Interview with Festival Director Ivan Sosnin (Unknown Film Festival)

UNKNOWN FILM FESTIVAL is the best platform for amateur filmmakers around the world that provides a stage for short films, animations, visual arts and any variations of branded content. The mission of the UFF is to discover the most innovative independent filmmakers and to make them known all over the world. At the UFF, we focus on the film. 

The aim of the UFF is to discover new talents and possibly create further opportunities for them in the Russian and international filmmaking industry. It is the time when young filmmakers can speak to the world and share their works.
The film festival is organized by the Red Pepper Creative- an advertising company that is existing in the Russian advertising and film industry for more than 10 years. Red Pepper already has numerous works that won awards in big international festivals. Red Pepper is known as one of the most creative agencies in Russia nowadays.

Website: http://unknownfilmfestival.com/main
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/unknownfilmfestivalrussia/?ref=bookmarks 
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/unknownfilmfestival/

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

Ivan Sosnin: We present works of young and unknown filmmakers to Russian citizens and to the whole world. Some of the finalists will win grants for filming their new projects. Our festival is a great opportunity to declare about yourself. 

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)? 

This is the first year for the festival, so we want to make it as loud as possible. We want to have much more applicants next year. For this year the event itself will be very compact and convenient for all participants, it will include award ceremony, concerts, lectures. We are sure that it will be amazing. We hope that many people will come to Russia and will be under a great impression afterwards. 

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?  

We selected films whose quality meets world standards. Ideas and scripts should also be international, they should be understood anywhere in the world. It is very important that a film does not make people bored because it’s a short meter.  

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

Yes, we think so. Many festivals are limited to an online-judging without any ceremonies and awards. Festival is a huge event for every filmmaker. We don’t want to make an event that is just passed-by. 

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

We want to develop the film industry in our country, want to develop young filmmakers. And we also want to tell about Ekaterinburg to the whole world.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?  

FilmFreeway is a great platform, very use-friendly. Thanks to it, we received a large number of works of a high quality. This platform unites all lovers of cinematography around the world. 

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023? 

We see that Unknown Film Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Russia where participants come from all over the world. We dream that all participants and finalists arrive to the ceremony

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

Lala Land 

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

Great film is a film that makes an impression on all people, despite their age, nationality and social status. 

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Filmmaking is actively developing in Ekaterinburg. People already gave up an idea of chasing Moscow and are looking for authentic locations and alternative cities for their shootings. Ekaterinburg could offer a lot of things to filmmakers. 

 

 

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Festival Director Olivia Carmel (COPPER MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL)

The Copper Mountain Film Festival is hosted at the Copper Mountain Resort and sponsored by 10 Barrel Brewing Company and the Denver Filmmakers Collective. The film festival coincides with the Attack of the Big Beers on the weekend of June 22 – 24, 2018. Beer and food sampling starts at 11:00 AM and concludes at 5:00 PM. All accepted filmmakers will be granted tickets to attend the Attack of the Big Beers festival. Throughout the day there will be screenplay workshops, featured speaking panels,

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

Olivia Carmel: We are in our infancy as a film festival since this is only our second year. That said, it is truly an independently-run festival by filmmakers and film-lovers. I think what sets us apart is that anyone involved now is directly helping to shape the future of this festival. It is a film festival by and for independent, low-budget filmmakers. Since we are working industry professionals ourselves, we understand what our submitters go through in making their films and what it means to have an audience for your project. We also understand what sort of benefits are appealing to filmmakers and our award winners, for example, will receive subscriptions and tools filmmakers use each and every day. We selected these as awards specifically because we use them ourselves. We hope to continue to grow in order to provide even more benefits as years go on.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

We are partnered with the Attack of the Big Beers’ festival, which takes place during the day and transitions to our films in the evening. All accepted filmmakers and screenwriters will be given tickets to sample the craft beers. Those tickets not only get you beer and food at the festival itself, but at select restaurants and vendors in the area. We are also offering networking opportunities in the form of an Opening Night Party and a Filmmaker Happy Hour. Additionally, all screenwriters who have submitted to the Screenplay Contest will receive written feedback as well as the opportunity to meet one-on-one with our writing coaches. We are also following up with screenings in Denver of the award-winners so select filmmakers will not only get an audience in Copper but also in Denver. Finally, our festival is in beautiful Colorado in the center of a ski resort town. It may take place during the summer, but the beauty of the mountain landscape is everlasting. There are hiking trails and hot springs to enjoy nearby.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

At this time, we have categories for short films, feature films, and screenplays. We look at the writing, performances, cinematography, sound design, editing, pacing, and overall craft and uniqueness of every film. Frankly, we are looking to program the best and most enjoyable films. That said, since our festival is still young, we only have a weekend to showcase two shorts blocks and two to three feature films so the number of accepted films is limited and thus, competitive.

