Interview with Festival Director Albert G. Nigrin (New Jersey International Film Festival)

The Rutgers Film Co-op/New Jersey Media Arts Center proudly announces the 35th Bi-Annual New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2017. The Festival will be held on select evenings between September 15 and October 15, 2017 and will showcase the best in independent film by featuring premiere screenings and special guest appearances by film directors, screenwriters, cast and crew. For more information go to http://www.njfilmfest.com, call (848) 932-8482 or e-mail us at NJMAC@aol.com or NJMAC12@gmail.com!

 

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

Albert G. Nigrin: Our Festival does a terrific job getting independent filmmakers the media/press attention and audience they deserve. Most filmmakers who are screened go out of their way to praise the great work that we do. And they love seeing their films on our huge screen and on our hi-def projection system.

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

You would see enlightening and inspiring films that you couldn’t see any place else in the state of New Jersey as they are all premieres. You would also get to interact with over 20 visiting filmmakers who come from all over the world to present their films and do Q+As with the audience. 17 films will have their New Jersey or Area Premiere screenings as part of the New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2017. Some of these include: Jeremy Bryant’s very edgy short film Hitchhiking with a .357 Magnum; Minwoo Song’s brilliant experimental film Greeting In The Afternoon; Fred Riedel and Jerry Friends documentary film about the making of Lee Ranaldo’s upcoming release — Hello Hello Hello : Lee Ranaldo : Electric Trim; Leslie Ann Coles’ Melody Makers — a rock-doc that traces the birth of rock n’ roll journalism in the 1960s; Goran Trenchovski’s The Golden Five — an intimate feature film from Macedonia about the bonds of friendship, tested by unacknowledged acts of betrayal; Sara Leavitt’s short documentary Riverkeeper about Captain Bill Sheehan who has dedicated his life to preserving and protecting the New Jersey Meadowlands; Scott Morris’s Saving The Great Swamp: Battle to Defeat the Jetport ­– a documentary about a successful grassroots effort to defeat a plan to build the world’s largest jetport on wetlands in the heart of New Jersey; Chiara Bellini’s Life by the Landfill — an inspiring documentary about a determined group of activists who took on the notoriously mismanaged system of trash collection in Rome, Italy; Jimmy Dinh’s hysterically funny and timely feature You Have A Nice Flight, Nurith Cohn’s amusing short film The Little Dictator; Jordna Horowitz’s surreal feature Painless; Sharon’s Chetrit’s surreal short from Israel Soup; and many others. This fall we will also be re-screening the films that were the Best of our Summer 2017 New Jersey International Film Festival. These include: First Bloom (Best Animation) , Kedi (Honorable Mention), The Ravens (Best Short), Emma (Best Feature), Passaic (Honorable Mention), and Levinsky Park (Best Documentary). There will be Free Food served at the New Jersey Film Festival Fall 2017 except the shows on Thursdays prior to all the screenings courtesy of Jimmy John’s of New Brunswick! Visit our website for more info: http://www.njfilmfest.com

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

All works selected are screened by a panel of judges which included media professionals, journalists, students, and academics. Films are prescreened by 1st round judges and they basically weed the good films from the bad ones. We received over 370s for the current Fall 2017 New Jersey Film Festival and these judges selected about 100 films from these to be viewed by a final jury and they pick the finalists which are being publicly screened at our Festival. 17 finalists were selected for our Festival this Fall. All films viewed by the judges are scored from 1-10 with 10 being the highest. Films that receive 7s and higher for the most part were selected as finalists. Each piece is also scored with respect to the following categories: Originality, Creativity, Production Values, and Performances w/ the grades being Superior/Very Good/Good/Fair/Poor/NA. It is really very professionally run.

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

All films are judged equally. Even the ones screened at 8AM get revisited by the jury to make sure they were given a fair shake. Also the fact that we have a two tiered judging process ensures that films are thoroughly examined. We also provide judges comments to any entrant who asks for them. The Festival judging process is, for sure, imprecise and I am certain many good films are not selected but that is the nature of the Festival process.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We do the NJFF to make sure indy films get seen in our state. The New Jersey Film Festival is one of the longest running Film Festivals in New Jersey. It is now in it’s 36th year and I founded it back in 1982. It has grown from a seat of the pants film program to one the state’s largest and most popular Film Festivals.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Pretty good. It was certainly necessary to give Withouabox some competition. Now there are so many submission platforms to choose from.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

The New Jersey Film Festival has gone through many different changes for a variety of reasons. It started as a revival program in the 1980s. Then we started doing 1st and 2nd run Art House films in addition to revival screenings due to the fact that our programs were growing and had more income to work, with. In the new millennium the Festival has transformed itself into a Festival which premiers Independent films in New Jersey. I expect the Film Festival to continue what we have been doing the last few years which is to help give a platform in New Jersey for indy films.

