Interview with Filmmaker Yu CHEN (RED BEAN)

RED BEAN was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the July 2021 FANTASY/SCI-FI Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The beauty of Red Bean is partly in the name. In Chinese culture, red bean is a popular metaphor about kinship, love, and fond memory of the loved ones. (A famed poem composed in the Tang Dynasty of more than 1,000 years ago uses the red bean as a metaphor to talk about love. Millions of people in China know of the red bean through this poem.) The tie between mother and son is the most intimate. The death or vanishing of one can cause huge pain to the other. The tie between humanity and the earth is just like this. The earth can go without humanity, but humanity can’t go without the earth. We must take immediate actions and go all out to safeguard the earth, or our future would be nothing.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I spent more than two years making Red Bean, from writing the script, raising funds to completing the filming. This is my first science-fiction work.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Love, Dystopia

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

It was a huge challenge to make a live-action science-fiction work. We spent several months searching and making decisions on locations. And it took us nearly five months to complete the postproduction, which was the biggest obstacle. As a small production team, we went through stressful moments.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I’m so happy to hear the voices from another culture which is very different as mine. I think the survival issues of humanity and kinship, love, fond memory of the loved ones is without border.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I studied in France at an art school, the second year from the course of documentary, I watched an amazing doc film. From then on, I want to make film.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The films of all kind.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s very good!

9. What is your favorite meal?

As vegetarian. I love vegetables.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Almost all my works are about environment and survival issues of humanity, including two full-length documentaries, which have been in progress for nearly ten years.

Interview with Filmmaker Donavan Myles Edwards (LAVENDER BOY)

LAVENDER BOY was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the July 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I love history. It was that simple for me. I was sitting in an airport for a layover and I watched a Vox video that talked about the lavender scare. As soon as I got done watching it, I knew that I wanted to make a film about it. Nobody around me knew about the Lavender Scare and I felt that people should know. So hopefully my film educates them a little about the event.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

I first got the idea in November or December of 2019. After that initial idea, I took many months to do more research and learn everything I could about the lavender scare. With podcasts, articles, YouTube videos, etc. But right as we were entering pre-production the pandemic hit. So that put us on hold for about 4 months. Luckily, we had an amazing cast and crew that made it super easy to get back into the swing of things. So we filmed in July and had a picture lock 3 days before Thanksgiving.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Love Story. The film is a heavy topic and has many themes and messages. But I think it’s a great story because at its core it’s a love story and that’s something everyone can relate to.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The pandemic was our biggest obstacle. Right before the pandemic we were perfectly in strived and had a lot of momentum. But having to take 4 months off really shook things up. We had to replace a couple of crew members and had to get cast members that were comfortable shooting close to other humans. On top of all that, we had to get extra supplies like hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectant sprays. But it was all worth it in the end.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was a very cool experience it hears people go in-depth about how they liked your film. This film took up a year of my life so it’s refreshing to know that it resonated with people and they understood what we were trying to accomplish.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

It was super early for me. I think I was 12 or 13 and my oldest sister was making a home movie on her iPod. Just seeing her edit the video and see it come together was my “oh shit” moment. I knew then that I wanted to be a filmmaker, so the following years and throughout high school, I shot and edited my videos.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Great question. It’s gotta be Tron-Legacy. That was one of the first movies that I saw in theaters with my dad and I was hooked. At that time I still didn’t know how to make films. All I knew was “Man this is cool”. I ended up getting the DVD later on, and I would watch it almost every night.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings about the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It was great. This was my first time using FilmFreeway and they made it super easy. The more information a festival gives the better it is for us.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Mike & Ikes hahaha. This is a super fun question because a lot of my co-workers tell me I have the strangest eating habits and that I love candy. But honestly, I’m not sure what my favorite meal is. Mike & Ikes would be my favorite food though.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Yes, yes definitely. I’m currently in production on my second short film called “Letters From Jasper”. This film is something I’m excited about and it’s a film that’s meant to inspire young black and brown kids. Hopefully, I’ll be able to show the world soon.

