By Daria Trifu

What inspired you to start your company The Film Festival Doctor? 

I was co-producing a festival in Wales called the Abertoir Horror Festival and it was during this time when I realized how much I loved working within this area. 

It was in fact the filmmakers who were attending the festival who inspired me to start my company as they needed help.  

The problem which needed resolving (and which I could solve) was that there were no companies offering specific services to create a successful festival strategy for their film and working with them as part of their team to get their films into festivals worldwide.

Rebekah with actress & Miss Universe Sri Lanka winner Jacqueline Fernandez

Why is entering awards important for filmmakers? 

For a filmmaker who wins any type of legitimate award this will help them enhance their profile and build a desirable image within the industry.  

Also, if a filmmaker wins an Oscar qualifying award (at an Oscar qualifying film festival) this means that he/she can submit their film to be considered for an Oscar.

This is exactly what happened to the brilliant filmmakers behind the UK short film The Silent Child who won the top prize at the Flickers Rhode Island Film Festival and went on to win the Oscar.

You’ve helped your clients win over 600 awards. Do you have any advice to help creatives succeed in festivals?

Yes – the golden rule is to always create a streamlined and focused festival strategy. It’s important to know your film and which type of festivals around the world would be interested in it. Taking a scatter gun approach that is not in alignment with your goals and your films strengths will not be successful. This was an issue which kept on re-occurring when I was meeting filmmakers. That was one of the things which inspired me to create my Audiobook ‘The Ultimate Film Festival Strategy Guide’ which has just launched on-line.   

It’s actually a lot of fun seeing a script develop from the first draft to the final draft, it’s like watching a child grow from a newborn to a young adult. You see so much change and creativity it’s sublime.

Rebekah Louisa Smith

You are working on a horror movie starring Shayne Ward from Coronation Street and X Factor. What’s it like making your own film? Has it differed from your expectations?

Yes! I have a much greater appreciation and respect for producers since seeing what goes on behind the scenes when making a film. You have to be flexible and adaptable to change, and things do suddenly change and can happen at the drop of a hat.

What else are you producing?

We are Associate Producing a Mexican T.V. show called Sonora – its very beautiful how this project came together and it is all thanks to the power of film festivals. I met the Arizona Film Commission CEO at the Show Low International Film Festival in Arizona and we formed a solid friendship – he loved one of the films I was representing at the festival and requested that two of the actors from the film star in Sonora – they’re both very talented and will do a great job in their roles.

Rebekah with Claire & Natalie from the Lift Off Film Festival

I’m very excited about our first film (called Skendleby) that is in the development phase and the script is coming together very nicely – its going to be super scary, 18 rated horror film which distributors and festivals will love.

Rebekah Louis Smith

Are you keen to move more permanently into production?

I would never give up The Film Festival Doctor and focus exclusively on production – I’m very selective of the projects that we become attached to in that capacity as what’s important to me is that there is a connection to film festivals and that the projects have appeal to both film festivals and distributors.    

Rebekah with actress Vivien Reid

Where would you like to be in five years’ time?

Enjoying living and working hard in my favorite city; Los Angeles. I am working and preparing my visa application as I speak! By this point, I would have established my brand further more in this country and have supported an abundance of American based filmmakers to achieve their goals and become successful in their careers. D!