Interview with Festival Director Bill Hass (FORT WORTH INDIE FILM SHOWCASE)

The Fort Worth Indie Film Showcase (FWIFS) is going into it’s sixth year. It started as a small “boutique” showcase, designed to service local and regional filmmakers. The festival quickly grew in popularity and is now an international festival servicing filmmakers around the globe. The first year, it screened about 40 films, and they struggled to find those. In 2018, they screened around 120 films over the course of three days. They are a multi-genre fest. They screen features and shorts on a variety of topics. In their fourth year, they relocated to Sundance Square, in the heart of downtown Fort Worth. They typically present the festival in the third week of July. The dates for 2019 are July 18-20, and we are currently open for submissions.

Contact

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

Bill Hass: What we do successfully is provide a platform to grow. We are going into our sixth year and we have some filmmakers that have participated with us from the beginning. It is encouraging to see the quality of films improve over time. We take a family approach to our event. Once you participate, you’re one of us. With that we do all we can to help filmmakers grow their networks. We make them aware of other festivals, we make introductions to other filmmakers in attendance, and we set up panels and discussions to speak on specific areas of the craft.

2) What will attendees experience when they attend your upcoming festival?

We do everything we can to put a spotlight on the filmmaker. FWIFS is about each individual artist. Of course, we will show the films. Beyond that we are looking to expand the experience by offering a full day of panels on various topics. For the screenwriters, we are also looking at an opportunity to have local actors read portions of their scripts before an audience.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We look for films that tell an interesting story, films that leave you thinking and spark discussions. As a multi-genre fest, we look for and accept a wide variety of projects. We like to present a strong cross-section of films, everything from horror to comedy, and romance to faith based. The element that all of our projects have in common is a tight story, told with interesting characters.

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

The really nice thing about the independent film festival, is that all films are equal. A film that was produced with a zero budget will be considered alongside a film with a six figure budget. Each film is judged on its own merits. At FWIFS, we take every submission seriously. Every other festival I’ve dealt with does the same. That being said, as filmmakers we need to make sure we’re submitting according to the festival rules. In other words, don’t submit a feature drama to a festival that specializes in short comedies. As long as films are submitted within the guidelines of the festival I believe they are fairly considered. I think that is true for all festivals. I know that is true for us.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

The filmmaker and the audience. Festivals like this are important to new and independent filmmakers because we provide an outlet for them to show their films. For those who attend, they also have an opportunity to engage the audience and receive valuable feedback. It’s great to see filmmakers interacting with the audience and their peers. It’s also very nice to watch and audience enjoy a film that they may not have seen or known about, except for our festival. It’s a really good feeling to know what we had something to do with making that happen. That motivates us to do it the next time.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has made our submission process really easy. The receipt, review, and acceptance process is really simple. It’s easy for the judges. Of all the platforms we’ve tried so far, FilmFreeway has brought us the most success. Anytime I’ve had a question or a problem, I’ve been able to get help right away. They also consistently improve the platform and add features that increase the value. I am very glad we discovered FilmFreeway.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

In addition to what we’re already doing, by 2023 I’d like to see us offering more workshops and panels. I’d also like to see more blocks that cater to writers and story development. Over the next five years I also want to continue fostering our relationships with schools and student filmmakers. Ideally, we’ll see a level of growth that will enable us to add another day or possibly another venue in addition to our current location.

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

The Matrix. I really enjoy the way that story unfolds.

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Well developed characters in a well written story.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

It’s getting better. We have a new film commission that is working to bring filmmaking to Ft. Worth. There are a lot of great locations to shoot, and the Commission is really focused on building a reputation as a Film-Friendly city. Aside from ourselves, there are several other festivals that go up throughout the year, so there is a decent opportunity to catch indie films. I’m looking forward to seeing what develops here over the next few years.
 

About the Festival Director:

Bill Hass is the programming director and one of the founders of FWIFS. Bill is himself an award winning filmmaker, so he and the team present the festival from a filmmakers perspective. Bill’s journey to programming this festival was about thirty years in the making. He started as a stage actor. From there he learned to write, which led to making films. Filmmaking evolved to programming a festival. He’s been programming the festival since it’s inception, and he works to present a strong cross-section of films each year. The focus is on presenting strong character driven stories in all genres. He also looks for opportunities to mentor young filmmakers whenever possible.

fort worth 2

Advertisements

Interview with Festival Director Otessa Ghadar (DC Web Fest)

The DC Web and Digital Media Festival highlights the best of the web. The festival goes beyond web series to include various forms of digital media, such as Short Films, Screenwriting, and Game/App development. The MISSION of this festival is to Entertain, Educate, and Promote these new and innovative art forms.