Interview with Filmmaker Agata Korycka (BY THE RIVER)

BY THE RIVER was the winner of BEST FILM at the July 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

1. I was motivated to make this film by the desire to be a director, it is my graduation film, the first one in my life. I was also motivated by the need for artistic expression. Moreover, I would like to express my commentary on the socio-political situation in Poland, which is becoming more and more fearful.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Writing a screenplay was a long process and I started writing it while still in film school classes. The film was shot in two seasons. In summer and late autumn, because I wanted the film to show the passage of time through the changing of the seasons. In addition, some scenes were filmed on the authentic Independence March which takes place in Poland on November 11. I refer to authentic events in the film and I really wanted to chase these shots out in an authentic setting. The work on the set itself took 8 days in total. However, the post-production of the film took me almost a year due to the lack of funds.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

courage and romance

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

The biggest problem was the financing of this film. I did so largely from my own resources. My inexperience bothered me sometimes, but ultimately this film taught me a lot.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

It was a fantastic and unforgettable experience! Thank you very much for that. It was the first time I met with such feedback. I was very pleased that the film turned out to be understandable to you in all respects. That you appreciated my team: the work of the operator, actors, editing and music, and of course the story itself. Thank you very much again, it was very important to me and I appreciate it very much.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I worked as a journalist and I felt that I liked it, but I knew it was not my way. Late in the day, I decided to go to film school. I have recently finished other studies (geography, sociology and journalism). I studied for a long time and now it even makes me laugh that I didn’t know what I wanted to do for so long. When I went to a film set as an apprentice for the first time in my life, it dawned on me. At that moment, I understood that the film was always with me and it was only there on that film set that I dared to dream about becoming a director. It was Maria SkĹ‚odowska-Curie (2016). Later I realized that since I was a child I had been inventing scenes, scripts and changing the films I had watched in my imagination.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

I watched many times: The Shipping News, Smoke, Forest Gump, Lord of the rings and many other movies. I love watching movies a couple of times.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I am very happy that there is this internet platform, it is a fantastic idea and thanks to it I added to you. Thanks to this, I can deal with the promotion of my film myself.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I really like Polish and Japanese food 🙂

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Yes, I am thinking of more movies. I have some ideas. I’d like to write and direct myself. I would like them to also apply to LGBT + people.

Interview with Filmmakers Erik Bergstrand & Milka Sakic Mennell (IDILA)

IDILA was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the July 2021 DANCE Film Festival.

What motivated you to do this movie?

Erik: I was longing to express myself through film again. In the meeting with Milka who is dancer and choreographer in the movie, we talked about life and we found a common ground. Milka and I grew up together but it was in this reunion years later I found the urge to make this film.

Milka: This piece was in my mind a dance in three parts for the stage. In my meeting with Erik who makes film I realized that it would be a challenge to make an expression that is not necessarily instant for the viewer, meaning somebody could watch it over and over again if they wanted to. I got intrigued by that idea and also found it a nice challenge.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Erik: All together more than a year including research, conversations, interviews, photo tests, choreography, writing and of course shooting and editing. The shooting took two days in a former military base from the 19th century. The editing was the struggle because I had to balance my job and family life so that alone took a year.

Milka: The choreography was partly finished when I met Erik , but it evolved through time and we both have jobs and families that was hard to combine sometimes. My luck is that I work as a dancer, teacher, choreographer on a daily basis so I had it easier with that part. But to find the time when we both could sit and edit and work was challenging.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words?

Erik: Haunted / Liberty

Milka: Controlled / chaos

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Erik: Fundings. For all artists to come together for this process was difficult due to our other jobs. We had no fundings so we invested in time instead. Looking back fundings would have made the artistic process easier in terms of making time for the film.

Milka: I agree with Erik on this. To have both the time and money to completely focus on the film would have made it easier.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Erik” I woke up in the morning by a text from Milka with the link for the feedback. I was still lying in bed when I looked at the audience reactions and got tears in my eyes. The impact of the responce was so strong, so many people outside of Sweden have seen our movie and wanted to share their thoughts. After such a long process and hard work this response and confirmation was the best award I could ever get. There’s been soo much isolation, with no connection to the viewer and I was nervous to show this film again in a digital format. I’m so glad and thankful for sharing this movie with you.

