August 2017 – Interview with Film Festival Directors

Read 13 interviews with festival directors from around the world: 

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Interview with Festival Director Stephanie Dadet (OUR CITY FILM PROJECT)

Interview with Co-Festival Director Mia Davis (Queen City Cinephiles)

Interview with Festival Directors Roger and Shelley Gillespie (COPA SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL)

Interview with Festival Director Michael Kamel (DC Palestinian Film and Arts Festival)

Interview with Festival Director Sina Dolati (TORONTO NEW WAVE)

Interview with Festival Directors Lee Marohn & Paul Salzer (NORTHEAST WISCONSIN HORROR FILM FESTIVAL)


Interview with Festival Director José Claudio Silva (PORTUGAL INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL)

Interview with Festival Director Kirill Proskura (MIND THE INDIE FILM FESTIVAL (MTIFF))

Interview with Festival Director Jonny Mancini (FROSTBITE International Film Festival)

Interview with Mariah Mathew (Little Wing Film Festival)

Interview with Festival Director Alex P. Michaels (Prelude2Cinemas)

Interview with Danny Caprio (The Mediterranean Film Festival (MedFF))


July 2017 – Interviews with Film Festivals from around the world.

This month we interviewed 11 film festivals from around the world. Great insights on how a festival gets done from the perspective of the Festival Director.

Interviews by Matthew Toffolo

Interview with Festival Director Cristyn Steward (Columbus Black International Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Cristyn Steward (Columbus Black International Film Festival)

The primary objective of the Columbus Black International Film Festival is to showcase Black filmmakers locally, nationally and internationally, while highlighting a spectrum of stories told by people of the African diaspora.

Interview with Festival Director Bob Cook (Central Florida Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Bob Cook (Central Florida Film Festival)

Fun filled three day event in Ocoee, Florida (15 minutes from Disney World) over the Labor Day weekend (September 1-3, 2017). Networking opportunities, panel discussions, screenings on three screens, excellent award show with guest presenters. Hotel venue walking distance to theater venue. VIP cocktail party and brunch.

Interview with Festival Director Guido Franken (Euregion Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Guido Franken (Euregion Film Festival)

Euregion Film Festival offers you a festival experience with the best films from all over the world, an award show, workshops, seminars and more. Every year, a multi-day festival program will be presented. This program contains selections of films from all over the world, workshops, seminars, meeting corners, an award show and more. If your film is selected, you are automatically in the running for several prizes during the festival.

Interview with Festival Director Mark Schwab (Diamond in the Rough Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Mark Schwab (Diamond in the Rough Film Festival)

Organized by independent film production company Diamond in the Rough Films, their 3rd annual film festival wants to highlight the TRULY independent film. Even if it is “rough around the edges” or just plain out there. The filmmakers who scrape and sweat to put a good movie together against all odds. They want films that take risks, not hollow 4K mirages.

Interview with Festival Director Michael York (MY Film Festival)
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.

Interview with Festival Director Petio Petkov (DroneUp International Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Petio Petkov (DroneUp International Film Festival)
Get ready for the second edition of Europe’s funkiest drone event – DroneUp International Film Festival! Once again, DroneUp IFF will celebrate and acknowledge the world’s best drone cinematography in front of an 3000+ live audience in the magnificent ancient Roman Stadium in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

Interview with Festival Director Mark Brennan (Exit 6 Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Mark Brennan (Exit 6 Film Festival)
Exit 6 Film Festival is an all-day celebration of short films taking place at multiple venues in the heart of Basingstoke, UK, including Vue Cinema and The Anvil.

Interview with Festival Director Grant Slater (SBE’s Hamilton (New York) International Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Grant Slater (SBE’s Hamilton (New York) International Film Festival)

“SBE’s Hamilton International Film Festival presents an incredible opportunity to network with other ambitious filmmakers, exchange ideas and fundraising strategies while experiencing the charm of Hamilton, New York. The Hamilton Theater is a gorgeous venue and Grant Slater has put together a 5 star festival with a great selection of film, food and local beers. This is a must-attend festival that offers more than just frivolous laurels to it’s filmmakers… one could say that you leave Hamilton with a new group of friends that offer a different perspective on making and watching movies!”
-D.J. Higgins Director, Writer/Producer Meet Mario

Interview with Festival Director Ann Cabano (The Just Be Love Project)
Interview with Festival Director Ann Cabano (The Just Be Love Project)

The JUST BE LOVE Project is dedicated to education, awareness, and inspiring action for social justice and human rights issues through educational events and socially conscious films. Change begins with education and it is their hope to start the difficult conversations and to inspire action in the hearts of those attending this event.

