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Independent Filmmakers Alliance News
A Walk on the Wild Side
by Anya Wassenberg

Above: Matthew Toffolo and Jen Frankel

"Networking is everything in this business," notes Matthew Toffolo, of Toronto’s newly formed Wild Card Pictures (www.wildcardpictures.com). His own example is certainly a case in point.

A graduate of Niagara College, Toffolo began his career in films as a producer, with a series of shorts under his belt, including 2004’s Headhunter, which premiered at the Los Angeles Film Festival to rave reviews. Other producing credits include shorts Laundromancer (2006), and Nostalgia (2006), which he also directed and shares writing credit with Daren Foster. Nostalgia was recently short listed for Best Foreign Film at the Bare Bones Filmfest.

It’s really when he began a script reading series three years ago - precisely for the purposes of networking - that his career took a richer turn. "Everything in my career starts and ends with the readings," he acknowledges.

"LIFT Out Loud" began through the Liaison of Independent Filmmakers of Toronto (LIFT) with a typically under-attended series of script readings. Matthew introduced the idea of having a guest moderator, and voila, a hit series was born. Guests included industry luminaries like Bruce MacDonald (Hardcore Logo) and David Weaver (Siblings). It’s also where he met Jen Frankel, a graduate of the renowned Humber School for Writers, (where she completed her novel Angels on Strings under the late, great Timothy Findley). The two decided to take the reading series to a new level under their own auspices, (Wild Sound Readings) combining it with Wild Card as a new venture.

"We’ve shot seven short films in ten months," Toffolo notes of Wild Card’s prodigious output, with six of those films currently making the rounds of film festivals all over North America. He describes it as a process of working up to making feature length films. "We’ve already got some leads for private financing," he notes, "and we’re looking for distribution."

The partnership of Toffolo and Frankel seems tailor made. While his films have included everything from improv comedy to drama, Toffolo notes "my niche is character study films," an inclination in common with Frankel’s literary and theatrical background. Wild Card’s business plan describes specializing in character driven stories, in particular, female driven stories. "There’s a lack of films for that demographic," he notes dryly.

With so many films in the can, another in process and more in development, it’s a niche that should prove fertile ground for Wild Card.

For more information visit Wild Card.

Independent Filmmakers Alliance
Karina Halle
Director of Media Relations
phone: 1-866-959-FILM

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