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

Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon and Bunuel/Dali’s Un Chien Andalou.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is one that you can watch endlessly and never get tired of it.

How is the film scene in your city?

Vibrant. It was pretty dead when I got to New Brunswick in 1980 but now it is considered the mecca for filmgoers in New Jersey.

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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 Festival Director Alex P. Michaels (Prelude2Cinemas)

The festival began as a monthly event created by Prelude2Cinema, a movie and marketing company. The goal was not just to screen movies from all over the world, but offer filmmakers a chance at distribution from the company. After four events, the festival decided a change of venue and a chance to regroup. In August 2017, the festival will relaunch with at least four events per year. The other thing that makes the event different is that there is live entertainment and food served at each event. We have had musicians, magicians and filmmakers interacting with the audience. By the end of the year, Prelude2Cinema presents… looks forward to offering funding for filmmakers.

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

Alex P. Michaels: Prelude2Cinema presents… has given filmmakers more exposure and with a future chance for funding and distribution, we hope to establish ourselves as a film market/ film festival. Being filmmakers ourselves, we are geared toward helping other filmmakers reach an audience.

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

Filmmakers are treated like royalty. We make certain to invite the press and give their film attention and encourage them to talk to the audience about their work and future goals. We also have live entertainment and food at each event as part of the ticket price.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We like a certain level of quality, but realize your movie may not be “Hollywood” standards. We are drawn to movies that have distinct voices and are something you normally don’t see. Short films are better for programming, but we do screen features. We also keep the films from past festivals to screen at other screenings and keep in touch with the filmmakers.

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

A few festivals have turned into Hollywood promotion events and certain movies are selected before they are even finished. A festival should be a chance to discover a movie that does not have movie stars but maybe offer a glimpse at future movie stars and directors. A lot of festivals can be narrow in their film selection as well and advertise they are looking for one type of movie but have a preference for another genre all together.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

As filmmakers, we wanted to give help to fellow filmmakers. Prelude2Cinema is also building a movie studio here in our hometown of Cleveland, Ohio and want to produce other filmmakers. We thought a festival would be a great way to build a relationship with filmmakers from all over the world.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Great. The process and payments are easy and we appreciate the template so people can discover our festival. We have had movies from Canada, Russia, France and the US. FilmFreeway is a great tool for any festival organizer.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Prelude2Cinema presents… wants to be able to screen trailers of movies and have screenplays submitted that we can later award production deals to. Imagine a film festival where your trailer screens, and you are awarded a budget to produce that movie? Even if we bring in movies with known stars, we always want to make certain there is equal room for new directors and actors. We want the festival to be about discovering the new filmmakers.

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

“Raiders of the Lost Ark.” I’ve seen it about 20 times.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Big Money. Big Stars. No. Just kidding. Actually what makes a great movie is one that lingers with you. One that changes how you look at the world. One that you find yourself thinking about years later. I truly believe movies can be art. And art should always touch your soul.

How is the film scene in your city?

The Cleveland film scene is kind of paradoxically. The movie business is Show Business. Yet, here, it is all about SHOW and very little about business. There are talented filmmakers here and the usual jealousy and egos that go along with being an artist. Sadly a lot of artist here wear “Starving Artist” as a badge of honor. They work regular jobs and do some crowdfunding and get patrons but shy away from the business aspects of our industry. I am a director myself and have acted in my movies and for other filmmakers. While I personally would like to create more movies, I do devote a large amount of time to building a pool of funding. Prelude2Cinema has just partnered with a nonprofit Give to Cleveland that is focused on the economic growth of the region. We are able to accept tax deductible donations for our movies and the studio we are working on building. While we definitely have a strong community of filmmakers with great talent, I truly believe unless we get consistent funding, we will never be able to rise above the “Starving Artist” syndrome.
 

