Interview with Festival Director ToM Zarzecki (PLANET 9 FILM FEST)

Planet 9 Film Festival is an independent festival that features unique & interesting films made by people from all over the world. The festival will take place in THREE cities this October! In Los Angeles, Detroit & Chicago.

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

So far I think the Planet 9 Fests are bringing together groups of interesting filmmakers from both local communities and from afar. It’s bringing together individuals who could consider themselves artists or filmmakers. It creates exposure for their work in person as well as on the web. A worthwhile experience hopefully to say the least.

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

I intend to attend all the festivals. As long as everyone is having a good time and getting a kick out of it and or learning from the screenings. We aim to keep unique filmmakers motivated at what they’re doing.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Originality, creativity and overall execution are foremost what matters to us. I’ve seen some amazing films made from trash and I’ve seen some trash made from high budgets as well as vice versa. Whether it’s experimental art house or a heroes journey narrative, if we vibe with it and it moves us in some way, it’s in. Of course there is also other aspects we love from music score, acting, directing, and sfx. Creativity and execution are the main factors.

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

Absolutely. That’s one of the main reasons we created the Planet 9 Film Festival. We feel that the main big festivals are too damn expensive and that million dollar budgets should not classify as independent really. We also have a love for some lofi DIY films that never seem to do well in many smaller festivals. PLUS I was growing annoyed at having my own films, which I thought were cool, being denied, so we decided we needed to create a festival that was for more obscure, wacky, outsider types of films.

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

See above answer + it’s part of an artistic compulsion to a degree. I love the experience of going to see films at a theatre type of environment, which seems like a dying culture in terms of quality non big Hollywood films. It’s part of a lifestyle and trying to create a community for weirdos.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

It’s been great. The first year, I was surprised to have gotten as many submissions as we did and it was hard to keep up with them all, so this year we brought on some more help. It’s great.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

The growth, stability and more fun activities and such for the screenings would be great. Creating a larger audience and having more collaboration with filmmakers working together would be dope.

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

The Star Wars movies I’m sure. The Child’s Play films probably come pretty close too. Maybe Tim Burton’s Batman.

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

A great film is made with passion, determination and has the viewer entranced.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

That’s a trick question, as I bounce around cities. Los Angeles is obviously still the major film capital of the world, where you have so many communities from it being a business for jobs, the corporate redundant crap that brainwashes people, to the anti-hollywood filmmakers who defy all convention for better and worse and then everyone in between. It’s vibrant, pure, tainted, and the scenery in the shots is over done.

Detroit, which is the area I’m from has a very small scene. I’ve been trying to encourage more filmmakers from Michigan to submit to the fest but, it being more of a hobby or artistic expression, I don’t think most of the filmmakers there even aspire or care to submit to fests. I feel like the best stuff is probably sitting on VHS tapes in someones basement, collecting mildew. It’s a city that’s had some of the most amazing art, music and overall creativity, but everyone is still very isolated from one another, so that’s one of my missions with the fest, I suppose.

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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 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.

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Interview with Festival Director Olivia Carmel (COPPER MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL)

The Copper Mountain Film Festival is hosted at the Copper Mountain Resort and sponsored by 10 Barrel Brewing Company and the Denver Filmmakers Collective. The film festival coincides with the Attack of the Big Beers on the weekend of June 22 – 24, 2018. Beer and food sampling starts at 11:00 AM and concludes at 5:00 PM. All accepted filmmakers will be granted tickets to attend the Attack of the Big Beers festival. Throughout the day there will be screenplay workshops, featured speaking panels,

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

Olivia Carmel: We are in our infancy as a film festival since this is only our second year. That said, it is truly an independently-run festival by filmmakers and film-lovers. I think what sets us apart is that anyone involved now is directly helping to shape the future of this festival. It is a film festival by and for independent, low-budget filmmakers. Since we are working industry professionals ourselves, we understand what our submitters go through in making their films and what it means to have an audience for your project. We also understand what sort of benefits are appealing to filmmakers and our award winners, for example, will receive subscriptions and tools filmmakers use each and every day. We selected these as awards specifically because we use them ourselves. We hope to continue to grow in order to provide even more benefits as years go on.

