Interview with Festival Director William Vela (Miami Short Film Festival)

Miami short Film Festival is a film festival based in Miami, Florida that features short films of 20-minutes or less each. A growing movement to exhibit and expand the art form of short film making providing a venue to build community around the arts. Philosophy: Short films, past and present, are true works of art, and deserve a venue dedicated to their exhibition. Their mission is to present quality films from around the world as well as support, recognize and honor filmmakers creating a films under 20 minutes.

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

William Vela: Miami short Film Festival is succeeding because we continue to promote the short film genre and supporting local and international filmmakers providing an ideal platform in a popular city such Miami Florida. The MsFF is international in scope and as a result, the festival has showcased over 1,000 high-quality films from around the world representing over 70 countries and has given the filmmaker a gateway for exposure and to short film an identity differentiating it from the classical feature lent films.

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

MsFF will offer our audience a one of a kind selection of the best short films across all genres from all over the world. From original scripts to different perspectives, to new cinematography and film techniques, each piece is the result of true emotion andexpression. Today’s short film cinema is beyond doubt, the nurturing ground of tomorrow’s world-renowned filmmakers.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

When selecting the films, our goal is to find films that are
distinctive and with a powerful team. We look for a storyline that can transform audiences, living them with a powerful message.

Technical Requirements:
-Films must have been completed after Jan. 1, 2015
-All non-English films must have English sub-titles.
-Films must be submitted electronically
-We will only consider works with a maximum running time of 20 minutes or less. There is no minimum running time.
-Works-in-progress will be considered, provided they will be completed prior to the Festival.
-We do not allow multiple category entries.
-Though not a requirement, we prefer that films NOT have previously screened in a public theatrical setting in Dade or Broward County FL prior to their screening at MiamisFF.

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

No comment.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

The love of filmmaking and desire to contribute to the cultural scene of our community. Also the responsibility of having create a dependable film festival that filmmakers and our audience wait for every year.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Film Freeway has been very helpful offering filmmakers and Film
Festival organizers a friendly tool to process all the materials. It has also provided a reachable staff that you can contact any time. They are way better than any other exiting platforms.

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

The film that I have seen the most times in my life is The Godfather by Francis Ford Coppola

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Great films most have a good storyline, interesting characters and good performance.

How is the film scene in your city?

Miami’s independent film scene is flourishing, even as hundreds of arthouse cinemas close around the country. The city is home to seven independent cinemas, most of which have opened in the last four years, and its increasing number of film festivals and notable filmmakers is propelling South Florida into a passionate film mecca with more than 10 festivals and an entire month dedicated to showcasing film such as the Miami short Film Festival.



Interviewee BIO: For the past thirteen years Mr. Vela has been the Executive Director of the MsFF organization, overseeing every single aspect of this exiting international film festival. With more than 20 years of experience working as a professional actor, producer and director, he has work in over 250 TV commercial for the locals, nationals and international market. A creative and dynamic leader in the entertainment field industry, with continued success in event planning and media productions. Mr. Vela has been focus on expanding local, national and international independent short film productions while integrating influential and diverse partnership and sponsors to this campaign

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 for more information and to submit your work to the festival.