Interview with Festival Director Joe Sanchez (Catch & Release Showcase Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Joe Sanchez (Catch & Release Showcase Festival)

The showcase is a meeting point among artists, innovators and media consumers. We aim to spark creativity for both beginners and professionals. Grab your phone and create. Together we can make this world more beautiful with our artistry.

Interview with Festival Director Omar McClinton (Various Artists Independent Film Festival)
Interview with Festival Director Omar McClinton (Various Artists independent Film Festival)

The VAiFF (Various Artists independent Film Festival) has succeeded in joining two 21st century opportunities together for filmmakers to get their films released and screened by as many people as possible.

June 2017: This month’s interviews with Film Festivals all over the world

This month’s film festival interviews by Matthew Toffolo:

Short Film Breaks Festival

Short Film Breaks is the only film festival taking place in private companies.


Latino Film Market

The Latino Film Market 2017 (LFM) event focuses on providing community networking opportunities and creating direct tools for upcoming Latino filmmakers and industry professionals internationally. LFM takes place July 28 – 30, 2017, in collaboration with La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriqueña, a 37-year old, nonprofit, cultural organization, housed at El Barrio’s Artspace PS 109, in East Harlem, New York. LFM will engage participants from the USA, the Caribbean and other Latin American countries, with a potential participation of 500 – 600 individuals.


The Cump Film Festival

CUMP is an upcoming independent documentary and film festival drawn from Colleges and Universities that offer Film and Electronic Media studies in East Africa, and the only independent film festival in Nairobi. CUMP shall screen in Nairobi -Kenya and other East African cities and shall premiere local and international films and documentaries.


British Urban Film Festival

BUFF wants to change the face of British film. They want it to reflect all of us, not just some of us. They have made great strides in the right direction for over a decade. There’s no reason why that shouldn’t continue for a decade more. Across the film & TV industry, Britain’s filmmakers are much less diverse than Britain itself. And that can sometimes mean it’s much more of an effort to make films and TV programmes diverse, because they have to make an effort. This, in turn, is understandable.


Peachtree Village International Film Festival

PVIFF is hosted by Gipp. Museums, Inc. PVIFF attracts 3,000+ people each year from around the world. PVIFF was created in 2006 under the previous name (Sweet Auburn International Film Festival) and have served as the launching pad for many successful filmmakers and other artists alike in the film & entertainment industry. This dynamic international film festival showcases feature length films, shorts, music videos, documentaries, and screenplays from around the globe. PVIFF also feature celebrity attractions, innovative workshops, panels, parties, and much more. PVIFF is one of the most celebrated film events through dynamic programming and a dedication to helping filmmakers excel in their careers. PVIFF’s brand is entrenched in the old saying “It Takes A Village.”

Simply Shorts Festival

Simply Shorts was designed to encourage more regular screenings of both local and international short form content in Brisbane, Australia. Since 2015, we have held Simply Shorts 2-3 times a year, changing genres or themes every edition and opening the door to many different areas of filmmaking. Our screenings go for one night only. The editions of Simply Shorts so far have been: The Queensland Edition, Halloween Special, Skits & Giggles, World Cinema, Women in Film and coming in July we’ll have Sci-Fi or Die.


February 2017 – Interviews with Stunt Performers

Read 3 interviews conducted last month with 3 stunt performers working in the industry today. You’ll be amazed what these artists go through on set and the lengths they’ll push themselves to make sure their stunt best serves the film.

Interviews conducted by Matthew Toffolo

Interview with Stunt Performer Alex Armbruster (Suicide Squad, X-Men: Days of Future Past):
Interview with Stunt Performer Alex Armbruster (Suicide Squad, X-Men: Days of Future Paste)

My most valuable stunt job has been stunt doubling for Jay Hernandez who played “El Diablo” in Suicide Squad. It was such an amazing experience working alongside actors like Will Smith and Margot Robbie and just being apart of the DC Comics world. I knew right away when I got the job that it would be a pivotal point in my career in the sense that it would probably be one of the most unique experiences that many stuntmen wouldn’t receive.

Interview with Stunt Coordinator Jennifer Badger (Pitch Perfect 3, Greenleaf Season 2):
Interview with Stunt Coordinator Jennifer Badger (Pitch Perfect 3, Greenleaf Season 2)

I’ve been up to roll cars (both by pipe ramp and cannon) on several shows but for budgetary reasons these are often the first stunts to get cut. While I’ve crashed cars many, many times, flipping one is definitely on the career bucket list. As I write this, I am scheduled to do so in about two weeks so fingers crossed that nothing changes.

Interview with Stunt Performer Lisa Dempsey (Titanic, Sully, Minority Report):
Interview with Stunt Performer Lisa Dempsey (Titanic, Sully, Minority Report)

Most recently I had the job of a lifetime doubling Kathy Bates as “The Butcher” on American Horror Story Season 6: Roanok. I doubled for her once before on Mike and Molly when she was a guest star. We had to leg wrestle with Melissa McCarthy and that was hilarious. Kathy is a class act. She is warm and funny and so appreciative. She has a great laugh. I can’t say enough good things about her.


Get to know Sound Mixer Tony Dawe (Return of the Jedi, Alice in Wonderland, Troy)

Tony Dawe has definitely witnessed a lot of things on set working sound, working on over 120 productions in the last 40 years. It was an honor to interview him after the craft of sound mixing on set and preparing the post-production sound department.

Read the Full Interview at

Excerpt on working on The Return of the Jedi: 

George Lucas was very involved in the making of “Revenge of the Jedi”, and spent a lot of time on the sets. I got on very well with George, and we had many discussions about the use of computers in film making and where that was going to go. Looking back, of course he was absolutely right. He is a most incredible person and visionary and I really loved working with him.

However, working on “Revenge of the Jedi” (which was its original title), was very intense and not one of my favourite experiences

Get to know Editor Valerio Bonelli (The Martian, Philomena)


– If you’re interested in storytelling, this is the interview for you. Editor Valerio Bonelli has edited over 30 films in the last 20 years, working with some of the top directors, including many collaborations with Ridley Scott (The Martian, Black Hawk Down, Hannibal, and the Oscar winner Gladiator), and Stephen Frears (Philomena, The Program). In this interview, he gives a lot of amazing insight on the art of editing a feature film and what it takes to succeed in Hollywood.

Transcript from Interview:

Every film I work on somehow added something to my knowledge as an editor and as a person. Each film is different even if you work with the same director, but I can say that there are few films that have stayed with me for one reason or another. Recently I’ve cut a documentary feature called “Palio”, this film was particularly challenging for me because unlike most conventional documentaries the story is narrated in the present time and not retrospectively with a narration voice but with the voices of all the characters of the film. The film is about the famous ancient horse race in Siena, Italy, it did not have a script, and was ‘written’ during the editing process by me and Cosima Spender.

PHOTO: Still Shot from the documentary “Palio”:


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Get to know Sound Designer Wylie Stateman (All Quentin Tarantino films)

READ FULL INTERVIEW: Supervising Sound Editor Wylie Stateman (The Hateful Eight, Home Alone, JFK) –

Wylie Statement is a gem. It’s a simple as that. This is truly one of my favorite interviews. In my subjective opinion, it’s a must read for anyone working in the industry today, and for those attempting to get into the industry. His answers were entertaining, educational, and there is a theme that ties it all together. See if you can figure it out. Hope you enjoy.

On working with Quentin Tarantino: 

Quentin taught me the value in studying historical film references. He often provided specific examples of films that he felt advanced filmmaking or some aspect of sound specifically. For “Kill Bill”, we reviewed Quentin’s fascination with early Hong Kong films. On “Grindhouse”, he once referenced a trailer that he had seen some thirty years prior as having left a lasting impression on him (sound-wise). Sure enough, the next day a small roll of 35mm film arrived and we had the chance to review an original William Friedkin “Exorcist” trailer, circa 1973. It served as an informative reference for the movement of sound through the surround speaker field.

Every Quentin film has an origin story that is personal to his life long pursuit of cinema. Quentin personally hand picks his filmmaking family on every project. His producers and department heads are always part of his most trusted assets. The production team and, after production, the cutting room is always populated with smart, devoted, traditional, and not-so-traditional, highly talented people. Quentin is the driving force out in front of the team, thoroughly inspiring everyone.