Interview with Festival Director Marc Bati (Très Court International Film Festival)

Très Court International Film Festival is an event without borders, with screenings during 9 days simultaneously in nearly one hundred cities in France and 28 other countries. The major program of the festival is the international competition. Fifty films of less than 3 minutes (excluding title and credits) representing the best and especially the shorter of the global audiovisual production year are presented each year.

http://www.trescourt.com/

Because this is a festival featuring the best of under 3min. short films, it’s only fitting that this was the shortest interview I ever had. Short but too the point and terrific!

Interview with Charlotte Lasne:

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

Marc Bati : We offer a screening space for very short films and their filmmakers, to make their work known.

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

Marc: One shall be ready to discover original uncommon films!

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Marc: First qualification is runtime: under three minutes (except title and credits), that is the only rule. Then there is no denying that the selected films show talent and originality.

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

Marc: Very short films are often considered too short to be taken into account in most festivals. At Très Court, it is the contrary!

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

Marc: Très Court is often most filmmakers’s first festival. Sometimes it is the first step to make a career! Some of “our” filmmakers moved on to feature films.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Marc: When the festival was created in 2000, Youtube did not exist. A festival for very short videos was an underground project! It originated in Paris and now the same films are presented in almost a hundred cities in twenty-nine countries in the world.

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Marc: This is a hard one. You know, it is hard for us to see ourselves beyond three minutes!

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

Marc: It has no point with Très Court but it is 2001: A Space Odyssey.

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

Marc: What makes a great film is “grace” (in one word, even shorter!). Because talented people can make bad films. So “grace” and “magic”.

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Marc: Paris is one of the world capital for cinema. You find lots of movie theaters here.

 

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

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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: http://dai.ly/x3hcbkz

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.

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

Interview with Festival President Sergey Mavrody (Blow-Up Film Festival)

The 2016 BLOW-UP ARTHOUSE FILM FESTIVAL brings the most original storytellers together with very adventurous audiences for its annual program of dramatic and documentary films, shorts, animations, experimental films, and student work. The Festival was named after the Michelangelo Antonioni’s iconic film “Blow-Up”.

For more information, to go: http://www.blowupfilmfest.com/

I recently sat down with the Festival President Sergey Mavrody:

  • What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

We believe we succeed in promoting authentic voices that can awaken new ideas that have the power to push creative boundaries, spark new levels of compassion and understanding, and even lead to social change.

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

I would expect to bring the most original storytellers together with very adventurous audiences. It would be a great range of quality art-house films from all over the world. I would also expect a smart audience, people, who love art-house films.

  • What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The Festival welcomes serious, independent films aimed at a specific audience rather than a mass-market consumer. We would like to see films made primarily for aesthetic and philosophical reasons rather than commercial profit. The festival would like to approach the caliber of films made by such great directors as Eisenstein, Antonioni, Fellini, Tarkovsky, Godard, Truffaut, Kurosawa.

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

Yes and no. On one hand, many films have to try very hard to get seen and recognized. On the other hand it is hard to miss a truly great and talented film.

  • What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

The main motivation would be to discover new talented artists promoting that type of films that fit well into our vision, that push creative limits and educate audiences. On the other hand, if we have passion we don’t really need a motivation.

  • How has the festival changed since its inception?

The festival is always evolving. We have changed names, concepts, and places of screening, websites, staff, jury, method of film submission.  This is a great question and answer could be very long.

  • Where do you see the festival by 2020?

By 2020 the festival will be making an even greater impact on the world cinema by discovering talented filmmakers and setting new standards.

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

The most times in my life I have seen the films I made, of course.

  • In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Well, Jean-Luc Godard once said: all you need for a great movie is a gun and a beautiful girl J That was an irony, of course. Truth: that’s what makes a great film in a nutshell. More specifically, this includes an authentic story and a sincere unpretentious artistic expression.

  • How is the film scene in your city?

