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.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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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.

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

Interview with Festival Producer Tiha Modrić (History Film Festival)

History Film Festival is an international festival of historical documentary films. The first edition of the Festival will be held in Rijeka, Croatia from September 6 to 9, 2017. History Film Festival is founded and organized by Istra Film, an art association from Rijeka (Croatia). History Film Festival aims at offering viewers and film experts an insight into contemporary film and TV production of historical documentary films, at the same time providing a place where film professionals can meet and share their creative ideas for future projects.

http://www.historyfilmfestival.com/

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

Tiha Modrić: History Film Festival aims at offering viewers and film experts an insight into contemporary film and TV production of historical documentary films, at the same time providing a place where film professionals can meet and share their creative ideas for future projects. Since our submitters come from either independent production companies or TV companies, History Film Festival grants filmmakers an opportunity to present their work and establish new business relations.

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

TM: I am not a person who likes making plans ahead, but I am definitely planning on attending History Film Festival from September 6 to 9, 2017. I hope to meet filmmakers from all over the world, watch great movies, make new friends and contacts which would be important for some future projects. Also, since we are planning to take our guests on a tour around Kvarner Bay (in the Adriatic Sea), present them with the best of our food, wine and culture, I hope that we shall have fun and enjoy History Film Festival’s first edition as much as possible.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

TM: We accept historical documentaries regardless of their length and year of production. Films are divided in two categories: films by independent production companies and films produced by TV companies. By historical documentary I don’t mean only typical documantaries on World Wars and famous battles, but also documentaries which deal with events, ideas and people who shaped our world and left an indelible mark in human history.

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

TM: I think that most filmmakers agree with that thesis. In my opinion, the main problem with festivals is always the problem of taste. Also, I think that some wonderful films are left unattended because of shy promotion, insufficient budget and the endless lobby game.

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

TM: Well, there are countless film festivals around the globe, but neither one of them deals exclusively with historical documentaries. For that reason our festival is really unique.

Since this is the first edition of History Film Festival, our team is doing a wonderful job trying to organize the best possible Festival with available funds and in the years to come maybe ours will be one of those big name festivals. We believe it will be successful.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

TM: From a perspective of a film producer who submitts films to many different festivals, I think that FilmFreeway is a great tool. It is simple, fun and because of it submitting films has never been easier. Regarding our Festival, filmmakers can still submit their films to History Film Festival through FilmFreeway because the official deadline for submissions to our Festival has just started. We are excited about new submissions.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

TM: 2020 is an important year for the city of Rijeka where History Film Festival will take place because Rijeka has been declared European Capital of Culture for the year 2020. By that time I hope that our Festival will become acknowledged around the world, that it will establish a strong institutional and financial backup and most importantly that it will attract more and more filmmakers and viewers. If it becomes famous maybe we won’t need to charge submission fees anymore 

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

TM: There are three films which I have seen a zillion times: Godfather, Big Wednesday and The Warriors. And I hope to watch them another zillion times.

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

TM: Good story, unconventional creative solutions and a crew of enthusiasts who love doing what they do.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

TM: Although Rijeka is a small city it has an interesting film scene. As there are many film enthusiasts in our city, I think there would be more films produced here if they had more funds and most importantly if those funds are fairly and evenly shared.

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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 Jax Griffin (The Drunken Film Festival)

Drunken Film Fest started after an angry tweet about the discontinuation of the major film festival in Bradford, West Yorkshire. It took off from there and had its first season in July 2016. Aimed at the independent filmmaker, DFF is currently accepting submissions worldwide for its second season, set to take place in Bradford across 10 days in 13 venues.

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

Jax Griffin: DFF works really hard to represent filmmakers from around the globe and level the playing field a bit. So low budget, big budget, we are less concerned with that. What we want is to give an audience to films with something interesting to say, and I’m proud to say that we’re definitely succeeding in that goal.

