Interview with Festival Directors Nick John Whittle & Stuart Wheeldon (9LadiesFilmFestival)

 

9LadiesFilmFestival is a distinguished independent film festival showcasing short films from around the world to an audience of film fans and movie-makers.

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What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

9LadiesFilmFestival brings cinematic exposure for independent filmmakers. That’s what filmmaking is essentially about: getting audiences to see your creation. And with exposure comes possibilities. It isn’t just about letting the common man see your film. There are scores of studios out there watching indie films. If they see something that ticks boxes they’ll grab it. Famous case in point: Paranormal Activity.

There are also the laurel stamps for the winners. Films showing laurel stamps in their credits are proven to be the ones most watched. True, it’s not necessarily the mark of an all-round incredible film but it shows it has been scrutinized by professionals and that one element of it (or several) passes muster. It also proves that the filmmakers have a belief in their product and have put in the man hours (and money) to get it through the festival process.

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

Our finalists this year will enjoy a specific location for their live screening, from historical houses to modern cinemas. We’ve worked hard to secure theatres that in some way add a cultural essence to the screenings. This isn’t just town-hall-and-sandwiches stuff; it’s a festival with a difference. Always has been.

9LadiesFilmFestival promotes the work of inventive, original, free-thinking and independent filmmakers; to raise their profile throughout the web and connect them with established industry professionals around the world. One of the ways we do this is by creating and taking care of your online presence; creating a web page for your winning film and promoting it like hellfire across social media platforms.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

9LadiesFilmFestival accepts short films and documentaries and we take submissions from filmmakers all around the world. We stipulated that the language of the piece has to be in English (or at least subtitled) but we’ve left things very free and easy deliberately. The films are required to be either 9 mins or less or 10-29 minutes long. The whole theme of this year’s festival is “nine” in honour of our parent company’s title.

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

We believe every film gets a fair shake. Film festivals are an essential part of the growth of an indie moviemaker. If the festival is managed correctly and in a just and reasonable way everyone has equal chance of becoming a winner. Festivals open gateways to the Bigger Picture, to distribution possibilities…a festival like ours represents equal opportunity for everyone – from beginner to expert.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

A passion for making great movies and helping others through the process.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We have found the FilmFreeway submission process very good, we are already up on the number of entries for the current time of year. With recent tweeks to the way the FilmFreeway program works it is easier to manage the film festival process. And it seems that more and more filmmakers are now using the FilmFreeway Submission process.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We’d like to think the festival will have grown to the point where we can award substantial funding and great distribution opportunities to the winners.  There are a huge number of inspiring and culturally stand-out filmmakers out there and we look forward to viewing their work.

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

Nick: Casino Royale (the good one!)

Stuart. The Red Shoes

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Basically, a great story. A movie is like a book in some ways with scene cuts instead of page turns…if you’re bored by the plot of a book you won’t turn a page. On the other hand, if you love it, you can’t stop turning pages. A movie is also story – whether you pour millions of dollars into a project or not, if the story doesn’t hit the spot it won’t be successful. Add superb characters to your story and plenty of subtext and you have a winner.

There is a technical consideration as well, something we like to look at in the festival. Sound, direction, visuals, lighting, props are all taken into consideration as technical achievements of a movie. After all, they are important aspects of the art.

 How is the film scene in your city?

We are fortunate that in the Midlands the film scene is thriving, there are a number of very good Independent Cinemas that show films that otherwise wouldn’t get a release, the indie film making scene is also very good, with the likes of cities such as Nottingham, Sheffield and Birmingham all  have a thriving Indie scene.

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Nick John Whittle – Producer. Nick is an award winning writer and producer based in Birmingham. His work includes the award winning film Faith, The Adventures of Joshua (TV mini-series), No Way Back (short/horror) Nick’s cinematic influences include Beckett, Hitchcock, Buñuel, Mamet, Allen, Jarmusch, and Bergman. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7825353/. nick is the co- director of the 9ladiesfilmfestival.

