Interview with Festival Director Asher Segelken (Teen Faith Film Festival)

Christian filmmakers from high schools across California come together through the celebration of filmmaking in a place of collaboration and exposure!

Go to the website for more information: http://teenfaithfilmfest.weebly.com/

I sat down with the Festival Director to talk about the festival.

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

Asher Segelken: The Teen Faith Film Festival is succeeding on three major fronts, the first is exposing stories of faith exploration through film. Our first year hosted very powerful narratives, documentaries and Art-House films that conveyed something deeply spiritual.

Secondly we are succeeding in the networking, for a second year event we have been able to network with Biola University, and other Christian Filmmaking Professionals to bring an event that is very active for networking and internships.

Thirdly we are succeeding in the quality of submissions attracting the best of faith based High School films from across the country.

Matthew: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival?

Asher: If I was at a festival I would expect to see people represented from a lot of places and perspectives I would expect to be blown away by the efforts of the student committee who put on and market the festival as well as expect to know the essential details of each film before I left the Nechita Center.

Matthew:  What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Asher: All films must be under ten minutes and made by a teenager.  That’s it. We assess the spirituality of different submissions looking for profound insights coupled with good filmmaking and then we send the films on to professionals judges that then score the films.

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

Asher: I think festivals want what would sell in that they want the publicity of being the festival where a deal was made because that is what festivals are after. I also think festivals want to see innovation in film and so if either extreme is not met a spiritual margin somehow disqualifies you. At teen faith we look for the best filmmaking and the best story. The only way a film is subjectively disqualified at teen faith after qualifying by being 10  minutes and made by a teen is if that film ignores spirituality which is frankly a difficult thing to ignore in while telling a story.

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

Asher: What motivates my team and I to do this festival is the idea of celebrating what our peers are doing through an art form we love to express faith of all kinds and to further story in a unique way as students.

Matthew:  How has the festival changed since its inception?

Asher: The Festival was originally supposed to be a closed festival to selected schools but then became a much more open and international event.

Matthew:  Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Asher: By 2020 I see the Teen Faith Film Festival being the place to see up and coming christian filmmakers celebrated and then going on to continue to innovate Christian filmmaking changing it for the better by going away from cheesier films that we are used to cringing at when they are in the box office to making films that create legitimate hype regardless of a person’s religious standings.

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

Asher: For me I can’t stop watching Birdman or the Dark Knight those films are so well done and speak so much to the complexities of societial and individual humanity.

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

Asher: A Great film is made when realism is balanced with reasonable suspense forcing the viewer to be present, while also being provocative in a way that changes ones perspective when they leave the theater.

Matthew:  How is the film scene in your city?

Asher: Orange County is better known for the amazing contract/freelance filmmakers in the area who make a good profit for providing film services. The Art-form itself is very beloved being in the greater Los Angeles area.

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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 to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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