Interview with Festival Director Orvil Kunga (Afrikans On Film Festival)

A unique opportunity to see films rarely seen on the big screen. A well attended festival noted for shining a light on the multilayered aspect of Afrikan filmmaking. It boasts informed discussions, workshops, a unique Afrikan craft market and great cultural food (vegan options available). With performance, poetry and story-telling thrown in for good measure. A true Afrikan experience that will tingle the senses, inform, insight and educate.

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

Orvil Kunga: Afrikans on Film festival has been successful in premiering work for filmmakers who are often overlooked in the wider discourse of mainstream cinema.

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

Our festival exists solely to promote the multilayered aspect of African centred, creativity. Those who attend our festival should expect films from the African continent, along with African centred films from US, UK and Europe. Many of them are UK premiers. All have been selected because they speak to the essence of the on-going journey of the African body.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We look at films across the board. Animation, documentaries, drama and even music videos.

There is no criteria as such. As the curator, I am interested in films which skilfully portray where African filmmaking is now but also where these contemporary stories sit within Africa’s uniquely spiritual nature of story-telling. Whilst a few of the films screened might be made by non-Black, African people (either from the continent or the diaspora), it is ultimately, the African-centred nature that forms the main criteria for selection.

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

Certainly. African people within the creative industries are often marginalised in the West and the African narrative has almost been erased from mainstream TV and cinema globally. The representation of the African body has historically been mediated through a white (all too often male) gaze. This is problematic and has severely hindered the African’s ability to tell our human stories to the world.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Our lived experience guides our passion for creating a platform for pushing the multi-prismic nature of these stores. It is great when we see this work on the big screen. It’s great when we see a room full of young and older people, their eyes wide open looking at the screen, in total awe at the quality, richness and range of these stories.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Its been amazing! Although we’ve been running for 6 years, we’ve not tried FilmFreeway before and have been blown away by the amount of submissions received in such a short space of time since registering on the site. If there is a gripe, then it would be that some people avoided (deliberate or otherwise), the fact that we seek African films. Films either made by Africans or films which focus on African people.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Our Afrikans on film festival has been serving films to the public for over 5 years, free of charge. Which is amazing! It has been partially funded by a small organisation in London, called Peckham and Nunhead Free Film Festivals, who receive funding from the local borough of Southwark and thankfully collaborate with us in order to get these beautiful films on screen. Whilst the ‘free’ film festival may well continue under this relationship, Afrikans on Film as a subsidiary film provider, seeks wider sponsorship as we aim to push the festival to twice a year and provide pop-up screenings throughout the year. We hope to provide an out-reach programme, working with creatives here in the UK and linking them with creatives around the African world. If all goes to plan, by 2020 we should be bigger and better!

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

Aah difficult one! Black Girl (Ousmane Sembene), Sankofa (Haile Gerima). BAFTA nominated, Short film – Mwansa The Great (Rungana Nyoni), watched and shared many times! Battledream Chronicles (Alain Bidard). An animated feature from Guadeloupe. The first feature from Guadeloupe is a gem on many levels and I’ve watched it too many times! Summer Of Gods (Eliciana Nascimento), Oya Rise of The Orishas (Nosa Igbinedion). Award-winning web-series Ackee and Saltfish (Cecile Emeke).

I know you said ‘film’ but an unfair question deserves an unfair answer!lol

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film speaks to an inert truth, appeals to the viewer through codes and tropes which unites the soul and lingers on, connecting others as its memories ripple.

How is the film scene in your city?

In London the independent scene is vibrant.

Online platforms have changed the game as cities/filmmakers become more and more interconnected.

Although all the big and medium films come through this city, the home of BFI’s LFF (London Film Festival), Afrikans on Film festival, attempts to serve a need and we feel, remains among the best places to see unique work from up-coming filmmakers who are equally passionate about sharing the Afrikan story.

‘K’ in Afrikan represents a disruption from the contemporary spelling, echoing the politicised presence of the festival and the consciousness of Afrikan-centred creative.

 

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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 Stephanie Dadet (OUR CITY FILM PROJECT)

Our City Film Project is a film collective showcasing the work of filmmakers from different cities to a global audience. It is a community celebrating storytelling and passion.  The project aims to promote filmmaking and redefine production practices. As filmmakers, the stories we tell are influenced by our background, experience, and perception but shaped by our community – Our City. OCFP will focus on a chosen theme for a year which determines the accepted entries. The festival is a not-for-profit initiative of Big Bad Wolf Pictures, a film production company from Cape Town, South Africa.

