Interview with Aviel Silook, Founder & Creative Director (BERLIN MUSIC VIDEO AWARDS)

Berlin Music Video Awards
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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Aviel Silook: Our event is not a film festival, we really try to step out of this definition. The next teaser will explain:

Our event is the biggest music video networking event in Europe, we already know about many nominees and winners who visited and found great job opportunities. Besides, some of the winners who traveled between Music Video’s events grasped that it is very unique, personal and fun compares to others.

We believe that getting selected by us means something special.. different than other events that their winners are always high budget productions. 2 of our final winners were winning with their first ever music video and since then they were invited to make many more videos. I believe that the fact that we nominate music videos in all languages is really appreciated as well.

We managed to get over 700 mentionings in a bit more than 3 years and we always ask to include videos from our nominees

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

Aviel: I am originally a nightlife events producer and my main goal is that the guests of the event will have fun! so besides the great video selection we pay a close attention to other elements like good food, after parties, live shows, fun guests and a lot of press presence.

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Aviel: Originality and good execution

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

Aviel: I think that many film festivals care about big names.. that’s a pity really.

We do our best not to discriminate unknown artists and also on the other side to give a fair chance to filmmakers who did a video for famous musicians. In Berlin we have a lot of social pressure not to let those in but we always remember that behind the music video could be a young filmmaker that had his first chance to make a video for a big musician. So if the video is good we won’t exclude him but at the same time we rejected many big names before.. the fame plays no role for us. If you take a look at our previous selections.. we have Bob Dylan, Katy Perry, Cold Play and other big artists who were nominated but in the end most of them lost. Popularity plays no role for us.

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

Aviel: To do something unique

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Aviel: We really grew fast.

In the first year we had 1000 guests and this year we expect 8000 (4th edition). We have better prizes and a bigger press exposure for the winners. The venues are bigger and we work with more professionals.

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Aviel: The real question for us is where do we see our nominees in 2020. We really hope that what we do will push them to go far, we want them all to get good job offers and keep making music videos.

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

Aviel: I will refer this quetsion to music videos.

I think that the music videos that i watched really many times are the ones that we are getting as submissions and specifically the winners. I view them over and over again before they get nominated and then maybe 50 more times afterwards (and try to compare them to the others, which is very difficult) just to make sure that we don’t do any mistakes with the selection.

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

Aviel: A great music video is a music video where the crew went with it all the way without a safe play (but that’s just my personal opinion).

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Aviel: The independent scene in Berlin is pretty good but not really many big productions, especially not around music videos.

Originally our festival was supposed to be a local festival and our goal was to develop the local scene but in the end we received so many international good videos and changed our mind very quick.


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 for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


Movie Review: DIRTY GRANDPA (2016)

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

dirty_grandpa.jpgDIRTY GRANDPA (USA 2015) ***1/2
Directed by Dan Mazer

Starring: Zac Efron, Robert DeNiro, Zoey Deutch, Aubrey Plaza

Review by Gilbert Seah

Read Interview with the Art Director Jeremy Woolsey

A party scene has one character saying: “Party till you are pregnant!” Another has a prosthetic penis (an erect one at that) in the face of Zac Efron in bed after the De Niro character admits that ‘naked’ is the best way of sleeping.

If the above offends, stay away from DIRTY GRANDPA – the movie. The film is meant to offend. If the above do not do it, De Niro gets to use the ’N’ word later on in the movie. It is what is expected from the British co-writer Dam Mazer, who penned the BORAT and ALI G. characters with Sacha Baron Cohen. But DIRTY GRANDPA is extremely funny, if not a bit inconsistent in its laughs. But if a few jokes fail, one knows there are more successful ones to offend just around the corner.

But the film has a poor start with the funeral services of Dick Kelly’s (De Niro) wife of 15 years. Cousin Nick’s (Adam Pally) drunken shenanigans (speeches and small talk) are unfunny and a waste of time. His later appearance does more of the same and director Mazer would have done better to edit this character out of the film. Then there is the appearance of Dick’s grandson, Jason (Efron) and his annoying fiancé, Meredith (Julianne Hough). The Meredith character and her scenes are also unfunny at all, though her character is key to the film’s plot. John Phillip’s script could have given her a few funny moments.

The film’s simple plot allows for lots of hilarious distractions. Dick fools his grandson Jason to drive him to Florida for spring break for the sole reason that Dick and his late wife go there every year. But Dick has another agenda up his sleeve. He finally confesses to Jason once there in the film’s funniest line: “I have been faithful for 15 years, and all I want to do now is fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck!” The two get a chance when they meet two hot chicks Shadia (Zoey Deutch) and Lenore (Aubrey Plaza) on the road.

The film’s funniest parts are nothing less than inspired. At a beach party, there is a ‘Flex Off”, a take off from a ‘Dance-Off’ where Dick and Jason hilariously take on a couple of hunks in the contest. Another exceptionally funny segment is when Jason gets drunk and naked, smokes crack and takes off stoned on a motorbike to a beach where he is mistaken for a child pervert.

