October 2018 – Read Interviews with the best of NEW Poetry and Writers

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Touch the link and read 9 different interviews with the best of new writers and poets from around the world.

Interview with Poet Lauren White (First Contact)
Interview with Poet Lauren White (First Contact)

Interview with Poet Susan L. Brown (Response To 8 Philosophers)
Interview with Poet Susan L. Brown (Response To 8 Philosophers)

Interview with Poet Sam Allen (Viola’s Rebellion)
Interview with Poet Sam Allen (Viola’s Rebellion)

Interview with Writer Pat Jourdan (DECEMBER)
Interview with Writer Pat Jourdan (DECEMBER)

Interview with Writer Peter Inson (HATS OFF TO THE TEACHERS, SMASHED)
Interview with Writer Peter Inson (HATS OFF TO THE TEACHERS, SMASHED)

Interview with Writer Diane Elliott (Remembering Momma)
Interview with Writer Diane Elliott (Remembering Momma)

Interview with Nia Markos (ELEMENTS: BOOK ONE)
Interview with Nia Markos (ELEMENTS: BOOK ONE)

Interview with Novelist James Charles (Spirit Of The Amaroq)
Interview with Novelist James Charles (Spirit Of The Amaroq)

Interview with Novelist Bogdan Dzakovic (FORTRESS OF DECEIT)
Interview with Novelist Bogdan Dzakovic (FORTRESS OF DECEIT)

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October 2018 – Read the best of Screenwriter Interviews

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Touch the link and read 35 different interviews with the best of new screenwriters from around the world.

Interview with Screenwriter Sara Landucci (STRONG ENOUGH)
Interview with Screenwriter Sara Landucci (STRONG ENOUGH)

Interview with Screenwriter 42 Tribes (Nyobaywa)
Interview with Screenwriter 42 Tribes (Nyobaywa)

Interview with Screenwriter Rita Martinos (ON THE VERGE)
Interview with Screenwriter Rita Martinos (ON THE VERGE)

Interview with Screenwriter M.V. Montgomery (DON-JOHN’S DISAPPOINTED MAM)
Interview with Screenwriter M.V. Montgomery (DON-JOHN’S DISAPPOINTED MAM)

Interview with Screenwriter Colleen Asbury (The Dance of the Desert Mermaids)
Interview with Screenwriter Colleen Asbury (The Dance of the Desert Mermaids)

Interview with Screenwriter Chloë J. Hightower (Monochrome)
Interview with Screenwriter Chloë J. Hightower (Monochrome)

Interview with Screenwriter Travis Darkow (HOW DID WE GET HERE?)
Interview with Screenwriter Travis Darkow (HOW DID WE GET HERE?)

Interview with Debasree Banerjee (GERALDINE HALL)
Interview with Debasree Banerjee (GERALDINE HALL)

Interview with Screenwriters Jeff & Julia Heinen (COFFEE IN SOUTHTOWN)
Interview with Screenwriters Jeff & Julia Heinen (COFFEE IN SOUTHTOWN)
Very good. Helps us track submission and awards very easily.

Interview with Screenwriter Daniel Cook (HELL ON EARTH)
Interview with Screenwriter Daniel Cook (HELL ON EARTH)

Interview with Screenwriter Sheila Warren (MOVING ON)
Interview with Screenwriter Sheila Warren (MOVING ON)

Interview with Screenwriter Frank Baruch (WHERE KOMAINU CRY)
Interview with Screenwriter Frank Baruch (WHERE KOMAINU CRY)

Interview with Screenwriter Richard Geiwitz (WIGGLE ROOM)
Interview with Screenwriter Richard Geiwitz (WIGGLE ROOM)

Interview with Screenwriter Iannis Aliferis (Samantha Rutledge PI, A Killer Case)
Interview with Screenwriter Iannis Aliferis (Samantha Rutledge PI, A Killer Case)