WEBSITE: www.ourcityfilmproject.com

Social Media: Facebook – www.facebook.com/ourcityfilms

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

Stephanie Dadet: Our City film project in its mission aims to provide a platform to celebrate the people and stories that shape us. Our focus is not just on the films but also to shine the spotlight to the filmmakers to have brought these stories to our screen. As we grow, we aim to bring filmmakers together to create projects as part of the collective.

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

Two days with a great line up of some of the best LGBT short films produced within the past 24 months hosted by the prestigious Ster Kinekor Cinema Nouveau and a space to network with filmmakers, catch up with friends and of course, good wine.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

As required by 2017 theme of the festival, all entries must be LGBT short films produced between 2016 -2017. We are focused on the quality of the narrative. We are looking for filmmakers who not only understand storytelling but know how to genuinely tell their stories and create value. Our focus, however, is not just about the film itself but also on the filmmaker.

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

The obvious reason is the number of submissions a festival. There are a lot of films made and submitted but limited selections. This is why it is important to create projects like this to provide more platforms. It is very important to get your film out there, to share your story and meet other people with shared visions. There is a film festival out there waiting to share your story, don’t give up – look out for them and keep submitting!

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

That will be the personal commitment to contribute to the growth our film industry and celebrate the filmmakers who are having the effort to show the world what they have to offer and to encourage collaboration on productions between filmmakers especially as we plan for our second year.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Good. We have received over 1600 submissions from FilmFreeway and it has been an efficient platform all round.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We aim to be hosting screenings in at least 10 cities around the world bringing together people to celebrate the stories and filmmakers from their cities and also the collaborative projects put together by filmmakers from different cities working together, learning, sharing and also inspiring. It is called Our City Film project for that reason.

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

That will be the Pixar animated feature UP. It is a brilliant film that gives me Goosebumps – touching, exciting and entertaining. It is a special film.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great script matched with a talented film director.

How is the film scene in your city?

The Film Scene in my City – Cape Town is good and continuously growing. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and hosts quite a number of local and international film shoots. The city has a growing pool of talented filmmakers ready to leave a mark in the industry both local and in the international scene.

 

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FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR BIO:

Stephanie Dadet is a film producer and screenwriter. In 2012 she obtained a BSc (Honours) degree in Business Administration and in 2015 moved to Cape Town, South Africa to study for a BA (Honours) in Motion Picture Production attained from AFDA Film School which she was awarded Best Producer and Best Film. She has industry experience working across Nigeria and South Africa in film and television. She is currently completing her MFA degree. She is also the co-director of Big Bad Wolf Pictures founded in December 2016.

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 Co-Festival Director Mia Davis (Queen City Cinephiles)

Queen City Cinephiles is a an independent film-screening & discussion group based out of Charlotte, NC. The are committed to showcasing short and full length independent features at no cost to the filmmakers, exposing film aficionados to more independent film, and supporting local filmmakers and around the globe.

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

Mia Davis: We build a bridge between filmmakers and film appreciators. For every film we select, we provide the filmmakers with the opportunity to introduce their film, and be present (live or via skype) for our audience discussion. We do not charge entry fees. As part of our Agreements, we ask the filmmakers for social media pages, and we share them online before the event, on our facebook event page, and while we are at the screening. During the Q&A, we encourage the filmmakers to let the audience know where their other works can be found.

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

If you mean our film screenings, you can expect arrangements of indie films in blocks at a convenient location with available refreshments, audience participation in film discussion, and to learn more about the film industry.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The film has to be independently made, and the filmmaker has to sign an Agreement with us, showing they have the rights to the film and sharing our facebook page and event on their social media pages.

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

I think it’s hard to find the right audience, self-promote, and film festivals (mostly) charge entry fees and having contracts preventing a selected film to be shown elsewhere during the festival.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

To clarify, this is not a film festival. We have screenings, roughly once or twice a month. I am motivated by my appreciation for independent film, and everything that goes into it, combining with a genuine interest in pushing local business/industry support.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been great! We have several submissions, and I love how it is organized to help us find the right films for our screenings.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Growth, in terms of more of a variety of events, a few rotating venues, and a stronger community between our Cinephile Members and the filmmakers. It would mean a lot to me if our patrons network and get a film made together.

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

The Lost Boys. I grew up watching that regularly, and as an adult, continue to watch it once or twice each year.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is a marriage between the visual expression of a coherent story, accompanying resources, and performances.

How is the film scene in your city?

