Interview with Festival Director Ivan Wiener (Albuquerque Film & Music Experience)

 
AFME brings award-winning filmmakers, screenwriters, musicians, artists, distributors, industry experts, producers, casting directors and visionaries together from around the world to celebrate the art of storytelling and collaborate into the future.

Their Mission:
The AFME Foundation brings together world-renowned and local filmmakers and musicians with high school and college students to provide educational and cultural opportunities. We support Albuquerque becoming an epicenter for film, music and the arts.
 
http://www.abqfilmx.com/

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

Ivan Wiener: Providing a platform to share their work with a vast audience including distributors, other filmmakers and industry members. Introducing filmmakers to other attendees where future collaboration, either personally or professionally, goes from a possibility to a reality.

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

Attendees will experience an amazing blend of movies, music and the arts throughout the week where celebrity and industry professionals are just a smile and a handshake away. The cool thing about AFME is the access everyone has to one another. Attendees also experience some of the top hospitality of any film festival in the world. Our staff treats everyone like family throughout AFME.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Out of hundreds of films submitted to our festival, the selected films have to stand out with production value and story line and leave the audience wanting more. We take pride in screening the best films that come our way through the submission process and supporting the filmmaker’s desire to screen their project in front of an intelligent, hip and appreciative audience.

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

I think there are many festivals that are known to hand pick movies that they know will draw distributors immediately. Our screening team takes great pride in watching every movie submitted and having open discussions about the quality of movies. With 45-50 films selected for our program, we take great care in selecting movies with the top production value.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We are motivated by our non-profit’s mission and vision of bringing together world renowned and local filmmakers and musicians with high school and college students to provide educational and cultural opportunities. The more success we have at the festival, the more scholarships we offer to students of film, music and the arts. We are always happy to have celebrities who believe in our mission come along for the ride each June. This year, T Bone Burnett, Jeff Bridges and many others will be in attendance.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been a wonderful submission platform. Easy to use, with tools that give great exposure to our event.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We see AFME expanding to more areas of the city and offering a summer institute for talented high school and college students of film, music and the arts.

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

Jaws. Every time it is on television, I can’t help but watch it.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is a unique and engaging story that evokes emotion from beginning to end.

How is the film scene in your city?

The film scene in Albuquerque is one of the best in the world. Being one of the top production destinations due to the State incentive, there are weekly events throughout the city that focus on film. Local and international filmmakers love Albuquerque because of its unique vibe and focus on film.

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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 Tiger Moon (THROUGH MY EYES)

TRIBE Project presents Through My Eyes, a festival of short films created by indigenous minorities from all over the world. The films range from narrative triumphs to poignant documentaries and vivacious animations. Collectively, these are stories of resistance, courage, and hope.

http://tribeproject7.com/

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

Tiger Moon: Through My Eyes is showcasing independent short films from all over the world — specifically, from filmmakers who consider themselves members of indigenous minorities worldwide. The festival includes films from six continents, celebrating “indi-geniuses” whose work is often overlooked by the mainstream film industry.

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

We hope that every audience member learns something s/he never knew before, temporarily experiencing the world through the eyes of a stranger whose culture may be completely unfamiliar — and opening his/her own eyes to the lives of the planet’s overlooked indigenous populations. Ideally, our audience will come away with a new understanding of the word ‘indigenous’ (meaning ‘of the land’) that encompasses the original inhabitants not only of North America, but of the world at large.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The festival features a wide range of short films — “from narrative triumphs to poignant documentaries and vivacious animations.” Our only up-front qualification is that filmmakers identify as belonging to an indigenous population in their country of origin. But beyond that, we also consider this an activist’s film festival, and have curated our program to fulfill that goal. In an era marked by intense cultural conflict both at home and abroad, it seems more important than ever to create a platform for under-represented artists to express themselves — and Through My Eyes reflects that need.

