The 48th WorldFest-Houston Festival director Hunter Todd talks Spielberg, O’Toole, Ridley Scott and 48 years of dedication with perseverance!

As a foundation in the Film Festival world, what do you notice most about modern films compared to films 48 years ago? 
The amazing difference is that they are so very much better… it is quite likely that Spielberg’s entry AMBLIN’ would not have won the Grand in 1972! Story, production values, all way, way up!

Do you have a favorite film that has showcased at your Festival?
Too many to even think about… Like AMBLIN’ and PUSHING HANDS by Ang Lee and the APPLE 1984 TVC by Ridley Scott, and THE GRANDMOTHER by David Lynch – you can see his genius in that film – but it is the lost films that fascinate me, like WINGS OF FAME, starring PETER O’TOOLE, brilliant films that disappeared from view, ever!

Is there something in particular that you look for in submissions? Or are there multiple factors?
We look for Genius – and you can see it in the first few minutes of any film, and you can also tell a total looser in about 30 seconds. The hand of God has never come down and touched a real horrid film – about 30 minutes into the story – and made it great – if they start bad, they are bad… not talking about nuances here, this is simple wheat from chaff stuff…

Is there a secret to your success? 
Dedication and perseverance… that along is omnipotent— it has been an amazing ride – 48 years of directing a festival – and discovering some of the true giants of the film world with their first film and handing them their first award – and now serving on International juries of film festivals all over the world… what great fun! Good Films, Good Food, Good Wine, interesting People, fascinating places – just back from the new fest in Zagreb! Last year it was Seoul, Korea! More to come!

Do you have an interesting story that has taken place during a past festival?
Too many to tell – like the world premiere of DELIVERANCE – everyone was there, producers, the director, all the actors, and Jim Dickey, the wonderful writer, who, after much wine at the awards gala, told me that he was not going to speak to the audience unless we got him a “Hoe” … well, we actually did get him a hoe, from the hotels garden shed… seems like that was not what he had in mind… every festival has dozens of stories like that, some not for publication, to say the least… like when I helped produce the Tehran film festival for the Shah of Iran, and what went on behind the curtains… (;-D

By no means looking past this and next years festivals, are there any plans for the “big” 50th WorldFest-Houston?
We have big plans, that cost big money – like inviting all the big past winners back for the big night… we shall see… we shall see… we are adding a new WorldFest-JazzFest element to the film festival this year – that will be fun!