I think there’s a division between Charlotteans that want to work on film in any capacity they can, and a community of industry professionals that suffered a morale loss from HB2 and film incentives being dropped from our state budget.

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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 Petio Petkov (DroneUp International Film Festival)

Get ready for the second edition of Europe’s funkiest drone event – DroneUp International Film Festival! Once again, DroneUp IFF will celebrate and acknowledge the world’s best drone cinematography in front of an 3000+ live audience in the magnificent ancient Roman Stadium in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

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

Petio Petkov: We’re first and only drone film festival that is primarily a public event, focused on taking aerial cinematography out of the standard, darkened and closed theaters and making the best of it readily available to the general public at eye-level. We’ve managed to create an open platform where innovative cinematic technologies and means of expression are synergised them with the rich history present at our hosting venue, which is an astonishing 1800 year old Roman Stadium located right in the heart of the city. Personally, I am particularly happy about the fact that we not only showcase the very best of the world’s drone filmmaking but also manage to meaningfully combine them with other live performances (music, dance, art, etc) that, to me, are just as an important part of creating a happening and dynamic festival.

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

Once again, the audience can expect that we will present the world’s best drone cinematography in 6 different categories: Nature, Urban, Travel & Culture, Extreme, Narrative & Cinematic and Bulgaria (to honour our host country). This year the festival will be more interactive and allow the audience to have a first hand experience of what it means to fly a drone. We will be hosting numerous drone demos, workshops, exhibitions and competitions, which I think will be an interesting feature that we will be focusing even more on in the years to come.

Naturally, there will be plenty of live performances and surprises to spice up the package and to make DroneUp a vibrant and hip festival.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

It’s all pretty simple actually – the short films must be shot at least 50% by a drone. And of course be super creative – there’s nothing like a new mean of expression and technology that can stir up your established views of what’s possible!

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We just want to provide a great and new experience to as many people as possible. I think that aerial cinematography is developing in such an interesting direction that it deserves a larger audience. And on the other hand, it’s great for the audience to experience their everyday life from a different vantage point!

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It’s been great. We’re fortunate enough to have submissions from every corner of the world, despite being a “young” festival, so there really isn’t much to complain about.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

DroneUp is held in Plovdiv, Bulgaria in relation to the city’s hosting of the European Capital of Culture in 2019. After that, the vision is to have the festival traveling each year to different city’s as they take turns in hosting the ECoC.

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

Probably Forrest Gump 😉

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film succeeds in portraying the flaws, the beauty, the internal fights, the calm and storm, the interrelations in every individual – always in a relatable but magical setup.

How is the film scene in your city?

Our festival definitely makes it better 😉

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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 Mark Brennan (Exit 6 Film Festival)

Exit 6 Film Festival is an all-day celebration of short films taking place at multiple venues in the heart of Basingstoke, UK, including Vue Cinema and The Anvil.

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

Mark Brennan: What we’re most proud of at Exit 6 is the community spirit generated on the day of the festival as all our selected filmmakers are invited to take part in an on-stage Q&A after their film has shown. The attending filmmakers not only have the oppportunity to share thoughts and experiences on the making of their film to fellow filmmakers, but they can also see exactly who it is they’d like to find in the bar after! Our festival is focussed on making the day all about the filmmakers that have worked so hard to get their project made. We appreciate each and every one and we love providing a welcoming, fun and sociable place for people to share their work. In addition to the festival itself, we also post weekly editorial content online, with interviews and articles covering a range of topics right across the filmmaking spectrum. From composers to concept designers to colourists, we aim to shine a light on every aspect of film production, especially promoting those artists working in independent film.

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

With any luck almost exactly the same as everyone who attended last year! We had a fantastic time welcoming films and filmmakers from around the world, and we’ve been very humbled by the reviews on FilmFreeway since the event that show everyone who came had a great time too. Once again, we will have guest industry speakers throughout the day, covering topics such as crowdfunding and VR filmmaking. We have also added a venue that will host talks aimed at film-lovers rather than filmmakers, so that our programme is more inclusive to our local community.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our main requirement is that the duration of the film is 15-minutes or less. We accept submissions of any genre as long as they meet the duration requirement and have also been completed since October 2015.

