Last year’s RBC $10,000 Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition winner, Matthew van Ginkel, shares his experience preparing and pitching.
Matthew has finished his film First Session which will premiere online during the 2020 Festival! He answered a few of our questions for anyone considering submitting a pitch to this year’s competition. Submissions are open until June 5, 2020.
- GFF: How did you hear about the RBC $10,000 Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition?
Have you attended before?
Matthew: I knew people who applied and/or won the pitch in previous years, so the competition was always in the back of mind and a goal to achieve. Participating in the competition last year was actually my first time attending Gimli Film Festival. I had a really good time at the festival, and I wish I attended GFF sooner. Needless to say, I’m going to make an effort to attend the festival in the years to come (even if it is online).
- GFF: Did you have an idea before you decided to pitch? Or, did you cultivate this specific idea for the RBC $10,0000 Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition?
Matthew: I’ve had a few existing ideas I wanted to explore and turn into films. The competition was a great motivation to work on one of these ideas and see if I could present it under a 5-minute time restriction. After dedicating a chunk of time cultivating one idea that would become First Session, I benefited greatly with the 5-minute restraint.
- GFF: How did you prepare for your pitch? What did you think was important to include in your pitch?
Matthew: After I became one of the five finalists in the competition, I dedicated most of my downtime to develop my pitch. After I figured out the structure of my pitch, I spent weeks practicing and figuring out my presentation. I planned and practiced multiple times on every single detail – including how I’d walk or use hand gestures to emphasize certain parts of the presentation. This proved to be invaluable when I went on stage to pitch. There were moments where I felt my stage fright would get the better of me. Luckily, I was able to rely on the instincts I developed from countless hours of practice to successfully deliver my pitch.
- GFF: Why would you recommend emerging filmmakers apply to this pitch competition?
Matthew: It’s an amazing opportunity for any emerging filmmaker! Once you have a story to present, there’s no reason why anyone shouldn’t apply. If you win, then you’ll have a significant budget and resources to develop a professional-looking film. Even if you don’t win, it’s great practice pitching your project to professionals in the film industry.
- GFF: How has winning the pitch competition helped you as a filmmaker?
Matthew: Winning the pitch competition back in 2019 was a major milestone for my filmmaking career. I’m thankful for the opportunity to have the financial resources to develop a film I’m very passionate about. I’m exhilarated to present First Session at GFF (and hopefully other festivals) and see how audiences will respond to the film.
Unknowingly, a side effect of winning this competition was the recognition I received from some local professionals in the film industry. Some of this recognition opened up to networking opportunities which helped the production of First Session and my overall filmmaking career.
- GFF: What advice would you give to people pitching you wish someone had given you?
Matthew: Remember to breathe and not rush while presenting your story on stage (or online). There’s a lot of stress when the audience’s attention is solely focused on you and a large sum of money is on the line. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment. Thankfully, I dedicated weeks to practicing and perfecting my presentation to reduce the likelihood of my nerves getting the better of me. So be sure to practice your pitch and remember to breathe!
The 9th annual RBC $10,000 Emerging Filmmaker Pitch Competition will take place during Gimli Film Festival. This year’s festival will be hosted online between July 22 – 26. There is still time to submit! Submissions close June 5, 2020.
The pitch competition is sponsored by RBC and supported by On Screen Manitoba. The pitch winner will receive the cash prize to make their film along with a mentorship through National Screen Institute and an equipment rental grant certificate from William F. White International!