Interview with Festival director Pierre Cialdella
San Francisco « LGBTQ Coming of Age » Short Film Festival



    What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

The purpose of all Film Festival is to offer film-makers a way to show their work to professionals, while it helps the general public to discover great movies to which he would not have had access otherwise. And it often also help professionals discover the talent of new film-makers.

It is indeed the case for the San Francisco LGBTQ Coming of Age Short Film festival. But what differentiates us from other festivals is our will to show the public, no matter their sexual orientation, origin, age or religion, what LGBTQ+ youths go through at the time of their coming of age, because this specific period of life is the most important in everybody's life all around the world (LGBT or not). It is a subject to which every single person can relate to.

The message is thus as important to us as the festival itself or the films and the film-makers.

One could think that our festival is too specific or rather limited: LGBTQ+ and COMING OF AGE. You'd be surprised to see how many movies we received from all around the world. And none of them are saying the same thing, yet they all speak about LGBTQ+ and COMING OF AGE. And of love of course because in the end it all comes to that. But there are not 2 movies alike in our selection of 100 movies this first edition of our Festival.

That being said, we obviously hope for our film-makers to get the success they deserve (from both the public and the professionals).

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

If you attend the festival, you will enjoy 3 days of nonstop screenings of short films (100 movies selected from 50 countries), about the COMING OF AGE of the LGBTQ community.

    What are the qualifications for the selected films?

We made sure to offer the audience a fair mix of Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgender love stories. All films are original and were produced between 2017 and 2018.

We have included a variety of genres such as comedies, dramas, music videos, documentaries, cartoons, etc.

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

I can only speak for my experience with the LGBTQ Coming Of Age Short-Film Festival, for which each entry received a fair judgement…

    What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

Our intention is to bring light to the discrimination and bullying often directed towards the LGBTQ+ community, but in an entertaining, positive and creative way.

No voyeurism, no exhibitionism, no vindication: just the recognition of love for what it is, because love doesn't need multiple labels. Everyone should be free to love and to pursue their happiness.

We do not intend to trivialize the issues faced by the fringes of society who, as a result of their culture, religious beliefs, or a lack of education, still judge violently the different ways of loving. However, if we can at least create a space where people are made aware of and can reflect on the mockeries and inequalities that some people must endure because of who they love, then our festival will have fulfilled its purpose.

    How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

We were happy to get 280 submissions from FilmFreeway, which is more than we thought we would get from the platform. The submission process was both efficient and fluid, and we received a lot of great movies through them.

But we received 2000 movies altogether. Through many platforms. We have also contacted some production companies and film-makers directly ourselves.

Some films were also sent to us spontaneously by email (mostly from countries where being Gay is a crime, because they couldn't submit their film online; it would have been too risky for them).

Submissions platforms were a great help to us obviously, but they also have a bad side effect for festivals because film-makers often send their film to as many festivals as they can, most of the time without making sure that their film would be appropriate. We thus received a lot of films {sometime very good} that we had to refuse because they were not even LGBTQ…

    Where do you see the festival by 2023?

What matters is our 2018 edition. Let's go one edition at a time. Anything can happen in 5 years…

    What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Tooooooo many to say which one. Here are a few titles of films (non exhaustive) I've seen too many times to count:

– Travels with My Aunt by George Cukor, 1972 | Maggie Smith & Alec McCowen

– Torch Song Trilogy by Paul Bogart, 1988 | Harvey Fierstein & Matthew Broderick

– Roman Holiday by William Wyler, 1953 | Gregory Peck & Audrey Hepburn

– My Own Private Idaho by Gus Van Sant, 1991 | River Phoenix & Keanu Reeves

– 'night, Mother by Tom Moore, 1986 | Sissy Spacek & Anne Bancroft

– Woman Times Seven by Vittorio De Sica, 1967 | Shirley MacLaine x 7

– Charade by Stanley Donen, 1963 | Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn

– Maurice by James Ivory, 1987 | James Wilby & Rupert Graves

– Indiscreet by Stanley Donen, 1958 | Cary Grant & Ingrid Bergman

    What makes a great film?

To make a great film I would say that you need a great story, good actors and a generous film-maker. These are for me the fundamentals. If we want the public to get out of a theater saying "aww, that movie really touched me", we need to make sure he forgets he is watching a film. Too many young film-makers concentrate on the technical aspect. Those who don't put as much passion on the direction of actors and story-telling, often end up making a bad film.

    How is the film scene in your city?

I currently live in San Francisco. Unlike the rest of the USA, a lot is being made in California to help film-makers, and to offer the public (all the publics) a great "cinematic diversity".


— by Matthew Toffolo

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