On the set of Wreckage with Bruno Marconato (Production Designer nominated at Redline International Festival)

It was a thrill to have our movie Wreckage (that I’ve directed and edited), nominated at the category of Best Production Design at Redline Film Festival. This post is an interview with Matthew Toffolo, one of the festival creators that states what this festival is about. The interview below was made by www.festivalcreators.org

Founded as a passion project by indie filmmakers, Redline’s goal is to shine a light on the films and filmmakers that the mainstream media frequently overlook. As filmmakers ourselves, we have far too often seen quality films being turned away from festivals because they didn’t meet the proper mainstream “criteria”. We strongly believe that film-making is one of the most profound mediums through which art can be created, and should not have to adhere to conventional ideas in order to be celebrated. Which is why, through our monthly festival, we aim to promote those who create art through the medium of film and continue to push the envelope in artistic creation.

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

Redline: One of the things that we take the most pride in is giving as much value to filmmakers who submit as we possibly can. One of the things that we have seldom seen offered by other festivals & competitions, which we offer and believe is very helpful to filmmakers, is promotional reviews written by film critics for some of the winning films we select. As filmmakers ourselves, one of the most valued things we could ever get for one of our new short films is in-depth feedback. There is no greater feeling than hearing directly from someone who’s watched and dissected your film and came to the end having understood what you we’re trying to accomplish with it, and enjoying it in the process.

We also pride ourselves in leaving politics at the door. No film is off-limits when it comes to our selection process. A good film is a good film, whether it’s a tough-to-watch dramatic subject matter, or a fun crude comedy flick, all films are given a fair shot. Many times this leads to us selecting and showcasing films that sometimes get overlooked throughout the festival circuit purely based on subject matter alone. We offer a platform for ALL filmmakers who make quality films to be showcased and promoted without judgement.

What would you expect to experience if you attend the festival this year (2018)?

Our in person screenings are monthly and are exclusively for those who have signed up and registered as jury members. For those members, they should expect a curated selection of some amazing short films from all around the globe! Our main focus is to continue improving on quality as well as increasing value to filmmakers.

What are the qualifications for the selected films?

In general, we accept films up to 25 minutes in length made within 18 months of the submission period. We accept live-action, documentary and animated shorts from all genres.

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

Absolutely. As we stated before, festivals and competitions are sometimes very political. Whether they are trying to appease to a certain audience, or they have sponsors they need to keep happy – many implications can cause a skew in the selection process. This causes films that may have more offensive or hard-to-watch subject matters to be passed over, regardless of the quality of film. We have always had the mantra that we select the best films, period. We don’t take into consideration what the mainstream media’s opinions would be, and we will never adjust selections to appease sponsors. We simply choose the best films, always.

What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

After years of us being on the submitting end of the process, we grew tired of festivals and competitions who either 1. Select nearly every submissions to fill their quota’s and keep filmmakers happy, rendering a selection worthless 2. Offer no value to the filmmakers submitting and 3. Selecting mostly mainstream type films to appease sponsors and a wide audience. We’re not trying to repeat ourselves too much here, but I think you can probably see a trend when it comes to our gripes with the traditional festival circuit. Essentially, we wanted a festival that represented our taste in films, that would choose obscure films that some may not enjoy, but clearly bring value to an audience who is willing to give them a chance. Bringing value to filmmakers that are like us, that have been in our situation, that’s what really keeps us going.

How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Fantastic. The service is simple to use, extremely responsive when you have an issue, and wonderfully designed. The only issue now is how popular it’s becoming – it’s getting more and more difficult to get promotional spots as more and more festivals flow in to use the platform – which makes sense as they are by far the best submission site we’ve seen, both on the submission and festival end.

Where do you see the festival by 2023?

We hope to see it be a widely accepted stamp of quality. We want our laurel to represent filmmaking at its finest. Whether that means having massive screenings and events, or simply being a highly coveted award competition – that is yet to be decided. However, we do know that we want filmmakers to be proud of being selected by our team, and we hope to continue offering them as much value as we possibly can.

In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great film is one that moves it’s audience – one that strikes a personal chord and makes them feel deep emotion. I’m never happier than when I’m sitting and watching a film – a work of art created by the coming-together of so many talented hands – that makes me completely forget I’m watching a screen and completely transports me and captivates me into this crafted world. A great film takes you on a journey and makes you forget about all your troubles, even for a brief moment.

How is the film scene in your city?

For the most part, fantastic. Toronto has a great film scene with so many talented filmmakers, although it’s quite small. It’s common practice that when you make it “big” you leave for either New York or Los Angeles to pursue “bigger” and “better” things. Hopefully this mentality changes in the near future, as there are fantastically talented productions and people working in Toronto all the time whom could benefit greatly if the industry grew. Things like the Toronto International Film Festival are starting to put Toronto on the map more and more within the industry though, which is fantastic! We hope Redline IFF can contribute to growing the industry here as well.