March 2019 Screenwriter Interviews

Read interviews with top screenwriters from around the world.

Interviews conducted by Matthew Toffolo

Interview with Screenwriter David Sabbath (Dancing in the White Room)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2019/02/25/interview-with-screenwriter-david-sabbath-dancing-in-the-white-room/
 

Interview with Screenwriter Ian White (AMARIS)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2019/02/25/interview-with-screenwriter-ian-white-amaris/
 

Interview with Screenwriter Kristina Rezek (YOUR ROARING TWENTIES)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2019/02/25/interview-with-screenwriter-kristina-rezek-your-roaring-twenties/
 

Interview with Screenwriter Ray Cecire (The Prophecies)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2019/02/25/interview-with-screenwriter-ray-cecire-the-prophecies/
 

Interview with Screenwriter ML De La Garza (Indigenous)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2019/02/25/interview-with-screenwriter-ml-de-la-garza-indigenous/
 

Interview with Screenwriter Gustavo Freitas (Lies, Hamburgers, and Cufflinks)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2019/02/25/interview-with-screenwriter-gustavo-freitas-lies-hamburgers-and-cufflinks/
 

Interview with Screenwriter Gregory Allen (HE IS GONE)
https://matthewtoffolo.com/2019/02/25/interview-with-screenwriter-gregory-allen-he-is-gone/

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February 2019 Film Festival Interviews

Best of the new festival interviews for Feb. 2019. And what they link about FilmFreeway:

Interview with Operations Manager Auregan (Paris Art and Movie Awards PAMA)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/02/08/interview-with-operations-manager-auregan-paris-art-and-movie-awards-pama/

Amazing : Off to the biggest start we had since the creation of the festival. It’s like people were somehow expecting us to accept entries and… Here we are !

Interview with Festival Director Brent Kado (Chicago Independent Film +TV Festival)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/02/08/interview-with-festival-director-brent-kado-chicago-independent-film-tv-festival/

Good overall. The main issues with them is, again, this gluttony of festivals and awards “contests” and needing to do better weeding out the scams and misleading events.

Interview with the Festival team of FILMSAAZ
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/02/08/interview-with-the-festival-team-of-filmsaaz/

A great service. Have done wonders for us.

Interview with Festival Director Anastasia Cazabon (GRRL HAUS CINEMA)

https://festivalreviews.org/2019/01/18/interview-with-festival-director-anastasia-cazabon-grrl-haus-cinema/

The FilmFreeway process as been great. It’s a really great platform to view films and super user friendly.

Interview with the Festival team of FILMSAAZ

Filmsaaz is an annual celebrated international Film Festival organised by the University Film Club of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The festival is one of the largest multi-disciplinary art and cultural festivals in India dedicated to the exhibition of short film, documentaries, music, art and cultural advocacy programs. This 4 days festival hosts the screening of upto 50 differently categorised movies and on the eve of 4th day holds an award fiesta. Thus asserting a down shift in the isolophiliac nature of today’s mind, by uniting them to crave for such hearty gathering.

A legacy of 11 long years, and enormous heart warming memories to cherish with, Filmsaaz has witnessed the presence eminent Indian Cenematic intelligentsia. The 12th edition is all set to deliver, an awe inspiring selection of movies from across the globe. For the past 11 years, Filmsaaz has been one of the ideal events in Aligarh achieving new milestone with every passing year.

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Matthew Toffolo: How did you get involved with the festival?

FILMSAAZ: For the aspiring filmmakers, who submit their work at our festival. We specially screen their work at our Kennedy Auditorium, built in our University. With a seating of over 12,000, the work of these Filmmakers is spread all over the city. Moreover, at the last day of our event. We hold a special felicitation ceremony for the films that has been adjudged as the winner in different categories. In the felicitation, the filmmakers are awarded an exclusive FILMSAAZ trophy along with a certificate specially given by our chief guest which is usually a renowned personality from Bollywood.

2) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

FILMSAAZ has always been a festival of movie and drama. Filmy vibes can be felt throughout the 4-day event. From film screenings to photo booths. From musical evenings to eye-catchy decorations. These is nothing that won’t make you stay for a while longer.

