Interview with Festival Director Harlan Whatley (WEST TEXAS FILM FESTIVAL)

The purpose of the West Texas Film Festival is to screen diverse films from both directors and producers that would not normally be featured in West Texas as well as regional media makers. We seek short films, documentaries, features, animation and student films as well as screenplays from all over the world that have the pioneer spirit of filmmaking. We are a registered nonprofit organization in the State of Texas.

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

Harlan Whatley: We bring regional filmmakers together in West Texas so they can share ideas with filmmakers from other areas such as New York City.

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

A good mix of films about Texas, international films, students films and documentaries. We don’t have bands and a lot of parties as we are focused on the films.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

5 minutes minimum in length, English or English subtitles, and all films should be completed after January 1, 2018.

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

Yes, for a number of reasons. Maybe the selection committee was biased in some way, the time slot for a screening. Things like that.

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

The Permian Basin is known for oil and gas production. Other than movie theaters, we are one of the few film outlets in the area.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Excellent. They provide so many tools for our film festival managers and staff that make the process run very smoothly.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Hopefully, it will be larger and include both Odessa and Midland and have more funding and sponsorship.

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

The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie (1972) by Luis Bunuel. I discovered it in college and have seen it a dozen times or so.

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

The ability to capture and audience’s attention and keep them entertained all the way to the end.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Most people here are watching mainstream, family-oriented films at the theatre or on Netflix.

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