Stuart Wheeldon. Writer/Director Stuart is an award winning writer and director and founder of Nine Ladies Film. Stuart’s work as included theatrical plays, radio and film shown and featured around the world. His work includes In Limbo, The Telephone, The Collector (Pre-Production)and The Wasteland.  Stuart was also the founder of 9ladiesfilmfestival which in it’s first year attracted over 200 entries from around the world. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm7240661

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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 Auregan (ANIMATION STUDIO FESTIVAL)

 

Our selection is based on love, emotion, and great talent. The movies we chose to select are creative, sincere and powerful. They drive you somewhere else, or deep inside so you can feel, learn, be surprise, laugh, discover a new perspective.

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

Auregan: We have exclusive categories such as Best Story and Best Design. This way we want to reward the most sensitive films even if they didn’t have the budget for specific animation, and we also want to pick some of the best animators and animation designers. On a general perspective I have always been in love with animated films and by making these festival I want to select the new generation of talented and passionate filmmakers.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

We are planning for high quality screening event involving the filmmakers by sharing and showing their craft and amazing expertise.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We have eight categories, for short and feature films, for 2D, 3D, traditional, digital animation and even stop motion. Shorts must be less than 30 minutes and features over 40 minutes. For the rest we are expected moving and entertaining and funny films from all over the world !

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

There is some truth in that. Sometimes the bigger festival becomes the more the selection goes to some kind of etablished names, talents and films. It is up to the filmmakers to carrefuly chose the festivals they submit to. At the Animation Studio Festival, we are fully transparent, you can check our website and we answer each and every email. We are looking for the most sincere and involved filmmakers regardless of their status.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We really love animated films. We watch them all the time. We noticed that there is so much more originality in animated films than in other films’ genres. The imagination of the animators and the authors seems unlimited !

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

There is a fisrt selection made by our team, then the selection is sent to the jury members who decide who the winners will be for each category. Nowadays the submission process is made really easy thanks to the platforms. We are on FilmFreeway but also on WithoutaBox, Click for Festivals and Festhome. So far the response as been great from the filmmakers !

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

There are so many artists, animators, screenwriters we would love to have as jury members… Also I guess I want the festival to grow but I also want to keep it close to the audience and the submitters.

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

Probably The Lion King. I know all the dialogues and the songs by heart.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great story. Definitively.

How is the film scene in your city?

You know, films are what Los Angeles is about. The city lives with movies, breathes films, everyday. There is a lot of competition but judging by the response we have to the Animation Studio Festival, we already are standing out.

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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 Matthew Rooney (VideoDrunk Film Festival)

Ranking as one of Toronto’s Top Alternative Film Festivals, Videodrunk is a small indie/experimental/underground/genre film festival that will be taking place in Toronto this November and December at Farside. The festival is run by filmmakers and video artists and aims to present an eclectic collection of films in an almost mixtape sort of way to audiences in a non-formal easy going non-cinema environment. We’re basically a party film festival. Amateurs, students, DIYers and pros all are treated as equals.

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

Matthew Rooney: We’re providing a fun event for filmmakers to show their films in a different atmosphere than other festivals around Toronto. We’ve given filmmakers that might not get a chance because of their genre or style get a chance to show where they might not have.

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

A little more party-like than last year I’d say thanks to the venue we’re using being less gallery/theatre like. We’re also trying to build a line up that’s a little more off the wall than past years but also more accessible at the same time. We like having active and energetic crowds but film loving crowds that are respectful of what’s going on.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Be enjoyable or interesting. Pretty simple.

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

I do even with smaller festivals. I feel a lot of them have rules that are too strict and sometimes genre festivals have a narrow scope of what fits their festivals.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Love of film, the fun of the final festival and the satisfaction of a job well done.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Simply amazing.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

This one is a little tricky because there are so many factors at play with it. For example, I might be moving out of the country in the next 2 years and maybe Videodrunk retires or goes on hiatus or moves with me and brings its style to Luxemburgish or goes digital or my friend Emil takes it over and turns it into his Uncanny Beauty Film Festival. I don’t know, we’ll see.

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

Not sure, maybe “Duck Soup”

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Can’t answer that because any answer I give will be wrong.

How is the film scene in your city?

