Exclusive Q&A with the Co-Chairs of Elgin Short Film Festival 2013

Wynona Luz

New member
<p style="font-size:16px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Film Festival Tips and Inspiration</strong></p>
<p style="font-size:16px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana">Q&A with Elgin Short Film Festival's Rich Jacobs and Joe Vassallo</p>
<p style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><em>Rich Jacobs is a nationally acclaimed speaker/developer for non-profit resources and co-chair of the Elgin Short Film Festival Committee. Joe Vassallo is the Illinois education counselor and co-chair of the Elgin Short Film Festival Committee.</em></p>
<p style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana">By Wynona Luz, Contributing Writer, <em>StudentFilmmakers</em> Magazine</p>
<p><a href="http://ineffablepictures.com/" target="_blank"></a>
<a href="http://www.hemmens.org/annualfilmfestival.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.studentfilmmakers.com/images/Hemmens-2.jpg" alt="ElginFilmFest" width="516" height="344" border="0"></a>
<table width="100%" border="1" cellpadding="10" cellspacing="0" bordercolor="#212439">
<td><p><span style="font-size:16px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Film Festival Tips and Inspiration</strong></span></p>
<p style="font-size:14px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana">"Follow your heart and pursue your dreams. Ask questions and wait for answers. Read the Call for Entries information carefully and never hesitate to reach out to the Festival if you have questions or concerns."<br>
<em>~Rich Jacobs</em></p>
<p style="font-size:14px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana">"Don't give up. Every re-write, every tweak in the editing, and every new project will teach you something that will continually make you better. As Vince Lombardi once said, 'Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence.'"<br>
<em>~Joe Vassallo </em></p></td>
<span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana">
<p dir="ltr"><strong> The Elgin Short Film Festival is returning for its fifth year! Congratulations on your anniversary. What can filmmakers and participants look forward to experiencing for this year's Call for Entries and Festival?</strong></p>
<p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Rich Jacobs</strong>: We are proud to state that in each year of the Elgin Short Film Festival, we have been able to build upon our successes in terms of marketing the Call for Entries and for the Festival. This is most evident in the high artistic caliber of the films submitted. Each year the audience attending the night of the Festival has grown by leaps and bounds. We are most proud of how we treat the finalists the night of the Festival with a red carpet arrival ceremony complete with limo and interviews by our local high school's broadcast journalists. We are lucky to have comedian and radio personality Mike Toomey as our Master of Ceremonies and our judges are always amazing. Last year one of our judges was a former executive at Twentieth Century Fox Studios, and one was an executive producer of a major motion picture.</span></p>
<span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><p dir="ltr"><strong> Tell us a little bit about the Elgin Short Film Festival's beginnings. What inspired your organization to produce the Festival?</strong></p>
<p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Rich Jacobs</strong>: [Joe Vassallo and I] were members of The Hemmens Cultural Center Advisory Board and were in the midst of a brainstorming session about events we could host at the center, when Joe blurted out that we should have a film festival. From there, we refined it to be a short film festival.</span></p>
<span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><p><strong>Joe Vassallo</strong>: We were brainstorming ideas on ways to add another art event to the many art programs already going on in Elgin. Film was an area that did not have much representation in Elgin or the surrounding communities at that time. We wanted filmmakers to have an opportunity to showcase their work to the many film enthusiasts and the art supporting communities in and around Elgin.</p>
<p><strong>What is the Elgin Short Film Festival's mission?</strong></p>
<p><strong>Rich Jacobs</strong>: Our mission is to showcase the best in short films while supporting the local arts community in downtown Elgin, IL.</p>
<p><strong>How have you seen the Elgin Short Film Festival evolve and grow over the years?</strong></p>
<p><strong>Joe Vassallo</strong>: The Elgin Short Film Festival began in 2009, as a way to further the art of filmmaking while bringing people to downtown Elgin. We have received outstanding press coverage throughout the Chicago area and draw many high-quality entries from professional and semi-professional filmmakers from around the country. Both filmmakers and audience members expressed such positive feedback that we are committed to presenting this as an annual event. Over the past four years we have watched our attendance continue to grow with a diverse audience of over 700 at last year's finals.</p>
<p><strong>What key goals does the Elgin Short Film Festival aim to achieve this year?</strong></p>
<p><strong>Joe Vassallo</strong>: Our key goals are to promote the filmmakers and their films while putting together a first class event that helps support the arts in our community.</p>
</span><p><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>What would you say sets Elgin Short Film Festival apart from other festivals?</strong></span></p>

<p><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Joe Vassallo</strong>: We are dedicated to short films. To many other festivals short films are important, but seem to get lost in all the talk about feature length films. We want to spotlight the short film and hopefully help these artists gain recognition and notoriety to elevate their work in the future.</span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>What are some elements that can make a really strong and solid film submission for your Call for Entries and Festival?</strong></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Joe Vassallo</strong>: The ESFF has featured short films in a wide range of genres and subject matters. There really is not a particular genre that has reigned supreme the last four years. Generally speaking, it is the quality of the cinematography and story line that make the difference.</span></p>
<p><a href="http://www.hemmens.org/annualfilmfestival.html" target="_blank"><img src="http://www.studentfilmmakers.com/images/Hemmens-1.jpg" alt="ElginFilmFest-2" width="516" height="344" border="0"></a></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Although not necessarily the first thing that's important for some passionate artists, sometimes the first thing that everybody asks about call for entries is, "What are the prizes?"</strong></span></p>
<p><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Rich Jacobs</strong>: Trophies and cash prizes are awarded to the top three films: $1,000 for first, $500 for second and $300 for third. And the trophies are made by R.S. Owens, the same company that makes the Oscars. But it isn't just about the prizes. This is a chance for filmmakers to present their films, not just to a supportive audience of film lovers, but to judges that are influential in the film community, from studio executives and producers to film critics. The top five films are shown the night of the Festival, and the audience gets involved by choosing the winner of the "People's Choice" award. The City of Elgin has long been a strong supporter of the arts, and people in this community are excited about the Festival.</span><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"></span></p>
<p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong> Can you give an example of a short film that previously won the Elgin Short Film Festival and that got picked up for distribution?</strong></span></p>

<p dir="ltr"><span style="font-size:12px; color:#000000; font-family:verdana"><strong>Joe Vassallo</strong>: After winning the ESFF in 2011, "The Small Assassin" was picked up by Shorts International for worldwide distribution. Most recently the film was released on iTunes where it can be found in the iTunes store. To see previous year's winners or download an application, go to our website at <A href="http://www.hemmens.org/annualfilmfestival" target="_blank">www.hemmens.org/annualfilmfestival</A>. We have an early bird discount this year. You'll save $10 if you submit by August 2. Please check us out on our Facebook page too for updates. We hope to see you and your film on September 21, 2013 at The Hemmens in Elgin.</span></p>