Interview with Festival Director Stephanie Dadet (OUR CITY FILM PROJECT)

Our City Film Project is a film collective showcasing the work of filmmakers from different cities to a global audience. It is a community celebrating storytelling and passion.  The project aims to promote filmmaking and redefine production practices. As filmmakers, the stories we tell are influenced by our background, experience, and perception but shaped by our community – Our City. OCFP will focus on a chosen theme for a year which determines the accepted entries. The festival is a not-for-profit initiative of Big Bad Wolf Pictures, a film production company from Cape Town, South Africa.

WEBSITE: www.ourcityfilmproject.com

Social Media: Facebook – www.facebook.com/ourcityfilms

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

Stephanie Dadet: Our City film project in its mission aims to provide a platform to celebrate the people and stories that shape us. Our focus is not just on the films but also to shine the spotlight to the filmmakers to have brought these stories to our screen. As we grow, we aim to bring filmmakers together to create projects as part of the collective.

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

Two days with a great line up of some of the best LGBT short films produced within the past 24 months hosted by the prestigious Ster Kinekor Cinema Nouveau and a space to network with filmmakers, catch up with friends and of course, good wine.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

As required by 2017 theme of the festival, all entries must be LGBT short films produced between 2016 -2017. We are focused on the quality of the narrative. We are looking for filmmakers who not only understand storytelling but know how to genuinely tell their stories and create value. Our focus, however, is not just about the film itself but also on the filmmaker.

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

The obvious reason is the number of submissions a festival. There are a lot of films made and submitted but limited selections. This is why it is important to create projects like this to provide more platforms. It is very important to get your film out there, to share your story and meet other people with shared visions. There is a film festival out there waiting to share your story, don’t give up – look out for them and keep submitting!

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

That will be the personal commitment to contribute to the growth our film industry and celebrate the filmmakers who are having the effort to show the world what they have to offer and to encourage collaboration on productions between filmmakers especially as we plan for our second year.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Good. We have received over 1600 submissions from FilmFreeway and it has been an efficient platform all round.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We aim to be hosting screenings in at least 10 cities around the world bringing together people to celebrate the stories and filmmakers from their cities and also the collaborative projects put together by filmmakers from different cities working together, learning, sharing and also inspiring. It is called Our City Film project for that reason.

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

That will be the Pixar animated feature UP. It is a brilliant film that gives me Goosebumps – touching, exciting and entertaining. It is a special film.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great script matched with a talented film director.

How is the film scene in your city?

The Film Scene in my City – Cape Town is good and continuously growing. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and hosts quite a number of local and international film shoots. The city has a growing pool of talented filmmakers ready to leave a mark in the industry both local and in the international scene.

 

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FILM FESTIVAL DIRECTOR BIO:

Stephanie Dadet is a film producer and screenwriter. In 2012 she obtained a BSc (Honours) degree in Business Administration and in 2015 moved to Cape Town, South Africa to study for a BA (Honours) in Motion Picture Production attained from AFDA Film School which she was awarded Best Producer and Best Film. She has industry experience working across Nigeria and South Africa in film and television. She is currently completing her MFA degree. She is also the co-director of Big Bad Wolf Pictures founded in December 2016.

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 Directors Maria Kryvoshchokova & Anna Demianenko (Marhanets International Short Film Festival)

Marhanets International Short Film Festival is the very first film festival created in a small mining city Marhanets which aims to bring film culture to the city and inspire and motivate filmmaking in the region. The festival was founded by daughter and mother Anna Demianenko and Maria Kryvoshchokova, with the aim of helping smaller cities of Ukraine to develop film in their region.

Website: marhanetsfilmfest.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marhanetsfilmfest/

email:  marhanetsfilmfest@gmail.com

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

Maria Kryvoshchokova: Marhanets Film Festival is created to promote Ukrainian and International short films, filmmakers and actors. Our festivals gives opportunity to attract as many cinephiles as possible and lets directors to screen their films to much more viewers getting important feedback.