We have 100 some odd festivals and dozens of productions (both big and small and domestic and international) going on at any given time plus some amazing video stores. It’s very strong. Strong enough that TIFF makes traveling around downtown nearly impossible.

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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 Jorge Blanco (THE HELL CHESS FILM FESTIVAL)

The Hell Chess Film festival is an event celebrated in Campo de Gibraltar, Spain.

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

Jorge Blanco: My personal experience as filmmaker in Festivals is negative. The most part of festivals got nothing to do with the filmmakers dreams, but with another interests. The Hell Chess Festival is all about creativity, constant communication with the filmmakers and a beautiful message to the world.

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

This year 2017 we had three venues, two in Madrid (Spain) and another in a big cinema of St Julian’s (Malta). Now, we are opening the submissions to the 2018 edition, probably in January. The new venues are still in searching process.
You will find pureness in terms of faith in creativity and faith in the best of the human spirit.

And probably if you are sensitive enough, a big surprise will change your life vision.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

When you select a film, even in the most honest way you choose what you like not what is always the best.

You got your own tastes. So the concept of winning means nothing when art itself is not objective.

So, all the non accepted films receive a letter explaining our reasons and our reviews to improve future films. In fact, the winner of our last edition got an incredible story behind. This filmmaker sent us a lot of films which were the most part of them rejected, but she improved the quality of her films until being the winner of the festival (what was a big surprise to her). The criteria of the festival is based in innovation, good taste and ethical values.

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

We live in a dark period to cinema. All the commercial films are based on remakes or old ideas but in the worst possible way. So, the lack of an ethical commitment penalizes the original works. So, many good brave films do not get a fair shake, but an unfair treatment. That´s why we invent the Hell Chess Festival, to all filmmakers who are hungry of justice.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

I tell you a story, Matthew. A real story. We needed an upper force to decide a prize to our festival. We were confused. It was a difficult decision. And when we chose the most beautiful verdict based in high ideals then something supernatural (or unknown) happened. It´s difficult to explain, so the best thing is watching the final minutes of this video made by our last season winner:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFEFqriK59g . The Hell chess Trophy has been the most important prize of her life, a prize guessed from beyond our reality.

This is our intimate motivation. Because we knew our path.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Very hard. Filmfreeway is a good tool but I personally hate the “Not Accepted” button. So, in the future I want to change the selection process. Maybe, we´d search for films and ask the directors to be included in the festival, or maybe creating special films only for the Hell Chess Festival. Something unique and compatible with our spirit.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

I see a bigger one but not a better one. Today´s Hell Chess Festival is heroic and pure. We need go on so. The last thing we want to be is a fake independent festival run by a Hollywood actor who wants all the cinema honey but none of the real independent sourness. If you decided to be a rich slave you cannot pretend to be a free adventurer.

My Festival got only one sponsor: From the ruin to paradise, society.
That´s the secret of being unique.

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

The Sidney Pollack´s romantic comedy Tootsie. Around 50 times, specially when I was a child. I remember our video Beta and I related the coming of home video with this film. Maybe Tootsie is more deeper than it looks, with a bunch of inspired actors and a story of acting, Television, good tips about men and women psychology, and the irony of success and failure in the audiovisual world.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

When you watch a great film you feel your life becomes important.

How is the film scene in your city?

Very funny. This is a spanish town with no cinemas in the centre (the old cinema disappeared) so you got to drive 7 kilometres to the unique cinema in 1.529 km². The decadence of cinemas is evident. Once upon a time things were different. But the key is not only Internet or tv or videoclubs. The key of this decadence is the decadence of cinema itself. I think in the place I live there was an actor of silent films. Everything is silence and I´m the only who speaks, that´s why I need to make festival far away my place. Sometimes I feel more closed to people like you than from my neighbours. I was 4 years old when I watched my first film Superman (1978) in a cinema room. I still remember my sensations. And not only I want to make movies, but being a saviour. Thanks for the questions.
 