Oscar winner De Niro has proven his comedic skills in films like MEET THE PARENTS and THE FAMILY, while Efron has proven himself just as proficient in last year’s NEIGHBOURS. Together, they form a dynamic duo in comedy.

The film’s climax does not involve anything as dramatic as the heroes saving the world but involves the heroes accomplishing an equally daunting task. Dick gets to fuck after 15 years in another very funny segment. If you are prepared not to be offended, DIRTY GRANDPA proves enough filth for the funny bone for the entire 2016.

Also, Free logline submissions. The Writing Festival network averages over 95,000 unique visitors a day.
Great way to get your story out:

Deadlines to Submit your Screenplay, Novel, Story, or Poem to the festival:

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Julian Martin, Artistic Director Ascona Film Festival

Ascona FIlm Festival was founded four years ago, as a passionate project of four movie buff friends. after years of attending the magnificent Festival del FIlm Locarno, which takes place in the neighbouring city of Locarno, on a beautiful Summer night open air projection on the Piazza Grande, one of pus asked the others: “Why don’t we make our own little festival?”. The other three looked at each other and simply claimed: “Why not?”

Matthew Toffolo interviews Julian Martin, Artistic Director:

Matthew: What is the goal of your film festival?

Julian: Our goal has two sides:

1) offer our region a cultural event in a season where not much is happening.

2) offer a platform for artists to showcase their work and be able to meet other artists and eventually filmmakers to create further possibilities do develop more and more projects in an art that is quite complicated to live and survive with. As the festival grows, so does the interest from producers and distributors. The symbiotic potential for everybody attending will therefore further the possibilities for our filmmakers to connect, develop and eventually produce their all unique vision of life on our planet and in our universe. “If you build it, they will come!”

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception until your upcoming 2015 festival?

Julian: Our adventure began in the Summer of 2010, and through the hard and persevering work of our festival president, we grew quite quickly, as our festival was conceived exclusively through social media. In the first year we received 300 submissions, which were mostly intermediate school projects, computer graphics animations, music videos, etc., and we ended up selecting 80 shorts.m In the 4th year we received around 7000 submissions from over 100 countries, selecting 30 masterpieces of short fiction, one animation and one short documentary from 18 different countries including an Academy award nomination for the short film live action category this year and two last year.

Each year we also screen out of competion Feature films. In the first year we had one big Swiss production. The second a low budget Indian Film. Last year we screened three features, and this year we are showcasing two critically acclaimed feature length documentaries.

We are followed by over 90’000 people around the globe through various social media platforms.

Matthew: How many films are you showcasing at your Film Festival?

Julian: We have 30 short films selected for our international competition and 2 feature length documentaries out of competition. We also have a new special category of NGO shorts competing for a special prize on Friday evening, and we will also screen two surprise shorts on our final day.

Matthew: Can you give us a sneak peak of what to except for the 2015 Festival?

Julian: Good films, an interested open-minded audience, good food and great wine in a magical venue on the mystic Monte Verità. If you come, you will thank us later.

Matthew: Is there going to be an overall theme for the 2015 festival?

Julian: There is no common denominator between the films we are showcasing, although we are planning something very special and unique beginning from next year, our 5th anniversary.

Matthew: Where do you see your festival in 5 years?

Julian: Our hope and goal is to be part of the international short film circuit, a festival all filmmakers want to send their masterpieces to. We are trying to position ourselves in a unique niche to offer filmmakers more possibilities on the market. We are also working towards having a feature length category in the near future, and offering roundtables and workshops with industry professionals from around the globe. I would really like to have a special retrospective program, but don’t want to reveal too much ahead of its inception.

Matthew: What’s the current status of the Film Scene in your city?

Julian: To consider Ascona a city would be like considering a Trabant to be a race car. But our region has an amazing historical background and has been a cultural cradle for local and international artists until not all to long ago. We also have many valuable and highly successful cultural events in Ascona and Locarno, like the FIlm Festival Locarno, the Jazz Ascona, the Street artist Festival in Ascona and many more. The region has just approved and is constructing the Palazzo del Cinema, a cinema fortress in the centre of Locarno, solidifying their event by also creating a venue for a Master in Film Program which will massively enhance the status and the value of film in our entire region.

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

Julian: There had to be a trick question. Well, to be honest I am a film buff/freak, and have devoured film ever since I can remember. My favourite film… if there is such, would have to be both Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” and Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb”. As I am borderline obsessive/compulsive, it is hard to answer which film I’ve seen the most, but remembering my youth, where all this passion began, the answer would have to be Disney’s “The Jungle Book”.

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Matthew Toffolo, Interviewer BIO

Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes, Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival. He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.

Go to and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.

Go to and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.

