Interview with Festival Director Michael York (MY Film Festival)

MY Film Festival is a brand new and exciting event which will take place in Toronto, Ontario. Our mission is to connect emerging artists with local filmmakers. We are anticipating a solid turn out with many press, bloggers, casting directors and agents to be in attendance this year. If you are a resident of ONTARIO, please get in contact with us for your free waiver code.

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

Michael York: MY Film Festival is a great way for filmmakers to get the opportunity to display their work in the biggest city in Canada – Toronto. I hope someday people can reflect on their screenings at the festival and see that it helped start/ shape or promote their career.

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

I would expect to exchange info with other great, passionate filmmakers and expand my network, as well as being inspired by great films.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

MY film festival are looking for well written and shot films, do to an over welcoming amount of submissions our first year we look for great sound quality as well as well thought out lighting. We don’t discriminate against run and gun productions but we intrigued by unorthodox shots and seemingly flawless cuts.

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

I feel from personal experience that films that are not in english have a tougher time standing out or holding the attention of viewers due to the subtitles that can take away from the beautiful cinematography or performances.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Our motivation and our goal is to be able to launch careers, we want to help people make those connections that a blind email or call may not be able to have.

How has your Film Freeway submission process been?

FilmFreeway is actually the only platform we use to promote the festival due to it’s very user friendly layout. They have done a great job of building up a strong database of filmmakers and if it wasn’t for them we wouldn’t have had a single submission.

Where do you see the festival by 2020?

I have a lot of big ideas for MY film festival, I could see it going many different directions. I had a thought that it could someday grow into an art show in a large warehouse where we would have multiple film screenings at once with different rooms dressed in different themes based on the genre of the films being shown. The viewers/festival attendees would have the freedom to sit and watch something or quietly excuse themselves to a separate room with another film playing. There are also talks about bringing in a partner who would award the winner of the best short film with one hundred and fifty thousand dollars to turn their passion project into a feature film.

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

That is a good question, I think it would still have to be Scarface. I must have watched that a thousand times when I was a kid.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

What makes a great film for me is a well shot, captivating story with character arcs and a solid ending. (Not always a happy one)

How is the film scene in your city?

We are based out of Toronto, Ontario. The film scene here is booming! Both union and non union films are in constant rotation. We have massive tax incentives for American productions to save a buck and have access to countless great locations and industry professionals. This draws a lot of traffic, we actually have had to turn down several feature films due to lack of studio space.

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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.

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Interview with Kelly Michael Stewart, Festival Director for Blood in the Snow Canadian Film Festival

A weekend long festival celebrating the best in contemporary Canadian horror filmmaking.

http://bloodinthesnow.ca/

Matthew Toffolo Interviews Artistic Director Kelly Michael Stewart:

Matthew: Why is the city of Toronto the perfect fit for what you’re showcasing at the festival?

Kelly: In many ways I don’t think Blood in the Snow (BITS) could have happened in any other city. We have a thriving festival culture in Toronto with over 70 festivals in the city including of course TIFF.

The film scene here is very collaborative and filmmakers really do like to help each other here. I’ve been told from filmmakers from other regions that that don’t get along the way that Toronto filmmakers tend to do. It can be competitive but its rarely done in a backstabbing way here. Part of BITS success comes from the other filmmakers plugging and supporting the films playing at the festival, so in a way I wouldn’t want to do the festival in any other city.

Matthew: What is the goal of your film festival?

Kelly: To highlight the best in Canadian contemporary horror genre films for the fans. For the filmmakers, our goal is to give them an ideal place to launch their films. I’ve always said that premiering your film is like your wedding day or giving birth to your child and you only have one chance to get it right. So our job as festival organizers is to throw them one hell of party for them.

Matthew: How has the festival changed since is began until now?

Kelly: We originally had it at rep cinema in the east end but for the past couple of years we have had it at Carlton, which is ideal for us because it is very central in the city and has large lobby for us to have a vendor village and availability to add additional screenings if we need them. Also our team has grown significantly since its inception in 2012. In our first year I basically put the whole thing together and had a few volunteers helping out. Now we have a staff of 10 along with another 15 volunteers. So it has grown into a fairly large operation.

Matthew: How many films are you showcasing at your Film Festival this year in how many days?

Kelly: As I write this, we haven’t announced our 2015 dates yet but we usually have it over three days in late November and showcase about 8 features and 15 shorts.

Matthew: Can you give us a sneak peak of what to expect for the 2015 Festival?

Kelly: We experimented in 2014 in added an educational component with having a seminar for filmmakers. I’d like to expand that more in 2015. Our festival is very filmmaker focused and want to continue that emphasis.

Matthew: Is there going to be an overall theme for the 2015 festival?

Kelly: We don’t really have a theme for our festival each year. It really is just about getting the best Canadian films to show on screen and put on an amazing event for film fans in Toronto.

Matthew: Where do you see your festival in 5 years?

Kelly: I’d like the festival to be creditable cinematic institution in Canada. Somewhere where filmmakers can count on to launch their films and for audiences know that they are getting the best in brand new genre films. I think we are on our way to achieving that already but I hope that it continues on the path that it is on now.

Matthew: What’s the current status of the Film Scene in Toronto?

Kelly: In a word; thriving.

Toronto gets the nickname “Hollywood North” for a reason with so many film productions being shot here. You certainly don’t make much money making films here but everyone seems to be working all the time and the films tend to find an audience which is good too.

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

Kelly: Most likely The Godfather.

Matthew: What else are you passionate about besides running this festival?

Kelly: I’m also a film producer and writer. I have two film in circulation at the moment, a short called ONE MORE FOR THE ROAD that has played about 20 festivals so far and a new full length film called LATE NIGHT DOUBLE FEATURE that will be playing around the world in 2015. You can find out more info on them both at http://www.threeevilcats.com

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Matthew Toffolo, Interviewer BIO

Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes, Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival. He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.

Go to http://www.wildsound.ca and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.

Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.