Festival Director BIO: 

I founded a society called “From the ruin to Paradise” in 1998. 
Since that moment nothing is more important to me than this project. 
This society got cinema, educative and spiritual goals. 
The main project of this society is a feature film which is still the biggest, rebel and intelligent project you can imagine. 
In the meanwhile, I directed a 30 minutes film called Hell Chess. A totally innovative 
film in terms of narrative forms and a revision of our values as humans. 
And this film gives the name to our cinema event, The Hell Chess Festival. 
The Festival was a private event 5 years ago (where we played a chess tournament and watched our own movies) but in the Summer of 2016 the Festival began in Centro Cultural Pilar Miró, one of the best theatres in Madrid. We discovered experimental filmmakers like the veteran australian David King, a man of true talent who never won a prize until our event. We do not make any difference between actor/actress all compete in the same category of “Best Acting” like the last season where the actress Lola Manzano won her prize against many men. So our purpose is different indeed.

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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 Onur Yayla (ARFF Paris – Around International Film Festival)

ARFF Paris is another unique branch of Around International Film Festival which is also curated by Around Films. ARFF Paris accepts all genre creations to evaluate over ten categories every month to select for the yearly competition like the other editions such as; ARFF Barcelona, Amsterdam and Berlin. Since the foundation, ARFF International has a dynamic range of collaborators over two
thousand filmmakers already and even right now it’s expanding by the last minute submissions, literally from all around the world. Beside the yearly festival circuit, ARFF International also offers exclusive work opportunities through the specified projects by assigning the selected filmmakers to enhance the
collaboration and the experience of the participants with all ARFF Editions.

ARFF Paris has completed it’s own particular form by the management of Around Global Network and the direction of Onur Yayla – also known as Onno Mara from Around Films. As a honored member of the National Press Community, Onur mentions that he has the passion to figure out what he can save the world from – through the inverted sentences.

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

Onur Yayla: As all the other editions of ARFF International, we provide an essential network opportunity by mentioning the selected filmmakers through our media channels with over 20K film industry people.

Also we’d like to emphasize the global work opportunities for the selected filmmakers again. As a global film house; we produce, co-produce, distribute and love what we do all together. Besides, we are always open for the new collaborators, students as a team member for the festival organization.

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

We’d expect to inspire and to be inspired by the international colleagues, while we are discovering our mutual projection on the ideas that has been transformed million times till the screening.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

I’d like to invite our potential submitters to check the ARFF Vimeo Channel to have a better view through the eye. vimeo.com/channels/arff

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

Through my own festival experience as a filmmaker, I’ve never had a bad experience, except the devastating feeling of Non-Selected Status e-mail. Then I realized that I should just transform it to another motivation for developing my approach and skills. I used to submit at another categories of the
same festival again and again to figure out which was the right one to evaluate my film with the similar creations. Then it became an epic return through the overall picture. Filmmakers should perceive the non-refundable fees as a contribution for the whole organization to develop the independent film
industry.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

As you can observe as well, ARFF International structure has built up by a comprehensive network.

All the submitters has the potential to be an exclusive member after the procedure. To be honest, one of our biggest dream is already became real which was to have a global network with thousands of active filmmakers. Right now, we have several on going projects with the participants to make them all real as
well. Although, it requires more than 24 hours, so we are on the phase of inventing our own time machine. (It’s a little spoiler btw…)

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Was a pleasure to be honored by over a dozen of festivals that I couldn’t even imagine to be associated with, still running participatory projects with the colleagues that I used to met via Filmfreeway.

Personally, I really appreciate the support of Filmfreeway as a filmmaker and also as a festival director.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Planet earth is a rapidly changing sphere and we anticipate that we can transform this cumulative knowledge by the submitted unique creations. To clarify the statement, we believe in the consciousness and the conscious should be transformed for the sake of universe. Our common goal is to enhance the awakening through the unique approaches of the selected creations for public view.

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

Mostly switching ”Holy Mountain (1973) ” with ”Holy Motors” (2012) to examine the holy content over forty years. Still, as the ARFF Global Network Members, we always avoid to project our own taste on the submitted creations.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Capability of the narration, should involve a potential to change our perception through the stated doctrine.

How is the film scene in your city?