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

The reason that we have a 15-minute limit on our submissions is that we have felt, as filmmakers ourselves, and film over that length will often struggle to get programmed – unless it’s absolutely superb and impossible not to pick. There’s a difficult balance festival programmers can face when choosing between the length of films versus the number of films they’re able to show in a given period of time. Of course, many will still accept the submission fees of hopfeul filmmakers, but we don’t think that’s fair on those who have had to raise the money to make their film in the first place. Festival runs are not cheap! That’s why we decided to be very clear from the beginning that films over 15-minutes would not be considered.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Most of us are filmmakers ourselves, and have travelled a lot to other festivals around the country and the world. We’ve learned an awful lot from attending other festivals what we have enjoyed about some and enjoyed less so about others, and with no similar event near to our hometown, we wanted to create the kind of festival we’d normally have to travel hours to get to! Also, we know how much hard work goes into making a film and we really wanted to create a place where that work and those behind were really celebrated. We were already motivated by this leading up to our first festival last year, and that motivation has only been galvanised since having had that experience of hosting so many new filmmakers, many of whom we now consider friends, to do it all again this year. Everyone on the Exit 6 team is a volunteer.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway was our platform of choice from day one. As mentioned before, many of us on the team are filmmakers so we have had experience in submitting films to other platforms in the past, but for us FilmFreeway is head and shoulders above all others. It’s friendlier to the filmmaker and it’s been great for us to use as a festival. We’re currently still open for submissions for 2017 and already our submissions have almost doubled from last year. We’re very proud to be listed in the FilmFreeway Top 100 Best Reviewed Festival list – last time I looked we were 14th!

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

By 2020 we would love to be showing feature flms as well as shorts, as well as hosting high-profile industry guests and judges. Exit 6 is currently a one day festival, but that’s something that could expand into a weekend or a few days. We’re very proud currently that the town has been very welcoming and encouraging of our event, and we’d very much like to continue that and make the festival something the whole town gets involved with and looks forward to each year.

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

There’s two answers to this. One is of my own choosing because I love it, and that’s Big Trouble in Little China. The other is not of my own choosing but because my 2-year old daughter insists on watching it 4 times a day, and that’s Wreck-It Ralph. Having said that, it is brilliant. Can’t wait for the sequel.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Kurt Russell.

How is the film scene in your city?

Better and growing now we’re here!

 

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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 Grant Slater (SBE’s Hamilton (New York) International Film Festival)

“SBE’s Hamilton International Film Festival presents an incredible opportunity to network with other ambitious filmmakers, exchange ideas and fundraising strategies while experiencing the charm of Hamilton, New York. The Hamilton Theater is a gorgeous venue and Grant Slater has put together a 5 star festival with a great selection of film, food and local beers. This is a must-attend festival that offers more than just frivolous laurels to it’s filmmakers… one could say that you leave Hamilton with a new group of friends that offer a different perspective on making and watching movies!”
-D.J. Higgins Director, Writer/Producer Meet Mario

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

Grant Slater: When we started SBE’s Hamilton (New York) International Film Festival in 2009, we were looking to create an event where the filmmakers would get an opportunity to not only showcase their work, but also have a chance to hangout with each other and do some networking. The nice things about Hamilton is that once you are in the village everything is walking distance so the filmmakers kind of move around town in a group showing support at each others screenings and then meeting up at one of the local bars or restaurants after the screenings. Over the years there have been some great collaborations between filmmakers, but if nothing else some new friendships in a tough industry are developed at SBE’s Hamilton (New York) International Film Festival.

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

First of all Hamilton, New York is a really nice place and and was recently named one of the friendliest towns in the USA and Colgate University in the village is regularly named one of the prettiest campuses in the USA. So it is a good place to be in July. But we also always have a great group of film enthusiasts in attendance at our screenings. That is probably the biggest thing I hear from visiting filmmakers.

During the Festival week, especially Thursday to Sunday it is not uncommon to see a group of filmmakers and film fans moving around the village. It is nice to see. I always felt it was boring when you go to a screening, the filmmaker does a Q & A after the screening and then that was it. We keep the conversations going in the restaurants and bars after we leave the theaters and it gives the film fans and filmmakers a chance to get to know each other. The Hamilton community has been really supportive of the Festival.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

This is always the most difficult part from our end. We try to have something for everyone and set up our programming so there is always a wide range of genres. The experience levels of our filmmakers range from student filmmaker to Emmy award winners. After nine years and some good reviews the number of submissions has gone way up. That makes our job more difficult on several levels. One, we want to make sure to watch every film and discuss every film. We owe it to the filmmakers. There are quite a few festival options so we want filmmakers to know we appreciate them choosing us. There is never a perfect formula in the selection process, but we try to rely on a wide range of people inside and outside the industry to help us with the decision making.

