Interview with Festival Director Carl “CJ” Gilbert, Jr. (Ocktober Film Festival)

The Ocktober Film Festival (OFF) is a New York film festival that serves as a platform for artist to express themselves through film and new media. We are heavily involved with the independent filmmaking community and therefore, this festival has become a trusted resource for emerging and established filmmakers. OFF 2015 showcased some of the best visionaries in music and film. This year, we will be expanding our efforts to include more distribution opportunities for all of our selected films.

Interview with Festival Director Carl “CJ” Gilbert, Jr

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

CG: Our Film Festival is succeeding at empowering filmmakers through education and active participation. The Ocktober Film Festival was created to provide a platform for filmmakers to express themselves through film and new media.

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

CG: If you attend the Ocktober Film Festival this year, you can expect to see quality films and educational workshops which are being taught by some of the industries leading professionals.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

CG: At the Ocktober Film Festival we believe in quality work and understand the struggles of filmmakers and for this reason we have NO minimum qualifications for submission.

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

CG: I do believe that great films do not always get the credit they deserve while in the film festival circuit. The film festival circuit has long been plagued with unfair practices such as favoritism. This was the main reason Emelyn Stuart created the Ocktober Film Festival, to provide a fair marketplace where quality work is recognized, not friendships!

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

CG: We are all motivated by the opportunities that we have provide to filmmakers each year to better themselves and take their craft to the next level.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

CG: Since it’s inception in 2013, the Ocktober Film Festival has grown to become one of NYC’s leading film festivals. We have added in a Young Adult Category and College Level category as well as introducing an Actors contest which helps to provide a way to involve the actors.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

CG: By 2020 I envision the film festival having a larger reach and extending our services to not just filmmakers but also to everyone who takes part in a film production. We aim to empower through education and provide quality films and I’m confident that we are on target.

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

CG: THE WIZ!!!!! Greatest show of all time 🙂

MT: In one sentence, what makes a great film?

CG: I believe a great film has several different components, Story Line, editing, acting color correction, sound to name just a few. If any of these are off, it can destroy my experience.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

CG: NYC is the mecca of film. There are so many filmmakers and actors that I come across who are all trying “make it”. This is a town of wins and losses but the prize goes to those who endure.


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.