Interview with Co-Festival Director Mia Davis (Queen City Cinephiles)

Queen City Cinephiles is a an independent film-screening & discussion group based out of Charlotte, NC. The are committed to showcasing short and full length independent features at no cost to the filmmakers, exposing film aficionados to more independent film, and supporting local filmmakers and around the globe.

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

Mia Davis: We build a bridge between filmmakers and film appreciators. For every film we select, we provide the filmmakers with the opportunity to introduce their film, and be present (live or via skype) for our audience discussion. We do not charge entry fees. As part of our Agreements, we ask the filmmakers for social media pages, and we share them online before the event, on our facebook event page, and while we are at the screening. During the Q&A, we encourage the filmmakers to let the audience know where their other works can be found.

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

If you mean our film screenings, you can expect arrangements of indie films in blocks at a convenient location with available refreshments, audience participation in film discussion, and to learn more about the film industry.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The film has to be independently made, and the filmmaker has to sign an Agreement with us, showing they have the rights to the film and sharing our facebook page and event on their social media pages.

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

I think it’s hard to find the right audience, self-promote, and film festivals (mostly) charge entry fees and having contracts preventing a selected film to be shown elsewhere during the festival.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

To clarify, this is not a film festival. We have screenings, roughly once or twice a month. I am motivated by my appreciation for independent film, and everything that goes into it, combining with a genuine interest in pushing local business/industry support.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been great! We have several submissions, and I love how it is organized to help us find the right films for our screenings.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Growth, in terms of more of a variety of events, a few rotating venues, and a stronger community between our Cinephile Members and the filmmakers. It would mean a lot to me if our patrons network and get a film made together.

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

The Lost Boys. I grew up watching that regularly, and as an adult, continue to watch it once or twice each year.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is a marriage between the visual expression of a coherent story, accompanying resources, and performances.

How is the film scene in your city?

I think there’s a division between Charlotteans that want to work on film in any capacity they can, and a community of industry professionals that suffered a morale loss from HB2 and film incentives being dropped from our state budget.

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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 Gustavo Coletti (ROSARITO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)

The first Rosarito International Film Festival, produced by LOGCINEMA.COM, will be carry out in October this year, a website dedicated to classic and collectible films, which is expanding into independent cinema, providing filmmakers with the opportunity to exhibit their productions online.

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

Gustavo Coletti: Rosarito, Baja California, Mexico, just 150 miles from Hollywood, it is the fastest growing movie business on the planet. It is the headquarters of Fox Studios Baja California, the most important branch of Fox, where they filmed blockbusters like “Titanic”, “Master and Commander”, “Quantum of Solace” (James Bond), “Babel”, “Pearl Harbor” “007, Tomorrow never dies”, and so many others impossible to list. 20 minutes from Rosarito is Tijuana with different academic centers for film study, including the renowned Film School of the UDCI (“University of Las Californias International” by its acronyms in Spanish).

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

As spectators watch movies from all over the world. In the Rosarito area live more than 70,000 Americans who regularly have no opportunity in his country to see foreign films, and what you could watch in Mexico do not have subtitles in English but in Spanish. As a filmmaker, to exhibit my productions in the arthouse of greater growth in the world market.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We are looking for in the selected films, greater respect for the artistic aspect of cinema and not of cinema as entertainment industry.

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

I think that the festivals are afraid to show films of low budget and with technical limitations. I don’t think that they too take into account the conceptual part of the film.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We are interested in meeting people of cinema’s future generations for future projects and achieve an expansion of interest in the local market towards another type of productions that represent other cultures and other idiosyncrasies.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

The entire process with filmfreeway went flawless so far.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

I have no doubt that by 2020 the Rosarito International Film Festival already will be entrenched and established as an invaluable event for the community of independent filmmakers. The response that we have taken a few days after initiating the call, exceeded all of our expectations.

