Interview with Festival Director Nina Fiore (ASTORIA FILM FESTIVAL)

The Second Annual Astoria Film Festival will be held May 17-18 2019, in Astoria NY, at the famed Kaufman Astoria Studios. AFFNY2019 will feature short films (under 25 mins) and web series in Comedy, Drama, Documentary, and Experimental genres.

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

Nina Fiore: The Astoria Film Festival (Astoria NY) is bringing emerging filmmakers together, highlighting their work, and helping them to network with one another to collaborate on future projects. We are especially conscious of reaching out for submissions from various groups of filmmakers who are historically under-represented in the film industry such as PoC, women, LGBTQ, and disabled filmmakers. We also wanted to bring film industry insiders to local youth who have an interest in filmmaking, and we are able to do that with our filmmaking workshops.

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

We aim to create an intimate atmosphere with a warm caring vibe. We want everyone to feel welcome and we want the filmmakers to feel appreciated and cared for. We take a lot of care in selecting the films we screen and grow very attached to them and to their creators/actors in the process. I think our genuine respect and awe at the quality of the work comes through in how we present the films and how we treat the filmmakers.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The quality of production, the quality of the acting, the quality of the plot and screenwriting, the uniqueness of the material — all of these go into the selection qualifications. We also have at least 2 meetings with all the judges after judging ends where we discuss which films will make the selections. Sometimes those meetings get heated, as there are only so many slots and so many very strong projects, and different judges have different favorite projects.

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

We are motivated to bring the filmmaking community here in Astoria NY together. It’s a very diverse community and there are many filmmakers, actors, directors, and other artists living here. I have also spent a lot of time the past few years working with local after school programs. In doing so, I encountered a lot of middle schoolers who were very interested in filmmaking, but did not have any affordable resources for learning more about it. So bringing local filmmakers together to help us bring filmmaking workshops to local students was also a large motivation for creating and continuing to develop this festival.

5) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway is a great platform and handles so many different aspects of the festival, it’s been a lifesaver. There are tiny tweaks here and there I’d love to make to it (especially since I have a background in UI/UX Design and digital platform development), but in general, we are extremely happy with it.

6) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

By 2023, it would be wonderful if the Festival was well-regarded for its unique selections and its intimate setting, well-sponsored and financially able to provide funding for under-represented filmmakers, able to provide filmmakers connections to distribution outlets for their films, hosting film events and indie film premieres throughout the year, and containing a robust Education Department with filmmaker workshops in at least 50 local schools.

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

Lol. Well, I am a mom of a 10 year old, so over the past 10 years, I’ve watched his favorite movies (currently Coco – which is wonderful!) more times than I’ve ever watched my own favorite movies.

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

I think that when all the elements of a film – from story and script, to acting, to production, to music, to editing, come together to make you feel something emotional and to cause the film to stick in your thoughts over time, growing in meaning and appreciation, then that makes it a great film.

9) How is the film scene in your city?

The American Film Industry had many of its beginnings here in Astoria NY. Kaufman Astoria Studios was the Paramount Pictures Lot before Paramount moved out to Hollywood in the 1920s. So there is such a rich filmmaking history here. As a kid, growing up here, I remember walking by the Kaufman lots when they were filming The Wiz and seeing all the tiny taxis from the “Emerald City” set. I’d come out of grade school and run into Sly Stallone, Tom Hanks, Woody Allen — so it was a great place to grow up. However, the Studios aren’t always accessible to the public and the indie film scene here isn’t very strong (although it is of course strong in Manhattan). I enjoy helping the community here connect personally with Kaufman Astoria Studios, and I’d love to bring a more consistent indie film presence here in Astoria. We’d love to host more film events throughout the year, such as indie film premieres and retrospectives, but we are thrilled to contribute to the film industry here today with our film festival and filmmaking workshops.

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October 2018 – Read Interviews with the best of NEW Poetry and Writers

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Touch the link and read 9 different interviews with the best of new writers and poets from around the world.

