Interview with Leslie-Ann Coles (Founder & Executive Director Female Eye Film Festival)

14th Annual Female Eye Film Festival – “Always Honest, Not Always Pretty June 14th – June 19th, 2016


Interview with Leslie-Ann Coles:

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

Leslie-Ann Coles: The Female Eye Film Festival celebrates its 14th annual edition June 14th – June 19th, 2016 (Toronto, Canada) in which we showcase independent films directed by women. We are known for our excellence in film programming, our professional development and industry sessions, and provide formal and informal networking opportunities to our filmmakers. *I think our most notable success is that we introduce films directed by women to the general public, industry members and stakeholders, and by doing this we help to dispel the myth that women create films for a femme centric audience. In other words, we help break the stereotype that women make “chick flicks”. Also although we present films directed by women, our script development program is open to both men and women. Script must feature a female protagonist.

MT: What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2016)?

LAC: Attendees will see an eclectic selection of features and shorts in all genres directed by women from around the globe. Independent auteur films that they will not often find in mainstream cinema, or in blockbuster theatres.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

LAC: Films must be compelling and of high production value. Films must also be directed by women.

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

LAC: With the plethora of women’s film festivals being birthed around the world, I think there is a strong need to provide a forum in which to showcase films by women directors. Women are making films. Therefore, I do not feel women filmmakers are being represented adequately yet in the international film festival circuit outside of festivals dedicated to female filmmakers.

MT: What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

LAC: Passion. Dedication, and a strong compulsion to represent women filmmakers until there is gender equity in the industry at large.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

LAC: In the early years we received under 200 submissions per year. Now, we receive over 400 submissions annually. Hence, the festival has grown from a four day event to a 6 day festival to accommodate more films. Our industry programs have also evolved and we have been recognized in the “Top Fifty Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” for four consecutive years by Movie Maker magazine!

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

LAC: I hope to see the festival expand to ten days.

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

LAC: I tend not to watch the same movie over and over again but if there was a movie that I’ve watched multiple times, it would be The Godfather.

MT: In one sentence, what makes a great film? Feel free to use any of these…sorry can’t keep this to one sentence 🙂

LAC: A great films starts with a great story and it manifests in character, picture, and sound. It is an immersive experience where everything comes together, frame by frame.

A great film is defined by the audience. The audience make a film great. Filmmakers know when their experiencing a great film when their minds don’t wander off into directions of their own filmmaking, ha. And the audience know when they’re experiencing a great film when they are subsumed by the experience and the outer world disappears.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

LAC: Toronto, Ontario, Canada boasts the most film festivals per capita in the world now. Toronto is rich with film festivals, there’a every week of the year. I believe this is reflective of our innate appreciation for multiculturalism coupled with a deep appreciation for cinema.



Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.