Filmmakers Speak

Here are some comments sent to us from filmmakers from around the world about their experiences with our festival:

We’ve just returned from The 55th Rochester International Film Festival, which is a thoroughly amazing Fest, one of my personal favorites on the circuit. The films curated were a truly impressive slate from all around the world, with very distinct and compelling voices. I always find it inspiring to be touched by the films that come from worlds away.
We screened at the historic Dryden Theatre at the George Eastman House, a stunning, fully refurbished 500 seat theatre and the Festival does a great job packing the house, audience attendance was phenomenal.
There’s something magical that happens when the lights go down and the hush comes over the crowd and the music begins and if you’re lucky, you get to watch just the movie, not the work, not the blood, sweat and tears or the 18 hour days that went into the making of the damn thing.  We got lucky on this one, and saw a beautiful film, full of heart and soul, one that looked gorgeous up on the big screen and the audience was audibly engaged, with huge gasps during the fight sequence and when the jokes landed it was like thunder.
I gotta admit that when you get to see one of your films at a Prestige Festival such as this one, the 18 hour days don’t seem so crazy & the blood, sweat & tears are worth it.
Jim Thalman
“The Poker Lesson”


“It all started with a long letter we received informing us of our selection at the Rochester International Film Festival. This festival is unusual in that they inform applicants of whether or not their films have been accepted in a detailed letter explaining the artistic and technical motivations for their decision. This is such a rare event that we were speechless with amazement!

So off we went to Rochester, impatient to meet these people who were so caring and so demanding in their dedication and passion for cinema. Once we arrived, we discovered the famed Movies on a Shoestring Committee, that is composed of enthusiastic, passionate, and generous volunteers. So generous that these people actually provide the accommodation and transport for guest directors at the festival. They bent over backwards many times to ensure that everything went as smoothly as possible for us and to welcome the large audiences present in the theaters each evening.”              
continued at: Carnet de voyage. Mathieu Simonet et Julie Vousin


I wanted to offer a very belated thank you for awarding our film with an Honorable Mention Certificate from your 53rd annual festival season. It was a unique pleasure corresponding with your committee, as your festival was the only one that we dealt with that truly cared about cinema apart from a puerile business or marketing perspective. You continue to embody what is best in festivals. The industry should take note of your dedication and commitment to (independent) film, as far too many festivals of all sizes have become simplistic business entities that place films and filmmakers at the bottom of their priorities. Your award means a great deal knowing that it comes from a festival that is still a festival and from people that still care about films. 

Tony Myles

Brian (and friends), I wanted thank you for such a spectacular time.  Aubrey and I had nothing but fun during our stay.  It was a pleasure to have my film at such an event. (With a standing room only crowd I might add)  You really made us feel at home, like I just got back from visiting family for the holidays. I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful experience; you went above and beyond to treat all of us like someone special.  It’s rare to come across a group of people so giving, kind, and just plain fun to be around. I know the fest will be around for another 53 years with folks like you behind the wheel.

Bobby Young



Thx, Josephine. Marita, Sean and I really appreciated your support with setting up interviews with the local press before the festival and for the wonderful day at the Kodak Film Production Division and private visit of the Archives at the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.. We all enjoyed meeting the other film makers and the festival judges at the post-festival reception. As the writer-director it was a very rewarding experience to see the film play at the GEH Dryden Theatre to a full house and know that all the time and effort that went into making the film was well worth the effort. Being selected to play at one of the first film festivals we submitted the film to served as a great inspiration to send to other festivals and continue the work and keep making more films.
Kind regards and gratitude,
Anton Zane

I just came back to Florida (after several weeks in Israel) and was more than happy to get the trophy from ‘Movies on a Shoestring’. Thank you again for accepting my film ON THE ROAD TO TEL-AVIV to be part of this wonderful festival. I hope you enjoyed the film and that it created an intercultural dialog. I hope to get the chance to attend the festival in the future.

Best Wishes and many thanks again,
Khen Shalem



I just wanted to thank you and let you know what a great time I had at the festival.  It was such a great audience at my screening and I was so pleased with how they responded to my film.  You were a great host and took great care of all the filmmakers, form the wonderful programs at Kodak and the Eastman house, to the meals and rides and housing that you were able to all organize.  I really appreciate everything you did, and I’m so glad that I got to attend the festival.

Matt S. ‘OLD DAYS’



I am Jin, Mr. Vending Machine’s director.
I had a good time in Rochester.
And thank you so much.
Can I receive photos about film festival by email?
I want to remember memory spent with you.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to visit Rochester.
And I hope to visit there again next time.

See you.
Jin “오진욱”
S. Korea



I just had to write and tell you what a great experience I had at the Rochester Int’l Film Fest. I only wish I could’ve stayed longer. The activities you planned were fabulous. The selected films were top notch and the people were wonderful and friendly — I go could on and on! Oh, and you had a fantastic audience for opening night! Since coming home I have told everyone about your festival — I wore the T-shirt to some networking events and got a lot of great comments and questions which allowed me to talk about the festival. I also spoke about it at length last night at my marketing class with an indie film casting director and a number of actors and filmmakers.
Thanks again for putting on such a great festival! You deserve kudos!!!

Kathi Carey “WORTH”



Thank you very much for hosting us at the 51st Rochester International Film Festival. You did a tremendous job! The attention paid to us as filmmakers was unequaled. We enjoyed attending lively screenings with hundreds of audience members, engaging in wonderful conversation, socializing with the other filmmakers and receiving praise each in our own way. Additionally, the tours, meals and services were perfect. You have a unique and intimate festival that certainly must be the best shorts festival in the world, not just because of the programming (to which I am biased), but because of the services and quality of the your efforts to stage a great weekend.
Good luck and I hope to return in the future.

Thank you,
Frank Hall Green
“Firecracker Flower” and “Take Off”



I wanted to let you know what an extraordinary experience Nardeep and I had at Rochester a few weeks ago. The way the festival was organized and scheduled, the dinners, tours, parties, and events were such tremendous fun and so exceptionally rewarding to be a part of. It was really encouraging and educational to meet the other filmmakers and really get to know them and talk to them throughout the festival weekend. This was one of our first festival experiences, and yet Nardeep and I felt so comfortable and at home the entire time. As a first time filmmaker, I cannot even begin to describe how exhilarating the experience was of walking into the breathtakingly beautiful Dryden Theater, seeing it packed with audience members, and having my film play out up on the screen. I really cannot thank you enough for the gift of a such a gratfying and memorable moment. My experience at Rochester has provided me with so much inspiration for the future; I am determined to make two short films this year and I’ve got my fingers crossed that one of them will allow me to attend RIFF again in 2010. Finally, I must mention how thankful Nardeep and I are for all of the festival organizers’ kindness, generosity, and hospitality – and we are especially grateful to Cathy F for letting us stay in her beautiful home and play with her awesome, awesome dog.

Suraj Das

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