Interview with Poet Lauren White (First Contact)
Interview with Poet Lauren White (First Contact)

Interview with Poet Susan L. Brown (Response To 8 Philosophers)
Interview with Poet Susan L. Brown (Response To 8 Philosophers)

Interview with Poet Sam Allen (Viola’s Rebellion)
Interview with Poet Sam Allen (Viola’s Rebellion)

Interview with Writer Pat Jourdan (DECEMBER)
Interview with Writer Pat Jourdan (DECEMBER)

Interview with Writer Peter Inson (HATS OFF TO THE TEACHERS, SMASHED)
Interview with Writer Peter Inson (HATS OFF TO THE TEACHERS, SMASHED)

Interview with Writer Diane Elliott (Remembering Momma)
Interview with Writer Diane Elliott (Remembering Momma)

Interview with Nia Markos (ELEMENTS: BOOK ONE)
Interview with Nia Markos (ELEMENTS: BOOK ONE)

Interview with Novelist James Charles (Spirit Of The Amaroq)
Interview with Novelist James Charles (Spirit Of The Amaroq)

Interview with Novelist Bogdan Dzakovic (FORTRESS OF DECEIT)
Interview with Novelist Bogdan Dzakovic (FORTRESS OF DECEIT)

October 2018 – Read the best of Screenwriter Interviews

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Touch the link and read 35 different interviews with the best of new screenwriters from around the world.

Interview with Screenwriter Sara Landucci (STRONG ENOUGH)
Interview with Screenwriter Sara Landucci (STRONG ENOUGH)

Interview with Screenwriter 42 Tribes (Nyobaywa)
Interview with Screenwriter 42 Tribes (Nyobaywa)

Interview with Screenwriter Rita Martinos (ON THE VERGE)
Interview with Screenwriter Rita Martinos (ON THE VERGE)

Interview with Screenwriter M.V. Montgomery (DON-JOHN’S DISAPPOINTED MAM)
Interview with Screenwriter M.V. Montgomery (DON-JOHN’S DISAPPOINTED MAM)

Interview with Screenwriter Colleen Asbury (The Dance of the Desert Mermaids)
Interview with Screenwriter Colleen Asbury (The Dance of the Desert Mermaids)

Interview with Screenwriter Chloë J. Hightower (Monochrome)
Interview with Screenwriter Chloë J. Hightower (Monochrome)

Interview with Screenwriter Travis Darkow (HOW DID WE GET HERE?)
Interview with Screenwriter Travis Darkow (HOW DID WE GET HERE?)

Interview with Debasree Banerjee (GERALDINE HALL)
Interview with Debasree Banerjee (GERALDINE HALL)

Interview with Screenwriters Jeff & Julia Heinen (COFFEE IN SOUTHTOWN)
Interview with Screenwriters Jeff & Julia Heinen (COFFEE IN SOUTHTOWN)
Very good. Helps us track submission and awards very easily.

Interview with Screenwriter Daniel Cook (HELL ON EARTH)
Interview with Screenwriter Daniel Cook (HELL ON EARTH)

Interview with Screenwriter Sheila Warren (MOVING ON)
Interview with Screenwriter Sheila Warren (MOVING ON)

Interview with Screenwriter Frank Baruch (WHERE KOMAINU CRY)
Interview with Screenwriter Frank Baruch (WHERE KOMAINU CRY)

Interview with Screenwriter Richard Geiwitz (WIGGLE ROOM)
Interview with Screenwriter Richard Geiwitz (WIGGLE ROOM)

Interview with Screenwriter Iannis Aliferis (Samantha Rutledge PI, A Killer Case)
Interview with Screenwriter Iannis Aliferis (Samantha Rutledge PI, A Killer Case)

Interview with Screenwriter Ricardo Fleshman (KILLING MOSES)
Interview with Screenwriter Ricardo Fleshman (KILLING MOSES)

Interview with Screenwriter Hank Biro (SPACE FISH)
Interview with Screenwriter Hank Biro (SPACE FISH)