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

I have seen countless times the cinema of Federico Fellini, especially “8 and 1-2” and “La Dolce Vita”, as well as the films of the great masters of Italian cinema. I’ve seen much Tarkovsky and the French nouvelle vogue.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is one which brings a renewal in the cinematic language, that can dispense with in its elaboration of the commercial intention and has an aesthetic and a history that excites us.

How is the film scene in your city?

Well, I don’t live in Rosarito, live in Los Angeles, which is the most vibrant city in the world in film, but Rosarito is a place where we are always working on new projects and that is exciting.

 

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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 José Claudio Silva (PORTUGAL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)

The Portugal International Film Festival will have its first edition in 2017 and aims to promote the Portuguese and World Cinema. Held in the city of Porto, the Festival will award the best films with a certificate and crystal trophy.

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

José Claudio Silva: This is the first year of PORTUGAL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL, we would like to be a window for
filmmakers showcase their work in Europe. In the next year we´re planning a partnership with a Portuguese Tv Channel to play the winners.

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

A great network with other filmmakers, nice awards (cristal Trophy and certificate of award), Interview with filmmakers, photos and videos for the website.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The most important thing I think is the story, sometimes we see a film made with a great camera, a full team and the story means nothing. In the other hand we had some great student films
that makes me imagine that could be a blockbuster if they have budget.

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

My experience as filmmaker, I realized that some film festivals prefer some genre of films, the most of them gives the awards for drama style. I think that comedy and action films have less chance in festivals.

I don´t know if they ask to the jury to give more attention to drama genre or is a coincidence.

On my festivals, all genres has the same evaluation by the jury.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

As a filmmaker, I think that is an important window to show your work. When I was a film student I tried to screen my film on a theater and it was so expensive that´s why I get all students together and we rent a theater and I made my first film festival.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway is a great place to submit your work. The always create new tools to improve our Festival experience.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

I hope that in 2020 we can have more technology to make
better Festivals. Theaters with better screen and projectors, maybe a 4D presentation with virtual reality glasses.

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

The Shawshank Redemption is one of the most beautiful films that I ever seen.

I think that I saw it 5 times.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

The story is what catch the audience. The technical aspects is important but the story is the heart of a film.

How is the film scene in your city?

The city of Porto is a touristic city, they have few film festivals. We want to make Portugal a hot place for film festivals and increase the Portuguese film production.

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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 Chris Velazquez (THE VIOLETTE FILM FESTIVAL)

The Violette Film Festival is an Independent film festival that will be going on side by side with the CALIFORNIA REPUBLIC COMIC CON in MERCED,CA.

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

Chris Velaquez: Our festival’s number one goal is to get exposure for film makers who might not have had the chance to show their work before, or first time film makers that do not have enough experience. Both professional and first timers alike have the opportunity to show their work and in the process get a festival under their belt to help them in the first step to building their craft and audience in the festival circuit.

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

We plan on having screenings of all of the film entries selected as well as a few film premiers. The festival will be happening along side a Comic Con so not only will there be an audience attending the festival but attendees of the Comic Con have access to the festival as well. This way for the film makers their films have the potential of reaching more people. We also plan to have a guest speaker as well as guest celebrity award presenters including Julie Dolan of Star Wars Rebels and Steven Skyler of Power Rangers and more!

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

They need to be well thought out, put together as best as possible nu the film maker and most importantly they need to tell a story. For us it does not matter the type of camera or experience you have, it is how you tell your story and entertain an audience. If you are a good story teller and film maker it will show. We are looking for films as well as Fan Films for our fan film contest that have clean audio, a well put together story and something entertaining of the audience to enjoy.

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

yes and no…Yes in a way because of the reason why we started this festival. As a film maker myself it was very hard to get in to my first festival. It seemed to me a lot of film festivals where, in my opinion, only selecting films from people that either A) had a backing such as money or a company putting up the film and or B) Had work that was known or had prerequisites for the film makers or films( Previous screenings at festivals, Film Students only, Film vs Digital, Budgets, Etc.) for first timers like me at the time, it was very hard to get in to a festival. That is why we created our festival…no Experience needed, if you are a great film maker it will show and we will accept your film.

