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Allyson West of Cindependent Film Festival

Festival / Interview / by Kate Stocker-Wright

  • Tell us about your festival

The Cinedependent Film Festival is a 3-day event at the historic Woodward theater in Cincinnati, Ohio that taking place 23-26 August, so this month! The festival is designed to showcase amazing independent film while showcasing the city of Cincinnati off to indie filmmakers. We have amazing enrichment activities planned, as well as involvement from many businesses in downtown Cincy to give a full, robust, fun festival experience.

  • What made you start your film festival?

Honestly, I attended so many festivals that treated me like a filmmaking rockstar in 2017, and it just really showed me how communities can come together to support independent film. Cincy didn’t have anything like what I envisioned as the dream indie film fest, and I just had to get it going!

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

Sharing our official selections with the community. I’m excited to share the movie excitement I have when attending festival with all of our community members!

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

Oh gosh, that the sky is the limit I think. I went into this planning year wanting to be able to provide a lot of perks for our filmmakers, and with a super strong team in place we are able to do so. We partnered with 21c to provide 2 nights/lodging for selected films, we have booked great opening/closing parties, and our networking opportunities are more than ‘business as usual.’


Allyson West, Festival Director of Cindependent Film Festival


  • How does your selection process work?

Films get assigned to a minimum of two reviewers, who rate using a rubric. I also watch all of the films and read all of the screenplays. Ultimately we come together to discuss content, and films that score high enough move into additional consideration for the festival. All of our reviewers hold degrees in film or screenwriting, or have an impressive history in the industry.


  • What’s your protocol for sending out rejections?

Well, I will be sending out emails to filmmakers. We have seen such incredible movies this year that it’s bumming me out that not all of them will make it into the festival.


  • Length of short film – discuss…

8-12 minutes is my sweet spot AND KEEP THE CREDITS SHORT.


  • Describe your festival in five words or three emojis

Happy face, Rainbow, dancing emoji.


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

Twister Alley Film Festival is my favorite festival of all time, so far. It’s in Woodward, Oklahoma and there really is nothing to do out there but enjoy the people, landscape, and festival for three days. It’s awesome.


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

I wish more researched why they would be a good fit for our festival before submitting, and I wish they wouldn’t make their short films 17 mins long (usually there’s a solid three minutes that can be cut.)


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

Where is the free alcohol booth? 😛 (answer it’s in the VIP lounge.)


  • What’s your favourite film?

Usually it’s Forrest Gump, but it changes all of the time.


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

Holy cow let’s make it Jameson, followed by a Corona.


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