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

Anna Demianenko: The 2017 edition of Marhanets Film Festival which was held on 6-7 of May was very successful. Therefore we have started getting ready for 2018 edition just after the Award ceremony finished! Every person who will attend our festival will be welcomed by wonderful competition short films from all over the world that inspire, motivate, show new opportunities and solutions. Filmmakers will also be able to take part in workshops and meet young Ukrainian directors.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: We are looking for new and original films showing a unique director’s vision, camera work, acting, sound design. We opt for a strong and genuine story that will capture viewer’s attention from the very beginning and will never let go. We want to see the films that motivate and give people a chance to develop and make themselves better. This year we have decided to expand our maximum running time to 30 minutes as we have discovered that there are many good stories which surpass the time limit we had for submissions last year.

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

Anna Demianenko: I do believe it is true, as there so many films are send to the festivals each year and this great quantity makes it impossible for some selectioners to watch all the films. That is what really important for our festival, no matter how many submissions are sent, we are watching every single one of them, as sometimes the treasures are hidden and only if you are willing to search, that is when you will be rewarded. For example, 2017 Best Short Film Apparition by Denis Dobrovoda (France) was one of the last ones to be watched during the selection process.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: I would say the passion for a good film and opportunity to discover which topics excite, thrill or worry the directors from all over the world. The filmmakers are given a chance to communicate with the audience through their films and the viewers can discuss the films and speak their mind as well. The second and most important motivation is a team work. Our festival team is undeniably helpful and very friendly, people keep joining our team realizing what a wonderful mission our festival entails. We are grateful to every person who was supporting us on our way to creating an incredible event.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Anna Demianenko: We are happy that this year we have much more filmmakers interested in our festival! As it is the second edition we are hoping to receive as many submissions as possible, so that we can show to the festival guests the most quality content. We have a thorough selection process, first the selection committee chooses the best films from submitted, then an expert committee which consists of famous Ukrainian film critics, filmmakers, actors chooses the one that will take part in competition. Members of the expert committee have very different opinions and viewpoints, therefore various films are accepted to the competition.

We are welcome every filmmaker to submit his/her short film following this link! https://filmfreeway.com/festival/MarhanetsFilmFestival
Be the one to be chosen into Marhanets Film Festival Competition!

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: We hope to enlarge the festival by making more competition programs and conducting more workshops. One of our aims is to make screenings not only of best Ukrainian short films of the year, but films of other countries as well. We are searching for cooperation with other festivals so that we can exchange experiences and screen the films in out-of-competition programs. By all means, we are expecting for more visitors from all over the world and more viewers to come and experience our remarkable event.

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

Anna Demianenko: I personally watch films every single day of different countries and year of production. I guess my favourite features are directed by Paolo Sorrentino, I found his films Youth and The Great Beauty as a great contemplation and admiration of life in its true existence. Those films aspire me to search for greatness in every moment of our life. Regarding short films, I watch them every day, I am currently a Programmer for two Dutch film festivals Shift Film Festival and Euregion Film Festival, and it gives me opportunity to watch completely different films. My favourite short film by far is Everything Will Be Ok by Patrick Vollrath. I hope to see more of such films at our festival.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Maria Kryvoshchokova: The one that makes you talk about it and leaves nobody cold.

How is the film scene in your city?

Anna Demianenko: Marhanets Film Festival is actually a huge and incredible event for our small city. Sadly, Ukrainian film business is mostly focused in big cities, and inhabitants of small ones are usually left out. That was our initial aim: to bring cinema back to small cities, make it real and in demand. We do believe that with this festival we can bring big films to small cities no matter where it is a short or a feature. So we welcome everyone to submit their films and to visit our festival in May 2018! Be the one to develop film in small regions!

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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 Michael Kamel (DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival)

Founded in 2011, the annual DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival (DCPFAF) is a 501c3 nonprofit, volunteer-run enterprise that showcases the work of Palestinian filmmakers and artists around the world to audiences in the Washington DC metro area.

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

Michael Kamel: The DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival (DCPFAF) prides itself on creating a space for Palestinian subjectivity.We highlight the voices and stories of Palestinian artists from around the world. Filmmakers show audiences their debilitating morning commutes to Jerusalem through the infamous Qalandiya checkpoint, the horrors faced during the 2014 Israeli assault on Gaza, and life as a refugee in Greece. These are all stories that need to be heard.

But Palestinian subjectivity is also just that – life from the eyes of a Palestinian. One of our founders, Noura Erakat, describes it as not a Palestine festival, but a Palestinian festival. We’ve featured a short film about personal nostalgia and loss, a fictional animation on a street artist, and even a 1-minute fashion film. No Palestinian story is off the table!