Interview with Screenwriter Toni Nagy (The Masses)
Interview with Screenwriter Toni Nagy (The Masses)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Agnese Pagliarani (TO HELL AND BACK)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Agnese Pagliarani (TO HELL AND BACK)

Interview with Screenplay Writer Adam Lapallo (WOLFPACK FENCERS)
Interview with Screenplay Writer Adam Lapallo (WOLFPACK FENCERS)

Interview with Screenplay Writer Terry Connell (PLANS FOR THE HOLIDAYS)
Interview with Screenplay Writer Terry Connell (PLANS FOR THE HOLIDAYS)

Interview with Screenplay Writer Todd Bird (LITTLE EARTHQUAKES)
Interview with Screenplay Writer Todd Bird (LITTLE EARTHQUAKES)

Interview with Screenplay Writers Charzette Torrence & Danielle Johnson (JILLIAN’S PEAK)
Interview with Screenplay Writers Charzette Torrence & Danielle Johnson (JILLIAN’S PEAK)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Waide Riddle (Dear Tom Hardy: I love you)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Waide Riddle (Dear Tom Hardy: I love you)

Interview with Winning Screenwriters Nicholas Downs, Susan Mac Nicol (SIGHT UNSEEN)
Interview with Winning Screenwriters Nicholas Downs, Susan Mac Nicol (SIGHT UNSEEN)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Dallas Rico (MARRED)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Dallas Rico (MARRED)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter S.W. Andersen (SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LOVE AND JUSTICE)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter S.W. Andersen (SOMEWHERE BETWEEN LOVE AND JUSTICE)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert David Simpson (THE HUNT FOR CHUCK BERRY)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert David Simpson (THE HUNT FOR CHUCK BERRY)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Fritz Mueller (ANAHNA)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Fritz Mueller (ANAHNA)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Christianne Charles (CAKE)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Christianne Charles (CAKE)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Leah Pollack (MARKED)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Leah Pollack (MARKED)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Andrew Ward (BROWN DOG)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Andrew Ward (BROWN DOG)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Michael Zielinski (CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Michael Zielinski (CHRISTMAS PAST AND PRESENT)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Julian Blondell (Xightfall)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Julian Blondell (Xightfall)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Nate Yacos (Tugnutt: A Love Supreme)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Nate Yacos (Tugnutt: A Love Supreme)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Cicely Wynne (REMEMBER KENT STATE)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Cicely Wynne (REMEMBER KENT STATE)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Mirka Kettunen (MAJOR TOM AND THE ALIEN GIRL)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Mirka Kettunen (MAJOR TOM AND THE ALIEN GIRL)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Rodrigo Juatco (HERO OF HEROES)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Rodrigo Juatco (HERO OF HEROES)

Interview with Festival Founder J.O. Malone (National Black Film Festival)

 

In a short time the National Black Film Festival has established themselves as one of the premier film festivals in the country. Educational workshops and panels that give the filmmaker and/actor insight into their chosen field. You want to miss our networking events starting with our opening night mixer and followed by the NBFF All Black Party and 2019 NBFF Awards Show. Join us and your film can be the next projecting on the big screen!

Contact

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

J.O. Malone: In our 1st two years our festival has given filmmakers an crash course into the film industry and a platform to let their stories be told.

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

Giving you this basics. Knowledge into the film world. Screenwriting, directing, acting and amazing info from our diverse panels.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Lead actor/actress, director, writer, producer must be African American decent. Quality cinematography, sound, acting, writing and directing.

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

It’s important that filmmakers submit to festivals were the organizers and board members understand your culture. We you come from.

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

Giving a platform for African Americans to tell their story for their perspective. Also. Building the Houston film community.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We love FilmFreeway.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Top 10 festival in the country.

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

Do the Right Thing – Spike Lee

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

The flow of the story.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

The city of Houston is growing as a film city. As the 4th largest city in the country we have the talent to make an impact in the film world. Our passion is unmatched.
 

