.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Two close friend of mine (who also happens to be judges) joined me at FestForums, a convention for Film Festivals to meet and connect with one another. We were happily greeted by several notable faces and were introduced to some of the most notable men and women of our industry. While introducing ourselves to people, we sparked a conversation with a gentleman representing The Sierra Nevada brewing company. I had asked him what his expectations were for Sierra Nevada when it first began its journey. He said to me that Ken Grossman (the current CEO of Sierra Nevada) would commonly say that Sierra Nevada would grow as large as it needed to. At first you might believe this mindset to be selfish. The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has a current net worth of 2.6 billion dollars. In 5 years I believe The Macoproject Film Festival will grow as large as it needs to, and I have no intentions of stopping.

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

That’s a real tough one…I’m split between The Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump. These were always very easy films to catch my interest. Not to mention that before the Netflix-era, we were lucky to find our favorite films airing. Something that I enjoy about these films is the more you watch it, the more smaller details you’ll begin to notice.

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

A great film is the ability to rewatch as if it were your first time.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Anyone who has been to New York City knows there is no other place like it. Creativity and acceptance is practically airborne, giving filmmakers and other artists a breath of fresh air. The big apple is an absolute goldmine for people looking to show themselves, and express themselves. Every single person you ask will have a different way to describe this wonderful place, and I wish these sentences could do it justice. If you’re willing to push your dreams into a reality, come find us in the center of the universe.

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