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

You should expect to laugh, cry, and move! The experience this year is loosely centered on Palestinian innovation in all forms, brought to the audience through several artistic mediums. Festival goers will be treated to a carefully curated selection of films that tackle topics from Palestinian image-making to Palestinian political prisoners, a live storytelling event featuring local DC Palestinian talent in partnership with the Boston-based Palestinians Podcast, the Hollywood writer-director-producer-actor extraordinaire Cherien Dabis, a new twist on the dabke (Palestinian folk dance), and more! There is truly something for everyone.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

All of our films must be written, directed and/or produced by someone who identifies as Palestinian. We then evaluate them based on three criteria: production value, entertainment value, and creativity. Our programming team discusses each film, their position and impact in the festival lineup, and what we would want the audience to walk away with.

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

Each festival has their own broad mission and yearly vision; sometimes, a phenomenal film just may not fit into the festival’s scope for that year. However, within Palestinian cinema, good films tend to receive their recognition because filmmakers and audiences realize that’s their chance of success. We must support our own artists because that’s how they succeed both within Palestinian cinema and beyond.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

A volunteer-run festival is truly a labor of love. Everyone on our team truly believes in and supports Palestinian artists, and is passionate about creating a space for them to share their work. We want to ensure that Palestinian art is getting the reach it deserves, and that people in our region aren’t missing out.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been a blessing for our festival, streamlining the process and ultimately making it easier and more accessible.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

2020 will be the tenth year of the DC Palestinian Film & Arts Festival. I see our festival celebrating the past decade of Palestinian art, and building a platform for the next decade. We love to push boundaries. In 2016, for example, we teamed up with Shared Studios, Mercy Corps, and Gaza Sky Geeks on an audiovisual portal that connected artists, musicians, performers, and festival attendees in DC to their peers in the Gaza Strip, Palestine. It was amazing to see people dancing, singing, and talking literally across oceans and borders. We’re all about pushing the envelope like that, and we intend on continuing that trend into our tenth annual run and beyond!

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

I can’t lie, I’m not a person who watches movies more than twice (even if I love a film). Still, at the moment, the film I’ve seen the most times in my life has to be Moonlight. I can never get enough of that movie.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film shakes you to your core.

How is the film scene in your city?

The DC film scene tends to focus on documentary filmmaking (usually political), given the fact that we are the nation’s capital. Several Hollywood productions have even shot in DC—Jackie, VEEP, and House of Cards amongst others. You see how those three productions alone deal with politics in some way, shape or form?

There is also an amazing independent film scene. Howard University alone is a pioneer in the area, with professors like Julie Dash (Daughters of the Dust) and Haile Gerima (Sankofa). I’ve had the privilege to work alongside some amazing filmmakers from Howard.

American University’s acclaimed film program is home to remarkable filmmakers, including the Palestinian filmmaker Najwa Najjar (Eyes of a Thief).

And, of course, I have to mention my alma mater, George Mason University. Our film program has also been pushing cutting-edge filmmakers and works to the forefront. Shout out to the amazing faculty, including Giovanna Chesler, Lisa Thrasher and the Emmy-nominated Hans Charles (Director of Photography on the Oscar-nominated 13th).

I’ve often encountered people who think that DC filmmakers are only churning out documentaries about the White House. In actuality, our artists create so much more!

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ABOUT MICHAEL KAMEL
Michael Kamel is a local filmmaker and the Curator and Co-Director of the DC Palestinian Film & Arts Festival. His film work often explores themes of identity, loss, and relationships. Subjectivity fuels his content, and he strives to provide a nuanced platform and voice for often unheard subjects. You can view more of his work at michaelkamel.com.

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 Conor Armstrong Sanfey (ELEVATION INDIE FILM AWARDS)

The Elevation Indie Film Awards has been set up by Indie Film makers for Indie Film makers. We understand the difficulties of gaining recognition for your work and want to shine a light on the vast talent of Independent filmmakers from around the world.

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

Conor Armstrong Sanfey: At elevation, we endeavour to give filmmakers feedback on all submissions, weather they are accepted or not to screen. We ensure that all films are watched, and filmmakers go away with constructive feedback. We specifically support indie filmmakers, by providing them a platform for showcasing their work.