Interview with Screenwriter Ricardo Fleshman (KILLING MOSES)
Interview with Screenwriter Ricardo Fleshman (KILLING MOSES)

Interview with Screenwriter Hank Biro (SPACE FISH)
Interview with Screenwriter Hank Biro (SPACE FISH)

Interview with Screenwriter Toni Nagy (The Masses)
Interview with Screenwriter Toni Nagy (The Masses)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Agnese Pagliarani (TO HELL AND BACK)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Agnese Pagliarani (TO HELL AND BACK)

Interview with Screenplay Writer Adam Lapallo (WOLFPACK FENCERS)
Interview with Screenplay Writer Adam Lapallo (WOLFPACK FENCERS)

Interview with Screenplay Writer Terry Connell (PLANS FOR THE HOLIDAYS)
Interview with Screenplay Writer Terry Connell (PLANS FOR THE HOLIDAYS)

Interview with Screenplay Writer Todd Bird (LITTLE EARTHQUAKES)
Interview with Screenplay Writer Todd Bird (LITTLE EARTHQUAKES)

Interview with Screenplay Writers Charzette Torrence & Danielle Johnson (JILLIAN’S PEAK)
Interview with Screenplay Writers Charzette Torrence & Danielle Johnson (JILLIAN’S PEAK)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Waide Riddle (Dear Tom Hardy: I love you)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Waide Riddle (Dear Tom Hardy: I love you)

Interview with Winning Screenwriters Nicholas Downs, Susan Mac Nicol (SIGHT UNSEEN)
Interview with Winning Screenwriters Nicholas Downs, Susan Mac Nicol (SIGHT UNSEEN)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Dallas Rico (MARRED)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Dallas Rico (MARRED)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter S.W. Andersen (SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LOVE AND JUSTICE)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter S.W. Andersen (SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LOVE AND JUSTICE)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert David Simpson (THE HUNT FOR CHUCK BERRY)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert David Simpson (THE HUNT FOR CHUCK BERRY)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Fritz Mueller (ANAHNA)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Fritz Mueller (ANAHNA)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Christianne Charles (CAKE)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Christianne Charles (CAKE)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Leah Pollack (MARKED)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Leah Pollack (MARKED)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Andrew Ward (BROWN DOG)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Andrew Ward (BROWN DOG)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Michael Zielinski (CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Michael Zielinski (CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Julian Blondell (Xightfall)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Julian Blondell (Xightfall)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Nate Yacos (Tugnutt: A Love Supreme)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Nate Yacos (Tugnutt: A Love Supreme)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Cicely Wynne (REMEMBER KENT STATE)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Cicely Wynne (REMEMBER KENT STATE)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Mirka Kettunen (MAJOR TOM AND THE ALIEN GIRL)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Mirka Kettunen (MAJOR TOM AND THE ALIEN GIRL)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Rodrigo Juatco (HERO OF HEROES)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Rodrigo Juatco (HERO OF HEROES)

October 2018 – Read the best of Filmmaker Interviews

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Touch the link and read 28 different interviews with the best of new filmmakers from around the world.


Interview with Filmmaker Deniz Campinar (THE REVELATOR)
Interview with Filmmaker Deniz Campinar (THE REVELATOR)

Interview with Filmmaker Nesli Ozalp Tuncer (THE RETURN)
Interview with Filmmaker Nesli Ozalp Tuncer (THE RETURN)

Interview with Filmmaker Liz Lachman (PIN-UP)
Interview with Filmmaker Liz Lachman (PIN-UP)

Interview with Filmmaker Sean Janisse (LOCOMOTIVE 8 – ENCORE)
Interview with Filmmaker Sean Janisse (LOCOMOTIVE 8 – ENCORE)

Interview with Filmmaker Penny Lee (THROUGH CHINATOWNS’S EYES: APRIL 1968)
Interview with Filmmaker Penny Lee (THROUGH CHINATOWNS’S EYES: APRIL 1968)

Interview with Filmmaker Graeme Bachiu (WHY WE PUSH?)
Interview with Filmmaker Graeme Bachiu (WHY WE PUSH?)