Contact

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

Otessa Ghadar: The DC Web Fest is a great platform for independent digital media creators to showcase and promote their work. We have a total of six categories: web series, digital shorts/trailers, games, apps, AR/VR, and blogs/scripts. At the festival, shows have been picked up for distribution. Some of our web series have moved on to television and many of our games have moved on to major consoles like Xbox, PlayStation 4, and Nintendo Switch. The DC Web Fest is also a place where industry players come in search of exceptional content.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend your upcoming festival?

I would expect to experience a wide range of digital content in addition to educational panels where I can learn from industry professionals, from writers, directors, and producers to digital marketing experts, podcasters, and IP law professionals. I would expect to meet many like minded creatives and form meaningful, productive relationships. Mostly, I would expect be uplifted, entertained, and educated with the best of indie digital content.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The main elements we look for are strong original story with conflict and character arc, production quality, and strong editing. There are specific criteria that can be found on our FilmFreeway page through https://dcwebfest.org/submit.

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

As a woman and minority owned organization, the DC Web Fest is devoted to inclusion and diversity. There is definitely division and underrepresentation, which need to be addressed. That’s why we are currently working on a side project (Analyzing Diversity in Media) that collects data to highlight the various issues with diversity in media. Please help us make a difference by taking just a few moments to complete our questionnaire! Here is the link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdVdyT5Up16Mm-jed0CZKAiJ52iVQXkn3Z4KMANuAYEbopS8g/viewform

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Indie creators need to know that there are platforms that freely welcome their ideas that are rejected by Hollywood. The indie community is like a family, and we need to all ban together to keep the indie spirit strong. DC is a vibrant city full of creatives. We want them to know that there is a place to call home. They don’t have to travel to the major markets (i.e. LA and NY) to tell their stories. They can tell their stories right here- in DC where many are hungry for authentic, creative digital content. Each year, our creatives have shown their gratitude and many continue to excel.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Our experience with FilmFreeway has been quite positive. It would be great if we could make the process more personalized. But since our inception (year 1), we’ve seen submissions increase by a multiple of 20.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

By 2023 we will be showing work that our minds haven’t yet conceived of…and that’s just how we like it. The future is in our blood over here.

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

We were film majors! Where shall we begin?! The Graduate (just to name one). We can send a spreadsheet of our favorite films if you would like.

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A strong storyline with a clear, concise goal, conflict, and characters who progress throughout make a good film. sometimes the conflict or goal need not be so clearly defined. Sometimes, a strong story, with meaningful characters can hit a nerve and unite a viewership. It’s not so cut and dry. There is a structure, but there is also more than that. It’s all about knowing “the rules”, then knowing how and when to break them.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

DC is full of energetic, passionate filmmakers and storytellers. There are other festivals that also serve as platforms for local filmmakers to showcase and promote their work, such as the DC Black Film Festival. DC Web Fest founder, Otessa Ghadar, serves on the advisory board of the DC Black Film Festival. DC Shorts is another popular local film festival.

dc web fest 1

Interview with Festival Director Rob Lobosco (MELBOURNE INTERNATIONAL CINEMA EXTRAVAGANZA)

The Melbourne International Cinema Extravaganza M.I.C.E. aims to be one of Melbourne’s leading cinema extravaganza, raising awareness and celebrating these wonderful totem animals- Mice.

Contact

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

Rob Lobosco: As a new film festival it is a great opportunity for filmmakers to submit and be part of something evolving, bringing together a collection of great films and celebrate their efforts.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival 2019?

A collection of great work in honour of the millions of mice that are used in research to save lives.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Films will be judged and the best will be selected. Of course All film creations are the best in which case all films will get a mention.
We are most excited about looking for an amazing script.