With that said the part I think they do get a fair shake in is that once you get a film in to a film festival the opportunities are amazing. The networking, exposure and talent that is in the festivals is a great atmosphere for creative minds to get together and make the connections that will lead to amazing things.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

To give people a chance to live their dreams and show their work. For me film making is a passion in I love and I am thankful for being able to do what I love for a living and through this festival we can give other film makers a chance to show their work, get exposure and help them in the step to making their dreams come true and further their careers.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It has been so easy and great. The selection process is so simple and when the submissions close the judging process is already set up and simple to use. I love this site and will be using film freeway for future festivals

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Currently we are contracted and sponsored by the awesome people at the California Republic Comic Con ( the event that is going on side by side with the festival) and we hope that by 2020 We will have an even bigger foot print and possibly just our own event. We are currently the largest film festival to come to our town and our goal is to some day reach the level of Sundance…of course that is a long ways away but its a dream.

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

That is a tough one, let me think…I think the answer to that would be…I don’t know for sure. I am a huge movie buff and I own a huge collection of films. I think it is safe to say for me the top four films I’ve seen the most would be Psycho, Edward Scissorhands, The Fifth Element and Star Wars a new hope.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film to me has the ability to transport an audience by visually telling a great story and giving them something they can enjoy over and over again with the feeling of you have never seen anything like it before.

How is the film scene in your city?

As of early 2017 it is starting to grow rapidly. Myself and other film makers in the city banded together to create films, we started to show them at local screenings and within some time we have been able to get new film makers to join us not only in our town but from out of the city as well.

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Chris Velazquez:

Born and raised in the central valley, Chris Velazquez has had a love for everything film from a very young age. He received his first camera when he was 5 years old and never looked back. He is an award winning film maker with close to 60 projects completed to date from music videos to short films. He is the co owner of Violette Films along side his wife Margarita. Chris is also currently working as the Violette Film Festival Director as well as Creating a Web series based on a short film that received high praise in 2016 called Chrono•Film that is set to start production in fall 2017. He lives in the central Valley with his wife Margarita and their Daughter Violette, whom their film company and festival are named after.

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 Teddy Grouya (American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs) )

The American Documentary Film Festival and Film Fund (AmDocs) is one of the largest Docs only festivals in the United States, located near the media capital of Hollywood in beautiful Palm Springs. This unique event focuses on international films in both the short and feature categories as well as showcasing animation. In conjunction with the festival is the American Documentary Film Fund where U.S. filmmakers compete for start-up or finishing funds in order to complete their film masterpieces. AmDocs, seeing the bigger picture.

 

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

Teddy Grouya: Our festival has been successful at pushing the boundaries and offering expanded exhibition opportunities for our filmmakers. For example, we were the first festival in the world to introduce a new formal alliance with other prominent events outside of North America. This alliance, the North
South Doc Network, gives filmmakers a chance to have their works screened at other festivals outside of their home country. AmDocs will share a select number of U.S. origin films in Latin America and Europe, guaranteed. In turn, our partner events get to curate films from their regions at AmDocs. Additionally, we pick a number of select films to participate in our local school district program catalog which complements academic curricula. We also screen AmDocs films throughout the year in our non-profit theatre thereby affording our filmmakers the opportunity to make a bit of revenue.

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

For 2018 we will continue to push the boundaries offering a great experience for our filmmakers, industry guests and audience. We already were the first docs only festival in the world to require films to be exhibited in DCP. We want our filmmakers to have a completely enjoyable and successful experience. And while we cannot guarantee sales, those marks have been going up as the
festival continues to gain international acclaim.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We screen short docs (40 minutes or less), feature docs (41 minutes or more) and animated works. We are not premiere whores but we always like to discover and share new or recent works. Films cannot have screened at another event within a 70 mile radius. Also, if submitting to us and invited, we will want the filmmakers to pull their films from any internet service like youtube for a month before our festival. (It is not fair for the audience to pay a ticket to see said film if it is offered for free on the web.)

