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