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

I think all festivals do their best In judging and sharing their viewpoint about the films. It is a collective decision amongst the judges and sometimes it may be disappointing to filmmakers not to be selected. But there is a huge celebration for filmmakers to complete a title and that’s the main focus for filmmakers to embrace. We all see the amazing creation in your film and are honoured to watch it and ‘not selected’ should not dishearten you, it should propel you to keep going.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Creation, stories, characters, situations and how they all blend together to become a film. Film fascinates me in that there are limitless ways to tell a story and the filmmaker chose this particular way. It’s amazing to judge film with this in mind.
The motivation also is for the life saving totem animal of our festival – mice.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Film freeway is a great platform and fantastic place to submit films all around the globe.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

We see it as a hub for emerging new talent and with its creators actively writing, producing and judges for other film festivals, it will become something quite special for filmmakers. A festival to bring together film makers with their new creations, network, collaborate and ultimately create!

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

A few- Beaches, Titanic and Muriel’s Wedding!

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Investigating a situation/story and truthfully following the character’s physical, emotional, esoteric and spiritual journey, makes an Oscar winning film.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Melbourne is a multicultural hub for amazing artistic talent and wonderful films. It’s a great place to be to create.

Even though we are so far away ‘downunder,’ we are very well connected to filmmakers all over the globe because of the need to collaborate and connect and create!

Best of October 2018 Film Festival Interviews

These are festivals to look out for. Read interviews with the Festival Directors and learn more about them.

Interview with Festival Director Daryl Bates (A SHORT NIGHT)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Edward Payson (an Anti-Hero Production Genre Fest)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Dr. James Rowlins (Brighton Rocks Film Festival)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Cato ML Ekrene (The Norwegian International Seagull Short Film Festival)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Aleksander Sakowski (THE VISION FEAST)
READ Interview
.

Interview with Festival Director Sally Bloom (LONGLEAF FILM FESTIVAL)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Pierre Cialdella (San Francisco LGBTQ Coming of Age Short Film Festival)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Avery Cohen (Macoproject Film Festival)
READ Interview
.

Interview with Festival Director Gian Smith (The Black Film Festival of New Orleans)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Gia Frino (Wollongong Film Festival)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director John LaBonney (DAM SHORT FILM FESTIVAL)
READ Interview

Interview with Festival Director Avery Cohen (Macoproject Film Festival)

The Macoproject Film Festival is a New York City based festival open internationally to all filmmakers and screenwriters who understand that film is much more than expensive equipment with impractical budgets.

Contact

1) What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

The Macoproject Film Festival has had the pleasure of awarding over 200 Filmmakers & Screening over 50 short films from all across the world, as well as being recognized by HBO, Backstage, FilmDaily and many others. Our objective is to deduct adversities that many film festivals place on their artists. Our films and screenplays are judged based on the factors that make them come to life. If a student or first time filmmaker releases something truly special, who’s to say they don’t deserve a chance to be acknowledged?

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

Expect to be treated like a professional. Whether your work has been selected by us, or If you’re a film lover exploring the heart of what we do, or if you’re in New York and want to try something different, here you will be treated with the utmost respect and proficiency. Guest’s are able to come, relax, and forget about the world for a few hours. Our audience is also joined with special guests including HBO producers, news outlets, and other filmmakers. Our selections are able to watch a live audience perceive their message, while our screenwriters are able see us breakdown their work to the crowd. The top 3 Filmmakers and Screenwriters will both receive official Macoproject plaques.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our judges are checking for many factors. This includes direction, cinematography (for films), the chemistry between characters, inclusive dialogue, etcetera. We leave the creativity to you, however, we do ask that our submitters considers that this will be in front of a live audience in New York City. If you show us professionalism you will receive it in return.

