Interview with PR Director Suzanne Curry (RIDGEWOOD GUILD INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)

Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival is in its ninth year of celebrating excellence in US and International independent films.

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

Suzanne Curry: We offer an atmosphere of comraderie and personal service. Our committee members strive to meet with every filmmaker. In many cases, we establish personal relationships with them. Some of them come back year and year, and we really enjoy watching them grow.

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

Whether you are a filmmaker or a patron, you will get the opportunity to meet with the filmmakers. You’ll get to see a lot of great films at the cost of one regular movie ticket. You’ll see films you may not have had the opportunity to see elsewhere. For instance, this year we are showing Oscar-nominated Roma for free. We also have shorts that are premiering. We also have the premiere of a new movie called Hollywould, by Joshua Coates. It stars Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominated actor Eric Roberts, who will be coming to the festival and the After-Party. Every year we attract Hollywould talent.

Oh, and anyone can pose on the Red Carpet!

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We take the time to review every film that is submitted through Film Freeway. We judge each on it’s own merit, using the overall qualities that make a good film. Subjects do not matter, we strive to take a variety of genres and cover different subjects. Some years we wind up with films that have the same message. This year it seems several of our films have messages about the new social aspects of today’s society.

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

We had more submissions than ever before. I think that every film festival looks for certain things. We wish we could have selected more but for a smaller festival like ours – and the big ones have this problem also – there is only so much screen time available! We like to take a variety of genres, and we also like to showcase local talent, especially students. I find it very enjoyable watching all of the films that are submitted. I get to hear new voices, experience new views and see what’s on the cutting edge of videography and cinematography.

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

Our committee members are all volunteers. What we all have in common is that we love film. We love being a part of this world. We love giving new filmmakers a theater to show their work in.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It’s an excellent platform.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Hmmm… well we are in our 9th year this year, and we are already planning our 10th. Each year we get more and more films and more people. By 2023, I hope we are still doing what we are doing and that more people look forward to the festival each year, without us having to spread the word so much! It would also be great if we went a third day at the theater, as we have more films than screen time. Sponsorships would help that, so by 2023 I hope we have added to our list of continuing sponsors.

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

Oh that’s an easy one, Love Actually followed by Home Alone. Actually – I think Home Alone may be the tops just because it is a movie I can watch with my whole family at the holidays. I am currently co-producer of a new film, A Case of Blue, that is being Executive Produced by Scott Rosenfelt, who produced Home Alone. So happy to be able to work with him. That film puts a smile on my face each time I watch it and is synonymous with the holidays with me family.

Rom coms are my favorite genre. I have my summer rom com viewing list and my winter/holiday list. I like to escape with movies and laugh. There’s enough bad news on every other channel these days. days.

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

What makes a great film? A film that you are so engrossed in, you don’t want to get up to go to the bathroom or get a snack (or that you put on pause even for a few seconds to get up), one that you can’t figure out the ending, get so emotionally involved in that you forget you’re not in the movie, and then, one that you want to watch again. I remember the first time I saw La La Land. I didn’t want to leave the theater… I couldn’t believe the ending. So I sat there with the girls half my age who were balling their eyes out and not getting up. I recall one Gen Z saying “That is the best movie I have ever seen.” A great film just hits you in your gut.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

We are near NYC, that will always be the the hub but many students at NYC schools live in Ridgewood and the surrounding towns, so there is a lot of talent here.

Link to our site: http://www.RidgewoodGuildFilmFest.com
 

Bio:
 
Suzanne Ordas Curry has owned her own PR firm but as of late has been in show biz, producing and marketing independent films and series. Because of her love of film, she volunteers as PR Director and a judge for the Ridgewood Guild International Film Festival. She also owns a site which covers films and young filmmakers, www.BehindtheScenezz.com.

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Around Films will break the World Record with #Astrallstory

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Around Films will break the  World Record with #Astrallstory 

BERLIN, GERMANY, April 18, 2019 – 

” Astrall Story ” is an ambitious international film project that attempts to break the World Record for “Most Directors of a Film”. 44 filmmakers from all around the world will be creating together a feature film to prove that we are all connected by the nature of Mother Earth with Collective Consciousness.

It will be the first film produced by a network of independent filmmakers who are the finalists of the Around International Film Festival.

 ” Astrall Story ” will show the togetherness of the universe driven by collective consciousness through a new interpretation of the four primary elements (Fire, Air, Water and Earth). 

Each filmmaker will write and direct his/her own segment of the movie in his/her country – by getting inspired by the user-generated content shared on Instagram ”Stories”.

To clarify it once again here, Instagram stories that shared by people who’d like to act in the film, will be the inspiration to 44 filmmakers for making their own narratives.

Everyone can take an active part in the creation process of the Astrall Story by being the 5th Element – the life force, by uploading a daily story on Instagram tagging #astrallstory and telling which elements define the individual character or personality the most and why.

The Instagram Stories are selected by the Around Films Network and Visioners, 44 finalist filmmakers will be interpreting the content to produce independently  2-3 minutes segments that are connected by the 4 elements. 

The final result will be a blend of different cultures, languages, influences to create a new visual language of thousands.

ARFF International Filmmakers have to face another exciting challenge by following the rules drawn up via Dogme 95 Manifesto by Lars von Trier, Thomas Vinterberg, Kristian Levring and Søren Kragh-Jacobsen to create the Dogma 2020 Movement altogether.

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Astrall Story will set a world record by being the first feature film created by award winners of a film festival and earning the feature for ”Most Directors of a Film” by Around Films.

The finalist filmmakers of Astrall Story will be announced during the ARFF Berlin Event Ceremony through the film industry professionals on 8th of June 2019 at Babylon Mitte in Berlin. 

To get an idea of the works of the AstrallStory-Nominees their trailers can be watched on the Around Films website. The trailers are marked on the globe with the elements according to the birth date of the nominees and their location.

Around Films unites award winner filmmakers from all around the world to create the #Astrallstory by launching a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com starting on May 8th  till June 21st 2019 (for 44 days ).

The multi-director, one of it’s kind feature film will be produced in 2019 and will be distributed worldwide in 2020 with the contribution of the selected associate and co-producers, literally from all around the world.

For more information or to find out how you can contribute to #Astrallstory, 

visit 

http://aroundfilms.com/astrallstory/ 

https://www.instagram.com/astrallstory/

https://filmfreeway.com/AroundFilmFestival

April 2019 – Read FILM FESTIVAL Interviews

5 interviews conducted by Matthew Toffolo:

Interview with the KanivFest Kaniv International Film Festival
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/04/08/interview-with-the-kanivfest-kaniv-international-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Director Sasha Santiago (GRID EDGE FILM FESTIVAL)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/04/08/interview-with-festival-director-sasha-santiago-grid-edge-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Director Iris Gonzalez (THROUGH MY EYES FILM FESTIVAL)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/04/08/interview-with-festival-director-iris-gonzalez-through-my-eyes-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Director Paola Melli (SOUTH SOCIAL FILM FESTIVAL)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/04/08/interview-with-festival-director-paola-melli-south-social-film-festival/

Interview with Festival Producers Christine Cannavo & Eafat Newton (WOMEN IN COMEDY FESTIVAL)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/04/08/interview-with-festival-producers-christine-cannavo-eafat-newton-women-in-comedy-festival/

Interview with the KanivFest Kaniv International Film Festival

Festival  designed to create a powerful cultural – educational platform that aims to unite Ukrainian and foreign film makers and introduce viewers works with professionals and amateurs.

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1. What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Kaniv Film Festival succeeds for filmmaker at monetary awards and advertising especially for the Ukrainian State Film Agency and different film production studios.

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

If you attend Kaniv Film Festival you will get:
– a lot of communication with actors, producers, cameramen and other persons, who involved to movie industry;
– different master-classes connecting the filmmaking processes:
– impressed by the beautiful landscapes and friendly treatment;
– a new friends.

3. What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The films of any genre direction and timekeeping are admitted for participation (Short 25 min., a full meter to 90 minutes.), the production not before 2 years of the festival conducting (not before 2016). For films in a foreign language, the subtitles in Ukrainian and English are the requirement.

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

Speaking about our festival, we hope that our jury finds quality films.

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

Firstly we want to give a chance for filmmakers to get their names and their films known in movie industry. And we also want to do the powerful platform for communication between filmmakers.

6. How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Everything was ok. Thanks to FilmFreeway we got a lot of international participants.

7. Where do you see the festival by 2023?

We have a lot of plans. We are improving all the time and we are trying our best for the people who works in cinematography world. We want to see a lot of both Ukrainian and international participants present in our festivals. We also want to attract experts who will share their experience. And we also want to give our participants large monetary awards and world recognition. It’s not by chance our mission is- “If you want to get Cannes- let’s start from Kaniv”.

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

We can’t choose just one. Many films left a great impession.

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

To our mind the combination of idea, extraordinary and aftertaste makes a great film.

10. How is the film scene in your city?

In our city we have Movie Theater and outdoor screening.

 

 

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Interview with Festival Director Sasha Santiago (GRID EDGE FILM FESTIVAL)

Grid Edge Fest wants to live screen your short film in Brooklyn, NY. The festival is one part tech conference, two parts community workshops, and a grand finale live screening event as the centerpiece.

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

Sasha Santiago: People generally want connectivity and to be part of a community that feels creative, fresh and original. Grid Edge Fest wants to make an event out of the films it selects. To spotlight films that take on the complex subject of climate change and create a space that makes it accessible to a new audience.

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

If you’re like me, you sometimes wonder why don’t people go to movies as much anymore? That last few times I’ve been to a theater, I found it odd how I’m one of maybe a dozen attendees present. Maybe it’s because of the content, maybe it’s the $18 matinee ticket price or maybe it’s the lack of a community.

Grid Edge Fest first and foremost is a film festival, with a series of interactive events that lead up to the live screening event. These include tech talks on innovative breakthrough solutions that look at data as the new fuel of the future (see exergy.energy) to fight back at climate change, as well as family-friendly community workshops that find the fun in educating people on what can be done about climate change at the local level.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Grid Edge Fest wants the best films yet on the topic of climate change or important environmental stories. The films can DIY stories shot on an iPhone or high caliber professionally produced gems, the sincere hope is that people who watch these films would be both united and inspired and that they will leave the festival with a new commitment in their hearts to combat climate change in a manner that truly resonates.

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

Film is an expensive and competitive art form. Organizing a sustainable film festival isn’t cheap nor easy. New film festivals like Grid Edge Fest have a proven failure rate after the first or second year because they don’t successfully find their audience. As far as giving films a fair shake, I can’t speak for other festivals but I’ll presume it has something to do with targeted demographics. Who will make the pilgrimage to the film festival? Usually, the films selected looks like the audience it’s trying to attract.

The film business has been historically ruled by white men from upper-middle-class socioeconomic backgrounds for a very long time, but the good news is that we’re seeing more evidence of that being reconciled as the old guard dies. I think we’re seeing some pretty good strides and small wins (Boomshakalaka!!!) in the last few years but a film festival that stands for just fairness or diversity sake isn’t enough to be sustainable or engaging. The films still need to be good and a festival’s most important job is to offer a well-curated experience.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We’re totally new to FilmFreeway. It’s a cool service, makes it super easy to submit a film. We’re still looking for more short films to be submitted. Each of the short films selected for the Spring 2019 live screening would be considered a winner and be awarded a $250 prize.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Grid Edge Fest intends to constantly reinvent itself in order to maintain agility and flexibility while it keeps its eyes peeled for the oncoming 3° freight train, that’s threatening our planet.

In 2023, we see GEF being a seasonal roadshow style film festival. It’ll be outstanding if GEF would have a structure or mechanisms in place to increase the liquidity of film investment and distribution for filmmakers around the world that might not have easy access to resources to tell their environmental stories.

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

That’s a personal question I’m not ready to answer here but I’ll give you a hint, he may wear a yellow hat and trench coat.

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

A great film is one that you can return to time and time again, like when your hanging with a good ole bud who is aging gracefully with you.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Rent is too damn high and we’ve been losing too many indie theaters because of it. New York City is a constant hustle. When I asked the same question to my GEF film advisor, Joel Fendelman, he told me that this challenge of high rent is what drives half the city to constantly push through anyway. It’s a melting pot of idealists and artists on the cutting edge filled with ambition. Maybe this is why NYC is the perfect place to launch the festival.

To answer your question, I think the film scene in my city is the company you keep and the projects you put your life into and take over the finish line no matter what.

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Interview with Festival Director Iris Gonzalez (THROUGH MY EYES FILM FESTIVAL)

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.

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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.
 

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Interview with Festival Director Paola Melli (SOUTH SOCIAL FILM FESTIVAL)

South Social Film Festival is a trans-geographical, multicultural and multidimensional festival celebrating independent cinema, dance, world music, art and regional cuisine, launched in 2015 in London.

https://www.instagram.com/southsocialfilmfest/

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

Paola Melli: Creating a platform where they can express and promote themselves.

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

Networking with professionals, a good selection of up and coming filmmakers , discovering talents and culture.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

New and original content, young filmmakers that need to be boosted.

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

Short films unless they go to a short film festival, don’t get enough exposure. A balanced mix of feature films and shorts could be a winning strategy.

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

Passion about diversity, different cultures, innovative kind of filmmaking, discovery of new talents.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It’s been good and helpful, it really put us on the international map.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Maybe a franchising in different countries.

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

Wings of desire by Wim Wenders

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

Being symbolic, mesmerising, unique and representing a life changing experience.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Thriving, lots of diversity and talent that sadly is not widely seen.

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