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

If a festival or programmer is worth their salt, then know that the process is very complex and not always based on the quality of one’s work or story. There is a lot of frustration on filmmaker’s part when submitting their film(s)- we know as we are filmmakers, so we respect how tough the process is. Certainly there are instances where films are not viewed by festivals taking submissions or in many instances, you will see only a very few of submitted films accepted into a program because the festival has invited works from other sources. Of course, we program films from discovery at other festival events, but we can truly say that the majority of our films invited in any given year are
programmed from films submitted directly to us via submission platforms.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Our motivations are simple and complex at the same time. We want to share with the world films that entertain as well as have great import. We realize that all of this is subjective in nature but believe that we are doing a good thing when we help build awareness on a subject without forcing it on our audience and industry guests. We want our filmmakers to be successful, to remember their
experience at AmDocs and to tell the world that this is one of their favorite, if not favorite, festival they have attended. Proudly, many testify to this.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

When FilmFreeway came onto the scene we felt we had to add them to our platform options for our filmmakers even though WAB was the main force in the submission business. Each year their number of submissions to AmDocs has increased by about double. We hope this trend continues though it may be a push as WAB’s numbers have concurrently gone down. We offer all submission platforms that we are aware of, trying not to play favorites. FilmFreeway clearly deserves accolades on a number of fronts. They were aggressive and hit the market running. Their acceptance and friendly solicitation of filmmakers has made them a worthy business opponent to WAB which has forced WAB to change their commission formula as well as their branding to be more filmmaker accessible- they are essentially rebirthing themselves as FilmFreeway. Whatever the course of these entities, FilmFreeway’s entry has improved the opportunities for filmmakers and that is what is most important.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

By 2020 we hope to be acknowledged as one of the top events in the world for docs and animated works. Each year our reputation grows and by 2020 we want to have a full-fledged and respected film market for our filmmakers and industry insiders, a great place to meet and cut deals.

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

When Oliver Stone’s “JFK” came out over 20 years ago on PPV I must have seen it 20-30 times. I tend not want to see films more than once even though I have an extensive catalog. The complexity and editing of this film was mesmerizing. I am not saying this is necessarily my favorite film, but I learned more each time I saw which speaks volumes to its keeping my interest. Certainly, there are
many film favorites and each day that grows as I personally view over 1,600 docs and animated works every year. I fall in love with a good doc, will do whatever I can to share with other festival colleagues and industry friends.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is made up of many great moments or one defining and memorable moment that sticks with you your entire life. As far as the process goes, it is vital outside of experimental works, to have a story that you can effect with solid structure. If you can do this you will succeed in making something someone or many people will want to see, no matter the subject.

How is the film scene in your city?

The film scene is Palm Springs (the California desert resort city not far from the mecca of Hollywood.) It’s famous for film festivals, appreciative audiences, weather and fun. One of our new mottos this year is, “Filmmakers Work Hard And Party Hard” and at AmDocs and Palm Springs you have the perfect combination to enjoy the fruits of your filmmaking labors.

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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 Bob Cook (Central Florida Film Festival)

Fun filled three day event in Ocoee, Florida (15 minutes from Disney World) over the Labor Day weekend (September 1-3, 2017). Networking opportunities, panel discussions, screenings on three screens, excellent award show with guest presenters. Hotel venue walking distance to theater venue. VIP cocktail party and brunch.

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

Bob Cook: Networking! When filmmakers attend a festival they know where their current film is but where is their next project coming from. We have VIP networking events that matches writers, with directors, producers, and other craftsmen.