Interview with Filmmaker Jessica Chung (SUSHI MAN)
Interview with Filmmaker Jessica Chung (SUSHI MAN)

Interview with Filmmaker Luma Oquendo (SARAVÁ)
Interview with Filmmaker Luma Oquendo (SARAVÁ)

Interview with Filmmaker Manfred Borsch (MIRRORS)
Interview with Filmmaker Manfred Borsch (MIRRORS)

Interview with Filmmaker Nancy Allison (MARMO)
Interview with Filmmaker Nancy Allison (MARMO)

Interview with Filmmaker Pablo Mengin-Lecreulx (SCANDAL)
Interview with Filmmaker Pablo Mengin-Lecreulx (SCANDAL)

Interview with Filmmakers Hope Carew & Allison O’Conor (MR. NICE GIRLS)
Interview with Filmmakers Hope Carew & Allison O’Conor (MR. NICE GIRLS)

Interview with Award Winning Filmmaker Sreejith Nair (THE COLOR OF ME)
Interview with Award Winning Filmmaker Sreejith Nair (THE COLOR OF ME)

Interview with Filmmaker Ken Clark (SNIP)
Interview with Filmmaker Ken Clark (SNIP)

Interview with Filmmaker Daniel Bergeson (UNEARTHED)
Interview with Filmmaker Daniel Bergeson (UNEARTHED)

Interview with Filmmaker Mischa Livingstone (CUBICLE)
Interview with Filmmaker Mischa Livingstone (CUBICLE)

Interview with Filmmaker Peta Milan (RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN)
Interview with Filmmaker Peta Milan (RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN)

Interview with Filmmaker Shinya Isobe (FOR REST)
Interview with Filmmaker Shinya Isobe (FOR REST)

Interview with Filmmaker Sam South (EAT JEREMY)
Interview with Filmmaker Sam South (EAT JEREMY)

Interview with Filmmaker Larissa Pruett (GET HOME SAFE)
Interview with Filmmaker Larissa Pruett (GET HOME SAFE)

Interview with Filmmaker Steve Socki (HALLOWSTIDE)
Interview with Filmmaker Steve Socki (HALLOWSTIDE)

Interview with Filmmaker Jessica Champneys (STAR WARS: DRESCA)
Interview with Filmmaker Jessica Champneys (STAR WARS: DRESCA)

Interview with Filmmaker Sean Wehrli (GLENDALE)
Interview with Filmmaker Sean Wehrli (GLENDALE)

Interview with Filmmaker Nora Jaenicke (WHALES)
Interview with Filmmaker Nora Jaenicke (WHALES)

Interview with Filmmaker Zena AbdelBaky (ALL THAT REMAINS)
Interview with Filmmaker Zena AbdelBaky (ALL THAT REMAINS)

Interview with Filmmaker Audrey Arkins (AMERICAN BOY)
Interview with Filmmaker Audrey Arkins (AMERICAN BOY)

Interview with Filmmaker Aaron Rudelson (NORMAN PINSKI COME HOME)
Interview with Filmmaker Aaron Rudelson (NORMAN PINSKI COME HOME)

Interview with Filmmaker Eugene Lehnert (THE OUTER BOROUGHS)
Interview with Filmmaker Eugene Lehnert (THE OUTER BOROUGHS)

Interview with Filmmaker Josiah Cuneo (IN THROUGH THE NIGHT)
Interview with Filmmaker Josiah Cuneo (IN THROUGH THE NIGHT)

Movie Review: DAY FOR NIGHT, 1973, Directed by Francois Truffaut

DAY FOR NIGHT,  MOVIE POSTERDAY FOR NIGHT, 1973
Movie Reviews

Directed by François Truffaut
Starring: Jacqueline Bisset, Valentina Cortese, Dani, Alexandra Stewart, Jean-Pierre Aumont, Jean Champion
Review by Jordan Young