The MovieMaker Magazine recently unveiled its list of cities with the best film scene. You’re probably wondering who topped the list? Well, it’s my Chicago! According to the magazine – the criteria they used include festivals, film schools, movie-related vendors, local theatres, living standards, unemployment rate, median home price and aggressive tax incentives. Chicago is also rich in filmmaking history and has seen an increase in both independent and Hollywood film productions in the last few years. As we speak, a bunch of film production trucks parked right on my street. They are filming the “Empire” TV series.

BIO: Sergey A. Mavrody

Sergey Mavrody moved to US from Moscow, Russia in 1990. He was granted a green card as an “Alien of Extraordinary Ability”.  Sergey received his first graduate degree in animation from VGIK film school, Moscow, Russia. Sergey earned his second MFA degree in Computer Animation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Sergey was a Production Designer for the Emmy Award-winning musical film “The Bridge”. Sergey produced and directed several animated films. His films have received numerous international awards.

Sergey is also a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and DeVry University. Sergey served as a board member and as a head of the jury at several film festivals. He is a founder and a president of the Blow-Up Arthouse International Film Festival.

 

http://blowupfilmfest.com/

 

 

 

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

Interview with Festival Director Mark Mos (Los Angeles Short Film Festival)

Don’t miss Los Angeles Short Film Festival
Sat-Sun, March 5-6
Promenade Playhouse, Santa Monica CA

smarturl.it/lsff

I recently sat down with the Festival Director Mark Mos to chat more about the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What is the Los Angeles Short Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Mark Mos: We invite specialists from Industry. They see potential dreaming in hearts of filmmakers. For sure they have great audience and if we screen web episode for example, same audience go online and follow rest of the episodes.

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

Mark: We have short film with James Franco, called Walk in the Winter, but also 30+ films, directors, producers, actors at Q and A we organize after each block/program.

Matthew:  What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Mark: Quality of the story. You don’t have to rent or purchase great camera if you want to tell what is inside you. Just invite your friends, shoot something, practice. One of your films maybe good, another not, but let judges of the festival decide. Each judge is different, so you never know what they will pick up. But please…place credits at the end of the film. We do not want to see your sponsors, or whole bunch of names at the beginning. We want to see first scene of yours…not bunch of letters and who sponsored you. This may wait, when we select your film.

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

Mark: First 2 minutes of the film is very important. I guess festivals want to see some professional skills, even if film is submitted by student. If your actress reads script in her mind and her work is terrible, festival judges will not suffer for rest of the film. Directing might be good, cinematography brilliant, but if you actor is terrible then whole project you may considered trash. I know it’s heavy, but you do the same while watching TV…you skip channels to see something interesting. I guess judges go to another film if yours is not interesting or not well done.

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

Mark: Helping each other. We like to see smiling faces when they get award or certificate. There is nothing more beautiful then happiness of another person.

Matthew:  How has the festival changed since its inception?

Mark: Oh it changes constantly. We have more films for screenings, Q and As are longer and venue is upgraded with bigger screen with new seats.

Matthew:  Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Mark: Bigger, better, nicer

Matthew:  What film have you seen the most times in your life?
Mark: I’m a fan of Die Hard, so when it’s on TV it’s not easy for me to switch channel for something else.

Matthew:  In one sentence, what makes a great film?
Mark: Having soul in it.

Matthew:  How is the film scene in your city?
Mark: Well… Santa Monica is a film city. Bay Watch was shooting here and many…I mean many, many more.

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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.

Interview with Festival Director Juri Koll (Fine Arts Film Festival)

The Fine Arts Film Festival (FAFF) is dedicated to showing the finest films in the world about art, photography, collectors and artists of all mediums in and out of their studios, galleries, museums, public art, and alternative art spaces. This includes video art, curated as a film medium.

For more information, go to http://www.thefineartsfilmfestival.com/

I recently met with the Festival Director Juri Koll to talk more about the festival.