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

We have festival screenings on three screens at the West Orange Cinemas and a Filmmaker Lounge right opposite the theater to meet and chat with others. We also have a stage area in a separate venue for panels and on Saturday a “Pitchfest” where filmmakers can give an “elevator pitch” to two accomplished Hollywood Producers. Let’s not forget our evening networking parties at our hotel venue the Fairfield Inn and Suites in Ocoee, Florida.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

There are no set limitations to films that are accepted. There are ten categories including performance, camera work, sound, story/script, edit, production value, sound, pace & structure, lighting, and directing. Five initial judges watch each film and score each category 1-10. We look for films above the 70 mark our bar us usually 75. Scoring 75 gets you an “Official Selection” and your film is seen by five different judges (same scoring process except the high and low score are dropped). The top eight films move on to the final round where five additional judges screen the film (high and low dropped) and the accounting firm of Dave Cole, CPA and Associates tabulates the final scores and on the award night the five finalists and winner are announced. Categories include, Best Foreign Project, Documentary, Student Film (aka Paul Leder Award with a $2500 prize), Dramatic Short, Comedy Short, Feature, Florida Project and Audience Choice.

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

Not in our festival by the time the finals are announced fifteen different judges watch the film. I don’t know how the other festival do it but I take the no one watched my film out of the equation.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Networking. We get to see our industry contacts each year and show them new filmmakers and at the same time pitch my own if I have a project. We bring in Producers, Directors, Distributors and other industry people that have been around since the video days.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been so easy that we have dropped withoutabox altogether. Our judges love it because they can score online and I love it as they keep and accurate accounting daily. It’s relatively new and they are always coming up with new ways to connect filmmakers with a festival. You can even sell tickets through their site now.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Our festival won’t change much as we have found the proper mix which filmmakers and industry people love. If anything I see the festival moving from Ocoee, Florida to Mount Dora which a bit more centrally located to the state.

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

Unfair question as there are a couple of films I always watch when I direct a film. If it’s character driven in a small space I watch JAWS. Three characters on a boat and the camera and actors always seemed to be moving. For ensemble work and action I study John Ford’s work FORT APACHE. Take a look at the shots with seven or eight people in the scene (frame). Each one is in perfect light. Those were the “good ol’ days.”

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A good story told by an excellent storyteller.

How is the film scene in your city?

Hollywood will on occasion come to town to use Orlando as a location but the Indies are on their own in town. Not as much support as we would like which is another mission for the festival. Miami is a different story but at the festival this year we have several shorts and two really good features make by local filmmakers and support staff.

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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 Guido Franken (Euregion Film Festival)

Euregion Film Festival offers you a festival experience with the best films from all over the world, an award show, workshops, seminars and more. Every year, a multi-day festival program will be presented. This program contains selections of films from all over the world, workshops, seminars, meeting corners, an award show and more. If your film is selected, you are automatically in the running for several prizes during the festival.

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

Guido Franken: Euregion Film Festival is a fast growing film festival in which we connect filmmakers and public and try to mix those two audiences together by creating all kinds of networking settings. Our main point of focus is to connect new, mostly independent filmmakers and we help them to get to a higher level.

Therefore we organise a lot of opportunities regarding talent development, such as multidays film schools – in which filmmakers learn from experienced experts and train their skills and develop a concrete project -, conference days, masterclasses and competitions where filmmakers can pitch and win production budgets. It’s great to see how everyone merge together and connects, shares their knowledge and boost their skills.

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

Our next edition will be in 2018, with the 2017 edition just behind us in March
of this year. We introduced new types of events, which were very succesful and
will be continued next year. As a filmmaker, you can join one of our film schools (we call them film- or documentary campus), join CineMasters (masterclasses by experienced experts on specific topics) and come to networking events and parties. For the general audience, as well als for filmmakers off course, we organise CineTalks (table talks with experienced and young filmmakers about their vision, work and life), lots of side-events – such as a Virtual Reality Cinema and music parties – and above all we show a curated selection of short- and feature films, mostly with Q&A with the director.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

In general we accept all kinds of films, from short to feature, and from fiction to experimental, documentary or animation. We have a main focus on productions from our centre region in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, which is called the Muse-Rhine Euregion (that’s why the festival is called Euregion Film Festival). Our programmers really try to create a nice mix between genres, styles and topics. That’s why we are known for a very diverse, international and dynamic film program, in which it doesn’t matter how, where or what is made, as long as it has quality.