SYNOPSIS:

A film company at work. Actors arrive and depart; liaisons develop. Julie, the beautiful but possibly unstable lead, is recovering from a breakdown, aided by an older physician, her new husband. Alphonse is insecure, he babbles. When his fiance exits with a stunt man, he threatens to quit. Julie must convince him to stay. Alexandre, a consummate pro on the set, runs back and forth to the airport hoping a certain young man will visit. Severine, no longer young, hits the bottle and covers blown lines with emotional outbursts. At the center is Ferrand, the writer director, who must make constant decisions, answer a stream of questions, and deliver the film on schedule.

REVIEW:

In Truffaut’s film about a film “Day For Night”, he accurately (for better and for worse) shows the ups and downs that are involved in film making. This was my introduction to working on a film crew… a month later.

Some of you are more familiar with the American remake of this film, “State and Main”, which I believe is a little more chaotic, but nonetheless a good movie. In this version, Truffaut himself plays the director, Ferrand, and how he deals with the struggles of the actors and the actresses.

Jacqueline Bisset plays Julie Baker who is the actress on rebound from a nervous breakdown, and who’s ridiculous demands are only fulfilled because of her A-list star power. (My personal favorite, being the request of making a specific butter sculpture, which is unavailable and is therefore handmade by the script supervisor.) I had a similar experience where I had to drive an multiple miles for batteries, hard drives, and yerba mate… in the middle of central Pennsylvania.

Then there is the very difficult encounter with an actress who won’t wear a swimsuit because she is pregnant. These are just some examples of the difficulty of movie-making. “Day for Night” is genius in depicting the illusions within cinema. There are many clear examples of this, but there are vague examples as well. This film does a bit of demystifying the cinematic process, yet it doesn’t cast a film shoot in a completely negative tone.

The films plot revolves around the character’s struggles in regards to acting and to living, but this is more than enough to fuel the narrative development… This isn’t like Richard Linklater’s “Slacker”, in that regard. But it does gets you to sympathize with all of these character’s endeavors.

This film dealt with much bigger crises than the average shoot, like actors and actresses threatening (and succeeding) at leaving the shoot, as opposed to the minutia of, where can we plug this in and waiting for the sun to get to just the right space. But nonetheless, it accurately depicts, the turbulence of the movie shoot.

Nearly all of the picture is summarized in the beginning by a voice over by Truffaut. “Shooting a movie is like a stagecoach trip. At first you hope for a nice ride. Then you just hope to reach your destination.” In this tumultuous trip that viewer is about to be shown, this point is definitely realized. Very entertaining and highly recommend to anyone about to start their first shoot as well… it could be thought of as a training ground for aspiring film makers.

Movie Review: JULES AND JIM, 1962, Directed by Francois Truffaut

JULES AND JIM,   MOVIE POSTERJULES AND JIM, 1962
Movie Reviews

Directed by François Truffaut
Starring: Jeanne Moreau, Oskar Werner, Henri Serre, Vanna Urbino, Boris Bassiak, Anny Nelsen, Sabine Haudepin, Marie Dubois
Review by Silvana Jakich

SYNOPSIS:

Decades of a love triangle concerning two friends and an impulsive woman.

REVIEW:

Francois Truffaut’s third feature film, “Jules and Jim” has been touted as one of his most poignant masterpieces. Based on a semi autobiographical novel by Henri-Pierre Roche, Truffaut’s film begins just before WW1 in Paris.

Jules (Oskar Werner)- a shy German writer and Jim (Henri Serre)- a more extrovert French writer, meet and forge a friendship that is rooted in a deep respect for one another as both artists and human beings. Through the use of a narrator, Truffaut beautifully sets up the immense bond that forms between these two men as they share life experiences and the arts together. Their close friendship reminded me of the close knit friendships we weave when we are younger which are very much “in the moment”, spontaneous and full to the brim of utter devotion.