Milka: I was very very humbled and moved by the response. It moved me so much and for that I am thankful. It means so much to be able to receive a respons from people and this was definitely a beautiful gift to receive.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Erik: When I was five years old, I got my first camera from my mother. I remember that she took me out on a bike ride to a farm outside Gothenburg where we stopped to feed a couple of competition horses with a bag of apples that we had with us. An hour later, my mother sat deep in the middle of a book while I ran around with my new camera and tried to capture images of the horses that were not as interested in me as I was in them. There was something here and there about trying to preserve all the emotions, smells, sounds and lights and being able to be alone with my mother that I wanted to immortalize in the picture. After that I became interested in drawing and making stop motion movies with my
dad’s super 8 camera. But I think it was there and then among the horses and mother that my love for photography started.

Milka: To make stories and share something or write or make people understand something that I needed to express have been apart of my life for as long as I remember. I chose dance as my way to express myself. The fact that I can film pieces that I work on is an absolute wonderful edition to creation. To see a piece form in front of an camera is exciting and different that seeing it on stage. Filming can add so much layers to movement and also tell so many stories.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Erik: Probably Gökboet or Nyckel till frihet as they are usually included in all film educations. But a slightly untipped film that comes back from time to time is “In the Heat of the Night” from 1967 with Sidney Poitier.

Milka: This question is very very hard for me to answer. I have a love for David Lynch but I also love watching old Silent movies starring Charlie Chaplin. Then I love Dirty Dancing. I am seriously all over the place when it comes to movies.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Erik: I have never used the platform before, but think it works extremely well so far. It is much easier to put all the material in one place than to send all the material to different festivals all the time. I like the filtering possibilities where you look up festivals, which makes it easier for a fairly narrow film to find the festivals that may be relevant. As well as the ability to update the page easily and follow the film’s statistics.

Milka: This platform makes everything easier.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Erik: Pasta… I’m crazy for pasta, all kinds of pasta. If I could only eat one thing for the rest of my life on a desert island, it would definitely be pasta. It tastes fantastic if you cook it right and it can be stored without getting bad for a long time. This means that on my island I could stock up on a lot of pasta that I could eat in various forms for the rest of my life. So both practical and sinfully good.

Milka: I agree with Erik on this one.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Erik: I have several projects that I would like to do. It’s all just about time and money to be able to implement them.

Milka: I have just finished shooting a small dance/music project and also performed a new short dance piece for stage.
But I would love to do a movie with Erik again and there is defenetly no shortage of ideas, just need time and money.

Interview with Filmmaker Jacek Wazelin (MOTEL)

MOTEL was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the July 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

First of all this palace is a great place with Good energy. Second, because of COVID it was sort of being suspended from normal life. I decided to create a movie in this form named Motel as temporary state for all of us.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make your movie?

It was about 3 months.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Good People

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

All conditions with COVID rules etc… were really against us. But we were patient enough to finish it.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Feeling surprised and proud at the same time.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I ve been working a lot for TV but never as a producer, director, creator, choreographer, actor, stylist, costume designer, scenographer in one person. It was a big challenge.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

West Side Story

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think its a huge chance to get some new perspective and fresh opinions about our projects.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I love dumplings and my Mom is a master in this case.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

Will see but it would be great to make Motel on stage as a bigger form.

Interview with Novelist J.D. Brayton (THE LIGHT HORSE)

1. What is your novel about?

The Light Horse is the story of two men who join forces to capture one of the most dreaded murderers in history; one man driven by sworn duty, and the other man by vengeance; a psychological thriller based on documented fact, written after years of research into this compelling and nearly unbelievable chapter in the true history of 19th century British occupied India.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Historical Fiction

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Uniquely compelling

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The one in my head.

5. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

If you can narrow it down to one song, you aren’t listening to enough music.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

If you can narrow it down to one novel, you aren’t reading enough.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

Death and renewal.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

My Mother, who would (with love) bust my chops for waiting so long to write it all down properly.

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Everything except polka music, gawd-awful disco and sauerkraut

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

Simply to hear my words performed by a pro who would help me to know if I’m doing my job successfully.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Yes. Stop circling around your quarry. Stop equivocating. Sit your butt down and get to it. That story isn’t going to write itself.