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

JG: Our festival is a little different. Our venues are almost all bars or cafes – non-theatre spaces. So the tone is more conversational and relaxed, but still very respectful to the filmmakers and their work. We incorporate local live music into the events – Bradford has an amazing live music scene – and this year we’re looking at bringing some interactive installation style pieces for some of the bigger parties.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

JG: As long as a film is engaging and interesting, I’m willing to give it space in our program. I try to remember that one person’s idea of interesting is different from another’s, and I think our programming reflects the diversity of submissions as well as the diverse nature of the city of Bradford.

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

JG: Definitely and it’s one of the reasons this festival exists. If you scraped your film together on favours and blood, sweat, and tears, you don’t have a ton of money at the end for submission fees, so a lot of the bigger festivals are immediately not available to you. Yes, most festivals depend on submission fees to function and it’s an important part of the process, but it does create a bit of a boundary and that’s something we’re trying to find a balance for.

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

JG: Is it too cheesy to say passion? I’m a filmmaker myself and I love the idea of finding and promoting new talent from unexpected places. When you see a film from a 10 year old Iranian girl, it kind of changes your view on what’s possible.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

JG: I can not express enough how amazing it is working with Film Freeway. When I began the festival, I hadn’t heard of them and thought I was going to be stuck with Withoutabox, which I’d used extensively as a filmmaker. Luckily I came across Film Freeway first and haven’t looked back. The support team is always gracious, helpful, and expedient and the ease of use makes sorting submissions far less of a task than anticipated.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

JG: I’m ambitious, so I’d like us to be one of the top festivals for independent filmmakers. By 2020, my dream is that my plans to move the festival into production both locally and abroad will not only be in action, but successful and we’ll be active in promoting the local independent film industry.

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

JG: Dr. Strangelove. I even have a tattoo of Slim Pickins riding a nuke on my forearm.

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

JG: A great film is entertaining, with no dead space, and leaves you with something to think about.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

JG: Bradford has a very rich film culture. It’s actually the very first UNESCO City of Film and has a fascinating history of local production with films like Meaning of Life, Billy Liar, and Room At The Top. The National Media Museum is here where a few years ago they discovered the first ever colour film that was actually from 1902. Major productions are constantly in and out of the city doing filming and the indie scene is growing, if a bit hidden from view.

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Interviewee BIO: Jax Griffin moved to her ancestral homeland of Great Britain from the US nearly five years ago to complete a masters. She’s happily settling into British life, though she refuses to say “aluminium”. Aside from the film festival, Jax co-owns a small media production company in Bradford with fellow University of Bradford alum Rachel Bottomley. She actually hates long walks on the beach because sand is course and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere, but she does enjoy video games, live music, and puzzles.

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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 Jorge Gonzalez, Launch Pad Screenwriting Competitions

The Launch Pad is a place dedicated to launching writing careers. Going well beyond what other competitions offer, we have created a platform that has helped more than 180 writers launch their careers. Utilizing our three competitions – pilots, features and manuscripts – as well as our advanced coverage services, we provide a hub that reaches far beyond a simple prize with your name listed on a site. The Launch Pad is a community of writers, executives, agents, managers and producers working together with one focus in mind – THE WRITER.

https://tblaunchpad.com/

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

Our competition has been able to get more writers signed in the last 4 years then any other competition out there. We pride ourselves in using our deep industry relationships with agents, managers, and executives to give writers the necessary exposure to take the next step in their writing career.

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

If you enter our competition we guarantee that your script will receive at least two complete reads from professional readers who have read or currently still read for major agencies, management companies, studios, and production companies. A large number of scripts receive additional internal reviews as well. We take great pride and responsibility in the submissions we receive and so we work tirelessly trading hundreds of emails, texts, and phone calls with reps to help everyone from our Top 75 to our Winners get the recognition they deserve.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our competition is open to writers of all levels. Their script needs to be an original work, which must be their sole property and not have previously sold or placed Top 25 or higher in one of our previous competitions.