Into this tight knit connection explodes the free spirited, uninhibited Cartherine (Jeanne Moreau). In most films, the appearance of such a character would be used as a starting point for conflict between the two friends. There would be competition and the friendship would sour but instead of this typical route, the bond was now between three people instead of two.

The joy of Jim, Jules and Catherine’s relationship coupled with wonderful shots of a European summer holiday together will make any viewer envious. The carefree joyous time they share at the seaside makes the three characters inseparable. Even when Jules and Jim become completely enamored with Catherine, the typical competitiveness which would normally be highlighted in this situation is over ruled by each character’s love for the others.

Ultimately, Jim makes way for Jules to have a relationship with Catherine after Jules wards Jim off by saying: “not this one”. Catherine and Jules marry and move to Austria.

WW1 begins and both men are sent away to fight on opposing sides. The contrast between the visuals of war and previous images of countrysides and sunshine are extreme and violently bring home the drastic change in everyones’ circumstances. Yet, even in the war time moments, Jules and Jim express great humanity as their greatest concern is that they may end up killing one another.

Fortunately, both men survive the war and meet again but now the complexities of their various relationships with Catherine come to the surface and the element of self destruction begins.

Although the character of Catherine is often fickle, selfish,cruel, unstable and vengeful, Jeanne Moreau manages to play her with a bewitching effervescence and joie de vivre which prevents her from becoming a one dimensional villain. Here is an interesting exploration of a woman who requires many lovers during a period in history when women were restricted sexually and boxed into an identity of utter loyalty to one man.

This film is also tribute to the strength of friendship and all that is pure and innocent when it comes to a deep bond. The fact that even betrayal cannot taint feelings of love that human beings have for one another is a testament to the beautiful side of human nature.

 

Movie Review: THE 400 BLOWS, 1959. Directed by Francois Truffaut

THE 400 BLOWSTHE 400 BLOWS, 1959
Movie Reviews

Directed by Francois Truffaut

Cast: Jean-Pierre Leaud, Claire Maurier, Albert Remy, Guy Decomble, Georges Flamant, Patrick Auffay, Daniel Couturier
Review by Vinny Borocci

SYNOPSIS:

A young adolescent boy by the name of Antoine is not cared for at home by his parents. The boy begins to misbehave in class, steal from his parents, form lies, and engage in criminal activities. He escapes with his friend and finds other places to stay, while avoiding his parents. Ultimately, the parents send him to reform school in order to help clear his thoughts and shape his poor behavior. While there, he is left with a choice: to cooperate and attempt to work out his problems, or continue to act inappropriately. What will this troubled young boy decide?

REVIEW:

As we all should know, Francois Truffaut first made his name working for the film journal, Cahiers du Cinema, a magazine which spent heavy time evaluating Hollywood films and directors. Unabashed and undaunted, Truffaut zealously began writing critically on films offering his own unique style. Spending arduous time studying the works of Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, and Nicholas Ray, bringing a new perspective to criticism, combining somewhat blatant words with sincere appreciation, Truffaut helped solidify the idea that the director has omnipotence and authority for engineering the cinematic experience. Through his passion for films and literature, Truffaut’s uncommon criticism became the forefront in cinema evaluation. It was in this way, Truffaut’s name caught the attention of readers and avid cinema followers. The result: recognition and popularity, culminating in Truffaut venturing out to make his first (personal) feature film, The 400 Blows.

In The 400 Blows, Truffaut continues his writing approach and simply applies it to directing his first feature film, becoming the so-called “author” of the film. From the very beginning sequence, as the opening shots are beautifully shot, with the camera gracefully capturing various shots of the Eiffel Tower, Truffaut sends a message that the director’s artistic vision “towers” over the medium itself. Incorporating his own techniques while also including overt references to his admirers (mainly of Renoir in this film with the use of long tracking shots), Truffaut creates an environment dedicated to the distinct visual styles in which the director exhibits. For The 400 Blows, in recognition of his writing icon, Andre Bazin, who died just before production, the director’s style is clearly nothing more than a personal exposition.