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

In fact, that is exactly why Through My Eyes exists in the first place — to fill a hole that we, as indigenous artists, often feel — not only in film festivals, but in the media at large. There’s a huge ‘representation gap’ when it comes to ethnic minorities in general — moreover, the film medium is often dominated by a ‘Westernized’ or ‘colonial’ narrative style, which delegitimizes the diverse forms storytelling takes worldwide. We’re here to create a space where under-represented artists — specifically, artists belonging to global indigenous populations — can tell their own stories in their own ways.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

As a team of American indigenous artists, we’re really creating an opportunity for ourselves and other people like us. But in the process, we’re attempting to share that opportunity with other artists — who (while their artistic needs may not be exactly the same as ours), certainly suffer the same lack of representation in the film industry.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been a godsend! In contrast with previous platforms we’ve used, FilmFreeway has been amazingly intuitive and user-friendly. We’ll never look back!

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

This is our first year, and we’re extremely grassroots at the moment — we’re feeling our way through the process to a certain extent. If all goes as well as we hope it will this year, we’d like to expand the scope of the festival to include features as well as shorts, and to occupy several locations throughout the city. Over the next few years, we’re also planning to reach out to some of the world’s most under-represented populations — populations that may not yet have the resources to represent themselves on a global stage. If there’s an artist or storyteller in a remote village somewhere who would like to use the film medium to express him or herself, but isn’t sure where to start… TRIBE can provide equipment and, where necessary, the training to use it — and then use the festival to provide a pathway directly to the screen and the world stage. On a similar note, we’re currently working with three young Native American people living on Indian reservations throughout the U.S., teaching them the art of filmmaking from the ground up. During the coming year, we’ll be flying the participants out to Los Angeles to continue their education ‘on the ground’ from some of the best in the business. Next year’s festival will feature these up-and-coming artists’ debut films. Moving forward, we will also be expanding that program to include a larger group of young people… By 2020, we imagine we’ll be dedicating an entire day of the festival to our junior TRIBE.

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

Between the two of us in this room: I Heart Huckabees (Tiger: “Lots of great existential undertones”) and Labyrinth (Jenny: “David Bowie and Muppets. No further explanation necessary.”)

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film shows you something you recognize in a way you’ve never seen before.

How is the film scene in your city?

We’re in L.A. — the film capital of the world! We’re literally surrounded by the Industry — in terms of film, if you can’t find it here, it generally doesn’t exist. So the fact that we haven’t seen any other festival quite like this before is exactly why we’re doing this. We saw a need, and we’re working to fulfill it.

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TRIBE Project bio:
TRIBE (The Reason I Become Evident!) is a grassroots organization that strives to create a
sustainable platform for indigenous artists living in Los Angeles. The group is a passion project of Native American artist and activist Tiger Moon. Moon says: “As an actress and filmmaker, I have seen the opportunities the film medium provides to heal through storytelling. I see a chance to educate people about my culture in a stimulating, visual way.”

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 Joel Knain (Azalea Film Festival)

 The Azalea Film Festival’s first goal is to acknowledge and award the many talented independent filmmakers, writers and performers who may not get the recognition they deserve through many commercial film festivals. The AFF recognizes filmmakers who demonstrate exceptional achievement in craft and creativity. All genre of films and music videos are accepted by AFF. Awards will be distributed, giving filmmakers, writers and actors the opportunity to be noticed. First place films of each category will receive an award trophy plus special recognition for the overall all Best Film.

http://www.azaleafilmfestival.com/

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

Joel Knain: One the biggest problems that filmmakers encounter is not realizing their dream of seeing their work on the big screen. Seeing it on the big screen is really a learning experience that we give to every film we select. There is a huge difference from watching it on your 24 inch computer monitor when you are editing it to seeing it projected on a 40 ft tall screen. It’s what every filmmaker wants for their film.

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

A wide variety.. Love stories, horror, comedy… Our selections come from all over the world including Australia, China, Mexico, Canada and France, to name a few. Plus, our films come from a diverse level of experience too. Some are in film school, and some have a fantastic resume in the industry already. It’s really awesome to see how each interpret the world.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

First, they have all been completed after 1/1/2016. They have to be technically good. Poor sound, terrible lighting or framing, or bad editing will get you cut almost immediately, without question. Then the story comes into play. We want to be engaged when we watch a film.