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

Juri Koll: We provide a wonderful audience for films that focus on art or the art world in some way – which is a very niche place in the film world. Lots of films of this kind are lost in the mix of film festivals so we provide a place to showcase these kinds of films.

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

Juri: You will see films here that you may never see anywhere else in the world. Sometimes they screen with us before a quick run at theaters.

The location for the screenings is the historic Beyond Baroque Theater in Venice, California, long renowned as a hub of creative endeavor in Los Angeles, and Southern California in general.

You will meet exceptionally creative filmmakers, artists, musicians and literary artists of all kinds, along with your usual film crowd, as many of the filmmakers who work in the studios and independent productions houses live and also work in Venice. Plus it’s a block or two from the world famous Boardwalk and the beach, so there’s plenty to do after you’ve seen the films!

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Juri: Film subject matter must be related to the art world in some way, whether it be art and artists in or outside their studios, collectors, galleries, museums, public art, and alternative art spaces or other art related subject. It can also be a video art piece itself, which may be accept to be curated with others for a film debut.

Films must have been completed after January 2, 2014.

Other than that it can be any kind of film – narrative, doc, experimental, music video, art – anything that speaks to creativity.

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

Juri: Yes, in our case that’s the reason we created the Festival – because these kinds of films are sort of lost in the mix of all the great films you can see when you go to festivals. I think films about artists – especially documentaries – are often overlooked because people feel they have probably seen one and seen them all – that could not be further from the truth. The films we show are dramatic, funny, witty, jarring, crazy, creative, emotional, awe-inspiring, heartfelt, and real.

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

Juri: A love of and belief in the creative spirit in everyone. We love artists because we are artists.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Juri: We’ve gone from a small regional festival with a few entries into a truly international event in the place we believe to be the center of creativity in the arts in the entire world right now – Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, Venice is known as one of the top creative hubs of the city. It’s got a century long history of making art that has impacted the art and entertainment worlds globally.

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Juri: We hope to move to a larger venue next year, and perhaps by 2020 we’ll be in multiple venues across the city. We’re working with local museums to bring programming to them as well.

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

Juri: That’s a tough one. Apocalypse Now, perhaps. Maybe Rocky. There’s lots of them.

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

Juri: A film where each shot and each cut are done for a purpose, where the whole film becomes the story, where you remember the film long after you leave the theater.

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Juri: We are the film capital of the U.S. and the world, so our standards are the highest anywhere. The scene is dynamic, vibrant. Constantly – 24/7 – projects are being talked about, bought, sold, started and completed…

and sometimes never completed. We live where dreams are made. People here will help you our on your project if you just ask – you just have to be honest, open, easy to work with, and have a great idea.

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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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Juri Koll Bio:

Along with regularly curating and managing traveling exhibits, and exhibiting his paintings and photographs, Juri Koll produces and directs documentaries on artists and other art world figures. He has produced and managed feature films such as Texas Heart (Lin Shaye), Until The Music Ends (Slash, Chrystal Method), American Cowslip (Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern, Rip Torn), Hardcore Hearts, and The Truth About Kerry (Stana Katic). Juri has produced and/or directed over 90 short films, both fiction and documentaries. His films have screened all over the world, in over 70 festivals, including Cannes, the Cork International Film Festival, the Australian International Film Festival, and won many awards. He is a member of the Directors Guild of America and a regular signatory to SAG/AFTRA.

After graduating from California Institute of the Arts with majors in Fine Art and Filmmaking, Mr. Koll produced the first Art/World documentaries from 1990 – 1995. He worked with major curators in their museums and galleries, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The National Gallery in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art in San Francisco. His subjects included world famous and infamous artists and curators from the Renaissance period to the present. Recently, Juri’s first documentary, In The Steel: A Portrait of Mark di Suvero, (1991), was accepted into the Archives of American Art at the Smithsonian Institution. A Founder/Director of the Venice Institute of Contemporary Art, which produces FAFF, he recently curated the traveling show Water Works, which exhibited at the Museum of Art and History in Lancaster, CA in Fall, 2015, and presented films from FAFF at the LA Art Show at the LA Convention Center in January 2016. For more information: juri@veniceica.org