The story revolves around a young, troubled preadolescent boy named Antoine, whom Truffaut utilizes to represent his own childhood struggles. Through multiple instances, Antoine is presented with a set of unprincipled values: we see in the classroom Antoine initiating disturbance by mocking his teacher; Antoine roguishly scampers through his own parents belongings and steals money, along with stealing a typewriter from his father’s work later in the film; not only performing an ill-advised action by ditching school and his studies, Antoine foolishly creates lies to cover his school’s absence by falsely claiming his own mother’s death. In these ways, however, Truffaut is not depicting Antoine’s character to distribute a sense of immoral behaviors, but rather establishing Antoine as an image of pathos, to voice his idea on the meaning of family and parenting, while in the process, brazenly expressing his deprecation for his own childhood upbringing.

As we see Antoine repeatedly scurry through the bustling city streets, almost all of the time on his own, Truffaut reinforces the idea of the importance of the parent in a child’s life. The boy’s mother gives him harsh orders, while never showing an offering of care – only after the boy catches her having an affair with another man is when she attempts to suck up to him. The relationship between Antoine and his mother’s husband – as we find out that the father is not Antoine’s – is nothing more than a token friendship. They talk about sports and women, but the man never gives Antoine a sense of “fatherly” direction. In some ways, the man looks forward to the boy getting out of the house for good. On multiple occasions we hear the man and mother having conversations about sending the boy away to reform school, while Antoine listens in the background, dejected but unruffled.

In the scene where Antoine skips school with his friend, the boys wander off to an amusement area. While there, Antoine decides to go on a “Wheel-spinning” ride, where Antoine stands against a wall, and the ride spins at an incredible rate, forcing Antoine and the other adventurers to rise in the air and stick to the wall. Truffaut decides to capture this scene with mostly point of view shots, where we see through Antoine’s eyes the blurry and chaotic vision in which he sees, or in some ways, understands. Because of the insecurity provided by his parents, Antoine deliberately acts foolish; with the lack of comfort in his own home, filled with displeasure, punishment, and alienation, Antoine does not recognize a sense of stability, but identifies with the jumbled interactions which he finds in the streets causing disarray and confusion. Ironically, it is here, on the lively, brisk and active streets, running away from the lack of affection from his parents, where Antoine finds his repose and his depth of solitude.

After Antoine continues to create havoc for his parents, they finally agree to send him away to reform school. As this happens, Antoine is taken away in a truck, as he looks out from the vertical, impenetrable bars, blocking his view and access from the city streets. In some ways, as we see from Antoine’s point of view, or Truffaut’s own, we can say that the bars are blocking his sense of freedom; Antoine can no longer escape from his struggles, but must find within himself a sense of self-determination. Later, at reform school, Truffaut expands this message when Antoine is presented within the confines of a cell, with images of similar bars like those of the truck, surrounding the boy in four corners. This time, we see the bars suffocate the boy, as he exhaustingly enhales the smoke from his tattered cigarette.

Finally, while the group of problematic children are playing a game of soccer, Antoine escapes the surveillance of authorities. In the same fashion as escaping from his parents, Antoine runs away from the reform school. This time, running through the barren woods, Truffaut utilizes an extremely long, tracking shot following Antoine running. It is in this way, by shooting this long, tense, and fatiguing take, that Truffaut reflects the “auteur’s” approach by indicating the pain and suffering produced not only in Antoine’s life, but of his own. When Antoine arrives at a shore, still running from authorities, trying to keep his breath, he continues toward the ocean. After taking a few steps into the water, Antoine quickly and suddenly looks back. Truffaut ends the film on this frame exactly, as he provides the shot of Antoine’s face with a still image; even though Antoine senses freedom as he enters the ocean, his footprints will remain: Truffaut splashes away his troubled past, but his childhood isolation will never be forgotten. As a result, it is not whether or not Antoine has looked back because the authority might be there, but rather Truffaut asking if he can avoid revisiting his troubled youth. In the same fashion with Antoine, the end result is probably not good.