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

I think most get fair deal in the smaller festivals. I don’t know about some of the larger festivals. Maybe they cater a little more to the marketing side of the business.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Two things. First, we are filmmakers too. We went to a festival nearby and the format was a little different and we thought, well, maybe we can do it better. We wanted to have a fair, equal playing field for all films. Secondly, we are a non-profit and we utilize the net proceeds to help children and their families who are affected by autism. Autism affects 1 in 68 children born every day with no cure… Children can only adapt to life. So we give back to help those children.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been awesome for us. It’s fast, simple and we wouldn’t do it any other way. I’m glad we went exclusively with them.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Wow… that seems so far away. I hope that by 2020 we expand from a 2 day in one theater event to 5 or 7 days and multiple theaters. We are also looking into ways to showcase our films via other avenues of delivery.

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

If I had to guess, it would be Star Wars IV, A New Hope. I saw it in the theater when it was originally released and it was fantastic. Personally, I try to watch as many films as possible, and more than one time. Good and bad. You can learn so much from them. What works and more importantly, what doesn’t.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is one that transports me inside the film, allowing me to escape for 90 minutes.

How is the film scene in your city?

Mobile has been growing in the film industry. Some or all of older films such as Close Encounters of a Third Kind and Under Siege were filmed here. More recently, a string of Nicholas Cage and Bruce Willis films came through in 2014-2016 and Jean Claude Van Damme just wrapped up filming last week. Our city offers a variety of landscapes for filmmakers to choose from. The Gulf of Mexico is right at our doorstep. And more importantly, the people love to see these filmmakers come in to town and welcome them like family.
 

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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
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Interview with Festival Director Miguel Sevilla (CINEMATOGRAFO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)

The CINEMATOGRAFO Originals Contest gives voices to emerging Filipino filmmakers from around the world. It is an annual competition that provides seed grants worth up to $100,000 for full-length features, either documentary or narrative.

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

Miguel Sevilla: Our festival centers in on a new generation of Filipino-American filmmakers who offer a different perspective owing to their different upbringing and experiences. Our festival aims to showcase this new generation and put them on the world stage, along with the best of the world.

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

Attendees can expect to experience new visions, new perspectives and new stories from a generation of storytellers that are part of the Filipino diaspora. Filipinos are one of the most migrant populations in the world and can be found in all corners of the world where they thrive in any industry.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

As mentioned, we are looking for stories from the Filipino diaspora. The themes and genre may vary but what is important is that the filmmaker is part of the migrant Filipino generation, growing up and experiencing a different kind of life abroad from other Filipinos.

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

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of niche film festivals launch alongside the major festivals. While the big ones showcase the elite art house content, that’s not to say that there is no market for films with a unifying theme or specialized content. The reality is that you can only program so much into a festival, and every film can’t be in Cannes or Sundance. But it’s a big world, a diverse world – and so are the stories in it. And as long as there is interest, there will be an audience. And festivals offer that platform where the audience can find those movies.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Until now, there has been no institution that has given production grants solely to Filipino-American filmmakers. Our team’s passion is fueled by the Filipino’s passion for storytelling, wherever they may be in the world. And it’s about time we put that passion front and center.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Overwhelming. We received four times the number of submissions we expected and thus, are truly grateful for everyone who showed their support for the festival

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Aside from being the premier Filipino-American film festival, I see the festival branching off into educational, training and technical support for all Filipino filmmakers outside the Philippines. I see the festival as a resource for all storytellers, unifying them into a vibrant community.

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

Chinatown by Roman Polanski

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

More than escapism, any film that makes you consider a point of view that you never had before and conveys empathy for a character that is truly opposite from who you are is most likely a great film.

How is the film scene in your city?

Incredibly diverse. The Bay Area is a melting pot for different cultures and the interests of moviegoers vary to a great degree.

 

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Interviewee Miguel Sevilla. Screenwriter, novelist and filmmaker, born and raised in the Philippines. Now based in California. Made directorial debut in 2008 with Cul de Sac. Nominated for FAMAS (Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences) in 2010.