Watch the Novel Transcript Reading:

BUY on Amazon: https://www.amazon.ca/Light-Horse-J-D-Brayton-ebook/dp/B08738DWJS

http://www.jdbrayton.com

The Light Horse is the story of two men who join forces to capture one of the most dreaded murderers in history; one man driven by sworn duty, and the other man by vengeance; a psychological thriller based on documented fact, written after years of research into this compelling and nearly unbelievable chapter in the true history of 19th century British occupied India.

Interview with Poet Les Bill Gates (FOUR DAYS)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

It is the Easter story. It is about the four days from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday, the events that unfolded during those four days, and the actions of some of those players (Judas Iscariot, Herod, Pilate, the Roman soldiers, the apostle Peter).

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

My faith.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

This was my first poem, which I wrote about 5 years ago.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

My late father-in-law, Chief Nathan Olavae from Barakoma Village, Vella Lavella, Solomon Islands. I would like to tell him once again how much i appreciate him giving his permission for his beautiful daughter to become my wife 35 years ago.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

Receiving a free post for my poem was much appreciated, but the offer to get it performed by a professional actor at a very reasonable price was an opportunity not to be missed. Thank you Wild Sound Festival.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I have completed an anthology of short stories and three novels, and am working on two other novels. See details at https://www.lesbillgates.com/

7) What is your passion in life?

Family, writing, mathematics and cricket.

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Interview with Writer Michel Tetchi (THE NIGHTMARE)

1. What is your short story about?

My story is about a girl named Jenny, who had a nightmare. She believes the nightmare conveys a message. She will do anything to find the meaning of the nightmare.

2. What genre(s) would you say this story is in?

Horror

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Scary and ominous.

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The pursuit of happiness.

5. Do you remember the time in your life when you realized that you wanted to write?

In 2009 I started writing my first fiction book. Since then, I have written five books.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The traveler gift by Andy Andrews

7. What is your favorite meal?

Rice and chicken

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

My wife , Nicole

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Teaching

10. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Write with suspense, grab your reader’s attention. Make him want to read your whole story.

Watch the Story Reading:

Type of story: Horror

Performed by Val Cole

Interview with Writer Donna Douglas Walchle (MAKE LEMONADE)

1. What is your short story about?

A driven, successful record company executive had it all, or so she thought. It took being ousted from the company she built and 200 community service hours at a children’s home to reveal what was missing.

2. What genre(s) would you say this story is in?

Dramedy, Faith-friendly

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Inspiring, funny

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

The Blindside

5. Do you remember the time in your life when you realized that you wanted to write?

Even before I could write I loved making up stories.

Today, I favor writing fiction, because, well… I still love making up stories.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Can’t say that I do.

7. What is your favorite meal?

Any kind of seafood.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Jesus

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

My husband, Bible study, visits or meals with family and friends, cooking, flying kites, exercise, children, growing butterflies, Charlie Brown and the beach any time for any reason.

10. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Take classes, seminars, never stop learning and growing.

The best written piece is a re-written piece. Hone, hone and hone some more.

Watch the Story Reading:

Performed by Val Cole

Dramedy

Casey Alliston thought she had it all. Or did she? It took being forced to step down from the company she built and two hundred community service hours at a children’s home to discover what she was missing.

Interview with Writer Wiam Mah’d Ahmad Najjar (MORNING GLORY)

1. What is your short story about?

Morning Glory is about a misunderstanding in the language of love that ruins a blossoming relationship.

2. What genre(s) would you say this story is in?

Flash fiction, romance

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Painful symbolism

4. What movie have you seen the most in your life?

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

5. Do you remember the time in your life when you realized that you wanted to write?

I was 10 and I wanted to write a similar story to the ones I read in the monthly children magazine I subscribed in. After I finished it, I knew that was what I wanted to do with my life.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Definitely One Hundred Years of Solitude.

7. What is your favorite meal?

Sushi!

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Thomas Hardy

9. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Cross-stitching

10. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

I’d like to advise them never to give up since publishing is a tedious process. Therefore, if they have one reader who appreciates their work, they should keep writing.

Watch the Short Story Reading:

Performed by Val Cole