Interview with Anthony Zagarella of Philly UNfestival

  This past Friday (April 27th), a group of local video and film creatives organized the third installment of an event they call Philly UNfestival at PhilaMOCA. The event...
Philly UNfestival

Philly UNfestival


This past Friday (April 27th), a group of local video and film creatives organized the third installment of an event they call Philly UNfestival at PhilaMOCA. The event is organized by Anthony Zagarella of Fractal Circus, as well Joe Reidl and Nick Hatsis–and is hosted by Aidan Rich.

Previously held at both North Third and once at the Media Bureau (in conjunction with the Philly F/M Festival), Philly UNfestival is still looking for a more permanent home. This past installment at PhilaMOCA has, according to Zagarella, been the best operated and attended.

“The main point is to get local filmmakers and film enthusiasts in a room talking about what they do.” says Zagarella. There are no submission fees (though, one is encouraged to make a donation at the door) or competition.

The format is simple: the event organizers que up a series of videos from local Philadelphia video makers and invite folks involved in the video to talk about production, theory, etc afterward during an informal Q&A session.

In the spirit of informal Q&As, we had our own Q&A session with Zagarella about the future and history of Philly UNfestival.

Philthy Blog: First, let’s get to know you a little better. Can you speak a little bit about your own personal history with film and media?
Anthony Zagarella: As most filmmakers do, I started making films as a kid. Then, for some reason, I decided to go to art school for it.

Since then, I’ve just been working with Fractal Circus, trying to make a ton of good work.   Now I’m just working on as many projects as possible, and trying to build my network.

PB: What inspired you to start holding these screenings and when did you first start organizing the event?
AZ: In the summer of 2010,  I was going to Fancypants Cinema at North Third a lot. That’s an open-mic sort of thing for filmmakers at a bar, you bring your film and they show it. Nno matter what.  Anyway, that was a huge inspiration.

Scott Johnston and Andrew Geller (the dudes that do that every other tuesday) were doing their part to strengthen the infrastructure of the Philly film community, and I wanted to do mine. So, we had the first UNfestival at North Third some Tuesday before Fancypants.

PB: Can you tell us a little bit about the creative screening process? How do you discover and select the works featured at UNfestival?
AZ: At this point, it’s pretty early in UNfestival’s life, so a lot of the films featured are made by people we know, at least tangentially.  It’s a little incestual, I guess, but in a way, we’re playing matchmaker.

We’re introducing filmmakers that we know to each other, and slowly but surely expanding our network.  We also set up a page on the Fractal Circus website just for UNfestival and we try to use social media to let filmmakers know about it.  We get some submissions that way also.

As far as selecting, we look for things that are short, entertaining, and unique in some way. Also, if you’re a filmmaker from Philly, you get 2 billion bonus points.

PB: Are the participants typically directors and videographers?
AZ: Most of the people that submit work are either the director or producer of the film they submit.

PB: Where does the acting and production communities’ role lay in UNfestival?
AZ: I’d love to have an actor submit a film! The more subcategories of the film community that get involved, the more opportunities each filmmaker will have to spread their networking tendrils at the event. That’s the idea!

PB: Do you have any upcoming projects in the works for either UNfestival or your own personal work?
AZ: Well, it’s 3 days after UNfestival right now, so I’m a little exhausted about it. The idea is to start planning the next one in a couple months!

My first priority, however, is to make work.  I’m working on a couple music videos (one being for Laser Background) and I’m in the natal stage of writing a webseries.

As always, Fractal Circus will be busy making videos about everything. I hope to use some of those new UNfestival connections to work on as many projects as possible.

PB: Any last words?
AZ: I’d like to thank everyone involved for helping to put on the most successful UNfestival yet–especially the filmmakers.  Without them submitting work and being there for the Q&A sessions, there would be no show.

If you’re interested in getting involved with Philly UNfestival, you can contact Zagarella at