Interview with Festival Director Pavel Pankov (World International Film Festival)

The World International Film Festival is a global industry event held around the year in the world’s biggest cities:  New York City, Los Angeles, Toronto, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Amsterdam, Reykjavík, and more to come – an around-the-world film festival tour bringing together filmmakers and film fans, auteurs and cineastes, great new independent movies and a global audience.

The around-the-world film festival tour option showcases some of the very best independent films on the scene today, in a truly international event bringing new cinema to audiences on a global scale.  

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Interview with Pavel Pankov:

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

Pavel Pankov: The very international aspect of WIFF is immediately evident from the great number of “foreign” films we’ve selected — “foreign” if you’re from the U.S.A., not so foreign if you live elsewhere in the world. We’ll be screening exciting work from filmmakers from all over the map.

Of course, we do have a few American movies too, including one picture with real breakout potential, “Near Myth: The Oskar Knight Story,” an award-winning Hollywood biopic about the “legendary” director Oskar Knight, played by Lenny Von Dohlen. It’s a very funny mockumentary, and ultimately, quite touching.

MT: What are the qualifications for the selected films?

PP: Our festival jury is a wide-ranging team of industry veterans from about 20 countries. We have a big internal world forum online where we exchange opinions and make decisions on the films.

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

PP: I can’t speak for the decision process at other festivals. But I’ll say, in terms of getting a response when your film actually screens at a festival, because 99.9% of filmmakers don’t have any publicity budget and don’t do a Q&A, that really diminishes your chances of drawing a big crowd. But WIFF itself is promoting its events more and more, and we strongly encourage and assist filmmakers in setting up Q&A’s.

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

PP: I can tell you, it’s actually not money.

In the festival business, unless you are Cannes or Sundance or the like, you are just trying to maintain, so you can achieve your goal: discovering and spotlighting great new works of cinema. And helping them find their audience.

MT: How has the festival changed since its inception?

PP: We are changing every day… A year ago we started with one festival. This year we’ll be hosting as many as 25 festivals in 20 different countries.

MT: Where do you see the festival by 2020?

PP: In most of the biggest cities and cinema capitals on this lovely cinema planet of ours.

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

PP: “Once Upon a Time in America.”

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

PP: Great buzz…? Or so it seems.

But more seriously: There are many “Great things” which it takes to make a great film: Great idea, great script, great shooting, great producer, great director, great actors, great voice, great cutting, great marketing.

All these great things make one big great cake. If any “great” is missing
— that cake isn’t going to rise.

Even when a film has all these ingredients, just like a cake it needs time to rise. Hopefully, the films we’re getting behind will rise to the attention they deserve this year.

MT: How is the film scene in your city?

PP: I’m really never in one city longer then a month, these days, as I need to manage and host up to 25 locations as you know.

But the World International Film Festival has five basic centers now: Los Angeles, Toronto, Brisbane, Singapore, and Hong Kong, and we’ll be showing many films in all of those great cities.

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 Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go for more information and to submit your work to the festival.