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

We are partnered with the Attack of the Big Beers’ festival, which takes place during the day and transitions to our films in the evening. All accepted filmmakers and screenwriters will be given tickets to sample the craft beers. Those tickets not only get you beer and food at the festival itself, but at select restaurants and vendors in the area. We are also offering networking opportunities in the form of an Opening Night Party and a Filmmaker Happy Hour. Additionally, all screenwriters who have submitted to the Screenplay Contest will receive written feedback as well as the opportunity to meet one-on-one with our writing coaches. We are also following up with screenings in Denver of the award-winners so select filmmakers will not only get an audience in Copper but also in Denver. Finally, our festival is in beautiful Colorado in the center of a ski resort town. It may take place during the summer, but the beauty of the mountain landscape is everlasting. There are hiking trails and hot springs to enjoy nearby.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

At this time, we have categories for short films, feature films, and screenplays. We look at the writing, performances, cinematography, sound design, editing, pacing, and overall craft and uniqueness of every film. Frankly, we are looking to program the best and most enjoyable films. That said, since our festival is still young, we only have a weekend to showcase two shorts blocks and two to three feature films so the number of accepted films is limited and thus, competitive.

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

I’ve attended a lot of larger festivals and frequent the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. It’s a wonderful festival and an experience like no other due to its sheer size and notoriety; however, it has changed over the years. There’s no question about that. Many independent, not-yet-discovered filmmakers working on low-to-no budget projects (out of necessity) have trouble standing apart from the mass amount of submissions. In a lot of ways, you have to already be on their radar. That said, with the straight-to-Netflix model of content consumption and more platforms jumping on original content – including YouTube and most recently, MoviePass – most, if not all, movies to screen at these larger festivals get the opportunity to sell and seen in wide release. This is an exciting time! I can’t stress that enough. But there are smaller festivals and platforms stepping up to fill the gap and most of these festivals, ourselves included, have taken a page out of the Slamdance Film Festival guidebook. Slamdance is run by filmmakers for filmmakers and was started by “Sundance rejects” on the cusp of Sundance becoming more mainstream and less independent at heart. Slamdance is for the rebel-heart. It’s for the filmmaker who wants to stomp to the beat of their own drum and make films their way, no matter the budget. This is a style and an art that shouldn’t be left behind. We hope to emulate festivals like Slamdance and work to support the truly indie, low-budget artists waiting to be discovered.

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

In part, it comes from submitting to and attending film festivals. There’s an indescribable energy when you’re at a film festival meeting new creators and industry game-changers. Every festival I’ve attended, I’ve learned valuable lessons, met inspiring artists, and most of all, been reinvigorated with creativity and energy to create. I want to build a space for others to feel this. It also comes from a love of that form of independent, get-your-hands-dirty, belly-full-of-Redvines, low-budget filmmaking where no one really knows who else will see your film but in the moment of creation, that doesn’t really matter because you’re building a family. I want to give those filmmakers an audience and the tools to keep on creating.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

I hadn’t used FilmFreeway prior to this year’s festival and I’ll be using them from now on. It’s an easy tool to use and to navigate, their support system is helpful and concise, they provide a wealth of resources, and it’s incredibly easy to communicate with your judges, submitters, and staff. I can’t speak more highly of FilmFreeway. I originally thought since we were such a young festival and hadn’t done much marketing outside our state that we wouldn’t get many submissions. We received many more than expected – from all over the world! It’s been exciting and reminds us why we want to continue to grow this festival.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

I see us having grown to add more days and more screening times. We’re able to provide travel and lodging stipends from out-of-state filmmakers. During the festival, there are more networking and celebratory events added for filmmakers and festival attendees alike to round out the experience. We’re following up the festival with a tour of the award-winning films. The awards include cash prizes and we have a grant program for diverse and rising voices in film.

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

I don’t rewatch many films because I like to experience as much as I can but I’ve seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off a lot. I used to come home from school and watch it on a little TV on the floor of my bedroom. I had it on good ol’ VHS. I’ve also rewatched Top of the Lake (season 1) by Jane Campion many times. It’s one of the most well-crafted pieces of filmmaking and frankly, art I’ve seen in recent years. I could go on about every detail of it. It’s truly beautiful. I also had the unique experience of watching the entire series over the course of an entire day at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013. This was the first festival “binge-watching” experience and the cast, crew, and Jane Campion herself were all present the entire time. It was amazing and I think that added to the experience of it as a whole.

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

A great film is made with passion.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

I’m based in Denver, Colorado. It’s a very creative city on a whole where people are excited to collaborate. We’ve had a number of Netflix, feature films, and nonscripted projects come to work in the area. We’re still earning our step to the ‘next level’ but things are happening.. There are award-winning filmmakers who have chosen Colorado as their home, and notable festivals like Telluride Film Festival and Denver Starz, talented production companies, and discussion of building a ‘studio city’ on the outskirts of Denver soon. If we keep bringing filmmakers here, we’ll continue to grow.

