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Spotlight on NoHo CineFest Founder, Gustavo Sampaio



Gustavo Sampaio

I had the pleasure of sitting down with Gustavo Sampaio, award-winning editor, an independent filmmaker and the founder of NoHo CineFest, North Hollywood’s premiere indie film festival. Gustavo got his first break in television as an associate producer for ESPN. And, also has extensive experience in producing live broadcasts internationally on FOX Sports. After hundreds of successful shows on FOX, Gustavo joined CBS for an opportunity to combine his passion for storytelling with his innate talent as an editor and has garnered multiple awards for his exemplary work in investigative news and special reports.

Gustavo has been a sought after figure in post-production working with Entertainment Tonight and The Insider daily shows and premier events like the Oscars and Golden Globes. Facebook even hired him to edit the now famous ‘Community Voices’ campaign that has generated millions of views worldwide.

What is your background in film?

I studied film at Penn State University but started my career in television.  However, after a few years, I started working on some small short film productions on the side.  Eventually, I taught myself to edit and I began to work on a variety of projects, including some short film and trailer work.  Then, in 2007, I moved to Los Angeles and since then I’ve been producing, directing, and editing independent short and feature films.

Gustavo Sampaio

How did NoHo CineFest come about?

By 2013, I already had attended a number of film festivals in Los Angeles.  Though there were one or two I enjoyed and was impressed by their organization and energy, many others were somewhat disappointing, in large part because there was little communication between the festival and the filmmakers, which caused confusion.  And, at that time, I had recently moved to North Hollywood, where the Laemmle NoHo 7 Theater was new in the Arts District.  So, I contacted Laemmle to find out what it would take to rent a room for 4 days to do a festival.  Laemmle was very helpful and generous, so we slated our first event for April 2014.

What makes it different from other festivals?

My focus is always 100% in giving the filmmakers the best experience possible.  We put a great deal of effort into constant and clear communication.  The venue offers an exceptional theatrical experience.  We heavily promote our filmmakers to support each other and attend each other’s screenings, which create a contagious energy that makes the excitement grow and the event come alive.  We also focus on our community by promoting local businesses and having gatherings at local restaurants and bars.  We also offer a red carpet press event, where the media is invited to cover arrivals.

Gustavo Sampaio

What’s the importance of supporting film festivals?

Film festivals give artists a platform to learn, experiment and grow.  By supporting film festivals you’re supporting the artist community, which is extremely passionate, hardworking, and inspiring.  For the majority of short films, and many feature films, the projects are all self-financed and produced under extremely low budgets and strict time constraints.  And for those who may think that film festival movies look amateurish, I challenge them to attend the screenings at our festival.  We are very impressed by the amazing level of quality & entertainment of the films we show.

 If you can give filmmakers one piece of advice, what would it be?

With regards to festivals, I would say definitely make your synopsis strong and captivating.  Don’t just do a summary.  Be creative, it’s what makes the reviewer excited (or not) to watch your film.  Plus, make sure to write a cover letter specific to that festival.  Avoid copying and pasting generic letters.  It honestly makes a big difference.  And, just be prepared to quickly deliver your film and EPK to festivals.

Where can people get more information regarding the festival?

For more information log on to our website at

Rachel Dares is a Former Newscaster | Columnist | Radio Host | President of Rachel Dares PR