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

I’ve attended a lot of larger festivals and frequent the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. It’s a wonderful festival and an experience like no other due to its sheer size and notoriety; however, it has changed over the years. There’s no question about that. Many independent, not-yet-discovered filmmakers working on low-to-no budget projects (out of necessity) have trouble standing apart from the mass amount of submissions. In a lot of ways, you have to already be on their radar. That said, with the straight-to-Netflix model of content consumption and more platforms jumping on original content – including YouTube and most recently, MoviePass – most, if not all, movies to screen at these larger festivals get the opportunity to sell and seen in wide release. This is an exciting time! I can’t stress that enough. But there are smaller festivals and platforms stepping up to fill the gap and most of these festivals, ourselves included, have taken a page out of the Slamdance Film Festival guidebook. Slamdance is run by filmmakers for filmmakers and was started by “Sundance rejects” on the cusp of Sundance becoming more mainstream and less independent at heart. Slamdance is for the rebel-heart. It’s for the filmmaker who wants to stomp to the beat of their own drum and make films their way, no matter the budget. This is a style and an art that shouldn’t be left behind. We hope to emulate festivals like Slamdance and work to support the truly indie, low-budget artists waiting to be discovered.

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

In part, it comes from submitting to and attending film festivals. There’s an indescribable energy when you’re at a film festival meeting new creators and industry game-changers. Every festival I’ve attended, I’ve learned valuable lessons, met inspiring artists, and most of all, been reinvigorated with creativity and energy to create. I want to build a space for others to feel this. It also comes from a love of that form of independent, get-your-hands-dirty, belly-full-of-Redvines, low-budget filmmaking where no one really knows who else will see your film but in the moment of creation, that doesn’t really matter because you’re building a family. I want to give those filmmakers an audience and the tools to keep on creating.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

I hadn’t used FilmFreeway prior to this year’s festival and I’ll be using them from now on. It’s an easy tool to use and to navigate, their support system is helpful and concise, they provide a wealth of resources, and it’s incredibly easy to communicate with your judges, submitters, and staff. I can’t speak more highly of FilmFreeway. I originally thought since we were such a young festival and hadn’t done much marketing outside our state that we wouldn’t get many submissions. We received many more than expected – from all over the world! It’s been exciting and reminds us why we want to continue to grow this festival.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

I see us having grown to add more days and more screening times. We’re able to provide travel and lodging stipends from out-of-state filmmakers. During the festival, there are more networking and celebratory events added for filmmakers and festival attendees alike to round out the experience. We’re following up the festival with a tour of the award-winning films. The awards include cash prizes and we have a grant program for diverse and rising voices in film.

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

I don’t rewatch many films because I like to experience as much as I can but I’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off a lot. I used to come home from school and watch it on a little TV on the floor of my bedroom. I had it on good ol’ VHS. I’ve also rewatched Top of the Lake (season 1) by Jane Campion many times. It’s one of the most well-crafted pieces of filmmaking and frankly, art I’ve seen in recent years. I could go on about every detail of it. It’s truly beautiful. I also had the unique experience of watching the entire series over the course of an entire day at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. This was the first festival “binge-watching” experience and the cast, crew, and Jane Campion herself were all present the entire time. It was amazing and I think that added to the experience of it as a whole.

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

A great film is made with passion.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

I’m based in Denver, Colorado. It’s a very creative city on a whole where people are excited to collaborate. We’ve had a number of Netflix, feature films, and nonscripted projects come to work in the area. We’re still earning our step to the ‘next level’ but things are happening.. There are award-winning filmmakers who have chosen Colorado as their home, and notable festivals like Telluride Film Festival and Denver Starz, talented production companies, and discussion of building a ‘studio city’ on the outskirts of Denver soon. If we keep bringing filmmakers here, we’ll continue to grow.

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Alecs Nastoiu (SHORT TO THE POINT (STTP) )

SHORT TO THE POINT (STTP) is an international network of distribution, broadcast and promotion of short films. Since 2009, SHORT TO THE POINT has gone through several steps and right now it has gathered some awesome projects under its umbrella.

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

Alecs Nastoiu: The most important thing I guess is that we screen films every month. The classic annual festivals usually screen few shorts, one time per year. And the next important thing is that we screen short films in unconventional spaces like pubs, bars, museums, theatres or terraces. We try to bring short films to the audience, not the audience to cinemas. And another good thing is that we screen short films simultaneous in over 30 cities from Romania and Moldova. And very soon we will start doing this all over the world.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

We are a monthly festival, with monthly awards and screenings. But we have an annual event as well. Each year we change the host city. This year we will organize the annual edition of the festival in Bacau, Romania at the end of July. We are screening all winner films of the monthly awards editions from past year. So we offer the opportunity to the filmmakers to discover new cities each year and to meet with filmmakers from all over the world. Every time we have new audience, and new locations. So I think the experience of Short to the Point Film Festival is continuous and you will never get enough of it.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We accept any kind of short films in our festival. We have a lot of categories. And each category has it’s own selections and winners. So the qualifications are different from category to category. But our jury is looking for good stories and good filmmaking all the way.

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

There are a lot of film festivals in the world so I think each film has its opportunity to make it to the big screen. It’s all about filmmakers. They have to know where to submit their films.

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

First of all we are filmmakers. So we like films. And Short to the Point offer us the opportunity to meet people from industry, to find good ideas that maybe will inspire us in the future and of course to understand what is the trend in cinematography at the moment.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

In my opinion FilmFreeway is the best thing in film festival industry that has happened in last 3 years. It’s the best film submission platform on the market. It’s easy to use and it has a lot of options that makes our job as a festival much more easier.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

In 2023 Short to the Point will have screenings in unconventional spaces all over the world.

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

Because I edit my first feature length movie (Billion Star Hotel) for over 6 months, I can say that I saw it the most times. But If we speak about other directors, I can say that I saw over 30 times ‘The man who wasn’t there’, directed by Coen brothers.

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

A great film is a product that combines perfectly all ingredients: script, directing, cinematography, editing, acting etc

10) How is the film scene in your city?

I was born in Bucharest but for 6 years I live in a small city from Transylvania called Targu Mures. Here I started with some friends the first film production company in the history of the city. And I made 2 feature films. First of them Billion Star Hotel has 19 awards at festivals around the world and the second one is in post production. Short to the point is screening short films here every month, so I can say that the film scene is animated for the moment by my team.

 

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Daniel Wesseik (Pannen op Het Dak)

Pannen op het Dak is Breda’s first and real roof-top festival and it will take place between 22nd of June – 1st of July. Come enjoy the various culinary options, cultural programs and of course a summary view of the entire Breda city. The festival is free and is for both the young and the older.

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

    Daniel Wesseik: Pannen op het Dak is a festival for culture and culinary and attract various audiences. Thus, the filmmakers’ work is shared with audience that don’t often get exposed to independent animation filmmaking. I think that this is special.

    2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

    Pannen op het Dak is a rooftop festival, and visitors can expect an ideal experience of good food, beer and animation. Can it get better that that?
    The audience will be able to enjoy our two screening programs –
    1. Afternoon program with films created by young talents from Belgium and NL, that gives a beautiful overview of the films that were created here lately.
    2. An evening main program with films that are made by professionals and that are currently on their festival route, swiping awards.

    3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

    For the young talent – Must be Belgian or Dutch.

    For the professional films – Outstanding artistic voice.

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

    Asian and arabic films. They are so different from European standards, but there is obviously a simmering creative community in many of these countries.

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

    Love for animation and a will to expose more audience to the medium.

    6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

    Easy and convenient.

    7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

    By 2023 I hope to have 6 years of successful programs, at some point with a competition as well.

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

    Animated feature film – Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind
    Animated short film – Choir Tour

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

    Three P’s: Practice, Planning and passion.

    10) How is the film scene in your city?

    The city hosts the great Playgrounds Festival that focuses on various disciplines, but Pannen op het Dak is the only festival that aims to focus on animation exclusively.
     

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Oliver Wolfson (THE 60 SECOND FILM FESTIVAL)

Introducing The 60 Second Film Festival India 2018. Presented with Yayin Studios, Pune India. Event sponsored by Chandan Kumar Entertainment, Chandan Kumar Film Director & Producer.

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

We give filmmakers a chance to be seen and enjoyed by peers and professionals. We also offer freedom of creativity for artists.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

Joy, entertainment, education, and community.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Films should be 60 seconds or less, and have some good qualities that can benefit a live film festival audience.

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

No we think there are massive opportunities for filmmakers now to get their work seen at festivals, but also a lot of competition. There are no barriers except for the filmmakers energy, endurance, and creativity.

