Interview Florian Zapra, Founding Director of Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival

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Steven Galvin spoke to Florian Zapra, Founding Director of the Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival, which runs 4 – 6 October 2013.

Tell me about the festival.

Dublin International Short Film and Music Festival is an independent festival from filmmakers for filmmakers. Our aim is to bring together filmmakers and musicians from around the world in a forum to celebrate short films. I personally want to thank all the people who submitted their work and to congratulate all the successful ones whose films will be screened at this year’s festival.

This is the second annual festival and this year we received 567 submissions from all over the world and we have selected 106 short films. We have 40 world premieres. 33 films screening at the festival are from Ireland and the rest are from Germany , UK, Brazil, France, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Romania, Israel, Belgium, Spain, United States, South Korea, Canada, Turkey, China, Greece, Netherlands, Taiwan, Iran, Egypt and Switzerland.

The screenings will take place at 4 Dame Lane and The Sugar Club. We also have bands performing live music at The Grand Social and The Sugar Club. The awards ceremony will be held at the Sugar Club on Sunday, 6th October.

What was the thinking behind setting the festival up?

I have produced four short films and I’’ve screened at a few festivals but still not enough for the amount of work put in on a short film.  Also I’ve seen that every single festival is different from another. I was thinking that more people need to see short films because there are some amazing stories being told in the short form that are never going to be seen by an audience. So I decided that a short film festival needed to be set up here in Dublin, and with the right people and the right attitude we can have a wonderful festival where filmmakers  can come and enjoy the screenings, discuss their work, meet people and have fun. Myself and Brian Walsh met a few years ago at the Gaiety School of Acting, and with him and Wale Atoyegbewe, we organised the first edition of DISFMF last year .

For this year’s festival we have more people that want to work with us; people that love short films, music and want to be part of the festival –  Arber Sul, Timothy O’Connell, Stephen Brady, Natasha Efole, Craig Moore, Bart Chowanski, Stephen Fennesy and a few others. If there are any others that want to be part of the festival and work with us they can send me an email at

Any particular highlight from last year.

The biggest surprise last year was the variety of people interested in watching short films.  So many different nationalities made up our audience – from Brazilians to Italians, Irish, Romanians, Polish and many others. This shows again that Dublin is a multicultural city. We had people that weren’t involved in the film industry but they were interested in watching the short films and this shows that real audiences can be brought to watch short films .

Why did you choose to marry film and music?

In my opinion music is one of the most important part in filmmaking. Having live music gigs, composers and other people related to music, would bring a bigger audience in front of the screen. I believe that if someone is interested in music, definitely there is an interest in film.

Can you tell me a little about your background.

I was born in Romania in 1977 where I graduated. I came to Ireland in 2000 with no English and got a job in catering and at the same time studied English. Then I decided that it was time for me to do something that I would love to do for the rest of my life. So I went to the Gaiety School of Acting, where I did drama. I then produced my first short film and here I am after 13 years, proud to be part of the hard-working Romanian community integrated into Irish society.

Tell me about the awards.

It was an idea of mine that I wanted to do something different from other festivals; something that is related to arts, so I got the idea to give paintings as awards. As a filmmaker I would love to get a painting as an award. Every decision we take and everything we do it is from the filmmakers point of view –  what I would like to get, what I would like to see and how I would like to be treated as a filmmaker if I attended a festival.

What do I do if I want to submit a film next year.

Next year we are planning to open for submissions in February and if you want to submit just upload your film to or and you will find us there, or go on our website and you will find more details

You can check out the programme for this year’s festival here


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