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Established 1995 filmfestivals.com serves and documents relentless the festivals community, offering 92.000 articles of news, free blog profiles and functions to enable festival matchmaking with filmmakers.

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Q&A with a new-festival director Action/Cut

Q&A with director/writer/producer Guy Magar, Founder of Action/Cut
An Interview by Bruno Chatelin


Bruno Chatelin:What is the mission of your new shorts competition and what motivated its launch?
Guy Magar: Since for filmmakers the most important result of their work is to receive recognition/awards at film festivals and contests to launch their film careers, we received overwhelming requests from filmmakers worldwide and from our Action/Cut Filmmaking Seminar Graduates to start our own competition for shorts films. As we stress the great importance of making shorts at the seminars, as a way to gain experience in storytelling, working with actors and equipment, developing your own "voice" as a filmmaker, and building a working career leading to directing TV and features, we responded to the many requests and launched our Competition as an annual event in 2004. Since Action/Cut is an industry-driven company, it became a natural extension to launch this contest not only to discover the next generation of great filmmakers from the USA and around the world, but to open Hollywood career access doors for the winners and truly enable them to move forward which is what every filmmaker hopes for when they win a competition...no other contest or festival do what we do or can provide film industry access, never mind over 75+ awards to the winners that include cash prizes, industry career access, and many sponsor awards! There is an entire page listing all the awards on our website at www.actioncut.com.

What kind of filmmakers do you want to celebrate?
GM: Filmmaking is “visual storytelling” and our competition is designed to provide indie filmmakers worldwide the opportunity to show their talents as “storytellers” and we have three categories to attract a wide variety of filmmakers: FICTION – DOCUMENTARY – ANIMATION. This uniquely industry-driven contest will recognize the most talented with multiple career access services, and bring them to the attention of the Hollywood Film Industry. This is as good a celebration for the winners as it can possibly get.
Entry form here.

What is your dream that do you wish for your competition?
GM: As with our acclaimed seminars, that it becomes one of the most important short film competitions in the world, and with all the awards we are bestowing on the winners, that it enables them to move forward to their next films and be given the opportunity to shine and develop exciting careers. If the Action/Cut Short Film Competition achieves such a future, it would fulfill my intentions for it.

Who is your mentor/idol/reference filmwise?
GM: As we teach at our seminars, we believe it is the responsibility of all filmmakers through their work to uplift the human spirit, examine it, comment on it through their own “voices”, educate, enlighten, and most of all: entertain. Regardless of the genre or format, if films are boring or confusing or inaccessible to their audience, then we have failed their purpose. Also, a filmmaker’s talent must have range…meaning they can communicate, involve, suck you into their stories, have relevant immediacy regardless of the variety of subject matters tackled. For all those reasons, my two favorite filmmakers are Ridley Scott and Oliver Stone. As producers, I would choose the Weinstein brothers at Miramax who have done more for indie filmmakers than any others in our history. I made my last feature for Bob Weinstein and I was grateful to work for him and it is one of my best films.

Tell us about your experience in filmmaking?
GM: Like many, I started out at film schools. I always recommend film learning institutions not only for their film education, professors, and equipment availability, but simply to find out if you “love making films” and this is the profession you are committing to. The most important factor for any filmmaker is the “passion” for filmmaking. Without it, it is impossible to cope with the roller coaster life, and summon the perseverance and career dedication necessary to succeed. After graduating from the London Int’l Film School and then The American Film Institute in Los Angeles, I wanted to start in television and became a network drama director. Over the years, I directed over 60 television shows on many network series from The A Team to Hunter to La Femme Nikita to Sliders. After I had some experience under my belt, I got into indie features, where I also wrote and produced, such films as Retribution, Showdown, Dark Avenger, and Children Of The Corn: Revelation. It is extremely gratifying for me to go back and forth between features and TV assignments as I love directing both mediums, and presently I am under contract writing a large-scale historical epic for a European co-production.

How tough is it to launch a new festival and do you think there are too many of them in the states?
GM: The toughest part is always the first year when you need to do a lot of advertising so filmmakers know about your fest or competition so they can send their entries. Though there are over 1000 fests of all sizes in the USA, I believe this is good for filmmakers as it provides lots of opportunities to show their work and garner awards, and hopefully press attention which is key to creating a buzz for a filmmaker’s work. However, when we were in the planning stages, we decided there are enough film festivals and we wanted to do something different…thus a competition, and as far as we know, we are unique in this concept. What is important for the winners is not necessarily a public screening or an awards dinner where they are given a plaque for their wall…what is important is to provide them awards that will be helpful to their careers and their next films. This is why we organized over 75+ awards, many of which include actual meetings/conferences with Hollywood players for career access, distribution offers, and many industry sponsors awards of invaluable products and services to the filmmakers. This is how our competition differs from all other festivals and why we are so excited about its first year launch which began with our Call For Entries on January 15 until the deadline on May 15. We also include an industry press release celebrating the winners that will go out on September 1 when they are announced. We also plan to promote the winners by streaming them on our site. We trust our concept for this Competition will attract filmmakers to send their entries from all over the world and will make it an invaluable and successful yearly event.

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Chatelin Bruno
(Filmfestivals.com)

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