 

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 and get full feedback!

Interview with Festival Director William Vela (Miami Short Film Festival)

Miami short Film Festival is a film festival based in Miami, Florida that features short films of 20-minutes or less each. A growing movement to exhibit and expand the art form of short film making providing a venue to build community around the arts. Philosophy: Short films, past and present, are true works of art, and deserve a venue dedicated to their exhibition. Their mission is to present quality films from around the world as well as support, recognize and honor filmmakers creating a films under 20 minutes.

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

William Vela: Miami short Film Festival is succeeding because we continue to promote the short film genre and supporting local and international filmmakers providing an ideal platform in a popular city such Miami Florida. The MsFF is international in scope and as a result, the festival has showcased over 1,000 high-quality films from around the world representing over 70 countries and has given the filmmaker a gateway for exposure and to short film an identity differentiating it from the classical feature lent films.

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

MsFF will offer our audience a one of a kind selection of the best short films across all genres from all over the world. From original scripts to different perspectives, to new cinematography and film techniques, each piece is the result of true emotion andexpression. Today’s short film cinema is beyond doubt, the nurturing ground of tomorrow’s world-renowned filmmakers.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

When selecting the films, our goal is to find films that are
distinctive and with a powerful team. We look for a storyline that can transform audiences, living them with a powerful message.

Technical Requirements:
-Films must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2015
-All non-English films must have English sub-titles.
-Films must be submitted electronically
-We will only consider works with a maximum running time of 20 minutes or less. There is no minimum running time.
-Works-in-progress will be considered, provided they will be completed prior to the Festival.
-We do not allow multiple category entries.
-Though not a requirement, we prefer that films NOT have previously screened in a public theatrical setting in Dade or Broward County FL prior to their screening at MiamisFF.

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

No comment.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

The love of filmmaking and desire to contribute to the cultural scene of our community. Also the responsibility of having create a dependable film festival that filmmakers and our audience wait for every year.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Film Freeway has been very helpful offering filmmakers and Film
Festival organizers a friendly tool to process all the materials. It has also provided a reachable staff that you can contact any time. They are way better than any other exiting platforms.

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

The film that I have seen the most times in my life is The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Great films most have a good storyline, interesting characters and good performance.

How is the film scene in your city?

Miami’s independent film scene is flourishing, even as hundreds of arthouse cinemas close around the country. The city is home to seven independent cinemas, most of which have opened in the last four years, and its increasing number of film festivals and notable filmmakers is propelling South Florida into a passionate film mecca with more than 10 festivals and an entire month dedicated to showcasing film such as the Miami short Film Festival.

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Interviewee BIO: For the past thirteen years Mr. Vela has been the Executive Director of the MsFF organization, overseeing every single aspect of this exiting international film festival. With more than 20 years of experience working as a professional actor, producer and director, he has work in over 250 TV commercial for the locals, nationals and international market. A creative and dynamic leader in the entertainment field industry, with continued success in event planning and media productions. Mr. Vela has been focus on expanding local, national and international independent short film productions while integrating influential and diverse partnership and sponsors to this campaign

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.

Interview with Festival Director Shira Dubrovner (Mammoth Lakes Film Festival)

Awarded in 2016 by MovieMaker Magazine as a top 50 film festival worth the entry fee. In 2017, the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival will screen over 60 features and shorts in the spectacular setting of Mammoth Lakes—California’s premier mountain resort, high in the Eastern Sierra. It will take place on the Wednesday through Sunday of Memorial Day weekend.

http://www.mammothlakesfilmfestival.com/

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

Shira Dubrovner: We combine our commitment to cutting-edge programming with our efforts to create a friendly, nurturing, fun atmosphere, giving our filmmakers a unique experience to be a part of what’s new and exciting in the independent film world and to make personal and professional connections in a truly unique setting. We believe films can change the world, but we also believe in art for art’s sake. Our slogan is “Movies Unfiltered,” and we make a point of showcasing work that digs deep, gets personal, and gets real and raw and confrontational when necessary. We put our filmmakers first, and make every effort to bring them to the festival and give them an unforgettable experience. We are truly a filmmaker friendly film festival. We offer all our filmmakers travel stipends and housing. We take over a student housing facility and house all the filmmakers under one roof, which creates a great synergy and a “Filmmaker-First Festival”.

