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

Advertisements

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.

Interview with Festival Director Alex Gardner (PHILADELPHIA UNNAMED FILM FESTIVAL)

It’s year three of the Philadelphia Unnamed Film Festival! Last year’s PUFF brought an eclectic mix of horror, science fiction, and bizarre films to the genre fans at the beautiful Proscenium Theater at The Drake in Philadelphia.

Contact

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

Alex Gardner: PUFF is not an awards farm like some film festivals. We succeed at promoting great films and connecting them to distributors. Almost every single feature film we have screened has gone on to find distribution.

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

PUFF is four days of film, food and fun! We don’t want the festival to be where you see one film and go home. We want people to come to Philadelphia and have a great time. We try to make PUFF an experience the minute you walk in the door. This year we hope to have more of an interactive experience in the lobby, and there is always plenty of booze floating around. We hope people not only see a bunch of great films, but that they stick around, have a beer and talk to each other about what they just saw. Then they can go out and enjoy the great nightlife our city has to offer.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We are an alternative film festival. We are looking for great, unreleased films that are typically ignored by mainstream film festivals. This includes horror, sci-fi, experimental and so on.

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

Depends on the film festival. While I think some type of films get ignored by more mainstream festivals, there are plenty of genre and alternative film festivals to accommodate most films.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Fun. There’s no point in doing this unless we’re having fun.

Where do you see the festival by 2023?

Hopefully I’m just alive by 2023, but if we make it that far I want PUFF to be a multimedia experience that is a destination for film fanatics. The aim of PUFF is to not only bring great films to Philadelphia, but to incorporate the city nightlife. Philadelphia is an up and coming city that offers our own culture, history, art, great food, beer and more.

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

Unfortunately, Look Who’s Talking. I feel like that film was on television every second on my teenage years, but if you mean on purpose it has to be Congo. Congo is an underappreciated master piece of comedy, action and horror.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

The ability entertain.

How is the film scene in your city?

To be honest, not so great, and that’s why we created PUFF. Philly is a sports town first, and it always will be, but it has grown so much over the last few years. We hope to be the driving force behind making the film scene better in Philadelphia.

 

phily 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.

Interview with Festival Directors Lisa Wisely & James Felix McKenney (GREAT WESTERN CATSKILLS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)

The first ever Great Western Catskills International Film Festival will be held in town of Andes, New York for one weekend this fall. Come experience the best in independent film from all over the world, sample local food & drink at our screening venues and mix with the filmmakers at nightly parties.