Interview with Film Festival Director Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe (British Urban Film Festival)

BUFF wants to change the face of British film. They want it to reflect all of us, not just some of us. They have made great strides in the right direction for over a decade. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue for a decade more. Across the film & TV industry, Britain’s filmmakers are much less diverse than Britain itself. And that can sometimes mean it’s much more of an effort to make films and TV programmes diverse, because they have to make an effort. This, in turn, is understandable.

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

Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe: In the last few years, over 20 filmmakers have won an award through having their work showcased by the festival. Also, since 2012, over 20 festival films have been acquired for broadcast on Channel 4, BBC i-player, Community Channel and London Live.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

We’re only as good as our last festival and so for this year we have really pushed the boat out for filmmakers and audiences in general. For the first time ever, BUFF will be in attendance at Cannes to announce details about this year’s film festival and awards. Once again, the festival will run for a whole week in Central London in September. In terms of what to expect experience wise – we are planning the most audacious and memorable experience yet.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We don’t have specific qualifications for the films which get selected for the festival. When i’m asked what an urban film is, my response remains the same: it’s whatever you perceive the word ‘urban’ to be. It’s important that writers and directors retain the one power that they have over all of us – telling us a story that we’ll give a damn about – and not the other way round.

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

It depends on what you mean by fair shake. For a film festival like BUFF, the main work starts after the premiere as we believe in extending the commercial and PR shelf life for a film for as long as possible. It’s the primary reason why we established the BUFF Awards to provide further incentive for filmmakers to enter their films into our festival.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

For as long as I can remember, I have always cared about how I am represented. This is moreso in an industry which is rapidly having to deal with such an existential issue as diversity. Films are the lifeblood for any festival and with each passing year, me and my team, along with our esteemed patrons are able to see firsthand just how passionate other people are about diversity and representation. We have a duty to serve these filmmakers and audiences in general.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We offer great value for money therefore we’re not surprised by the phenomenal response from filmmakers and scriptwriters since submissions opened last November, moreso than ever before. We have also seen a greater number of countries enter submissions to our festival. It is heartening to know that our brand of diversity is universally acknowledged in places like Canada, Germany, Russia, Australia, Israel and Taiwan.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

As the leading film festival for diversity in the world, we would like to take our brand of diversity to other countries. From a national perspective, there’s work to be done across the UK also and this will become one of our key objectives by the time we host what would be our 15th annual festival and 5th annual awards.

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

I could give you 10 as it’s a close run thing. Men In Black.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Attention to detail, on-screen chemistry, psychologically tortured characters.

How is the film scene in your city?

I am passionate about my city as a home for creative talent to firmly establish themselves. London is home to the UK’s biggest film and TV companies and there’s a wide variety of film festivals for audiences to attend. Its’ iconic locations are the envy of the world and continues to attract film studios and production companies from far and wide.
 

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Festival Director Len Gibson (Peachtree Village International Film Festival)

PVIFF is hosted by Gipp. Museums, Inc. PVIFF attracts 3,000+ people each year from around the world. PVIFF was created in 2006 under the previous name (Sweet Auburn International Film Festival) and have served as the launching pad for many successful filmmakers and other artists alike in the film & entertainment industry. This dynamic international film festival showcases feature length films, shorts, music videos, documentaries, and screenplays from around the globe. PVIFF also feature celebrity attractions, innovative workshops, panels, parties, and much more. PVIFF is one of the most celebrated film events through dynamic programming and a dedication to helping filmmakers excel in their careers. PVIFF’s brand is entrenched in the old saying “It Takes A Village.”

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

    Len Gibson: We succeed at connecting filmmakers with the resources they need to advance their careers. Over the years we have garnered numerous international relationships to include financiers, distributors, executives and more. We succeed at pairing our filmmakers with these relationships in a non threatening manner.

    What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

    You can expect to meet some really cool exciting people that are doing great things in film, television and technology. You can also expect to experience some great films, panels and workshops.

    What are the qualifications for the selected films?

    The films just have to speak to our audience. Our audience is multi-cultural with diverse backgrounds. We attempt to select quality films with great themes that speak to a broad audience.

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

    In some cases I do. In some cases you can see the talent in a young filmmaker that may not be there yet but they have all the tools to be successful. We try to give young filmmakers an opportunity to share their work if we feel that they are the tools to become a solid filmmaker. Not all festivals do this and I can understand why but we try to because you never know who is going to blossom into a great filmmaker.

    What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

    Helping young artists succeed.