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Emmy winning writer and award winning director, Alex has produced a number of indie movies and a TV series in his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. He founded the Movie and Marketing Company Prelude2Cinema. Although Prelude2Cinema shoots in Northeast, Ohio, its movies have played all over the world. Alex also acts in other movies from other directors. Alex is the Cinema Czar and dedicated to creating a Cinema Industry in Northeast Ohio that is based on the old Hollywood Studio System and promotes movies and includes Hollywood and Indie filmmakers.

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 Festival Director Travis Legge (Forest City Comic Con Film Festival)

The Third Annual FC3 (Forest City Comic Con) Film Festival takes place in Rockford, Illinois May 26-27, 2017. The festival will be held at the Rockford Public Library Nordlof Center Performing Arts Theatre

Submit via FilmFreeway

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

Travis Legge: The Fc3 Film Festival provides a networking opportunity for filmmakers in the Northern Illinois/Southern Wisconsin area, as well as access to a broad audience of film fans from the greater Rockford area who may not normally be exposed to the work of these filmmakers.

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

TL: We will be holding multiple screening blocks in the beautiful Nordlof center in downtown Rockford. There will also be an opportunity for networking and socializing in the spacious theatre lobby between screening blocks.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

TL: We have a panel of judges who determine which films will screen based on 10 metrics of storytelling, including pacing, cinematography, sound quality, performances and more.

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

TL: I do, I believe a lack of diversity in some judging panels can lead to certain films being judged unfairly. As director of Fc3 I am bending every effort to ensure that’s not an issue we have. All genres, subject matters, and levels of content are welcome.

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

TL: I like watching movies. I like sharing the experience. Also, as a filmmaker in Rockford, it is in my interest to support the film community in any way that I can.

MT: How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

TL: Excellent. I love working with FilmFreeway. It’s truly made this herculean task of setting up the festival manageable.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

TL: I’m honestly not sure, but I am excited to find out.

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

TL: That’s an excellent question. If I had to hazard a guess I’d probably say Big Trouble in Little China, but ask me again next week and I might recall differently.

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

TL: Great storytelling makes a great film. Everything else is window dressing.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

TL: Vibrant. Diverse. Beautiful.
 

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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.

Interview with Festival Director Danny MAlin (YES! Let’s make a Movie Film Festival)

yes_logoThis festival aims to bring together all corners of the globe to share passion of filmmakers.

Interview with Festival Director Danny MAlin 

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

-We are a platform geared towards our local community getting an opportunity to share their work infront of their peers. We are also an international festival offering the chance for international works to get recognized in a market with diverse talents.

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

-The Festival this year will have tones of glamor and exposure and a chance for many to get connected and network heavily within our Montreal market.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

A wide variety of categories are allowing films to be selected, including best actors, directors, quality cinematography, humor and above all great work.

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

-Some films do not stand a chance, and as a filmmaker myself, we understand it can be disappointing to not receive recognition, however, rejection is a good way for a filmmaker to take a good look at their work and ask themselves how they can step it up.

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

-Pro activity. Monkey See-Monkey Do. When people such as myself (Danny MAlin-Festival Director) lead by example of doing and creating works, others get fired up and inspired to make their own works.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

-The Festival started out as a film race, and turned into an international festival. Branching worldwide and seeing what the rest of the world is doing allows artists to broaden their subject matter.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

-5 times greater than the awesome it is already.

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

– Myself(Danny MAlin), I watched Beetlejuice more than 60 times when I was a child, one of my latest films SWEET AS was heavily influenced by that film.

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

-Good sound quality, unique storyline and tolerable actors.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

-We are a passionate film city with immense potential of superstar actors, waiting for a break.

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Danny MAlin, a studied actor at various institutions in Montreal, LA, and NYC, grew up playing and winning many championships in baseball and hockey. He took his leadership skills and eased his way into Directing, having created more than 200 original works since 2010.

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

Interview with Festival Director Jon Mercurio Knight (Wasteland Film Festival)

wasteland_logo.jpgThe Wasteland Film Festival is entering its fifth year and only growing bigger. The highlight short films with especially post-apocalyptic subject matter and, in addition, alternative films displaying a certain character right at home in the post nuke society. Films meeting certain criteria will be screened as part of the competition, others will simply be for exhibition.

http://wastelandweekend.com/wasteland-film-festival

Interview with Festival Director Jon Mercurio Knight

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

Jon Mercurio Knight: We’re building exposure and bringing films from across the world into the hands of those who wouldn’t normally have access to many of these films. Also, many regular attendees to Wasteland Weekend, the event the Wasteland Film Festival takes place at, come from the LA area as well as from across the United States (and some from overseas). All tickets to Wasteland Weekend have already sold out, so we’re talking thousands of people.

