Executive Director Anthony Pedone on all things VTXIFF!
What sets VTXIFF apart from other Indie Film Festivals?
I think it is our partnership with Film Exchange. We have the opportunity to participate in a a year round competition and get send some of the successful films at VTXIFF to the partner festivals that are with Film Exchange. We also have over $500,000 in production equipment that we make available to filmmakers to come back to our community to shoot their films.
Do you have an interesting story that has taken place during a past festival?
I will never forget my first festival, Strasbourg France. It was my very first film, my first fest….and I left that place saying, I can totally run a film festival. It is to bizarre for words, but it essentially was a really passionate american lady running through the streets of France with a box of DVD’s and heading all these filmmakers into basements of pubs to watch each other’s films, but i left that festival with some of the best friends i have ever had, and have even made films with several of the people I met at that fest, and even started my first festival with several of those Strasbourg Alums.
Can you tell us a little about the connection with the Film Exchange?
Yeah, I founded film exchange to give other small festivals like ours an opportunity to partner with festivals and to share programming.I wanted to design a competition that would engender cross promotion between festivals, and to help regional films find international audiences, and get money into the hands of filmmakers. I was finding that most of these smaller festivals were run by filmmakers, so partnering with them to share admin ideas, and to create a network of filmmakers who were able to help each other make films and talk about how films were getting made in their markets. Now we have a full blown production studio, and we are offering our gear package to filmmakers from our festivals for free for a piece of the equity on the back end of their projects.
Do you have a favorite film that has showcased at the 2014 Festival?
Yeah. We really had a great lineup in 2014, and we loved Kuncle Jack and a film called The Backseat.
How is your festival received locally in Victoria?
It was really questioned at first. We were requesting the support of the city to help us get it off the ground, and in the end they were really skeptical, but we were able to convince them of how important an event like a film festival can be to bring people from all over the world to our city. Now in our fourth year, there is no question that the festivals has really brought attention to Victoria. We have had over a dozen films come back to shoot here in Victoria. Our city is starting to see some money come back to the community, and see the economic impact of filmmaking on a community and see the festival for what it is besides just bringing people to screen their films, but to entice them back to shoot their next film here.
Is there something in particular that you look for in submissions? Or are there multiple factors?
Story is so important, but there are so many factors. We consider how each of the films works with the rest of the program, as wells as consider what our audience responds to as we expose them to more films each year. When we started this festival in Victoria, we had people asking us what independent film was, they would ask, “is an independent film, just like a real film?
Where do you see or would like to see your Festival in 5 years?
Actively producing and supporting our own films at the festival, still curating but most importantly giving first time filmmakers the opportunity to share their films with new audiences.
Can you give Indie Filmmakers some advice on producing their first film?
Make it a short. Find your voice, and practice your visual storytelling techniques while building their network. building your network of actors, producers, and financiers who can help you make your film better. also each of you should reach out to Film Exchange, and submit your project and budget and see if we can help you shoot your first film here in Texas. We have over $500,000 in production equipment we can make available, and we have been really successful at saving people money, and getting their films done for incredible inexpensive.