    How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

    Our process with Film Freeway has been great.

    Where do you see the festival by 2020?

    By 2020 we expect to be about 3 times the size we are now. We are focused on infusing more music and more technology into what we offer at our festival.

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

    Probably Shawshank Redemption.

    In one sentence, what makes a great film?

    A great story that makes a broad impact on the viewers that see it told with believable acting and solid cinematic value.

    How is the film scene in your city?

    The film scene is great is Atlanta. This city has truly become the place to shoot film and television. Atlanta has the look of many places around the U.S. and the weather is good here so shooting in this city is great.

     

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    Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Festival Director Gregory Kelly (SIMPLY SHORTS)

Simply Shorts was designed to encourage more regular screenings of both local and international short form content in Brisbane, Australia. Since 2015, we have held Simply Shorts 2-3 times a year, changing genres or themes every edition and opening the door to many different areas of filmmaking. Our screenings go for one night only. The editions of Simply Shorts so far have been: The Queensland Edition, Halloween Special, Skits & Giggles, World Cinema, Women in Film and coming in July we’ll have Sci-Fi or Die.

Simply Shorts was created by Gregory Kelly. Greg’s background in the film industry started in 2009 when he entered film school at the Queensland School of Film & Television. Graduating in 2011, Greg co-founded the Brisbane Backyard Film Festival with Morgan MacKay in 2012, which this year celebrated it’s 6th edition. Pernell Marsden joined Simply Shorts full time in 2016 as festival director and was instrumental in making the Women in Film screening one of the most successful editions yet.

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

Gregory Kelly: We hope that Simply Shorts is providing another valuable screen for filmmakers to screen their work. Especially our local filmmakers in Brisbane who don’t get much of a chance to have their work screened locally because of the lack of festivals and screenings.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

We’ve had one edition of Simply Shorts already in 2017 which was our Women in Film screening. We screened short form content from Australian female filmmakers which was great. A fantastic mix of drama, thriller, animation and comedy. In July we’ll be having our Sci-Fi or Die edition which will focus on local and international sci-fi short films, as well as music videos & trailers.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Audience enjoyment and technical merit. We have a pre-screening with a group who give us feedback on what films they enjoyed and why. Technical competency usually also falls into the enjoyment side of things as well, because if you can’t hear or see the film properly you wouldn’t enjoy it.

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

That’s a hard question. Each film festival is different. There are a lot of film festivals now, and a lot of them cater for different things. Putting together a program for a festival is extremely hard. We’ve had to leave out good films just to keep our lineup varied.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We love film. We love bringing people together through film.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Since we’ve been using FilmFreeway it has been extremely easy. There’s an abundance of films out there.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We don’t see Simply Shorts getting much bigger than what it is. We enjoy the small and relaxed feel.

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

Pulp Fiction.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great story.

How is the film scene in your city?

Unfortunately we don’t have the film scene in Brisbane that we should have for a first world city. There’s a lot of potential here but a lot of it is unrealised. It’s both social and political.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Festival Director Shawn P. Greene (Great Lakes Christian Film Festival)

Christian Filmmakers are on the rise, and as technology advances and is more accessible to more and more people, new outlets are necessary to meet the demand of new Christian Films. The third festival in 2017 will be located in Buffalo, NY, the gateway to the Great Lakes. Buffalo has a rich history, and many stories to tell.

Interview with Lindsey Paricio (Lights, Camera, Take Action Film Festival)

A film festival highlighting food insecurity and poverty in the Fort Collins community. Sponsored by the FoCo Cafe and The Downtown Fort Collins Business Association (DBA), the festival is intended to bring together the network of food insecurity organizations that span the Fort Collins community. Additionally, the festival aims to raise awareness about food insecurity, food justice, poverty, homelessness, food equality, access to healthy eating, etc. There will be a panel discussion following the showing of the films featuring representatives from local hunger and poverty prevention organizations.

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

    This festival is providing an opportunity for filmmakers to explore a range of issues surrounding food insecurity. These problems – homelessness, hunger, nutrition, food access, etc- are often hard to describe and put into words, but this festival is allowing filmmakers to be able to capture the issues in a real way. We are helping to celebrate the creativity and artistry of film makers in their expressions of little documented issues, and we are allowing them a chance to share any of their personal experiences with food insecurity in a way that can and will actively be viewed and discussed by others in an attempt to help.