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*****

James Rowlins left his native England for Paris, France, to study French cinema. His passion for visual culture subsequently took him to Los Angeles, where he earned a doctorate at the University of Southern California while learning the ropes of filmmaking. He has published articles on the French New Wave and film noir. After serving as Head of Film Studies at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, he now dedicates himself to the full-time running of Brighton Rocks Film Festival.

Interview with Festival Director Edward Payson (an Anti-Hero Production Genre Fest)

This film fest was created to celebrate genre films of all kinds that tend not to have too many outlets on the festival circuit. Being filmmakers ourselves, we know the work that goes into making a film so our entry fees are low and we have a lot of rewards to give out. We are a film fest made by and for filmmakers.

Interview with Festival Director Dr. James Rowlins (Brighton Rocks Film Festival)

Brighton Rocks International Film Festival (BRIFF) was established in 2017 by a group of filmmakers, academics and creatives who love cinema and live in Brighton. The first annual screening event was held in May 2018, followed by an awards ceremony presided over by local actor Patrick Bergin. In addition to screening events throughout the year, we are preparing our second festival in June 2019.

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

Connecting fearless, like-minded creatives and giving them a platform to promote and celebrate their work.

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

Buzz. Excitement in the discovery that there people out there, just like you. To kick things off, there will be workshops for filmmakers, followed by screenings of winning films. There will be an awards ceremony with statutory afterparty.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our selection embraces films that embody the Brighton ethos – a state of mind, an attitude, a spirit that dares to be itself. Above all the filmmaker should impart a vision and express something personal of him/herself.

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

Sadly yes. Festivals are often afraid of going out on a limb to support films that don’t yet have the big laurels. We pledge to look first and foremost at the film, not a long list of stickers.

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

To do better. Experiencing the festival circuit from the other side, as a filmmaker, we’ve seen flaws aplenty – poor communication, bad organisation, etc., not to mention all those that you can’t be sure if they are bona fide. There are some good ones too, of course, but we want to be smarter than the average bear.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

“Gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh, wonder of wonders, like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship” (A Clockwork Orange). So pretty good.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

This will be our 5th anniversary. We hope to have made good on our pledge to become one of the UK’s main festivals for indie and underground cinema. We will host big screening events – across the city and beyond. We will be collaborating with likeminded international festivals.

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

Godard’s A bout de souffle (Breathless), as I wrote a doctoral thesis on it. Next would be Hitchcock’s Vertigo.

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

“In one word, emotion!,” to quote Samuel Fuller in Pierrot le fou.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Brighton offers an amazing range of settings that have been used to great effect in classic films such as Quadrophenia (1979) and our namesake, Brighton Rocks (1947). Scores of talented writers and actors live in Brighton and there is a frenetic arts scene. The city often appears in television series, but it has to be said that Brighton doesn’t always punch above its weight in terms of being a prime location for feature films. One of Brighton Rocks’ missions is to raise awareness of the merits of Brighton as a place to make movies.

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*****

James Rowlins left his native England for Paris, France, to study French cinema. His passion for visual culture subsequently took him to Los Angeles, where he earned a doctorate at the University of Southern California while learning the ropes of filmmaking. He has published articles on the French New Wave and film noir. After serving as Head of Film Studies at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, he now dedicates himself to the full-time running of Brighton Rocks Film Festival.

Interview with Festival Director Pierre Cialdella (San Francisco LGBTQ Coming of Age Short Film Festival)

FIRST FESTIVAL EXCLUSIVELY DEDICATED TO MOVIES DEALING WITH THE COMING OF AGE OF THE LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANSGENDER AND QUEER COMMUNITIES.

3 days short film festival with 100 movies, selected out of 2000, about the COMING OF AGE of the LGBTQ community.

Contact

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

The purpose of all Film Festival is to offer film-makers a way to show their work to professionals, while it helps the general public to discover great movies to which he would not have had access otherwise. And it often also help professionals discover the talent of new film-makers.