Like a flashback to our ARFF Berlin interview,

Depends on the storyline, because we are Around!

Thank you for the space and time, 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 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.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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Interview with Festival Director Kristian Day (Interrobang Film Festival)

Presented as part of the Des Moines Arts Festival, the Interrobang film festival is three day multi-venue event taking place in the Des Moines East Village Neighborhood. The audience – whether cinema enthusiasts or curious newcomers – can experience curated screenings from films around the globe as well as experience hands on workshops, celebrity lectures, and industry parties.

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

Kristian Day: All of our juried films are free to the public. As a filmmaker myself, I hate the process of submitting to festivals. You spend lots of money submitting your films and then if you are selected, the audience has to pay to see them on top of that. Which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but I want to take the risk out of going to a film festival. If your film festival is not a buyers market, then at the very least you want to help guarantee an audience for the films that have been selected.

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

For the first 9 years, the Interrobang Film Festival took place within the Des Moines Arts Festival. We have grown significantly and this year we have become a stand alone three day / multi venue event.

New additions this year:

Interrobang Film Challenge, a timed film competition similar to the 48hr Film Project that takes place the weekend prior and the films will then screen the weekend of the film festival.

Best of Show Award now includes how filmmakers market the film in our city. As most filmmakers know, once they are selected it is up to them to get people to come see their movie. I want to encourage old fashion showmanship. Fliers, parades, billboards, guerrilla marketing , whatever they need to do to get people in the seats! It is not only a big marketing tool for the festival but its fun for the city to have that experience. I give all the filmmakers every media contact in the city thats in my rolodex but they have to get more creative then just sending out press releases.

More parties. I don’t think young people have the attention span to sit and watch movies for hours like they used to. The Youtube generation likes things short, sweet and always moving. So we have a lot more non-screening events including a “Beers with Iowa Filmmakers” party and a cocktail hour with the Iowa Screenwriters Alliance.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

I can’t say there is a specific qualification to select a film. There are obvious technical aspects I look for but I am always looking for something unique in each one. Sometimes I might watch it and think “this isn’t for me but I know there are definitely some people who will enjoy this”.

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

Sure. The bigger festivals are very political and I get that. If they don’t have some celebrity attached or if it hasn’t created some controversial buzz behind it then they are not really interested in it. But good films find their way. That is one thing I have learned over the years. A good will won’t go unnoticed if the creators never give up.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

I work in the film industry full time. I commute from Des Moines, Iowa to LA several times a year. I do this festival year after year because some day I hope that I don’t need to commute to LA for work. I want to see the industry move into more third markets (areas that are not LA or New York) and to do that you have to continue to develop that culture.

From an Iowan perspective, Des Moines is the capital city. It deserves to have a great film festival.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Great. I love FilmFreeway! We used to use Withoutabox but to be honest it was super tedious, clunky, and convoluted. I like being able to watch films within the site and its easy for the judges to do their work within the system.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Buyers market is always the goal. But it could also just take its place among the other festivals like 80/35, 515 Alive, and the Des Moines Arts Festival: an annual event that everyone in the region looks forward to attending, Either way I would be very happy. I don’t actually want to run this festival forever, I do it because it needs to be run by someone who doesn’t want to be the center of attention. The filmmakers, the audience, and everyone who makes the festival what it is are the most important aspects. There are some programers who think that they are the heroes and this not the attitude I want to see. Also whenever I see someone post things like “Great things on the horizon” on social media I am immediately turned off.

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

Once Upon A Time In The West. This is the single greatest film ever made.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Charles Bronson, Claudia Cardinale, Henry Fonda, and Jason Robards are what make a great film. (See the answer to the previous question)

How is the film scene in your city?

It’s OK. We have several shows that film here but not many folks are properly trained to work on a real set. I am a 1st AD on a lot of projects and every time on Day 1 I run into either a camera operator or a sound mixer who hits record and yells “speeding” before I tell them to roll. I have to stop everything and explain to them that no one touches anything until I say so.

My dream would be that we would have people who could work on shows in bigger positions, not just PAs. That could happen but they just need to work more and have more opportunities to be trained.
 

 
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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.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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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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