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

We love to see talented creatives join together and become more than the sum of their parts.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We like this platform. It has been wonderful so far.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

We have many interesting plans for this festival, but it will grow organically, so it’s hard to predict. We expect our audience and amount of creators to grow a lot by then.

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

16 Candles. I was stuck in a snow lodge for three month with only this VHS (in the late 1980s)

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

Emotional impact.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Film and video is constantly being consumed on big and small screens.

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Stephen Byrne (WATERFORD FILM FESTIVAL)

The Waterford Film Festival was established in 2007 by local filmmaker Stephen Byrne. His objective was to bring something new to Waterford’s arts and cultural scene, promoting local, national filmmakers and writers, but in particular independent film.

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

The Waterford Film Festival is a big supporter of short films and especially independent films. We screen a mixture from 1st time filmmakers to award winning films and have done so since our foundation in 2007. We also hold a short screenplay competition and this part of the festival is to support the writers.

Since the foundation of the festival, we have screened 500+ films from filmmakers around the world as well promoting writers with the short screenplay competition. Filmmakers from across Ireland, UK, France, Germany, Holland and as far as Canada and USA have attended the festival.
The festival has awarded prizes worth in excess of €35,000 with our partners at FilmLab, since 2007.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

This years festival we are in a new venue for us called Central Arts, which caters for a lot of different events throughout the year. This years event will be an intimate setting but we are also trying something new. The venue itself allows alcohol in the screening room so we want to bring that element into the festival.

The idea of seeing a wide range of national and international short films of different themes and genres while you sit back and enjoy a beer or a glass of wine, we feel will be a very enjoyable experience for all whom attend. We are currently working on our plans but we aim to put on a series of different events over the course of the 3 day festival.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

There are a number of different reasons. We get several 100 submissions every year and the decision is never easy as there is a great body of work out there. We aim to have a variety of national films, foreign films from professional filmmakers to student and 1st time director/writer/producers. A strong story and well written script would be a big factor. We consider all films up to 20 minutes.

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

As an independent filmmaker myself I have had my work both accepted and rejected from film festivals, so I do have experience from being on the under end of things as well. There are many legitimate reasons that a film may get rejected from a festival. However I do think some film festivals and especially the big ones in, may be biased in certain cases. For example a big film festival may have influence from powerful producers and distribution companies.

My advice would be to do your research before submitting to a festival and the type of films that they have screened there in the past but also keep in mind there is a lot of competition out there. Certain festivals have mixed themes while others have a theme that may suit their project.

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

When I founded the festival it was may objective to bring a world of film to the Waterford scene, to support independent film and it still is. The love of film and being apart of something where we get to view and screen films from all walks of life with different themes and to provide a platform for filmmakers is a major motivator for us. We enjoy the process of seeing so much talent and meeting a lot of great people during the event itself.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

The festival is new to FilmFreeway and so far it is great. The system for us is very easy to use , to manage and judge the projects. Since we opened for submissions we have had entires from Ireland, UK, USA, Japan, Australia , Germany, France, Italy, Lithuania and surprisingly Iraq which is fantastic to see. The festival does get international films every year, however so far we have seen an increase from them and from more countries this year. We are looking forward to watching the projects and providing a wide variety of national and international film screenings at this years event.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Honestly hard to tell. Even though the festival is successful in many ways in the terms of the amount of submissions we get and we always get a good audience, our funding is very limited. We take one year at a time. It is my hope that we can keep it going, build it up and expand the series of events that put on.

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

Ha tough one! I have watched a lot of films many times over the years. Up there would be Shawshank Redemption, the Godfather, Back to the Future trilogy

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

A well written story with strong developed characters, performed by excellent actors.

10) How is the film scene in your city

Waterford has many beautiful spots for filming in the City and County. There is a lot of talent out there in the short film scene but in terms of funding for films it would be behind other cities in Ireland. There are people in the filming community who are working together to try and improve this and encourage filmmakers to use Waterford as a location, which is great to see. However In my opinion more investment is needed but I think within 5-10 years the overall scene will be bigger and hopefully we will see more filmmakers using Waterford as a filming location in the future.

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Directors Lisa Wisely & James Felix McKenney (GREAT WESTERN CATSKILLS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)

The first ever Great Western Catskills International Film Festival will be held in town of Andes, New York for one weekend this fall. Come experience the best in independent film from all over the world, sample local food & drink at our screening venues and mix with the filmmakers at nightly parties.