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

One of the very reasons I created The Macoproject Film Festival was due to the negligence that many filmmakers are subject to in our industry. If you take a look at the grand scheme of things, Hollywood is doing everything in their power to keep corporate multiplexes afloat. Due to the success of Netflix, Amazon, and HBO, recognition for quality works have practically been overlooked. With theaters releasing A-list actors with D- minus story telling, of course indie films won’t get their fair shake! We must remember that filmmaking is also a business, not just an art. With that being said, film festivals must remember that filmmaking is an art, not just a business.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

My judges have a vast background and interest in film which places them perfectly in the position they’re in. I feel that (career speaking) there comes a point in everyone’s life where they ask themselves what they’d like to do, not only themselves, but for the community. Some venture into medicine, because they want to help people. Others become politicians do try and help their community. I run The Macoproject Film Festival because I’d like to turn an artist’s passion into something more than just a fantasy.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been a great help in the success of Macoproject. I began the festival on FilmFreeway, so I don’t have any intentions on leaving them, However, what I do plan on is having two seperate submission platforms, either on filmfreeway or through our website.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Two close friend of mine (who also happens to be judges) joined me at FestForums, a convention for Film Festivals to meet and connect with one another. We were happily greeted by several notable faces and were introduced to some of the most notable men and women of our industry. While introducing ourselves to people, we sparked a conversation with a gentleman representing The Sierra Nevada brewing company. I had asked him what his expectations were for Sierra Nevada when it first began its journey. He said to me that Ken Grossman (the current CEO of Sierra Nevada) would commonly say that Sierra Nevada would grow as large as it needed to. At first you might believe this mindset to be selfish. The Sierra Nevada Brewing Company has a current net worth of 2.6 billion dollars. In 5 years I believe The Macoproject Film Festival will grow as large as it needs to, and I have no intentions of stopping.

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

That’s a real tough one…I’m split between The Shawshank Redemption and Forrest Gump. These were always very easy films to catch my interest. Not to mention that before the Netflix-era, we were lucky to find our favorite films airing. Something that I enjoy about these films is the more you watch it, the more smaller details you’ll begin to notice.

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is the ability to rewatch as if it were your first time.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Anyone who has been to New York City knows there is no other place like it. Creativity and acceptance is practically airborne, giving filmmakers and other artists a breath of fresh air. The big apple is an absolute goldmine for people looking to show themselves, and express themselves. Every single person you ask will have a different way to describe this wonderful place, and I wish these sentences could do it justice. If you’re willing to push your dreams into a reality, come find us in the center of the universe.

macoproject.jpg

Interview with Festival Director Ronald Quigley (PITTSBURGH INDEPENDENT FILM FESTIVAL)

The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival is Pittsburgh’s own film festival for truly independent films, and a headline event for micro-budget films in the USA and world wide. PIIF offers a fantastic opportunity for undiscovered filmmakers to showcase their achievements, filmmakers who posses an independent vision and operate to create innovative work outside the studio system. Two recent winners of the festival have secured a distribution deal, as a result of entering our festival. Both our 2016 and 2018 winners are now in worldwide distribution. The Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival was founded by Ronald Quigley a Pittsburgh native who now lives and works as an  Actor / Director in Los Angeles.  Ronald, re-located from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles in April 2002.  He is the CEO of Last Act Entertainment a production company with several credits to it’s name.  Ronald acts as the Festival Director while our panel of judges are comprised of industry professionals from different fields within the film making community of Hollywood. The PIFF was created in 2010 and screened 48 films from around the world at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont PA,  a suburb of Pittsburgh.  Although the Hollywood worked well for the first year, Ronald felt a need for a venue that was more conducive to a film festival atmosphere. In 2013 the Pittsburgh Independent Film Festival moved to The Father Ryan Arts Center in McKees Rocks. For the 2019 season the PIFF is being held at the newly remodeled Parkway Theater. Aaron Stubna has taken an old theater and turned it into a hip modern cafe screening room with a Restaurant and Bar integrated all together to make this one of the coolest places to have a Film festival I have ever seen. We hope to be here for many years to come.    Link   http://communityreelartscenter.org/

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

Ronald Quigley: The competition in the independent film world has become fierce, the quality of films has grown exponentially almost every year over the 9 years of our existence. We give an opportunity to filmmakers to screen their film on the big screen and perhaps secure distribution.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend your next festival?

This year we have found a newly remodeled hip little theater in Pittsburgh The Parkway Theater. Aaron Stubna the owner, has taken an old theater and turned it into a hip modern cafe screening room with a Restaurant and Bar integrated all together to make this one of the coolest places to have a Film festival I have ever seen. We hope to be here for many years to come. In addition to our already one of a kind official submission plaque that is presented to every selected submission. We are the only festival in the world that does this.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The only qualification is that they be good. They must be shot on a very high level sound, picture and color all have to be great. I have said that you will be judged by your lowest common denominator not only by my festival but that holds true for your audience you wont be remembered as getting it pretty good your will be remembered as the film with bad sound or color whatever the worst part of your film is is what they remember.

