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Alan Fraser of Cambria Film Festival

Festival / Interview / by Katie

  • Tell us about your festival

Cambria is a small town on the coast midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. It’s a beautiful spot. We have three intimate venues in town and our Awards Gala is held at Hearst Castle.  Cambria Film Festival screens four short programs, ten features in competition, and three special feature events. We screen Romantic Comedies and Romances; films dealing with the elements of love, being in love, the ups and downs of relationships, young love, older love, challenges of finding love, and recovering from failed love.

  • What made you start your film festival?

I went to a bunch festivals around the US with a film and loved the experience. I thought it would be really cool to start a fest, giving films an opportunity to be seen while creating something positive.  I wanted it to be an extension of the shop my wife and I opened in town, The Love Story Project. After having the shop for a while, I realized that Cambria would be the perfect place for a festival so I asked around.  I had the good fortune of meeting Nancy Green who was the director of a local theater and she was all for the idea.

 

  • What are you most looking forward to in your next edition?

Hearing the audience in a theater enjoying the films.  It’s also great to hear people talking about the films around town and planning their next screening.  And it’s really fun to see how excited people are to meet filmmakers and have the opportunity to ask them questions.

 

  • What have you learnt the most from being involved with a film festival?

The films, and seeing them in a theater, still connect people.  Also, how enjoyable it is to work with a great team. We’re only in our second year so we are still learning but the people involved with the festival, from our core team to all the volunteers, are terrific.  

 

  • How does your selection process work?

We open up submissions to films that meet our genre niche.  We start without an entry fee and then add one. We want to get as many submissions as possible to find the films that really fit what we are trying to do, screen films about love, being in love, finding love, dealing with love, laughing about love….    We then look at every film. The ones that match our ideas get moved on to screeners and they find the ones that will make up our short programs and competition features.

 

  • What’s your protocol for sending out rejections?

We send a message through Film Freeway.  Wish we could do more but there’s just too many films.

  • Length of short film – discuss…

We’re not really worried about defining length of a short or feature, but we can’t have a short take up 80% of a short program.  If a film plays well at lets say 40 minutes we might try to pair it up with another longer short. My own notions of a great short film is that it gets to the punch and has a real pay off.

 

  • Describe your festival in five words or three emojis

Love of film and people.

 

  • What’s a personal favourite film festival of yours?

The San Luis Obispo Film Festival is tremendous and the people are great.

  • What do you wish more filmmakers did, and didn’t do?

I think a lot of films could be honed and have a stronger technical makeup. Shooting with auto focus on so that the focus is shifting all the time, having bad sound, or flat lighting really hurts a film’s appearance.  There’s so much information out there now and the equipment is so good and relatively affordable that there’s no reason a film should look and sound really good.

 

  • What questions do you get asked the most by filmmakers?

Where’s a good place to get a drink?

 

  • What’s your favourite film?

Casablanca.

 

  • And drink of choice whilst the festival is underway…?

Coffee.

Alan Fraser – CO-FOUNDER/PROGRAMER

Submissions are still open, so if you have a love related film or narrative then check them out and submit on Film Freeway here – deadline is 15th August!


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