 

Interview with Festival Director Martin Tran (Seattle Asian American Film Festival)

Seattle Asian American Film Festival (SAAFF) is the only film festival in Seattle to provide a space for Asian American voices, perspectives and histories by screening independent films that reflect the diversity and richness of the city’s Asian American community.

Web: seattleaaff.org
Facebook: facebook.com/seattleaaff

Twitter: twitter.com/seattleaaff
 
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Martin Tran: Our greatest success as a festival is how we grow a supportive community for our filmmakers. As independent Asian American filmmakers, it’s important to us that we connect them with people who are hungry to hear their stories, and to champion them and their work in the future.

It starts with partnering with local community organizations to help promote the films. For each screening we select organizations that have thematic alignment with the films, which plugs the filmmakers into organizations and communities that are eager to engage.

We also create spaces for the filmmakers to meet and engage with each other; from brunches to VIP rooms to parties. We’re all in this together so let’s connect and celebrate it!

And we as festival organizers we are such a tight knit group that we want to make the filmmakers feel like part of our community. They did the hard work of making a film for us to showcase, and we want to let them know that we appreciate them and will support them in all their future endeavors. To that end we always spread the word whenever they have screenings, crowdfunding campaigns, and new projects.

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

From a first time festival goer to our longtime festival pass holders, we expect our audiences to see the type of films that are rarely showcased; ones that will reflect, entertain, and illuminate the experiences of the Asian diaspora.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We have a large team of volunteers who rate and review the submissions, and all of the reviewers come with their own tastes and experiences. What we ask them to look for most is originality, craft, content, and adherence to our mission of being a space to tell the stories of the Asian diaspora. How a reviewer personally defines that though is entirely up to them. Using the rating system as outlined by Film Freeway, which is a film submission tool used by many film festivals, our programming team aggregates the data and selects the highest rated films. And at a final, in-person meeting, that’s when the bleary eyed debates ensue.

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

It’s hard for me to speak for other film festivals, but in my opinion I believe so. There are so many things that go into selecting films for a festival; your audience, sponsors, mission, you name it. There’s also the notion of what is a festival worthy film. Like it has to be “important” or a “prestige” film. Luckily there are so many festivals out there catering to different audiences and tastes that I believe if you made a good film, no matter the topic or style, there is a festival and audience out there for you.

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

It may be a corny answer but it’s love. We’re an all-volunteer organization putting in crazy amounts of our free time to make it happen, and we wouldn’t be able to do it without the love. Love for film, community, advocacy, and for each other. We’re a family as much as a festival organizing team, and we always strive to extend that feeling to our filmmakers and filmgoers alike.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been a great tool for us. It’s an easy way for filmmakers to find and submit to festivals like ours. The review and rating process is very streamlined, and it’s nice to have all that data for us.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

I would like to see SAAFF continue to grow as we do every year. By 2023 we will be putting on our 11th festival, and I would like to see us become an even greater part of Seattle’s film scene with bigger venues, more films, and more events.

And in those five years I hope the Crazy Rich Asians effect will continue to bear fruit. 2018 has seen a lot of momentum for Asian American stories in Hollywood, and I hope it continues. So I would love to see an influx of filmmakers who had greater support than before, and a new generation of Asian American filmmakers following in the footsteps of those who opened the doors for them.

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

For me it would have to be The Princess Bride. I’m a sucker for action, comedy, fantasy, and intergenerational family stories.

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

Story. Story. Story.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

I love the film scene in Seattle. There are so many people doing great, independent work. It’s a very supportive community that just continues to grow. Support from the city and state side though…that could use improvement. But hopefully we’ll get there.
 

 

 

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