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

As filmmakers ourselves, we are very sympathetic to that notion. The thing I hear most from filmmakers is that they never really know if their film was even watched during the process. So in that regard we try to communicate with the filmmakers throughout the process. We want them to now that we received their submission, plan to to watch and give feedback. That goes for both films that we accept and do not accept.

I should note that we hit a point where we were seeing so many terrific films but we only had so much screen time so we moved to a seven day format a couple year ago so that we could accommodate more films. It still bothers us when we run into a great film but just don’t have the room to fit it into the Festival. There have been times where we did not accept a film one year, but we kept it on on radar and reached out the following year. I hope other festivals are doing the same.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

First of all you better love watching films. We do and it is so cool when you bring all these filmmakers together to share their work with the community. It is also super cool when you see filmmakers that attended our festival and then decide to work together down the road. That happens pretty much every year. Putting on a quality and caring Festival is hard work and very time consuming, but at the end of the day it great when it comes together. The actual Festival days are really fun. It is the stuff leading up to the Festival that is the work.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

Filmfreeway is so well designed. It makes life so much easier for the filmmakers and the film festivals. After about our third year, the number of submissions has really gone up. Every year we get more than the last. I think the key for us has been showing the filmmakers you care and don’t forget about them once the Festival is over. I have so many friendships that started during the festival.The Filmmakers are really our best promotors. I have always believed that since filmmakers have thousands of festival options, we better show some appreciation when they decide to submit to SBE’s Hamilton (New York) International Film Festival.

All that being said, Filmfreeway has exposed SBE’s Hamilton (New York) International Film Festival to a world of filmmakers and has played a significant role in our growth.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Our goal is to continue to grow. Continue to showcase a wide range of experience levels. Continue to be responsive to the filmmakers. The reality is that the bigger we get the more expensive the Festival is to produce, so as long as we can provide the quality that we are offering now, but on a larger scale, I will be happy.

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

Waking Ned Devine. Love it. Makes me laugh every time.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film should always touch your emotions.

How is the film scene in your city?

Very strong. The village of Hamilton is not a big place, but we seem to attract film enthusiasts from all over the region. We have visitors from Boston, New York, Ottawa, Toronto and quite a few other locations. Hamilton and all of Madison County is a great place to visit, but now after nine years the Festival has become a major attraction.
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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 Ann Cabano (The Just Be Love Project)

The JUST BE LOVE Project is dedicated to education, awareness, and inspiring action for social justice and human rights issues through educational events and socially conscious films. Change begins with education and it is their hope to start the difficult conversations and to inspire action in the hearts of those attending this event.

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

Ann Cabano: The JUST BE LOVE Project is dedicated to education, awareness, and inspiring action for social justice and human rights issues through educational events and socially conscious films. It is my hope that this event inspires filmmakers to use their platform to bring awareness to social issues, to give a voice to the tough conversations, to advocate for the injustices humanity faces.

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

Attendees can expect to have the opportunity to acquire a new lens of perception. Beyond that, it is my hope awareness, change and healing can be a lasting result.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Official selections will have any social justice theme or sub-theme that can become a educational discussion.

We hope to have the filmmakers present to answer questions and when not possible we hope to have subject matter experts offer some insight.

We accept any genre of film.

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

Art in any form is personal and therefore subjective and surely the impetus behind the intention of the different festivals.

And I can only speak for my festival where every entry gets screened and judged equally.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

I was personally motivated to create this event because I am an advocate for humanity at heart. My background in non-profit, my personal life experiences and my passion as an educator naturally forged a path to this very moment in my life. I imagine my team is motivated by similar reasons.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

The process has been smooth and steady an right in line with my vision and projected pace.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

As a new venture, I have decided to let The Just Be Love Project organically shape and grow.

We are focused on social justice and education awareness and already had the honor of being asked to work with a group of 56 high school youth that wanted to learn about human trafficking. Our partner Shanna Parker, trafficking survivor and founder of AngelsGoToWork.com helped us educate the young adults at a three hour gathering where the participants also helped us make three powerful videos by lending their voice to the topics of homelessness, trafficking and bullying.

This fall we are mentoring and collaborating with another youth group that will be making a film we will screen at a future event.

We will also be launching a non-profit leg that will do educational outreach around social justice and human rights issues.

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

I will admit that it is a tie between ‘While You Were Sleeping’, ‘Dirty Dancing’, ‘My Cousin Vinny’ and ‘Braveheart’.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Human connection, emotional intelligence, a quirky protagonist and a slight sense of the unreal.

How is the film scene in your city?

I would love to the film community in my city expand and grow.

We just acquired a film commissioner and hope to see an impact on our community.

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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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