Interview with Filmmaker Sara Zia Ebrahimi (THE FBI BLEW UP MY ICE SKATES)

THE FBI BLEW UP MY ICE SKATES played to rave reviews at the February 2018 FEMALE Feedback Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sara Zia Ebrahimi: This film is based on a true story that happened to one of my (Sara’s) cousins. When she told me the story it immediately jumped out at me as being an example of something so absurd that you couldn’t script it; often real life offers the best stories. I then approached Lindsey about adapting it into an animation format and codirecting with me. I was a big fan of her previous work and loved the nostalgic early 80s aesthetic that she envisioned for the piece.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

We completed the film in a little under 12 months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Xenophobia realness

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

It took me a while to find the right person to work with the achieve an aesthetic that fit the piece, but once Lindsey and I started it was smooth sailing honestly. We worked really well together as co-directors.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

My films are about the intersection of public policies with individual lives and I loved hearing that that seemed to clearly work in this film. It’s been a great feeling for us both to have audiences respond exactly the way we hoped they would.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

As I mentioned earlier, this is a true story that happened to a family member. When Lindsey and I talked about adapting it, part of the fun was imagining what we thought did happened between the box being shipped from the warehouse to her house and then her receiving that letter. As filmmakers we both are interested in using art as a tool for social change, so much of our inspiration was also asking ourselves what we could create that would spark a conversation about the ongoing Islamophobia that continues today.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Lord of the Rings trilogy (I know, that’s three movies). And since I’m already over one I’ll a fourth: Bladerunner.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I love FilmFreeway. I find the interface very usable and it helps streamline my submission processes.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

It’s hard to pick one. “Policy of Truth” by Depeche Mode maybe? It’s hard to say for sure if we’re talking my whole life. If the question was about just recently it’d be different.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I have been working recently as a producer on two other directors’ projects: a web series called Resistance: the battle of Philadelphia (by M. Asli Dukan), and a short film called Recurrence Plot: The Family Circle (by Bryan Oliver Green). Both are scifi inspired stories. Lindsey is currently working on her first feature length film, Little Wilderness—a narrative film looking at the effects of ecological devastation in a small West Virginia town on a family.




Interview with Festival Director Hermoine Macura (WORLD OF WOMEN FILM FAIR MIDDLE EAST)

Festival Reviews


The World of Women’s Cinema – WOW Film Fair Middle East is the first women’s short film fair that promotes and awards the talents of women directors, producers, writers, editors and cinematographers in the film industry internationally. It is an event that offers emerging and established filmmakers the opportunity to screen short works giving a thematic perspective of … “seeing the world through the eyes of women”.


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

Hermoine Macura: We are the first and only women’s film festival across the Middle East’s 22 Arab countries.

We offer a platform to recognize women of excellence in film as well as offer a platform for new and upcoming women film makers as well as men who direct films with a strong female narrative. We source, promote, educate and support women filmmakers in…

View original post 530 more words

Interview with Festival Director Jef Gray (The International Peace & Film Festival (IPFF))

Festival Reviews


The International Peace & Film Festival (IPFF) combines the excitement of independent film with the goodwill of cultural exchange. The impact of blending a peace and film festival brings numerous benefits to audiences through the diversity of talent in cinematic art, fashion, performance and diplomatic representation. IPFF is held annually in Orlando, Florida and features screenings of selected films, an expo of local vendors, fashion show of national costumes and awards for top filmmakers.


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

Jef Gray: We’re very devoted to the filmmaker experience in the festival, we use modern facilities, attract cultural and business crowds and give as much flexibility as possible to filmmakers to accommodate their schedules and travel constraints. We also host a large awards ceremony to recognize the cinematic achievements of both film and content.

What would you…

View original post 633 more words

Interview with Festival Executive Director Steffanie Finn (WINTER FILM AWARDS INDIE FILM FESTIVAL)

Festival Reviews


New York City’s Winter Film Awards (WFA) is a volunteer-run and operated celebration of the diversity of local and international film-making. Our Mission is to recognize excellence in cinema and to promote learning and artistic expression for people at all stages of their artistic careers with a focus on nurturing emerging filmmakers and helping them gain recognition and contacts to break into this difficult industry. We pride ourselves on our diverse collection of Festival selections, allowing our audience to enjoy films they normally wouldn’t think to seek out.


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

George Isaacs: Seeing your film on the big screen with a real audience in New York City beats pretty much everything!

Winter Film Awards is all about showcasing the work of emerging filmmakers. It’s so hard for emerging filmmakers without huge budgets or…

View original post 1,172 more words

Interview with Artistic Director Maeve McGrath (KERRY FILM FESTIVAL)

Festival Reviews


KFF is renowned for celebrating the work of young filmmaking talent through a well established and lively short film competition that has been supported and endorsed by luminaries from the world of film such as Cillian Murphy, director Paul Greengrass, Jeremy Irons, Liam Neeson, and Gabriel Byrne. Over the past 17 years KFF has become a vital element of Kerry’s cultural landscape offering a unique film experience to the local community as well as creating a ‘must attend’ cultural tourism event for visitors to the county.


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

Maeve McGrath: We hope that we are providing a platform for new and emerging film makers while also screening established film makers. We really want to being an industry experience to the festival so that the film maker can network…

View original post 592 more words

Interview with Festival Director Gabriel Muelle (Bogotá Music Video Festival)

Festival Reviews


ENG: The purpose of the Bogotá Music Video Festival is to celebrate the art of music videos, the joy of music and the passion for filmmaking. We bring the music video art to different screens around Bogotá and top that with live music, exhibitions and academic and industry events.


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

Gabriel Muelle: We’re creating a new space for creators and filmmakers to show their work, see what is happening in the city, the country and the rest of the world and to network. In recent years the production of films and videos has increased drastically, but it’s easy to find that your work gets lost on the immensity of the internet and the exhibition circuits. We curate our selection very carefully trying to find…

View original post 706 more words