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

No, we never think that. All the deserving movies gets a fair chance in competing in the competition. That’s the only reason we’re now getting some good and meaningful movies at international level

4) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

In the next 5 years, we definitely see our event as one the prominent Film Festivals around the world. Like the number of International stuff we’re getting. We’ll soon might have more number of International movies competing at our festival than the national ones.

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

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

A great script and team makes a great movie.

7) How is the film scene in your city?

We didn’t had much support for filmmaking in our city. But for the past 4-5 years, alot number of great and enthusiastic filmmakers are coming up with some great content.

8) What are the qualities a programmer needs to select the best films for a festival?

Well, since we all know. Nothing in this world comes easily. We’ve been on a rollercoaster ride everytime. Sometimes, we do get a lot of movie and sometimes, we don’t. But thanks to filmfreeway for making us a lot easier to reach some great filmmakers around the globe. Now, we just need to register our festival and all the other work is done by them.

9) How has your FilmFreeway experience been so far?

A great service. Have done wonders for us.

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Best Screenwriter Interviews of January 2019


Interview with Screenwriter Tayler Carter (FLUIDITY)
Interview with Screenwriter Tayler Carter (FLUIDITY)

Interview with Screenwriter Eileen Wilson (THE CLICHE)
Interview with Screenwriter Eileen Wilson (THE CLICHE)

Interview with Screenwriter Zach Paul Brown (CAIROS)
Interview with Screenwriter Zach Paul Brown (CAIROS)

Interview with Screenwriter James Zeankowski (MIND FORCE)
Interview with Screenwriter James Zeankowski (MIND FORCE)

Interview with Screenwriter Alan Rosenfeld (Jonny Quest: The Terror of Dr. Zin)
Interview with Screenwriter Alan Rosenfeld (Jonny Quest: The Terror of Dr. Zin)

Interview with Screenwriter Elizabeth Shum (THE GOLDBERGS TV Spec Screenplay)
Interview with Screenwriter Elizabeth Shum (THE GOLDBERGS TV Spec Screenplay)

Interview with Screenwriter Mona Fuller (SALACIOUS)
Interview with Screenwriter Mona Fuller (SALACIOUS)

Interview with Screenwriter Steven Prowse (THE NIGHT WITCHES)
Interview with Screenwriter Steven Prowse (THE NIGHT WITCHES)

Interview with Screenwriter Tara C. Hall (WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST)
Interview with Screenwriter Tara C. Hall (WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST)

Interview with Screenwriter Michael Aliotti (JIMMY)
Interview with Screenwriter Michael Aliotti (JIMMY)

Interview with Screenwriter Steve Feld (AND THEN, THIS HAPPENED)
Interview with Screenwriter Steve Feld (AND THEN, THIS HAPPENED)

Interview with Screenwriter Jessi Thind (UP AND AWAY – Superman Script)
Interview with Screenwriter Jessi Thind (UP AND AWAY – Superman Script)

Interview with Screenwriter P.J. Palmer (NORTH STAR)
Interview with Screenwriter P.J. Palmer (NORTH STAR)

Interview with Screenwriter Helen Marsh (Alice Through the Microscope)
Interview with Screenwriter Helen Marsh (Alice Through the Microscope)

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.

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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.

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November 2018 – Read the best of Filmmaker Interviews

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Touch the link and read 8 different interviews with the best of new filmmakers from around the world.

Dominic McCafferty (BOONDOGGLE)
Interview with Filmmaker Dominic McCafferty (BOONDOGGLE)

Bevin Hamilton & Rachel Murphy (INCALL)
Interview with Filmmakers Bevin Hamilton, Rachael Murphy (INCALL)

Marvin Nuecklaus (CROSSROADS)
Interview with Filmmaker Marvin Nuecklaus (CROSSROADS)

Max Mortl (ISLAND)
Interview with Filmmaker Max Mörtl & Robert Löbel (ISLAND)

Nick Dolinski (CLOUD COVER)
Interview with Filmmaker Nick Dolinski (CLOUD COVER)

Erik Bloomquist (SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS)
Interview with Filmmaker Erik Bloomquist (SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS)

Mark Howling (OBE: THE OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE)
Interview with Filmmaker Mark Howling (O.B.E. THE OUT OF BODY EXPERIENCE)

Andres Passoni (3:32)
Interview with Filmmaker Andres Passoni (3:32)

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.

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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.

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