For up to date information visit:
https://filmfreeway.com/festival/EuregionShorts

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

With the growth of easy accessible submission platforms, it is inevitable that
fake festivals appears. So the only reason why films wouldn’t get a fair shake is that there are people who try to earn easy money by creating a website, open a call, collect money and never really organise a festival. That’s why platforms such as FilmFreeway are becoming more strict the last one, two years. And that
is good and hopefully will help to close down the fake festivals.

In general, I don’t believe that some films would not get a fair shake. Every
organizer I know is doing his or her job with the best intention and honesty,
watching every film that is submitted and just want to create the best festival
that is possible.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We love to showcase the biggest film talents, discover new (upcoming) diamants and connect filmmakers with eachother and with the audience. A festival is a great place to create in a specific period of time and on a specific location a ‘pressure cooker’ where all kinds of magical things happen: you see talented people grow, you see different types of audience (young, old, from all kinds of backgrouns) getting touched by films created by passionate people … it is a once in a life time experience which, when performed in a good way, can change peoples lives.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

From all submissions platforms available, it is the one that is the most easy to use. As well for filmmakers as for festivals. The number of submissions grew
with 150% in the second year, and we just opened the call for the third edition
of Euregion Film Festival and we are very excited to again receive a lot of good
films.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

As mentioned earlier, we are located in a unique crossborder region in the Netherlands – Belgium – Germany. Till now the festival took place in our
hometown (Heerlen in the Netherlands), but as we speak we are trying to make it a bigger event and cooperate more closely with partners across the borders.

We already attract an international audience, but I hope in 2020 the merge of
filmmakers and general audiences from all these countries (and other ones of course) has grown even more. We live in a truly unique area, which for filmmakers is a very good place to co-produce: within only 30 minutes driving
they can combine funds and incentives from three countries, eight regions and
local initiatives. There are lots of opportunities that we should make use of
more often!

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

Contrary my fellow Dutch citizens, I dó have feeling with our national cinema –
most Dutch people don’t like Dutch films at all –, and especially the work of Paul Verhoeven (now known for Elle, but also director of Basic Instinct and RoboCop for instance). His Soldaat van Oranje (Soldier of Orange) from 1977 is my all-time favorite. I think I watched it over 30 times, and it still gets better every time I see it. And that’s wat good films do: every time you see them, you discover genius (new) details or whatsoever that proves the quality of the film.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film captures or creates life in which the viewer loses himself.

How is the film scene in your city?

It is quite booming. Since five years I run a non-profit organisation which is called CineSud. We form the community of filmmakers in the province of Limburg in the Netherlands and are a fast growing and reliable platform, organising networking event, workshops, festivals and much more. We help filmmakers to develop their own skills and projects and assist them with there productions. Next to Euregion Film Festival we annually organise SHIFT Film Festival, which focuses on innovation in film in every possible way.

Besides that, in the last five years we were able to create a great infrastructure for film, with an own regional film funds (Limburg Film Fund), a Limburg Film Commissioner and lots of initiatives for talents, professionals and audience. Now we are on the edge of taking a next big step or falling down again: it is really an important period for the future of film in this region. That’s why with Euregion Film Festival we are working now very hard to make it even more ‘crossborder’ in this region, so that we can enlarge the support for
film in this crossborder region and give it even deeper, better and more steady roots. It would be a shame if all efforts that we took last years – with great results and lots of films shot in this region – would slowly vanish again.

euregion film festival2.jpg

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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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