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

To view a wide diverse programme of innovative independent films.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

To view a wide diverse programme of innovative independent films.

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

No we feel a lot of the major festivals do not give enough attention to independent films. With some not even watching entries at times.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Our motivation comes from our experience as indie filmmakers ourselves. We want to provide a support system for independent filmmakers, and provide them with constructive feedback and a platform to showcase their fantastic work.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We have been getting films from all around the world. The standard has been fantastic, and we can’t wait to see for.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We hope to continue expanding the festival, and hopefully hold more live screenings.

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

. Shawshank Redemption.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A film that transports you into another world, and most importantly entertains.

How is the film scene in your city?

The film scene in Dublin it thriving, especially in the independent film scene.

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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 Directors Lee Marohn & Paul Salzer (NORTHEAST WISCONSIN HORROR FILM FESTIVAL)

This film festival is part of the Northeast Wisconsin Horror Festival (NeW Horror Fest), whose goal for our second year is to continue bringing together fright enthusiasts and attract new audiences to the wonderful joys of horror fiction and cinema. The film festival owes its beginnings to the Oshkosh Horror Film Festival (OHFF).

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

[Lee] Our primary goal is to get people to watch independent horror films. Our feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

[Paul] Our festival also helps filmmakers by offering different types of horror films (from dark comedy to gore to supernatural thrillers). I hope that exposing audiences to diverse films creates an audience base that is more receptive to different types of films. This gives filmmakers the freedom to make stories they want to tell, rather than the ones that fit the commercial trends.

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

[Lee] More of the same from 2016! Great independent horror films in a huge variety of styles. Everything from 2-minute shorts to full-length feature films.

[Paul] We also try to bring filmmakers and the audience together. We hope to expand on our question-and-answer segments between films blocks.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

[Paul] Submissions should recognizably be horror-based (which we define as having the capacity to scare, disgust, and frighten audiences). Film should be completed works. “Work-in-Progress” screening requests will be handled separately and on a case-by-case basis. Films that contain significant non-English spoken dialogue must provide on-screen English subtitles as the audience will primarily be English speaking. There is also the standard copyright related qualifications regarding films. Basically, submitted films need to be submitted by copyright owners or authorized representatives.

[Lee] We also PREFER films with a Wisconsin connection.

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

[Lee] At some festivals? Definitely. We give EVERYONE a chance. Films are judged on their own merit. We don’t compare films to each other.

[Paul] For me, I don’t think student films get the attention they deserve outside of the college system. It probably because of the economics of things. It’s really hard for me to say for sure why though.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

[Lee] We love horror films. I helped with a previous film festival at the same venue for 5 years. The organizer gave it up in favor of actually MAKING movies, so we saw the void and jumped at the opportunity.

[Paul] Like Lee said, we love horror films. And I like people that like horror films. So the festival is a great why for us to get together, watch horror films, and talk about the things that make us like them so much.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

[Lee] Almost effortless.

[Paul] We had a few hiccups our first year, because we didn’t quite have the notification process figured out yet. The process should be basically automatic this year though. We are also using more of FilmFreeway’s features this year to speed up our selection process.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

Lee] Hopefully, inspiring more local filmmakers to make films. We’ll continue to showcase Wisconsin-made horror and show great films from all over.

[Paul] My plan had always been to expand festival beyond just films. I would like to see the horror festival be a citywide (and even regional state) event to promote horror.

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

[Lee] Star Wars. Well over 600 times. In terms of horror? Jaws. Probably 200-300 times.

[Paul] The Exorcist.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

[Lee] To me, no matter how bad or cheesy it is, a film is great if it entertains me.

[Paul] Like anything involving art, a great film needs to make me feel.

How is the film scene in your city?

[Lee] Almost non-existent, sadly. There are a few filmmakers (some with multiple awards), but FUNDING is the big missing factor. I personally know of at least a half dozen films that could be made if funding was available.

[Paul] It’s growing though.