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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 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 Nicole Manoochehri (Los Angeles Dance Short Film Festival)

Los Angeles Dance Shorts Film Festival is a festival featuring dance films that are under ten minutes. The 2nd annual festival is taking place on June, 23rd 2018 and features a night of dance film, networking and a filmmakers Q&A.

 Website: http://www.ladanceshortsfilmfest.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ladanceshortsfilmfest/

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

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

Nicole Manoochehri: Giving filmmakers and dancers the opportunity to share their films in front of an audience, making connections and having the chance to speak about their films and the genre of screendance. 

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

A relaxed environment where you can grab a hot beverage and pastry from the cafe, watch dance films in the adjacent screening room, hopefully have a great time, learn something and bond with other dance film lovers. 

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films? 

Simply, dance under ten minutes. 

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

Since becoming a festival director, I have realized that there are so many factors to take into account when considering a film for the festival’s program. We only have a limited amount of time available and we try our best to fit as many films in that slot as possible. I know how much goes into filmmaking and I really wish we could screen every single film that we receive. Especially with dance films, you are looking at art. Art is subjective. When it comes down to it, everything is just an opinion and as an artist myself you always have to remember to take nothing personal and just keep doing what you do best “Create”.   

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

When we start receiving submissions from around the world and I see these amazing films. I want to promote the films and the artist to the best of my ability and spread an awareness of dance films. It really can be a powerful and beautiful form of storytelling. 

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been? 

FilmFreeway is great! We use it exclusively for our festival. I like to have everything in one place. It is my submission site of preference when submitting as well so I’m a huge fan here! 

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023? 

Hopefully, still around! Seriously though, I hope that in five years we have grown as a festival but still have the same vibe as when we first started. The goal would to be able to create more opportunities for the filmmakers and dancers. I would love to have multiple screenings with a full house in every single one! 

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

 “Amélie”. Love that film! 

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

A film that is thought provoking. 

10) How is the film scene in your city? 

We are located in Los Angeles so the film scene is pretty popping! As far as the dance film scene goes, we are one of only four dance film festivals. Three (including us) have started in the last couple of years so I feel like the screendance scene is definitely growing here! 

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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 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 Marc D. Lyons (Variety International Film Festival)

The First Annual Variety International Film Festival (June 1st & 2nd, 2018) will feature emerging filmmakers in various mediums.

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

Marc D. Lyons : Our festival is providing a platform of exposure for independent filmmakers, specifically targeting minority filmmakers with a unique approach to the craft and a fresh voice and vision to the industry as a whole.

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

This year we couldn’t be happier with our submissions! Variety is definitely the word to describe this years festival. From the storylines, to the unique subject matters, our festival audience is sure to leave enlightened as well as entertained.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Our rules are simple. Entries must be no longer than 25 mins. That’s it!, other than that, we maintain a strict rule of never stifling anyone’s creativity, the sky’s the limit! If you can dream it, we can screen it! (cheesy yes!, but it’s true!)

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

Absolutely!, it can be so hard just starting out in this industry!, all you want is a chance for your work to get seen and your voice to get heard, but the problem is, you have to start at the bottom, and unfortunately that means the quality of your work may not be up to certain festival standards. We try to look past budget issues and see the artists vision. That’s what makes us so different from other festivals.

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

The children and young adults!, we have a huge adolescent following, seeing the hard work and dedication these young people have put into these films makes it all worth it. Seeing what they did on a shoestring budget and through pure hard work and determination is remarkable.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We love partnering with filmfreeway!, its literally a one stop shop for fillmakers and festivals!, we can screen and judge all in one place. It makes life so much easier not having to chase down the many different formats films today come in.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

We hope to continue to be the launching pad for emerging filmamkers, our ultimate goal is to inspire the youth of today to think outside of the box and create the next multimedia phenomenon. Finding their voices through life’s most powerful medium. The cinema!

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

That’s a difficult questions Personally, there aren’t many films that I have NOT seen. I am a true film fanatic. But to answer your question, it’s a tie between “Giant” and “Good Will Hunting”. I’m a sucker for a great storyline and character ark.

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

A great film is a film that never gets old, no matter how many times you’ve seen it!

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Astoria is truly America’s melting pot. It’s a unique, very diverse city filled with character and creativity.

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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 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 Elena Altman (BASH- Bay Area Short Film Festival)

BASH – Bay Area Shorts Film Festival takes place at the ROXIE Historical Theater in San Francisco, CA- Each year, the Annual BASH Film Festival will continue its tradition of showcasing a diverse sampling of BAY AREA made shorts and mini features, award-winning directors along with amateurs breaking in the industry and blowing everyone away..

https://filmfreeway.com/BASHBayAreaShortFilmsFestival8

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

Elena Altman: Providing an Excellent Platform for Bay Area Filmmakers to Showcase their Work.

