Through My Eyes is an international and Indigenous short film festival that seeks to showcase the stories of Indigenous peoples from all over the world. The festival aims to redefine the word Indigenous, originally meaning “of the land”, and in doing so, create community through the understanding that we are all indigenous to somewhere. It doesn’t matter if you’re native to the United States, the aboriginal lands of Australia, Europe, Asia, or Africa.
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
Iris Gonzalez: Providing a platform for underrepresented, Indigenous, and international independent filmmakers. In addition to providing this essential platform for filmmakers, we are providing that same platform for visual artists, live performers, and dancers.
2) What would you expect to experience if you attend your upcoming festival?
A window into the various cultures of the planet that I am not fully aware of or engaging with. To expand my view on ritual and storytelling.
3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?
We accept shorts, 30 mins and under in all genres who identify as Indigenous or stars as an Indigenous person or whose film’s content is based on Indigenous culture.
4) Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?
I’m starting to see more platforms for Indigenous stories in the larger festivals like Sundance and such. This is a good thing but I do feel it’s still harder for Indigneous filmmakers to get a fair shake. This is where we come in. We try to reduce the barriers that some other festivals have.
5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
Being Indigenous myself as the executive director and an experienced filmmaker, I’ve seen these barriers firsthand. We also know that we greatly learn through the power of story. These filmmakers have extraordinary things to say and the more festivals like us the better.
6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?
It’s been an incredible process. Very friendly to a busy team. We are so grateful for the content that has come through it’s portal. Several of our selections have come through FilmFreeway.
7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?
We hope to partner with great like-minded organizations to bring this festival to it’s fullest potential and hope to guide others wishing to do the same.
8) What film have you seen the most times in your life?
Funnily enough, we see such potential in some of our film submission that have many many problems but are fixable. Through working together, we end up watching these films more often than any other films in our lives.
9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?
The power of the story and the ability to transform our reality.
10) How is the film scene in your city?
We live in the mecca of Los Angeles with great great competition. Which makes it an honor when we see our attendants and the desire for people to want to expand their knowledge about the world around them.