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Lee Marohn

A lifelong Wisconsin resident, his first exposure to horror was a midnight showing of The Thing from Outer Space on TV.  Growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, his love of horror films blossomed with the arrival of Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees.  His favorite horror movies of all time are Night of the Living Dead (1968) and Jaws.  His non-horror obsessions are Star Wars, Firefly/Serenity and Lego.  In addition to a full-time job, he has worked part time at a comic shop for 22 years.  As a volunteer at the Time Community Theater, he worked during the Oshkosh Horror Film Festival and was part of the movie selection process.  After 5 years of the OHFF, the organizer needed to give it up.  After a year without a horror film festival in Oshkosh, co-organizer Paul Salzer approached him about organizing a new fest. The rest is history. Lee has acted in several local film projects and produced two locally-made horror films.  He prefers to work behind the scenes and hopes to produce more.

Paul Salzer

A resident of Oshkosh since the late 80s, Paul’s love of films came from renting VHS tapes from the local video store in Palmyra, WI.  He enjoys science fiction, horror, and comic book films.  He maintains a film review blog and podcast called Forsaken Film Reviews.  He is also the co-host of a monthly film discussion podcast titled The Film Jerks.  He’s current goals include being more active in independent filmmaking.

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.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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Interview with Mariah Mathew (Little Wing Film Festival)

Little Wing grew out of passion, persistence, and frustration at the difficulty of finding paid work for young professionals in creative industries. We’re about providing first-time film makers with the tools and opportunities they need to foster career growth, from entertainment and education, to networking and support.

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

Mariah Mathew: I created Little Wing as a platform for first-time filmmakers to have their work seen, and to be rewarded for it in more ways than ‘exposure’. We’re doing everything within our means to reward them with prizes that facilitate their next project and foster career growth. Working unpaid is such a difficult and unsustainable expectation of young creatives trying to break into their industry, and as Little Wing continues to grow alongside its filmmakers, I hope to make it something of a pebble in the pond towards changing attitudes around unpaid work.

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

Expect a lovably small, grungy theatre above a pub with a long history of launching careers in theatre and comedy. Over the weekend we’re hosting a filmmaking workshop amidst screenings, and want to foster an atmosphere of support, collaboration and development. For the public, it’s a space to see some incredible films from the next generation of filmmakers, and for filmmakers, it’s a space to see what is being produced by their peers and meet like-minded creatives over a pint in the bar downstairs. Oh, and free popcorn.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The festival is open exclusively to first-time filmmakers within two years of their first film, recent graduates within 2 years of their graduation date, and current students.

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

Having access to the best equipment doesn’t guarantee a great film – but it doesn’t hurt. First-time filmmakers aren’t necessarily the most affluent or opportunity-rich of people, and despite being talented, lack of accessibility to equipment and costly software can be a disadvantage that makes it harder for new starters to have their work considered in many festivals. We want to provide a step-up in getting these films to a professional standard that you’d see in festivals, rather than accept only those that have the means to already at that level already.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

When I was trying to break into the creative industry, my unpaid internships, volunteering and ‘work experience’ made living in London unsustainable, when also working for minimum wage to pay rent. When the expectation is that young creatives have to work unpaid to begin their careers, it disadvantages those who don’t have financial support, and those who aren’t living at home. I got so fed up with working hard, and knowing I have the creativity and drive that could generate great things, but people weren’t willing to pay for it when the demand was such that they could fill the position for free. I decided to create a space where I could hire myself, and try and alleviate the struggles of young creatives that were in similar positions.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway has been the most user-friendly submissions platform I’ve used so far. I look forward to seeing their filmmaker network continue to grow, and having them branch out into different accepted currencies (come on, GBP!).

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

The path of Little Wing will be very much directed by the demand from young creatives and what changes they want to see in their industries. Starting in film and growing each year, we would soon like to integrate a design competition element into the festival, and over the next few years branch out into music. We have a Community Forum online where young creatives are encouraged to share their experiences in their industries and give suggestions for what changes they would like to see and where Little Wing might be able to assist.

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

Possibly Howl’s Moving Castle. Or Pan’s Labyrinth. I tried learning Spanish from watching it and realized I was probably developing an accent from the 1940s. Also Edward Scissorhands, American History X, and The Life of Brian.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Something that shakes me with empathy for the human experience.

How is the film scene in your city?

London’ is the film hub of the United Kingdom. One of my concerns when first imagining the possibility of a festival was that perhaps the festival scene was saturated with this kind of thing already, but there’s been a clear call out for support of new filmmakers and as we grow we’ll continue to set ourselves apart. It will be interesting to see how the city contributes to Little Wing’s growth and direction.

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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