The Ocean City Film Festival was founded in January, 2017. Hosted by the Art League of Ocean City, this festival is a regional affair that allows both community engagement and networking for artists.
Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?
William Strang-Moya: This film festival is ultimately going to expand the demographic of these filmmakers. It is truly providing them an opportunity to lay the groundwork for an emerging film culture within the Delmarva region.
What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2017)?
This is the inaugural year for the Ocean City Film Festival. A person attending can expect mainly an incredibly diverse selection and the chance to personally engage the filmmakers that will be showing their work.
What are the qualifications for the selected films?
The qualifications are few for this year’s festival. We have an animation category, short film category, feature length category, and youth category. We seek work based on its uniqueness, diversity, and its coherent purpose for being a film. However, we do offer various awards for films. Such as a judge’s choice and audience choice. Then there is the “Pink Flamingo” Award for the film that most uniquely represents Maryland life. The “Celluloid Crab” award goes to the film with the best use of analog equipment or practical effects. And last we have the “Inky Tentacle” award for the best screenplay.
Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?
I don’t think that films will always get a fair shake anywhere, really. As film, to us, is ultimately viewed as an art, beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder. As someone who is fresh out of film school, I can say that for the longest time I have had to craft my films in a way that would appease my professors as opposed to my artistic inclinations. It is truly shameful that as a collective, film cannot be approached with a more open mind as Hollywood has set such specific standards for how films should be executed. When it comes to festivals, films have a lot of opportunities for due recognition, but as a whole, I do not feel too much at liberty to speak on behalf of how complicated the relationship can be between filmmakers and festivals.
What motivates you and your team to do this festival?
We are motivated by a number of things. My partner Kristin Helf(Festival Co-director) and I have been shooting films in the area for a while now, and even as a native, I am constantly amazed by how readily the community embraces film-making and allows for individuals such as ourselves to come in and work on our films. So we are really motivated by the idea of establishing a culture for filmmakers in the region and awaken the local artists so that a network can be established.
How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?
The process was intimidating at first, but we are fortunate to have gotten a good committee of judges and a coherent color-coded flagging system to sort through the entries.
Where do you see the festival by 2020?
By 2020, I see the festival at its third year, with larger venues, and bigger names attending.
What film have you seen the most times in your life?
Sam Raimi’s Evil Dead II.
In one sentence, what makes a great film?
A great film is a film that is both personal and purposeful to the filmmaker and its audience.
How is the film scene in your city?
I currently live in Baltimore and with the Maryland Film Fest going on, the film scene is present and active. Ocean City however has no film scene. The closest film scene can be found about an hour away in Rehoboth.
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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