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

We create an intimate atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable to connect: filmmaker to filmmaker, filmmaker to audience, and filmmaker to industry professionals (from our Jury) and sponsors. Whether you are a filmmaker or cinephile you will be inspired and challenged with the lineup of films that we carefully procure for our audiences. We also have both guided and spontaneous outings to visit the amazing natural surroundings.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

For this year, 2017, they must have been completed after January 1, 2016. They also must not have had a theatrical release.

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

I think the bigger festivals rely on reaching out to established filmmakers and organizations for their programming, and submitted films can become an afterthought. We make a point of carefully evaluating all submitted films and drawing a large percentage of our program from blind submissions.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Our commitment to find films with a specific and original vision. We love discovering the filmmakers of the future. Our director of programming Paul Sbrizzi discovered Lena Dunham and Ben Zeitlen before their careers took off. We love discovering and nurturing young filmmakers’ careers and watching them grow. We also love to showcase fresh and stimulating work by established filmmakers.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Very smooth. We find the platform very easy to use and easy to keep all the submissions organized and we are able to communicate with all the programmers well through the platform.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Our goal is to be a destination festival that is known for showcasing a selection of the best new work from around the world as well as finding up-and-coming talent. We are well on our way and intend on achieving that by 2020.

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

The Wizard of Oz because it comes on T.V. every year and it brings out the kid in me.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A naturally gifted filmmaker who is unafraid of expressing a personal, inspired vision with style and sensitivity.

How is the film scene in your city?

Mammoth Lakes is a ski resort where many second-home-owners are industry professionals with a passion for filmmaking and a great interest in new talent. A lot of the year-round locals have a taste for art and culture; they welcome the festival and the filmmakers with open arms.

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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.

Interview with Festival Director Edda Manriquez (Les Femmes Underground Film Festival)

 The International Les Femmes Underground is a film festival centred on the subversive, unique, and innovative. LEFUFF, showcases artists from all walks of life creating work which redefines the manner in which women are represented in mainstream cinema. Making its debut in 2016, Les Femmes Underground is premiering in Los Angeles as the first ever traveling women’s underground film festival. Les Femmes Underground was created as a response to the decline of feminist icons and role models in the media. As feminists, they believe it is our responsibility to empower new generations of young women to generate work which breaks away from society’s gendered roles.

http://lesfemmesinternational.org/
 
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

A: LEFUFF, is an underground women’s traveling film festival featuring work from intersectional feminist artists from all around the world. We provide fee waivers for at need artists, low pro-rated submission rates, and offer opportunities for artists to attend through our traveling component. We bring films to the locations with the most artists; thereby alleviating costs of travel. Our festival features the gritty, raw undervalued marginalized stories and people in our community. A lot are emerging diy artists whose approach is millennial in aesthetic featuring digital, film, video, and glitch forms. We provide a space through which narrative artists can transition and experience experimental work, as well as a space where experimental filmmakers can glean and learn from narrative artists. We provide an edgy artistic underground world of queer-trans , experimental, phycho-trophic non-heteronormative art forms as well as insight into different cultures and the differences which bring us together as a community.

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

A: Our lineups are divided into 5 sections. This year we have included a documentary portion to our festival, where marginalized characters are examined. Our second portion showcases experimental work such as glitch art, experimental animation, and psycho-trophic films. Our third section features coming of age narrative shorts where the characters undergo cultural clashes and self-acceptance. Our fourth section features horror shorts, where we will showcase horror from a female lens. The last section is our adult rated showcase, where female sexuality will be examined through a variation of shorts.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

A: Films must be directed, produced or written by female artists or have strong female leads. The films can be made by men, after all feminists come in all shapes and forms, the only requirement that women aren’t one dimension.