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

I don’t know about any other festival but at our festival every film is reviewed very carefully.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

The love of film. We are all filmmakers in one way or another. Our team is comprised of directors, producers, sound people, and just plain old filmmakers. We don’t make money from this the festival barely breaks even every year. We are a smaller festival because of where we are located,.but don’t get me wrong Pittsburgh is a great place to have a festival.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Filmfreeway is now our main portal for submissions we get most of our submissions through them. They have come on like gangbusters and have done everything for the better.I love Filmfreeway.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

That’s a good question. We have grown every year and now that we have a hip new venue I think we could have like a little Sundance where everyone can’t wait to come. Anyhow that’s my dream.

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

The Wizzard of OZ still to me the greatest film ever made. No one disagrees with me when I say that, but they may have a different favorite. I vever miss it when it comes on TV.

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film takes you on an emotional roller coaster ride you don’t think about anything else you are invested and engaged and you forget about the real world.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Well that’s kind of a loaded question I live in Hollywood but my festival is in Pittsburgh. But the Pittsburgh film scene has been pretty vibrant Pittsburgh gets about 8 to 10 Major motion pictures a year made there.

These are multi -million dollar productions. Pittsburgh is a very cinematic city and many top rate filmmakers have no problem coming there to shoot 

pittsburgh-1
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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Alecs Nastoiu (SHORT TO THE POINT (STTP) )

SHORT TO THE POINT (STTP) is an international network of distribution, broadcast and promotion of short films. Since 2009, SHORT TO THE POINT has gone through several steps and right now it has gathered some awesome projects under its umbrella.

Contact

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

Alecs Nastoiu: The most important thing I guess is that we screen films every month. The classic annual festivals usually screen few shorts, one time per year. And the next important thing is that we screen short films in unconventional spaces like pubs, bars, museums, theatres or terraces. We try to bring short films to the audience, not the audience to cinemas. And another good thing is that we screen short films simultaneous in over 30 cities from Romania and Moldova. And very soon we will start doing this all over the world.

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

We are a monthly festival, with monthly awards and screenings. But we have an annual event as well. Each year we change the host city. This year we will organize the annual edition of the festival in Bacau, Romania at the end of July. We are screening all winner films of the monthly awards editions from past year. So we offer the opportunity to the filmmakers to discover new cities each year and to meet with filmmakers from all over the world. Every time we have new audience, and new locations. So I think the experience of Short to the Point Film Festival is continuous and you will never get enough of it.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We accept any kind of short films in our festival. We have a lot of categories. And each category has it’s own selections and winners. So the qualifications are different from category to category. But our jury is looking for good stories and good filmmaking all the way.

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

There are a lot of film festivals in the world so I think each film has its opportunity to make it to the big screen. It’s all about filmmakers. They have to know where to submit their films.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

First of all we are filmmakers. So we like films. And Short to the Point offer us the opportunity to meet people from industry, to find good ideas that maybe will inspire us in the future and of course to understand what is the trend in cinematography at the moment.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

In my opinion FilmFreeway is the best thing in film festival industry that has happened in last 3 years. It’s the best film submission platform on the market. It’s easy to use and it has a lot of options that makes our job as a festival much more easier.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

In 2023 Short to the Point will have screenings in unconventional spaces all over the world.

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

Because I edit my first feature length movie (Billion Star Hotel) for over 6 months, I can say that I saw it the most times. But If we speak about other directors, I can say that I saw over 30 times ‘The man who wasn’t there’, directed by Coen brothers.

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is a product that combines perfectly all ingredients: script, directing, cinematography, editing, acting etc

10) How is the film scene in your city?

I was born in Bucharest but for 6 years I live in a small city from Transylvania called Targu Mures. Here I started with some friends the first film production company in the history of the city. And I made 2 feature films. First of them Billion Star Hotel has 19 awards at festivals around the world and the second one is in post production. Short to the point is screening short films here every month, so I can say that the film scene is animated for the moment by my team.

 

short to the point 1.jpg

____

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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.