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

That’s a really great question. I know for some of the bigger festivals that carry a lot of prestige like Sundance, TIFF, SXSW, and Austin, they are flooded each year with a huge number of entries. So the competition is fierce and many great films still may not make the cut. That said, I think those festivals really pride themselves in curating their films with thought provoking and unique films while simultaneously looking to identity new and emerging creators. There are also countless other respected festivals that are great ways for creators to gain recognition and get the exposure necessary to help their career. These festivals may be more accessible and a good first step along the journey.

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

For many of us here we come from a writing background and have also worked at management and production companies. Having been on both sides of the business we’re able to understand the needs of our writers and the reps that we work with. What gets us fired up is working with writers who if it weren’t for our competition may not have access to Hollywood and couldn’t otherwise get their material in the hands of some of the industries biggest agencies and management companies. The way that we see it is we’re here to try and help people jumpstart a professional writing career, and instead of climbing up from the bottom of a ladder we want to give them a boost so they can start half way up. With each of our competitions we’re able to help dozens of new writers land representation or set up their projects. Writers who have placed or won our competitions have sold six-figure spec scripts
to studios like Fox and Paramount and are currently writing for shows like Timeless, i-Zombie and Stranger Things amongst others. We’re truly humbled by the amount of success our writers have been able to achieve as a result of our competition.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Film Freeway has been great. They have such a streamlined and easy way to connect with writers and have become the premiere hub for festivals and competitions.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

In space! Just kidding. We’ve been fortunate enough in the last year to partner with some of the biggest companies in the business. Just last year we partnered with Ridley Scott’s – Scott Free Productions, Roy Lee’s Vertigo Entertainment, and Brooklyn Weaver’s Energy Entertainment to name a few. These partnerships give us an opportunity to offer entrants prizes that include guaranteed signing and guarantee option opportunities from some of the biggest names in Hollywood. As we continue to grow we want to find new and innovative ways to partner with more companies to offer writers unique career opportunities that can’t be found anywhere else.

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

Oh man this is a tough one! I’d say its a tie between Toy Story and Gladiator. Two widely different movies but both were staples during different times in my life. Toy Story was definitely my go to VHS movie growing up, and Gladiator was the first DVD I ever bought. The movie is a masterpiece!

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

Strong characters who are led by their convictions regardless of their morality.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

LA is the movie capital of the world. You really can’t go anywhere without running into someone who isn’t connected to the entertainment industry in some capacity. There is such a wealth of talent and creativity here that is remarkable. You never know who you’ll meet and as far as the the entertainment industry is concerned, there are so many chances to work or collaborate with amazing people. Los Angeles is one of those special cities where you can truly see your dream and passion come to life. Oh and lets not forget the never ending sunshine!

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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 Eric Simonson, Creative Director DOOR KINETIC ARTS FESTIVAL

Oscar-winning “Lombardi” playwright Eric Simonson is bringing some major creative talent to Björklunden for the inaugural Door Kinetic Arts Festival in June. The week-long festival will provide Door County residents and visitors a peek at the creative process through two staged readings, a dance presentation and the premiere of a commissioned film by Campbell Scott, an award-winning filmmaker and actor, best known for “The Amazing Spiderman,” “Big Night” and “Longtime Companion.”

http://www.doorkinetic.com/

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

Eric Simonson: Like all film festivals, the most important thing we do is give a filmmaker a platform. We also invite artists to participate in the festival, which also includes art, dance and theatre. The point of DKAF is to encourage cross-polynization of artistic mediums. As the moving arts become more sophisticated, so does the way in which we express ourselves. DKAF offers 9 days in which which artists from all disciplines come together, see one another’s work, and exchange ideas — all in the inspirational environs of Door County, Wisconsin.

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

ES: Really innovative and rich storytelling experiences from filmmakers, playwrights, directors, actors, artists, choreographers and dancers. We also host several workshops and seminars — all open to the public — headed by internationally renowned artists.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

ES: Good story-telling, inventiveness in story-telling, economy, a willingness to branch out and express oneself in innovative ways.