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

JMK: A 4 day, post apocalyptic party in the desert with mandatory costume. The main area is built like something out of Mad Max.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

JMK: To fit in any of our categories. Post Apocalyptic. Sci-fi. Horror. Atmospheric/Weird. Music Videos. Animated.

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

JMK: I think Post Apocalyptic is an often overlooked genre, that our festival showcases in addition to our other categories. There are a lot of fans of post apocalyptic films, but until the new Mad Max came out, the bigger studios had little to no interest in such films. Here and there, we’d see something, but I think it was adopted far more by independent cinema than maintream cinema.

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

JMK: The love of films and showcasing really solid work that meet our standards of excellence.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

JMK: Our first year started with two queen bed sheets tied to the back of a trailer. Our next year, Wasteland Weekend built us a theater space and a nice sized post apocalyptic screen. Each year has seen some kind of new progression. Last year was our first having dedicated prize support money and we upped the money we’re awarding this year.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

JMK: We will have a fully enclosed, air conditioned daytime theater (actually, we’re planning on that for next year), which will allow us to show films during the day rather than wait for the night. We’ll also have encore based shows in LA with Wasteland Weekend support and possibly Sacramento. We’ll just keep getting bigger and better!

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

JMK: So many, hard to count them all. But the fundamental core films would have to be the original Star Wars trilogy.

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

JMK: A film that takes you along a journey without anything to pull you out, that moves you, that thrills you, that gets you involved in its characters, that makes you invest in it until the credits roll.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

My city is Sacramento, which is not where the film festival takes place at. LA, the nearest big city to the festival speaks for itself.

Picture: https://www.facebook.com/202104576555906/photos/a.202121123220918.31863.202104576555906/449138335185861/?type=1&theater

Our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wasteland-Film-Festival-202104576555906/

Our Filmfreeway link: https://filmfreeway.com/festival/WastelandFilmFestival

About Jon Mercurio Knight: A filmmaker, writer, and graphic designer. I have always had a passion for films and have always wanted to present and showcase films to others. That’s why I started up the Wasteland Film Festival, earned the respect of the WW staff by creating a professional end result, with quality films submitted from around the world. Each year presents new challenges, technical challenges, and stresses, and each year, the festival happens thanks to my unyielding determination to create the best possible film festival.

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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 Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Moosa Saleem (Access Code Short Film Festival)

access-code.jpgAfter amazing 8 editions, we are here again. It’s a festival where 200 movies are played, more than any of the festival in the world. Almost every film that enters the festival will be screened at the festival, no matter how many days the festival runs.

Interview with Festival Director Moosa Saleem:

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

Moosa Saleem: Access Code Short Film Festival has been very supportive to student and young filmmakers across the world.

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

MS: Very high quality shorts and indies. We also selected a lot of music videos by unknown bands.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

MS: We always prefer sound over images. An indie filmmaker spends a lot on camera, costumes and other props and hardly gives sound any importance. They forget that a film is 50% sound. A bad quality sound can ruin the whole film even if the visuals are amazing, but even if the video is bad or shaky, a good quality sound can cover up for it.

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

MS: I explained it in the above question. A lot of indie filmmakers neglect a good quality sound setup. It’s not that expensive, to be honest. Most films get rejected by a lot of film festivals because of bad sound. Also, it’s impossible to screen every film out of the amount of entries we get after each passing edition.

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

MS: We love films, be it narrative, documentary, animation. It saddens me to see some amazing filmmakers going unnoticed in this competitive world. We are creating a platform for filmmakers who stayed restricted to YouTube and Vimeo to showcase their talent to the world. We even try to get them a TV distribution deal

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

MS: We started as a film festival for animation shorts and music videos. Now, we have amazing submissions from documentaries to webisodes.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

MS: We are planning to take this festival to other parts of the country by 2020.

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

MS: The Intouchables from France and 3 Idiots from India.