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

A: The world of film is split into 2 major demographics. Hollywood and Indie Films. As most have made a reference to in the past couple years is that Hollywood is now Super Hero movies, and Indie is none other than large production companies making drama genre films. AKA not super heros. Then that leaves the rest of us…. Well more like then there’s commercial films ( people with good cameras who shoot boring basic content) …. And then the rest of us… the artists. The people who want more than just a pop-up book of movies. We crave substance, form, and mental stimulation. There in lies the bias in film festivals. If you look like you belong in Sundance due to your budget and the quality of camera you have then you are chosen. The quality of story is boring and has been seen many times before. If you have a budget for special effects.. you get in. If you have a celebrity in your film… you’re in. Why? Because most festivals want numbers. They want attendees, and celebrities bring that to you. They bring revenue. But they don’t bring diversity other than their token minorities with stories to claim to feature hardships of certain demographics, but are often directed by white rich men. So some films don’t make the cut. Then theres the world of experimental films, and those can be biased too. They have their own underground world of celebrities. If you are a certain name then you will play because you bring prestige to the festival . And so many times, people aren’t given opportunities. Also they don’t teach you this in art school or film school, festivals prefer shorter pieces to program more. So anything under 11 mins are preferred and 20 mins is pushing it. You have to remember these people are watching hundreds of movies. We’ve seen the same movie over and over again, or more like the same plot lines being retold. So yours has to stick out within the first shots. Also you can have an awful camera but if your sound is good and your story is compelling then you have a chance as a indie filmmaker.

MT: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

A: We want to create a positive social change for women in the media cinematic arts. As a minority female artist, I understand my resume is skipped because I have a latin last name. I know because I am female I will also be questioned by production companies when it comes to tech knowledge. I know this because I’ve been there. I know because I have experienced being spoken over and disregarded. So we do this because we are all intersectional feminists, some of us are minorities, some of us are queer, some of us are male, some of us are Caucasian. We have the gambit of participants. So we know what it means to have to push against adversity. We do this so we can succeed as a community, to change the way films and women are viewed through different mediums of art.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

A: FilmFreeway is intuitive, it helps tracking and allows very easy sharing among other judged. Withoutabox is still very much a task. I want to compare it to apple vs pc. One just has more steps to customize. Filmreeway gives you the indie flavor and withoutabox has a lot of great narrative pieces with higher budgets. They both offer great resources and diverse options.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

A: We hope to continue to grow and eventually offer grants to at need artists to continue with their art. We would have traveled a couple more cities, as we did Venice Los Angeles last year and will be doing San Diego this year.

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

A: Funny enough I realize that my favorite film isn’t the best in technique, its not artistic, and its not a cinematic masterpiece. It’s the film which first made me feel something. It awakened a sense of awe, it gave me a desire to story tell. It was a film which created a world outside of myself, and of course it was none other than the very basic yet wonderfully whimsical Casper. Yes the kids film. Yes Christina Ricci. Yes my CalArts professors would be smacking me in the face for choosing this. But its true, I have watched this more times than I can count. I don’t need to think. I don’t need to analyze. It just is. Artists often look at me in disgust when I say this. But I believe this to be the most honest non-pretentious truth. This film changed my life when I was 8 years old. I started to write after that. It was raw and it was real and I still love it. Now if you were to ask me my favorite art film… then id get snooty pretentious… because I did go to an experimental Disney school.

MT: In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A: A great film makes you question or embrace your understanding of the world.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

A: Los Angeles. Right. The capital of film, over stimulation. It is everywhere. It is the Mecca. There’s all kinds of underground societies as well as Hollywood. There’s a huge network of artists out there, grant it I am more familiar with CalArts inspired universes.
 

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Interviewee: Edda Manriquez- Edda graduated with an MFA in film and video from CalArts and received her BA at UC San Diego. She is southern California based feminist experimental filmmaker and performance artist. She founded LEFUFF in 2015 along side David Leopoldo Gonzalez. She currently works for the Getty Research Institute and is a community activist and educator. She now lives with her pet dog in Santa Clarita.

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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.