    What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

    Attendees may expect the unveiling and premier of the winning film in each category – youth, college, community, and photography. Following this, a screening of the feature documentary ‘The Starfish Throwers’ will occur, and then the community in attendance will have the opportunity to ask panelists from local food security organizations and the filmmakers questions about food insecurity and the surrounding issues. This will help create a discussion about the issue and steps to alleviate it, and all attendees are encouraged to participate!

    What are the qualifications for the selected films?

    Films (and photos) must be shorter than 8 minutes in length, and must represent some issue surrounding food insecurity. The filmmaker must identify in one of four categories: youth, college, community, or photo.

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

    Many films that address unpleasant issues, or even just issues that are currently popular to showcase, don’t get a fair chance at film festivals. Food Insecurity is one of those issues that is not easy to showcase and not in style to talk about. Thus, our festival is hoping to provide a platform for these films to receive a chance at recognition.

    What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

    My team and I are very passionate about addressing food security ikn our local communities. All of us are interns at the FoCo café, the first non-profit café located in Fort Collins, Colorado. Because of our experiences working at the café and seeing the impacts of hunger and the power a good meal and welcoming community on a daily basis, we know that every person has the ability to contribute to solving this issue. One of the first steps to do this is to educate people about food insecurity.

    People learn in different ways and have different skillsets to contribute, and so we are motivated to instigate this festival because it is a way for people to learn and contribute in a new way.

    How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

    FilmFreeway has been a wonderful tool for this process, though we did have an issue with artists submitting videos that had nothing to do with out topic. It has taken quite a bit of sorting to narrow down the entries to applicable films for our judges to evaluate.

    Where do you see the festival by 2020?

    This is the first year of Lights, Camera, Take Action, and we definitely hope to make this an annual event. By 2020 we hope to have expanded this festival to include both a larger audience and a larger entry pool. We also hope to have developed partnership with community organizations to be able to use the films and photos created to help educate the community in a scope that goes beyond the festival.

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

    I have seen Lord of the Rings the most in my life time (all of them!). They were my favorite books when I was younger, and the beauty in them keeps me watching!

    In one sentence, what makes a great film?

    A great film is one that captures the heart of the audience and inspires them to stand up and do something.

    How is the film scene in your city?

    Fort Collins is a great city for an aspiring film maker. There are many film festivals, at both large and small platforms, throughout the year, often sponsored by local theaters or
    brewery’s.

    Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with the American Youth Film Festival

The American Youth Film Festival™ is an opportunity for the youth to showcase their movie making skills. Many young people regularly produce movies that are then posted on websites such as YouTube and Facebook. We want to capture that interest and channel it to understand the “love of film or film making” through the eyes of youth filmmakers.

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

    The American Youth Film Festival succeeds at providing a platform for student filmmakers to showcase their talents as writers, storytellers and directors.

    What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

    Attendees can expect screenings from up-and-coming student filmmakers from around the world. You can also expect workshops and panel discussions featuring some of the leading actors, producers, and industry professionals.

    What are the qualifications for the selected films?

    All “Official Selections” will be chosen based on originality/creativity, cinematography, sound, direction, length, and ability to capture its audience.

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

    No, I think most films are judged based on how well they follow the rules set forth by the festival.

    What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

    After working with thousands of children in after-school programs since 2006, the American Youth Film Festival was developed to give student filmmakers an opportunity to express their creative writing, directing and storytelling skills on film, plus the festival is an extension of traditional arts programs.

    How has your Film Freeway subm ission process been?

    The Film Freeway submission process has been great for our festival, it’s simple and easy to use, which is very appealing to our filmmakers.

    Where do you see the festival by 2020?

    Our goal for The American Youth Film Festival is to be the premiere student film festival in the country, a Cannes-type festival for student filmmakers that is the “top destination” event to showcase their films and network with industry professionals.

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

    Silver Streak, with Richard Pryor and Gene Wilder, arguably the greatest comedy duo in the history of film.

    In one sentence, what makes a great film?

    The ability to connect with the audience through laughter and make them forget about the pressure and/or problems they may be facing makes a film great.

    How is the film scene in your city?

    Over the last few years the film scene in Atlanta has grown rapidly to become the third largest producer of movies in the country with over 125 movies being shot in and around the metropolitan area yearly.