Interview with Festival Director Onur Yayla (Around International Film Festival)

Onur Yayla is a Berlin-Istanbul based commercial, music video director & indie filmmaker who runs the Around International Film Festival ( ARFF Berlin ) with the guidance of Around Films Network. Our statement is to provide homes to group of film enthusiasts who are committed in creating spaces for film industry and devoted to spreading of the knowledge of the modern visual art form to all interested for all around the globe to present it all on one single platform.” Please visit aroundfilms.com for further information.

around_films.jpgMatthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Onur Yayla: Well, the idea of film festivals is that they’re about moviegoing. And how people choose what they see is informed by what experience they want to get from a piece.

But we always rush to add that there’s still a lot of great intellectual integrity to it.

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

Onur: I’d expect that my movie to be discovered by the relevant crowd and it should lead us to meet the right people for my new project.

Matthew: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Onur: In a sense, anyone who watches a film is instantly a film critic. Therefore, everyone will have their own choices, or other criteria for selection of the greatest films, and some may disagree with at least some of the selections below. These crucial film selections provide a common ground and foundation for the study of film.

Matthew: What makes a great independent film?

Onur: It should have the power to enchant, entertain, inform, and move us emotionally – and change our perceptions of things.

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

Onur: In the matter of fact, we are all aware that Sundance can not accept the huge amount of the great creations and its still one of our ”bestest” also.

Yet, filmmakers often have better audiences in regional festivals that embrace the film. Better to premiere at Around Film Festival than be lost in a larger event.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since its inception?

Onur: We got 3 times higher application rate when we compare with the previous year.

Matthew: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Onur: Our main purpose to dignify our festival Around the World as its name. Right now our network has people from 7 countries and even the weekly expanding is quite suprising for us.

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

Onur: Synecdoche, New York 2008. I’m a great fan of Charlie Kaufman’s vision.

Matthew: What country (or countries) seem to make the best short films year after year?

Onur: Well I can tell that, U.S. has the best opportunities, Middle East & Asia has the great source of ”stories”, Europe has the taste.

Our participants will give us the best answer it seems.

Matthew: How is the film scene in your city?

Onur: Depends on the storyline, because we are Around!

Thank you for the interview, lets keep it rolling:)

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

Interview with Larry Laboe, Executive Director, NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA)

Founded in 2007, the non-profit 501(c)3 organization NewFilmmakers Los Angeles (NFMLA) has established itself as a strong gathering place for cinema with over 60,000 subscribers in the Los Angeles community, screening 950+ films from over 57 countries. In addition to fostering the advancement of emerging filmmakers and our members in Los Angeles, NFMLA’s objective is to promote the cultural advancement of filmmaking.

http://www.newfilmmakersla.com/

Matthew Toffolo Interviews Larry Laboe, Executive Director

Matthew: What is the goal of your film festival?

Larry: To help filmmakers connect with audiences and industry professionals.

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

Larry: The festival has grown to offer more opportunities for our selected filmmakers. Some of these opportunities include first-look distribution from ShortsHD / Shorts International, TV4 Entertainment, Seed & Spark, NUVOtv and a chance to be nominated for the FOX Global Directors / FOX Global Writers programs.

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

Larry: We showcase approximately 200 films annually.

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

Larry: Some of the best indie films from around the world!

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

Larry: All of our programs are very diversified, so we generally do not theme our programs, though this year we will offer some thematic programs focusing on minority filmmakers.

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

Larry: Continually growing and perhaps expanding into other cities.

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

Larry: LA is the mecca of indie filmmaking. We’re very excited to be part of a city that includes talented filmmakers, writers, producers, actors and more. LA offers some of the very best, while still highlighting international cinema and filmmakers.

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

Larry: I like to focus on indie films. I have many favorites….too many to choose just one!

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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 http://www.wildsound.ca and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.

Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.