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

MS: A good screenplay, with some good acting talent.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

MS: I am originally from Jammu and Kashmir and it’s a conflict zone and there is no such thing as film scene here but a lot of Bollywood films are shot here every year, including some of the Hollywood movies like The Fall and Hector And The Search Of Happiness, to name among the few. Three amazing movies came out of Kashmir few years back, Valley of Saints (it won the Sundance in 2012), Haider and Harud. ;

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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 Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Michael Harrington (Wandering Reel Traveling Film Festival)

Wandering Reel is a traveling short film festival with a focus on bringing meaningful films to communities with limited or no access to compassionate, thought-provoking cinema. We strive to engage our audiences in deeper conversation about the role of cinema, and how films can relate to community, conscious living, and contribute to making the world a stronger and more unified place.

http://www.wanderingreel.org/

Interview with Festival Director Michael Harrington

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

Michael Harrington: Wandering Reel exposes films to a larger theater audience as well as a more rural, small town audience. We visit communities that don’t already have a film festival and/or do not have easy access to art films, independent films, international films and especially short films. We also facilitate conversation around the films to deepen the experience of a community coming together to watch films. Hopefully, some of the stories go home with some of the audience members and they care a little bit more about what the films were trying to say.

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

MH: Great movies. Great conversation. Theaters are the perfect meeting place of people and yet people tend to gather, watch and leave without actually interacting about this shared, cultural experience. Wandering Reel engages the audience a little deeper, first by allowing them to ask questions about how and why the films were made but also encouraging conversation with each other about how the films relate to their own lives and own community.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

MH: We only ask the films relate in some small way to the greater mission of Wandering Reel, which is to demonstrate how cinema can be a powerful tool in inspiring conversation around important topics and creating meaningful change in the world. We show narrative, animated and documentary films. We show students films and professional films. We show local films and films from the other side of the world. We show films fresh off the press and films from a decade or more ago. The point is to extend the life of short films so we offer very few hurdles for filmmaker to cross once they’ve made an outstanding short.

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

MH: Nowadays anyone can make a film. Our phones capture pretty good images and our laptops come with editing software. And it’s easier than ever to submit to film festivals because it’s all done digitally with a few clicks of a mouse. So, there are hundreds if not thousands of films vying for festival slots each year. The good news is there are more festivals than ever, but it’s really easy for the best, trendiest films to play 100 festivals while some smaller films only find a few niche markets. The biggest name festivals are hit with thousands of submissions for only a small amount of slots. Emerging festivals have to work much harder to garner lots of submissions and need the best of the best films in order to succeed and grow. It is my wish that more film festivals will program based on heart, ingenuity and merit, rather than politics or celebrity.

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

MH: We think it’s extremely important to support meaningful filmmaking. We think it’s important for films to be viewed in an audience with other people and to allow for a forum to talk about that experience. We think there’s a hole missing in the distribution of short films and that we can help fill it in our own small way. When an audience member shakes your hand after a screening and thanks you for bringing a film to their community, that’s motivation like no other, if only because they wouldn’t have likely seen that film that inspired them otherwise.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

MH: Wandering Reel evolves each year based on the films we receive, audience reaction and the communities we visit. We are a young festival entering our second year and we are still learning how to motivate people to pause Netflix for an evening and come out for a fun and engaging event. We are working hard this year to connect deeper with each community we visit. This means visiting schools, retirement communities, prisons, hospitals and any other members of the community that may not be able to come to our festival. It also means collaborating with local artists, activists and thinkers to connect the work we curate with the great work being done in the local community.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

MH: At the moment, funds limit our reach to a couple small tours per year and just one curator. Our goal is to have curators all around the world traveling with our films simultaneously. In five years or so, we should be able to reach all regions of the United States with a few international curators as well, likely in Europe and Australia to start. We also want to grow the outreach wing of our festival so that free screenings are offered whenever possible. No one should ever be turned away because they can’t afford the ticket cost. We also want to reach more people that can’t come to community screenings: the elderly, prisoners, students, and people in our poorer urban communities to just name a few.

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

MH: Probably The Princess Bride, if only because I watched it on loop as a child and to be honest quite a bit as an adult. But since we are a short film festival, I’d also like to make a nod to our grand prize winning film from last year, “Stop” by Reinaldo Marcus Green, because that’s probably the short I’ve likely seen the most, and a short everyone in the U.S. should see right now.

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

MH: How about one word: passion.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

MH: I live in Portland, Oregon a city known for its indie theaters and growing film market. We have lots of film festivals and a very attentive indie film audience. The film production scene here is beginning to really blossom. This is the perfect alternative city to Los Angeles and New York for emerging filmmakers: beautiful urban landscape, incredible access to nature, amazing food and drink and a thriving art scene.

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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 Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.