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

ES: Yes. I believe that most festivals have challenging selection processes. There are so many good films out there, but screening committees are often too ad hoc and not fair. We strive for a thorough vetting of quality films at DKAF.

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

ES: We love a good story. We love creating and presenting things in Door County, which is an artist’s home for many working in different mediums. We want people to experience Door County first hand and to find inspiration to create more and better art.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

ES: Pretty Great. The folks FilmFreeway are always coming up with intriguing ways to make the submissions process easier, and allow the filmmakers to find the festivals that are right for them.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

ES: We’re new and very young. We don’t want to become an overly big festival, but we want the quality of our work to improve annually. We want to pack as much art and inspiration as we can in 9 days!

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

ES: 8 1/2 by Frederico Fellini. Hands down my favorite film of all time. Though CITIZEN KANE is up there too.

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

ES: GOOD STORY!

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

ES: I live in LA (if that’s what you mean). It’s hopping. In Bailey’s Harbor WI, there’s not much going on, though there is a growing local interest in filmmaking. Why not? The medium is becoming easier and easier every year.

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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 Michael Harrington (Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival)

Wandering Reel is a traveling short film festival with a focus on bringing meaningful films to communities with limited or no access to compassionate, thought-provoking cinema. We strive to engage our audiences in deeper conversation about the role of cinema, and how films can relate to community, conscious living, and contribute to making the world a stronger and more unified place.

http://www.wanderingreel.org/

Interview with Festival Director Michael Harrington

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

Michael Harrington: Wandering Reel exposes films to a larger theater audience as well as a more rural, small town audience. We visit communities that don’t already have a film festival and/or do not have easy access to art films, independent films, international films and especially short films. We also facilitate conversation around the films to deepen the experience of a community coming together to watch films. Hopefully, some of the stories go home with some of the audience members and they care a little bit more about what the films were trying to say.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?

MH: Great movies. Great conversation. Theaters are the perfect meeting place of people and yet people tend to gather, watch and leave without actually interacting about this shared, cultural experience. Wandering Reel engages the audience a little deeper, first by allowing them to ask questions about how and why the films were made but also encouraging conversation with each other about how the films relate to their own lives and own community.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

MH: We only ask the films relate in some small way to the greater mission of Wandering Reel, which is to demonstrate how cinema can be a powerful tool in inspiring conversation around important topics and creating meaningful change in the world. We show narrative, animated and documentary films. We show students films and professional films. We show local films and films from the other side of the world. We show films fresh off the press and films from a decade or more ago. The point is to extend the life of short films so we offer very few hurdles for filmmaker to cross once they’ve made an outstanding short.

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

MH: Nowadays anyone can make a film. Our phones capture pretty good images and our laptops come with editing software. And it’s easier than ever to submit to film festivals because it’s all done digitally with a few clicks of a mouse. So, there are hundreds if not thousands of films vying for festival slots each year. The good news is there are more festivals than ever, but it’s really easy for the best, trendiest films to play 100 festivals while some smaller films only find a few niche markets. The biggest name festivals are hit with thousands of submissions for only a small amount of slots. Emerging festivals have to work much harder to garner lots of submissions and need the best of the best films in order to succeed and grow. It is my wish that more film festivals will program based on heart, ingenuity and merit, rather than politics or celebrity.

