On the podcast this week, Scott Mantz joins us in studio. Scott has moderated numerous Q&As for many Oscar-winning films, most notably “Green Book,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Free Solo.” What exactly does reviewing films entail? He and Tonya Mantooth, CEO and Artistic Director for the San Diego International Film Festival share the inside scoop to the 2019 SD Film Festival. The power of film is always remarkable, it tells a story that leaves an impact and unites us all in ways we didn’t think possible. That’s exactly what you can expect this year on October 15th-20th. The film festival is an incredible week of thought-provoking cinema that shares the perspectives of storytellers from all over the world. For more information, you can visit sdfilmfest.com.
Meet Tonya Mantooth
Tonya Mantooth is the CEO and Artistic Director for the San Diego International Film Festival. She’s a ten-time Regional Emmy award winner with over 60 International Telly and ADDY awards. Tonya is perhaps the most highly regarded film producer based in San Diego. She began her career as an executive producer when she became the Director of Acquisitions for CRM Films. Tonya co-founded and was President of The Dakota Group, a highly regarded film and post-production company in Southern California. In 2007, Tonya launched Mantooth Studios and expanded her production scope to include computer generated (CGI) projects and entertainment projects. Under Mantooth Films, Tonya executive produced four feature films. These included “Grave Secrets” which became the pilot to the Nickelodeon Series, “Dead Time Stories.”
In 2012, Tonya and several colleagues took over the San Diego International Film Festival with a two-fold vision. They wanted to bring international cinema to San Diego and grow the San Diego International Film Festival as a significant contributor to San Diego’s economy. Today the San Diego International Film Festival has grown over 500 percent.
The spectacular six-day Festival features 120+ film screenings, parties, and a red carpet Celebrity Tribute. It honors actors such as Annette Bening, Adrian Brody, Geena Davis, Sir Patrick Stewart and countless others. She is steadfast in her belief that, in our increasingly complex and divisive world, cinematic storytelling gives us the opportunity to find common ground through our shared human experiences.
Meet Scott Mantz
Recipient of the ICG Publicists Guild Press Award, Scott “Movie” Mantz is the Co-Founder of the LA Online Film Critics Society and a Board Member of the San Diego International Film Festival. From 2000 to 2018, he was the resident Film Critic and five-time Emmy-nominated Film Segment Producer for “Access Hollywood” and “Access Hollywood Live.” Recently, Mantz hosted the weekly film shows “Movie Review Talk” and “For Your Consideration” for Collider, and he co-hosted the Facebook Watch film series “You Know That Scene” for Focus Features. In 2017 and 2018, Mantz hosted the Official Golden Globes Red Carpet Preshow for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Plus he moderated highly-viewed Facebook Live press events for blockbusters like “Incredibles 2,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Blade Runner 2049.”
All year long, Mantz is an in-demand moderator of panels, press conferences and post-screening Q&A sessions with filmmakers and acting talent, particularly during Awards Season. This past season, he moderated numerous Q&As for many Oscar-winning films, most notably “Green Book,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” and “Free Solo.” Over the years, Mantz has been a regular contributor of reviews and film commentary for “The TODAY Show,” Headline News, CNN, National Public Radio, KNBC-Channel 4, KTLA-Channel 5, KTTV-Channel 11 and the PBS movie review series “Just Seen It.”
Scott chats with us about his passion for film, which started at a young age, and why his love for sci-fi pushed him to move out to LA. He also shares with us what he thinks makes a good film. Withstanding the test of time (like “Citizen Kane”), are movies that seem to get better over time. He talks about “2001: A Space Odyssey” and how the groundbreaking film still wows even today. Those films, where you still find something new each time you watch it, are what make Scott and Tonya’s roles with the film festival so prevalent. Because the festival shines a light on standout films from all over the world, each year.
Do you know a movie like that? We want to know about it! Scott also got real with us about the challenges (and many rewards) that come with being a film critic. Hint: putting together a fully-formed critique on Twitter.
The Must-See Films of the Fest
Tonya and Scott dish on some of their favorite films at the festival this year. Of course, “The Irishman” has been met with rave reviews. Tonya talks about “The Truth” with Catherine Deneuve and Juliette Binoche. It premiered as the opening film at the Venice Film Festival and is half in English and half in French. This film is one with a lot of layers, complexity and beauty between these two leading ladies. Another, “Kill Team,” is based on a true story on what’s happening in the Middle East. Here, you see a perspective we don’t often see. Tonya says this is what the film festival is all about—bringing unique perspectives to the big screen.
More About the San Diego International Film Festival
The San Diego International Film Festival will take place at locations all around San Diego October 15-20, including TheatreBox Downtown, Arclight La Jolla, Pendry SD and a dazzling opening night at the Balboa Theatre. From over 3000 submitted films, 107 were selected for screenings. This includes highly-anticipated films “The Irishman” starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci; “Marriage Story” starring Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver; and “A Hidden Life” directed by Terrence Malick.
For six days, attendees of the festival will have the chance to check out exclusive screenings of this year’s up-and-coming films. During the festival, they can sit on thoughtful discussions with the filmmakers and industry leaders. This unique set up allows attendees a look into the process of going from simple idea to the big screen. And at the Night of the Stars, see some of the industry’s most impressive movers and shakers. They’ll be honored with unique awards based on their incredible achievements.
But beyond the glitz and glamour is a festival with an important message on perspective. The film festival cherishes the ability that film provides to look at important topics through someone else’s eyes. And it encourages a space for open dialogue on the issues at the film’s core. Among many things, film helps us find common ground with others, no matter how different we seem at first. It’s a specially-curated selection of films, covering an impressive range of topics. The San Diego International Film Fest puts their energy toward cinema that evokes positive change one audience at a time.