Deep IN The Heart Film Festival is a BRAND NEW festival coming to Waco, central Texas. We got the chance to talk to festival directors Samuel Z. P. Thomas and Louis Hunter about their festival and also their passion for short films.

Hi Samuel and Louis, it is fantastic that we have finally managed to catch up with you.

Could you tell us how you both got into filmmaking?

Samuel had acted in school plays, but he caught the film bug in high school when he made a music video for a class project. After watching him edit the video instructor told him, “You need to keep doing this.”

For Louis, it started with a love of sketch comedy. Growing up watching SNL and Kids in the Hall, he couldn’t wait to do his own sketch show. When he got to UNT he created one for the university TV station.

You have been making short films for a number of years. What is it about short film that makes it so special?

Short films have less rules. When you make a feature, you are expected to hit certain plot-points at precise intervals with specific characters. In a short, you can build to one beautiful moment and the film serves to connect audiences to that thought or emotion.

We completely agree with you.

You are both veterans on the festival circuit, what is it about festivals that you love so much?

We love connecting with people. It’s a little insane to make a film, so there’s great camaraderie in meeting artists who are just as passionate about storytelling. Plus, who doesn’t like to travel, see new things and meet new people? We get to do all this AND have our films shown to audiences! Nothing beats being there as people react to your work.

That sounds awesome soaking in the reaction from an audience.

Could you tell us what made you create ‘Deep in the Heart’ Film Festival?

Again, that comes back to connecting people. We’re so excited to connect fellow filmmakers to this town we love. There’s so much going for Waco, especially right now. We are close to both Dallas and Austin, and a day-trip from Houston, San Antonio, and both Louisiana and Oklahoma. Waco is hot nationally with the HGTV hit Fixer Upper, and we’ve just been awarded Cultural Arts Distinction from the state. There’s a lot of people in this area who love the arts and movies, and we can see Waco becoming a home for true indie film.

It sounds like Waco is really moving and shaking at the minute.

Can you tell us a little bit more about the festival?

Quality is always important, but our main focus is on story. We’re looking for films that makes us laugh, cry, or even scream. Give us a story that we just have to tell on the big screen. Comedy, Drama, Docs, Horror… it all comes back to our tagline: Heartwarming, Heartbreaking, Heart-stopping films.

You have really managed to capture a very strong message with your tagline.

How easy/hard have you found setting up the festival?

We would never say starting a festival is easy. But we’ve been very blessed to have community support every step of the way – from both the film and local community. We’ve had great mentors through James Christopher of the Austin Revolution Film Festival, Josh Hope of the Twister Alley Film Festival, Anthony Foreman of the Trail Dance Film Festival, and so many more. These festival runners have been big supporters of ours, and their own success speaks volumes in the filmmaking community. We’ve also had enormous support from the City of Waco, from Fiona Bond of CreativeWaco, from our venue – the Waco Hippodrome, and from the Baylor University Film and Digital Media Department. This town is ready for a film festival and it has already been evident in their support.

You have got a great team of mentors and support.

What type of films are you looking to showcase?

Right now we have open submissions for only short films. If filmmakers have a comedy, drama, horror, thriller, doc, fantasy, sci-fi, or family short then we want to see it. Through it all, our goal is to screen films that our audience will just have to tell their friends about afterward.

We are curating a few features this first year, but those are by invitation only. We do hope to open that category up for submissions in following years, but we’ll have to see what the schedule will allow.

How and where do filmmakers submit their films?

Filmmakers can submit to us via FilmFreeway or Withoutabox.

If they submit via FilmFreeway, they can enter a special Movie-Blogger.com promo code: BLOGGER to get 20% off their fees. They can also learn more about us at our website.

Wow! That is great opportunity for our readers by giving them a special promo code, thanks for that!

What can we look forward to from the Deep in the Heart event?

Of course there’s going to be great films and networking with awesome filmmakers. We’ve also set up after-parties for each night of the festival. We’re planning a Virtual Reality hands-on workshop, a Master Class in working for pay as an Artist-Entrepreneur, and a panel on educating future filmmakers. Plus we have a few surprises up our sleeves. It’s going to be a great time complete with a healthy dose of Texas hospitality.

Have you got any upcoming projects you can tell us about?

We could tell you, but then we’d have to kill you. Unless they got to us first, then you need to tell everyone!

What does the future hold for Louis and Samuel?

With any luck, many future installments of the Deep in the Heart Film Festival, and some new stories of our own that we’d love to see on screen.

Good luck with the festival, I am sure it is going to be an extremely successful event! We are sure there will be many more installments to come