GIFF Filmmaker Alumnus: Heidi Marshall

Heidi Marshall with the MUSCLE team at the 2016 Changemaker Gala.

As our Call for Entry comes to a close on January 17th, we check in with #GIFF2016 Filmmaker Alum Heidi Marshall to discuss her experience at the Greenwich International Film Festival. Heidi attended the Festival after her short film MUSCLE was selected to be a part of our shorts program. Read below about her experience at GIFF and why you should submit your film to our festival. To learn more about submitting your film, please click here.

GIFF: What was your favorite part about attending GIFF 2016?

Heidi Marshall: I loved mingling at events with locals who are not only lovers of the arts but are  also interested to hear about our goals as artists. It was a very one-on-one experience that made my artistic team, who attended, all feel respected and welcomed.

GIFF: What did you take away from the film festival as a filmmaker?

HM: I learned at this festival how artists need to be taught more how to communicate your vision effectively to attract investors to your project. There’s a whole other language that both the artist and investor have to learn in order to bridge across the gap and work together. It was incredibly insightful to attend panels that were teaching potential investors about the value of film and when or when not to invest into films. Hearing film producers talk to the other side (investors) at these specialized panels for investors strengthens a filmmakers approach.

GIFF: Why would you recommend submitting a film to GIFF?

HM: It’s close to NYC and people can easily travel for the day events and/or screenings. Also the GIFF audiences are filled with savvy and inspired viewers. The Q&A events were lively and fun.

Heidi Marshall with the MUSCLE team at the 2016 Opening Night Party.

GIFF: What sets GIFF apart from other festivals?

HM: GIFF is a unique film festival: it really tailors so filmmakers can connect with producers, like no other festivals we’ve attended.  There were so many real networking opportunities, not just with other indie filmmakers but (perhaps even more crucial) with established producers and film investors. We filmmakers were actually encouraged to interact with these folks. We were invited and asked to participate in events and network with these people – even though we were not VIP.  This was and is amazing and it is what sets GIFF apart. As filmmakers, we get the sense that GIFF is not only celebrating our current films, but in support of seeing us make our next ones!

Other festivals either don’t bring in this quality of established producers/investors, or if they do, the filmmaker has to pay extra money (to purchase a pass) to attend exclusive panels and events where they can meet other producers/investors. That scenario becomes inaccessible to working artists who actually need to meet these level of producers/investors.

GIFF: What advice would you offer an aspiring filmmaker?

HM: Overall, making a movie takes so much passion and pure grit to get it made… so you better be sure it’s the story you’re really committed to telling before you start the process. It can take years, easily, to make your feature. So be prepared to go the distance for your film when you start the project.

Heidi Marshall and a guest attend “Driving Social Change Through Investments in Film” at GIFF 2016.

Heidi Miami Marshall’s career has spanned 20 years as a professional Director, Casting Director, and Actor Coach. Heidi started her career as the lead Casting Director at TELSEY + CO for the musical RENT on Broadway and around the world. While there she cast over 70 productions of theater, film, tv, commercials, and voice-overs. After casting and directing for Baz Luhrmann’s production of LA BOHEME on Broadway and the Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, she ventured back towards her passion of creating and directing original work onstage and screen. Heidi has received awards and fellowships for her directing in both theater and film, most notably the prestigious American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) and The Drama League in New York. Heidi is a member of Film Fatales and The FilmmakeHers. She is passionate about supporting and pushing for women directors to be hired in Film/TV. Heidi is proficient in many mediums – film, TV, live theater & events, reality, documentary – and particularly enjoys guiding actors through their process.  She has guided performances to mega positive reviews on Broadway (American Idol star Fantasia in THE COLOR PURPLE) to actors booking prime TV and Feature Films (see Actor Reviews).

Heidi Marshall’s bio is courtesy of All images are courtesy of Getty Images for GIFF.

About the author

Lindsey Hascher has spent her whole life in Fairfield County. After spending 8 years at Convent of the Sacred Heart on King Street, Greenwich has been her home away from home. She is currently a senior at Quinnipiac University studying Mass Communications with a minor in Computer Science and Digital Media. After volunteering for the inaugural festival in 2015, she wanted to get more involved with the year-long process surrounding the festival. In her spare time, she works part-time at SoulCycle Greenwich and tries to see as many films as possible.
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