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

Expect to see the Top Selected Bay Area Made Short Films Showcasing and Vote for Your Favorite Bay Area Film of 2018!

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

They must be Bay Area Made to Qualify

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

I think that there are so many movies being submitted these days, that it is hard to get chosen.

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

We want to continue to provide Bay Area filmmakers with a place to showcase their work.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Very easy

7) Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We hope to run in more often and in more theaters around the Bay.

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

I would have to say Beetlejuice – lol

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

Good story, great acting, and amazing camera work!

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Very much alive and thriving! /

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Interview with Artistic Director Maeve McGrath (KERRY FILM FESTIVAL)

 

KFF is renowned for celebrating the work of young filmmaking talent through a well established and lively short film competition that has been supported and endorsed by luminaries from the world of film such as Cillian Murphy, director Paul Greengrass, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, and Gabriel Byrne. Over the past 17 years KFF has become a vital element of Kerry’s cultural landscape offering a unique film experience to the local community as well as creating a ‘must attend’ cultural tourism event for visitors to the county.

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

Maeve McGrath: We hope that we are providing a platform for new and emerging film makers while also screening established film makers. We really want to being an industry experience to the festival so that the film maker can network with like-minded people and also see some incredible films. All our film makers get access to all screenings for free.

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

We have a really varied selection of short film this year, we also have our Discovery Features which is a platform for First time feature film makers. we have quality music documentary along with premieres and an industry day event with in conversations and panel discussions

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

They have to be 20 minutes or less for Shorts and made in the previous year. Features have to be 60 minutes +

Films selected for the programme are then are in consideration for 7 x awards and a shortlist are selected by a Jury Panel. KFF doesn’t have an audience award.

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

I know that at Kerry Film Festival, each film is seen by up to 6 people as they are viewed. We view every film from start to finish and every film will be discussed and appraised before selection. We are rigorous in our selection. We have to be. We get hundreds and hundreds of films submitted but at the end of the day it is our Jury panel that select winners.

I understand that some festivals may not be as meticulous as we are but we can stand over every film selected. We have limited space for films to screen so it can be very difficult to shortlist when we fall in love with a film and can’t fit it in the schedule and that can happen frequently.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

I love film, especially short film and also, music documentary. My masters thesis followed the route of the Irish short film to the Oscars so I researched that to pieces!

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Great, the judging panel is very handy and accessible and you vote in areas of the film from cinematography to direction so it gives you a good reading of the film when scores are combined.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

We are 18 years old this year so we will have passed our 20th Film Festival by then. I am hoping it will continue to grow and provide a screening space for film makers.

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

Twelve Angry Men

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Simple storytelling brought to the screen with honesty.

How is the film scene in your city?

In Kerry there is a real surge in film making. Creative Kerry and Film Kerry are building on the desire to film in the beautiful locations in Kerry, think Star Wars and Skellig Michael. Feature films are being made by innovative, creative local film makers. A very vibrant county.

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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 Director Kyia Clayton (The Tasmanian eco Film Festival)

The Tasmanian eco Film Festival  – TeFF was created and founded in 2015 by Kyia Clayton, in Hobart Tasmania. Kyia noticed that most environmental film festivals and film screenings had a deeply “Green” political slant. Having family members that voted Liberal but cared deeply about the natural world she decided it was essential to have a festival that encouraged connection and care of the natural world and was apolitical. TeFF launched in November of 2015 and had 735 attendees that were super excited about this format. In 2016 the festival hosted 1450 festival guests that were even more excited. TeFF has evolved in 2017 to a festival that will run more frequent and smaller events to keep the good ‘eco’ messaging flowing.

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

Offering a platform for screening innovative and entertaining films about care for the environment and love of nature. And supporting professional development with regular master classes in a variety of film fields.

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

We expect our festival guests to have a really great time and come away thinking a little more about care and connection to the natural world and their part in that without feeling guilty about not having done more to help.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films? 

That they are apolitically presented (we are an apolitical, inclusive film festival), entertaining or thought provoking and well made.

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

Yes. I think that a lot of film festivals follow what’s being screened at other film festivals and don’t take a risk on more innovative and less popular films.

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

Wanting to be a part of protecting the planet and care take it for future generations. This can be done without politics, with humor and definitely with a cocktail in one’s hand.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been? 

Great.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2020? 

With an international reputation as one of the coolest eco film festivals to attend and take part in.

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

Harold and Maude (circa 1971)

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

A good idea (story), good acting (interviews), creative filming and an amazing editor.

10) How is the film scene in your city? 

Alive and well and thriving!

 

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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
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed