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.

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Interview with Patrice Francois, Festival Director IMAGINE THIS WOMEN’S INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL

Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival: Imagine This Productions is dedicated to providing aspiring women storytellers and filmmakers a space to encourage and develop creative projects by women. ITP’s goal is to support women by sharing their work to the public, promoting equal opportunities, encouraging professional development, and serving as a resource informative network. 

http://imaginethisprods.com/
 
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Patrice Francois: I believe our film festival is succeeding at proving a platform for underrepresent women filmmakers from all over the world. We’ve showcased films from Afghanistan and Palestine. Our 2016 Best Documentary short film, “Shireen of Al-Walaja” by director Daz Chandler, is about an intimate portrait of a dynamic and popular Palestinian resistance leader, who left her full-time job at the UN to return to her home village of al-Walaja and fight for her community. And one of the attendance thanked us for being risky and showing the film. He told us that many other platforms wouldn’t dare screen the film because of the sensitive subject. We feel that We’re not here to play politics, if you do good work and you have a great story to share, your story deserves to be seen no matter what.

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

PF: A very divers selection of films of unique and compelling stories. A number of films will touch on themes related to personal struggles within political and social conflicts across the world. Oh, a great after party with attendees and some of the filmmakers.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

PF: That’s easy. Must be made by a women filmmaker either directed, produced or written. And of course, a great story.

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

PF: Definitely. I’ve done the whole submit your film to film festivals and had endless discussions with other women filmmakers, so I know first hand how “un-fair” it can be sometimes. One of the main reason we started Imagine This. I think there’s just a lot of politics involved, I mean there’s politics involved in just about everything, but I’ve been to local film festivals that are supposed to be focused on indie, low budget films and some of the selected films have been made with well known actors and/or their budgets didn’t fit in “low” category.

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

PF: We understand the obstacles that exist for new and up-and-coming filmmakers. We decided it was important to help cultivate an appreciation for a wide range of unique and compelling stories, especially those from women who have been traditionally underrepresented in film.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

PF: We’ve seen a tremendous response, and are quite frankly blown away by the quality of submissions we’ve seen. We’re trending to doubling the amount submissions from last year.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

PF: It’s clear that there is tremendous female filmmaking talent out there, but there is still so much work to be done to create an inclusive environment that supports women storytellers, so I guess a bigger and better festival that’s more established in the NY film festival scene.

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

PF: Let see, I would say “Heat”. That scene between Robert De Niro and Al Pacino in the diner scene is one of my all time favorite scenes. Plus I love Val Kilmer, he’ll always have a special place in my heart as well as my mother’s, lol

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

PF: A film should have a great story and it should be compelling, it should be able to capture the mind of the audience, it should strike a chord, actors should run with the story and own it. the actors and the visuals should have a nice balance.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

PF: Oh gosh, I live in the “country”, so there is no film scene in my town. I have to head down to the city to get my dose of art and culture, lol

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Interviewee Patrice Francois is an actor, screenwriter, filmmakers based in the Greater New York area. She is the co-founder of Imagine This Production and the festival director for Imagine This Women’s International Film Festival.

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 Jacob Javor (South Florida Student Film Festival)

The South Florida Student Film Festival (SFSFF), open to middle and high school students world wide and taking place at Movies of Delray/Lake Worth, is an organization founded by students designed to bring about awareness concerning the art of student filmmaking. SFSFF shines a positive light upon Middle & High School students who love the beauty of motion pictures.

http://www.sfsff.org

Interview with Jacob Javor:

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

Jacob Javor: As we are in our debut year, we only hope to help local young filmmakers get jumpstarts on their careers, by learning, creating, and meeting new people.

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

JJ: At SFSFF, both filmmakers that submitted and attendees alike can expect a valuable experience in which you can learn more about your passion by speaking to industry professionals and conversing with your peers; all while having a great time watching student short films and enjoying the company of our amazing sponsors!

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

JJ: At SFSFF, we are looking for GOOD STORIES. We primarily focus on the story your short film tells, and how it could connect to a potential audience. We also search for films that are well edited, shot and produced. We are not sticklers on visual appeal in the sense of using big-budget cameras and equipment. In fact, we encourage the opposite! Resourcefulness is extremely important in this industry, (and beyond) and we love to see filmmakers make use of what they have. So if all you have is your phone to shoot, worry not and film on!

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

JJ: Absolutely. Although we have not experienced many film festivals in particular, we think it’s very possible some judges may penalize submissions based only on their visual appeal. We entirely understand the limitations tight or non-existed budgets may set, and feel strongly that films should not be judged on anything but the quality story it tells.

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

JJ: We, the co-founders of SFSFF, are but high school students ourselves, and have a mutual passion for storytelling. We attempt to help young aspiring filmmakers like ourselves get jumpstarts on our careers, and the excitement of such a passion motivates us to drive on!

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

JJ: As we said previously, we are in our first year, and we are constantly developing and preparing for what we hope to be a successful and beneficial experience.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

JJ: By 2020, or even sooner, we hope to be known and recongnized near and far as a beneficial event that attendees enjoy and look forward to.

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

JJ: Probably Forrest Gump, or The Lion King.

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

JJ: Great films make you feel something.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

JJ: South Florida is home to a few big independent film festivals: including the Palm Beach & Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festivals (PBIFF and FLIFF). We only dream to be as successful as them, and greatly appreciate all they’ve done to help us in our passionate pursuits!

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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 Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go towww.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Eric Quander (Joshua Tree International Film Festival)

The 2016 Joshua Tree International Film Festival’s mission is to provide a platform for independent and noteworthy films and filmmakers to connect with industry professionals and the diverse audience that recognizes Joshua Tree as an oasis of creativity, art and culture throughout the international arts community. With special focus and support for projects that encompass the diverse vision of the urban and LBGTQ communities and bring to light the perspectives of indigenous cultures from around the world, we hope to cast the widest possible net to grow future generations of filmmakers and movie goers in Joshua Tree and beyond.

http://www.jtiff.org/

Interview with Eric Quander: 

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

Eric Quander: The Joshua Tree International Film Festival offers filmmakers the opportunity to exhibit their work before an enthusiastic, curious and intelligent audience, in a community known for its creativity and mystic surroundings.

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

EQ: The theme for this year’s festival in “SACRED SPACE”, and will feature an eclectic mix of features and shorts that exhibit filmmakers and characters exploring their relationship to both their inner and exterior spaces.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

EQ: Submitted films are screened by a panel of judges, who are committed to the vision of the JTIFF. Films are distributed and are based on a set of criteria which are scored 1 (the lowest) to 10 (the highest). Films with the highest cumulative scores are submitted to the Programming Committee who make final determinations based on the festival’s theme and anticipated level of audience interest.

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

EQ: I can’t really speak for other festivals, but JTIFF screeners and judges are trusted to view each submission with an open mind. We received over 100 submissions to this year’s festival, and undoubtedly among them, there were more than a few that simply don’t meet the standard of the type of films we want to screen before an audience. We don’t force screeners and judges to endure an obviously amateurish work, or those that lie far beyond the theme.

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

EQ: Our inaugural event last years was motivated by a challenge as to if a film festival in our community could attract an audience, in that we succeeded; however, admittedly, neither my staff or myself were not prepared for the technical difficulties that we experienced, which really threw the entire schedule off. We learned a lot from that experience, and this year, we are motivated to produce as professional event as possible. We have ½ as many films, a trained volunteer staff and venues that make it easier for attendees to see more films.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

EQ: The JTIFF is much more organized this year. We have taken the time to really coordinate our efforts with venue owners, and we all recognize that he festival is a community effort, that will benefit all. We have been able to educate ourselves on how a festival should go, how to make seeing films easy for attendees and how to prepare technically, to ensure that every film on the schedule is screened. We’re proud of the work we have done, and know that returning attendees will see a big difference, while first time attendees will enjoy the experience.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

EQ: That will be our 6th festival, and honestly, I have no idea how the JTIFF will change in the intervening years. I do know that we will be around; between now and then, I would mid engaging in building a permanent space for the JTIFF, that shows films monthly. In the meantime, we will aim to exhibit independent films that challenge audiences, encourage introspection, and stimulate audiences to contribute to the positive growth of the local and global community.

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

EQ: Night of the Living Dead (b&w version)

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

EQ: A great film’s main character stimulates its viewer(s) to consider their life and environment.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

EQ: Although there are a few sporadic screening throughout the year, the JTIFF is our community’s main platform to see independent films in the hi-desert.

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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 Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go towww.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Rafael Jovine (Frame by Sound Festival)

Breaking away from traditional norms, Frame by Sound presented by Vents Magazine offer patrons a unique and groundbreaking experience of its own kind. By taking it online, FxS reaches audiences around the world in an effort to bring a personal film and music festival in the comfort of their own home. Various ways to experience are via computer, mobile, ROKU/APPLE TV.

Interview with Rafael Jovine

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

Rafael Jovine: Helping them reach out more people. As a online fest, we aren’t limited to any city or country in the world -well, except those that aren’t too internet friendly-, as a filmmaker myself I know how painful is to look for the perfect festival around the world, and our mission is basically to be a one-stop for them. We are also bringing a great group of talented filmmakers and crew members that would be doing this very educative and in some cases, practical, workshops and panels that aims to teach them some tips and how to be better on their particular field.

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

RJ: Comfort. Fun and definitely for all filmmakers and film enthusiasts this would be an exciting learning experience. We are doing our best to have some creative and talented group of speakers from pretty much each department in a film, from the usual suspects like directors, producers, writers to the not common such as Editors, Directors of Photography, Art Directors, Custom, designers, etc.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films? 

RJ: Creativity at the time of writing and producing a film, some sort of uniqueness on the way the story is told, engagement and so many things more I am sure those who attend the festival would see.

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

RJ: Totally! Through history we have seen all these great and iconic filmmakers who have been rejected at the early stage of their careers like Wes Anderson. And I think it’s both a matter of time as many festivals are very limited by time and in some case scenarios, elitism.

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

RJ: Well, personally I can’t afford to go to any of this big festivals like Sundance, SXSW, etc. and those who are luckier, they have to spend thousands in cash. So we are also thinking on those who attend this festival, we are aiming to bring an equally exciting festival at a cheaper price and without they having to travel to another city or country.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception? 

RJ: This would be our second year, so not too much haha. The format has definitely change, we are totally focusing on the online format instead of the physical as we did last year, we are also adding the musical element, the workshops and we are extending our panels by including other departments of a film production.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020? 

RJ: Ruling the world! Hahaha. But seriously, though the online format isn’t as new as I thought it was, we are definitely more ambitious and hopefully by then everything goes as plan and this would become the new way of enjoying festivals.

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

RJ: I would say Pirates of the Caribbean and Inception.

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

RJ: Creativity, hands down.

MT: How is the film scene in your city? 

RJ: It’s definitely growing. We started focusing more on it like 6 years ago, before it there wasn’t too much of an industry and we barely get one or two movies produced by year, now we get like 20 or so films produced. What we definitely need is a signature, we are currently lost in the sea of mimmicks.

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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 Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go towww.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Gisella Calabrese (Visioni Corte Film Festival)

Visioni Corte Film Festival was born in 2012 and realized in the Baronial Castle of Minturno (Lazio, centre of Italy) since its beginning. It has 6 categories: Corto Fiction Italy, Corto Fiction International, CortoDoc (for documentaries), CortoMusic and CortoAnimation. They’ve got also another particular category, SocialVisions, dedicated to short movies realized by therapeutic communities or social cooperatives, to compare with another reality and spread new type of relationships and communication between people with different disabilities.

http://www.visionicorte.it

Interview with Gisella Calabrese:

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

Gisella Calabrese: Filmmakers are always welcome in Minturno. It’s a honor for us, especially who comes from abroad, because we’re trying to get tourism close to culture. It’s a heat, but we’re really convinced that it’s possible, if you love your town and, of course, cinema. They’ll find out that in our festival, the short movies and their creators are the real protagonists. Visioni Corte isn’t just a runway for celebrities as others do, we give importance to our films with no reserve.

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

GS: This year we’ve made some changes, beginning from the period. We used to play in October, while we’ve decided do realize it in summer. We’re sure that filmmakers will appreciate this decision. We’ve got a beautiful sea, why don’t take advantage? We’re going to do this fifth edition outdoor with a big screen. Some guests belonging to the world of cinema, cultural events, music, traditional good food of our region… we’re preparing a lot of surprises.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films? 

GS: Well, during selections we’re very strict. Only the best film will pass. They must have a good screenplay, intense performance, great filming, excellent photography and if possible an original story. In the previous editions we had international premiere, and also very particular (and beautiful) movies that you can’t see in Italy so easily. We don’t make obvious choices.

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

GS: It depends on festivals. Some of them are just a showcase for famous and sometimes the selections of the movies isn’t so accurate, while other ones focus on the quality and are able to advertise them better than other. Of course, if you have been selected by the TIFF or Cannes, it’s another story, at all. We’re proud to say that many films which have been selected in our festival during these years, afterwards have been selected also in prestigious festivals such as Cannes, Tiff, Venice, Goya, New York, Los Angeles. It shows that we make a really good selection. It’s the better acknowledgment for us.

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

GS: We live in a beautiful place, we’ve sea and mountains, romans ruins and a temperate weather but Minturno (Lazio, centre of Italy) hasn’t a cinema, a theatre or an auditorium. You must go to nearby towns for this. Visioni Corte is born to spread the idea that making cultural tourism is possible, if you strongly believe in it. Before us people here had no idea what a short movie was. Instead, now we’ve got regular fans that attend every year, it’s a close audience who follow us with love, and some surrounding cities are trying to make something similar to our festival. We’re on trend, perhaps 😉

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception? 

GS: Our festival has improved a lot. The passion is the same but the screen is bigger and we’ve more volunteers to realize it now. Our Techical Jury has become more prestigious and Visioni Corte is becoming famous in the short film industry. We receive so many films abroad! Also the programm is changed. We make more events, retrospectives, presentation of books regarding cinema and also workshops and cine lab.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020? 

GS: I hope that in 2020 we’ll have more support from the local institutions to realize a really big festival of cinema, especially for the economical burden. It’s our dream but also our target. We’ve made everything by ourselves and our sponsors and we’ll go on this way. We’re not tied, we’re free to make our own choices. If this support comes, we’ll be very happy, otherwise we’ll carry on making the festival with the same enthusiasm and passion… searching for other sponsors! We’d like to create a sort of Visioni Corte Village, with many stands, masterclasses, cinema and photo exhibitions, workshops, music… a long party for the short movie and its lovers.

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

GS: This is a very difficult question. There are so many films I’ve seen so many times! I love Blade Runner, for example, or Point Break, but also Star Wars saga, Gone with the wind, Vittorio Gasmann’s movies… But there’s a movie that moved me and made me cry like anything else: The Wrestler, of Darren Aronofsky. Really, it’s an incredible movie, shooted as an european indipendent film. I can’t see it as often as I would like because it hurts me, but I mean it as the true essence of the cinema, at all.

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

GS: Well, a great film must hit you, leaving you something you can’t explain but you feel it so strong that it will never leave you.

MT: How is the film scene in your city? 

GS: The film city in Minturno is very low, but we feel that people are hungry of culture, in all its way. That’s why we’re making Visioni Corte. It makes you dream, laugh, cry, think, move but especially, it enriches all of us in spirit. Thank you so much for the interview. I’m honored.

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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 Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go towww.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Amanda Perry (Cutting Edge Film Festival)

The Cutting Edge Festival is a 501(c)(3) charitable non-profit organization which endeavors to promote the best filmmakers and their films to an ever-growing worldwide audience as a powerful medium that inspires creativity, encourages introspection, and compels the exploration of the senses, and expands the imagination.

The festival uses the monies raised from film submission fees to promote and expand the world of Independent Filmmaking as an ever increasing endeavor.

www.cuttingedgefilmfest.com

Interview with Amanda Perry:

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

We feel that in the two years since we established our Festival that we have offered hundreds of Filmmakers from around the world a lot of additional exposure for their work to countless lovers of Independent Film the world over. As I’m sure that you know, for an Independent Filmmaker, exposure of their films is everything.

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

First, our festival is produced strictly through a virtual film screening platform, and there really isn’t a physical event to attend. However, what a Filmmaker who is screening at the CEIFF could expect is not only a great deal of exposure for their film, but additionally they should expect the potential for their film to come to the attention of Distributors, and a Filmmaker should most certainly expect that the audiences for their film will be of the warmest kind. What a virtual attendee of our festival should expect should be films of all genres that are among the highest caliber in the world.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Like most Festivals in the world, ours makes it’s film selections based on the quality of Directing, cinematography, story line, script plot, writing, acting, production values, and lighting along with many other elements of the film. Most importantly though, we think that a film overall should be entertaining and should capture the viewer’s attention from start to finish.

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

I think that most Festival, ours included, try their best to offer every Filmmaker who submits their film an equal opportunity to be selected and screened. However, I also think that there are a few Festivals out there that seem to focus more on the big budget films which have celebrities attached to them, and less on the smaller budget films with no celebrity involvement. Though this is not the case with the majority of Festivals, there are a few with this focus, and I feel that it is unfortunate because there are countless films that are produced with little or nearly no budget that would rival those larger budget films.

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

Very simply, a love of film, a great respect for the Independent Filmmaker, and our passion for the art of Filmmaking.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

The Fest hasn’t really changed, though we have learned quite a bit and have refined many of our systems and processes as to allow for what we feel is a better overall experience for the Filmmaker from the submission process all the way through to the end of the Festival.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Hopefully still producing Festivals that are much better, and much more well attended each year.

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

That is really hard to answer because I have seen so very many, both Independent and “Hollywood” films.

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

As I said above, what I think makes a great film is for the film to have the ability to capture the viewer’s attention from start to finish, drawing the viewer into a new reality created by the Filmmaker to the point that the viewer forgets that it’s a movie.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

As with many cities around this Country, I think the the demand for Independent Film has grown, and will continue to do so over the coming years.

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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 Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go towww.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.