It is indeed the case for the San Francisco LGBTQ Coming of Age Short Film festival. But what differentiates us from other festivals is our will to show the public, no matter their sexual orientation, origin, age or religion, what LGBTQ+ youths go through at the time of their coming of age, because this specific period of life is the most important in everybody’s life all around the world (LGBT or not). It is a subject to which every single person can relate to.

The message is thus as important to us as the festival itself or the films and the film-makers.

One could think that our festival is too specific or rather limited: LGBTQ+ and COMING OF AGE. You’d be surprised to see how many movies we received from all around the world. And none of them are saying the same thing, yet they all speak about LGBTQ+ and COMING OF AGE. And of love of course because in the end it all comes to that. But there are not 2 movies alike in our selection of 100 movies this first edition of our Festival.

That being said, we obviously hope for our film-makers to get the success they deserve (from both the public and the professionals).

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

If you attend the festival, you will enjoy 3 days of nonstop screenings of short films (100 movies selected from 50 countries), about the COMING OF AGE of the LGBTQ community.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We made sure to offer the audience a fair mix of Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender love stories. All films are original and were produced between 2017 and 2018.

We have included a variety of genres such as comedies, dramas, music videos, documentaries, cartoons, etc.

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

I can only speak for my experience with the LGBTQ Coming Of Age Short-Film Festival, for which each entry received a fair judgement…

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

Our intention is to bring light to the discrimination and bullying often directed towards the LGBTQ+ community, but in an entertaining, positive and creative way.

No voyeurism, no exhibitionism, no vindication: just the recognition of love for what it is, because love doesn’t need multiple labels. Everyone should be free to love and to pursue their happiness.

We do not intend to trivialize the issues faced by the fringes of society who, as a result of their culture, religious beliefs, or a lack of education, still judge violently the different ways of loving. However, if we can at least create a space where people are made aware of and can reflect on the mockeries and inequalities that some people must endure because of who they love, then our festival will have fulfilled its purpose.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We were happy to get 280 submissions from FilmFreeway, which is more than we thought we would get from the platform. The submission process was both efficient and fluid, and we received a lot of great movies through them.

But we received 2000 movies altogether. Through many platforms. We have also contacted some production companies and film-makers directly ourselves.

Some films were also sent to us spontaneously by email (mostly from countries where being Gay is a crime, because they couldn’t submit their film online; it would have been too risky for them).

Submissions platforms were a great help to us obviously, but they also have a bad side effect for festivals because film-makers often send their film to as many festivals as they can, most of the time without making sure that their film would be appropriate. We thus received a lot of films {sometime very good} that we had to refuse because they were not even LGBTQ…

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

What matters is our 2018 edition. Let’s go one edition at a time. Anything can happen in 5 years…

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

Tooooooo many to say which one. Here are a few titles of films (non exhaustive) I’ve seen too many times to count:

– Travels with My Aunt by George Cukor, 1972 | Maggie Smith & Alec McCowen

– Torch Song Trilogy by Paul Bogart, 1988 | Harvey Fierstein & Matthew Broderick

– Roman Holiday by William Wyler, 1953 | Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn

– My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant, 1991 | River Phoenix & Keanu Reeves

– ‘night, Mother by Tom Moore, 1986 | Sissy Spacek & Anne Bancroft

– Woman Times Seven by Vittorio De Sica, 1967 | Shirley MacLaine x 7

– Charade by Stanley Donen, 1963 | Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn

– Maurice by James Ivory, 1987 | James Wilby & Rupert Graves

– Indiscreet by Stanley Donen, 1958 | Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman

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

To make a great film I would say that you need a great story, good actors and a generous film-maker. These are for me the fundamentals. If we want the public to get out of a theater saying “aww, that movie really touched me”, we need to make sure he forgets he is watching a film. Too many young film-makers concentrate on the technical aspect. Those who don’t put as much passion on the direction of actors and story-telling, often end up making a bad film.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

I currently live in San Francisco. Unlike the rest of the USA, a lot is being made in California to help film-makers, and to offer the public (all the publics) a great “cinematic diversity”.
 

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