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

MH: We think it’s extremely important to support meaningful filmmaking. We think it’s important for films to be viewed in an audience with other people and to allow for a forum to talk about that experience. We think there’s a hole missing in the distribution of short films and that we can help fill it in our own small way. When an audience member shakes your hand after a screening and thanks you for bringing a film to their community, that’s motivation like no other, if only because they wouldn’t have likely seen that film that inspired them otherwise.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

MH: Wandering Reel evolves each year based on the films we receive, audience reaction and the communities we visit. We are a young festival entering our second year and we are still learning how to motivate people to pause Netflix for an evening and come out for a fun and engaging event. We are working hard this year to connect deeper with each community we visit. This means visiting schools, retirement communities, prisons, hospitals and any other members of the community that may not be able to come to our festival. It also means collaborating with local artists, activists and thinkers to connect the work we curate with the great work being done in the local community.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

MH: At the moment, funds limit our reach to a couple small tours per year and just one curator. Our goal is to have curators all around the world traveling with our films simultaneously. In five years or so, we should be able to reach all regions of the United States with a few international curators as well, likely in Europe and Australia to start. We also want to grow the outreach wing of our festival so that free screenings are offered whenever possible. No one should ever be turned away because they can’t afford the ticket cost. We also want to reach more people that can’t come to community screenings: the elderly, prisoners, students, and people in our poorer urban communities to just name a few.

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

MH: Probably The Princess Bride, if only because I watched it on loop as a child and to be honest quite a bit as an adult. But since we are a short film festival, I’d also like to make a nod to our grand prize winning film from last year, “Stop” by Reinaldo Marcus Green, because that’s probably the short I’ve likely seen the most, and a short everyone in the U.S. should see right now.

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

MH: How about one word: passion.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

MH: I live in Portland, Oregon a city known for its indie theaters and growing film market. We have lots of film festivals and a very attentive indie film audience. The film production scene here is beginning to really blossom. This is the perfect alternative city to Los Angeles and New York for emerging filmmakers: beautiful urban landscape, incredible access to nature, amazing food and drink and a thriving art scene.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Elena Ringo (Vienna Independent Film Festival)

VIFF Vienna Independent Film Festival invites filmmakers from all over the world to submit their films to their international film festival which takes place in Vienna.  The goal of our festival is to find new talented filmmakers who will be able to approach the heights of cinematography created by geniuses like Antonioni, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Bergman, Visconti, Godard. Now, when the whole world has a tendency towards commercialization, they appreciate free spirit, new ideas an independent point of view and new approaches. Not the budget of the film but solely talent should be the criteria for the film’s success.

http://www.vienna-film-festival.com/

Interview with Festival Director Elena Ringo

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

Elena Ringo: VIFF 2016 – Vienna Independent Film Festival took place for the first time in July and it laid the foundation for the future. There were 38 films screened at the festival, almost all of them were Austrian premieres and the films were introduced to a varied audience. The participants had a lot of opportunities for networking and have received exposure via social media and press coverage.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?

ER: Our festival took place in July 2016 and now we are preparing for the next edition.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

ER: We value artistic quality of the films, independent point of view, cinematographic innovations and appreciate auteur cinema. Many films were directed, produced, shot and written by the directors themselves and the films were often based on real stories and personal experiences which brings truth to the films and makes the films more authentic and believable.

For example, the film Imperfect Sky which received the award for Best Feature Film, was written, directed and shot by Graham Streeter and was based on true events. Another interesting film which received the Grand Prix – Let’s Dance to the Rhythm was written, directed and edited by Bardroy Barretto and tells the story of real jazz musicians from Goa.

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

ER: I think that when festivals are very well-known they receive an enormous volume of submissions and very limited number of people actually select them on the first stage so many films are not noticed at all. Also, many festivals are more interested in big names rather than discovering new talents and do not want to take any risks.

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

ER: I hope that our festival will become a bigger event but will still preserve our main principles; independence, artistic quality, lack of political motivation and no discrimination against any genre or countries.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

ER: I hope that our festival will become a bigger event but will still preserve our main principles; independence, artistic quality, lack of political motivation and no discrimination against any genre or countries.

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

ER: The Mirror by Andrei Tarkovsky. This is a film which you can watch many times and every time discover something new.

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

ER: Artistic vision and deep ideas make a great film.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

ER: There are many cinemas and film lovers in Vienna. There are several film schools and there is a demand for more festivals in this cultural center.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go tohttp://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.