Interview with Wendy Markson, Founding Artistic Director for Breakthroughs Film Festival

The Breakthroughs Film Festival is the only festival in Canada devoted exclusively to short films by New Generation (18-30) female artists. We showcase films from any and every genre made by talented young women from all over the world. The title ‘Breakthroughs’ refers to the struggles emerging women artists face in an industry where they make up only 6 percent of directors, and must, in many cases, work even harder than their male counterparts to make their voices heard.

The 2015 Breakthroughs Film Festival will be held June 5-6, 2015.

For more information, please contact us at, and check out our website:

Matthew Toffolo Interviews Founding Artistic Director Wendy Markson:

Matthew: Why is the city of Toronto the perfect fit for what you’re showcasing at the festival?

Wendy: Toronto is the 4th largest city in North America and one of the most multicultural cities in the world, allowing Breakthroughs to draw on a great diversity of emerging talent. As one of the main creative hubs in Canada and host of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), one of the largest and most influential film festivals worldwide, Toronto is home to a great many established and aspiring filmmakers and always draws new talent. Toronto also houses three world-class universities and countless film college programs, which guarantees a never-ending stream of new young women emerging at various stages of their film careers. Providing filmmakers with access to a diverse and well-developed filmmaking community along with all the tools they need to develop their work, Toronto is the ideal location for a festival showcasing the work of female artists as they negotiate their positions in this traditionally male-dominated industry.

Matthew: What is the goal of your film festival?

Wendy: Breakthroughs works to provide New Generation women filmmakers with more clear opportunities by offering the only festival in Canada devoted solely to short films made by young women. By promoting submissions to our festival, we hope to encourage the work of young women who may feel challenged by the male domination of the industry, allowing them to see our festival as a stepping stone, or ‘breakthrough’, towards their future development and success as filmmakers. At the same time, we hope that attendance at the festival will raise awareness of the under-representation of women filmmakers, by showcasing to both the film and larger cultural communities the great value women bring to the table.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since is began until now?

Wendy: Breakthroughs is only entering its 4th year, and has grown a little in size each year in the number of submissions received and attendance. In the last two years, we’ve also been fortunate to receive recognition and funding from the government of Ontario. While we previously accepted submissions from Canadian applicants only, for the first time in 2015 we are accepting submissions from the international community. As we are still in the early stages of growing our organization, the possibilities are endless! Currently, we are working towards partnering with other film festivals and cultural organizations to be able to more widely promote our unique offering to the local and international community.

Matthew: How many films are you showcasing at your Film Festival this year in how many days?

Wendy: Between 15 and 20 films over 2 days.

Matthew: Can you give us a sneak peak of what to expect for the 2015 Festival?

Wendy: Each year, we select the most interesting films to screen, while aiming to showcase the great variety of talent women filmmakers bring to the industry. As in previous years, we will screen short films from a variety of genres — comedy, drama, documentary, animation, etc. This year, by opening the festival to applicants from around the world, we hope to add an international flair to the variety we’ve already been able to showcase.

Matthew: Is there going to be an overall theme for the 2015 festival?

Wendy: The overall theme of each year’s Breakthroughs Film Festival is simply, yet importantly, the inspiring talent New Generation women filmmakers are bringing to the industry.

Matthew: Where do you see your festival in 5 years?

Wendy: In 5 years, we would like to see Breakthroughs emerge as one of the go-to festivals in Toronto for New Generation female artists to develop and showcase their work, as well as for others in the film industry to discover new talent. We hope to achieve this by partnering with more widely-known festivals and cultural organizations, and by welcoming more high-profile Toronto film industry names onto our Board of Directors.

Matthew: What’s the current status of the Film Scene in Toronto?

Wendy: Toronto is North America’s third largest screen-based production centre, thanks to world-class talent in every aspect of filmmaking. We are home to over 50 film festivals and counting! The Toronto film scene owes a lot to the huge success of TIFF, which in addition to its annual film festival, also acts year-round as a hub for film discovery and appreciation. Toronto is also huge in the documentary film scene with Hot Docs, the largest documentary festival in North America. Toronto’s vibrant film scene consistently draws a high volume and variety of talent from around the world, and it’s booming.

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

Wendy: My favorite childhood film was The Sound of Music, which I watched over and over again until I could not only sing all the songs, but even recite most of the dialogue from memory! Climb Every Mountain, sisters! Great message for young women. More recently, I’ve been watching and re-watching Samsara, a sort of global travelogue showcasing some of the most beautiful, and occasionally disturbing, real sites and scenes of our diverse world. It’s breathtaking.

Matthew: What else are you passionate about besides running this festival?

Wendy: I’m passionate about mindful communication, authenticity, self-expression, and the diverse beauty of the human experience. And with all those ideals in mind, encouraging people to work together rather than against each other to build the kind of world we want to live in.

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Matthew Toffolo, Interviewer BIO

Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes, Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival. He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.

Go to and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.

Go to and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.