    Inspiring Positive Youth Expression thru Film and Photography!
    The American Youth Film Festival…

    Launched in Columbus, GA on June 12, 2015 at the Columbus State University Center for International Studies after three years of market research. The festival launch screened film from ten states and one foreign country, it also included an awards ceremony, panel discussions and workshops featuring industry professionals such as, actress and film maker Stacy Cunningham (StacyCunningham.com), whose credits includes over 40 stage and screen productions including an upcoming episode of Tyler Perry’s ” If Loving You Is Wrong,” discussed her experiences in the entertainment industry and moderated the panel discussion. Also facilitating a workshop was actress, image consultant, multi-media producer Alima Albari (AlimaIndustries.com ) and (www.StudioNinetyTwo.com) whose industry experience includes film, music video & event production, talent booking & model representation, conducted a talent workshop and explained to the students the importance of image in the entertainment industry.

    Participating via SKYPE was Los Angeles, CA-based producer Ian Mallahan, an Emmy nominated producer whose past credits include Survivor, Undercover Boss, American Chopper and he is currently the Executive Producer of HGTV”s “Ellen’s Design Challenge” with Ellen DeGeneres.

    The 2016 American Youth Film Festival was hosted in July 2016 at The Conference Center at Atlanta Metropolitan State College in Atlanta, GA and screened film from twenty-seven states and eight foreign countries. The opening night meet & greet at the Microsoft store at Lenox Mall was attended by over forty industry professionals and student filmmakers and screened four “Official Selection” shorts. Festival workshops were conducted by VH1 Reality star David Dees, actress and image consultant Alima Albari, actress and storyteller Roxann Remekie, director and producer Paul Fant and a photography workshop by TWR Photography.

    The 2017 American Youth Film Festival, to be held June 8 – 10, 2017 at The Conference Center at Atlanta Metropolitan State College, promises to be the largest, most exciting festival ever with many of the most fascinating industry professionals the Atlanta entertainment film scene has to offer.

    Since inception, the American Youth Film Festival has worked closely with the Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA and Girls Inc . to introduce their respective members to filmmaking. This is a family event and parents, students, and educators from around the country attend the festival to support the film makers.

     

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    Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

    SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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    Submit the first stages of your film an

Interview with Festival Director William Strang-Moya (OCEAN CITY FILM FESTIVAL)

The Ocean City Film Festival was founded in January, 2017. Hosted by the Art League of Ocean City, this festival is a regional affair that allows both community engagement and networking for artists.

http://oceancityfilmfestival.weebly.com/

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

William Strang-Moya: This film festival is ultimately going to expand the demographic of these filmmakers. It is truly providing them an opportunity to lay the groundwork for an emerging film culture within the Delmarva region.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?

This is the inaugural year for the Ocean City Film Festival. A person attending can expect mainly an incredibly diverse selection and the chance to personally engage the filmmakers that will be showing their work.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The qualifications are few for this year’s festival. We have an animation category, short film category, feature length category, and youth category. We seek work based on its uniqueness, diversity, and its coherent purpose for being a film. However, we do offer various awards for films. Such as a judge’s choice and audience choice. Then there is the “Pink Flamingo” Award for the film that most uniquely represents Maryland life. The “Celluloid Crab” award goes to the film with the best use of analog equipment or practical effects. And last we have the “Inky Tentacle” award for the best screenplay.

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

I don’t think that films will always get a fair shake anywhere, really. As film, to us, is ultimately viewed as an art, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. As someone who is fresh out of film school, I can say that for the longest time I have had to craft my films in a way that would appease my professors as opposed to my artistic inclinations. It is truly shameful that as a collective, film cannot be approached with a more open mind as Hollywood has set such specific standards for how films should be executed. When it comes to festivals, films have a lot of opportunities for due recognition, but as a whole, I do not feel too much at liberty to speak on behalf of how complicated the relationship can be between filmmakers and festivals.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We are motivated by a number of things. My partner Kristin Helf(Festival Co-director) and I have been shooting films in the area for a while now, and even as a native, I am constantly amazed by how readily the community embraces film-making and allows for individuals such as ourselves to come in and work on our films. So we are really motivated by the idea of establishing a culture for filmmakers in the region and awaken the local artists so that a network can be established.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

The process was intimidating at first, but we are fortunate to have gotten a good committee of judges and a coherent color-coded flagging system to sort through the entries.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

By 2020, I see the festival at its third year, with larger venues, and bigger names attending.

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

Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is a film that is both personal and purposeful to the filmmaker and its audience.

How is the film scene in your city?

I currently live in Baltimore and with the Maryland Film Fest going on, the film scene is present and active. Ocean City however has no film scene. The closest film scene can be found about an hour away in Rehoboth.
 

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
Submit the first stages of your film an