Interview with Screenwriter John Montgomery (THE HOTEL PALMYRA)

What is your screenplay about?

A romantic comedy about an uptight executive, Marian Barnes, sent to refurbish a dilapidated tropical hotel full of nutty guests and a slew of suitors.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romantic comedy.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because it will make a great movie.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Romantic comedy.

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

Too many to list!

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

6 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

20

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

Design.

9. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

It’s okay.

10. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

Another opportunity for exposure.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A romantic comedy about an uptight executive sent to refurbish a ruined tropical hotel full of nutty guests and a slew of suitors.

CAST LIST:
Narrator: Allison Kampf
Marian : Kyana Teresa
Manager : Allan Michael Brunet

Interview with Filmmaker Daniel Lowenstein (EGO)

EGO was the winner of BEST PERFORMERS at the September 2020 Dance & Music Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Having the opportunity to work with Northern Ballet on this film was a real opportunity to use movement to tell a narrative. I have always been interested in the ego We all have, and how it works within us. We all have one and it can be positive or it can be detrimental. I found that contrast really interesting and the perfect platform to tell this story. So we decided to use ego as the backbone of the film.

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

Kenneth Tindall from Northern Ballet, and I met for the first time in August 2019 and we signed off on the final film around 6 months after that.

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

Contrast / Unpredictable

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

The biggest challenge for us were the location logistics, as we shot in so many different places with a fair amount of travelling between them. We started close to Leeds where Northern Ballet are based on the beach. The weather wasn’t our friend that day, and neither was the tide. We planned to shoot in the morning catching the tide when it was in, but it was pouring with cold rain, which delayed us and meant we lost the tide.

Most of the scene was on steadicam, which wasn’t ideal. But due to the passion and determination of 84 films we pushed through and managed to get the images we wanted. The team, kenny and I were knee deep in the sea while the dancers were pushing themselves in the cold weather. I’m eternally grateful to the team for their dedication to this film!

You can see clearly in this BTS film what went down –

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

This was just amazing. Such an invaluable experience! To hear your audience members conveying their opinions on this film. It was so satisfying to know that they understood the vision and that it translated clearly to them. They were of course a very educated audience and their feedback was fantastically delivered. Most of the comments highlighted on the visuals which was lovely to hear, as we all put such an effort in pushing the boundaries on the imagery.

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I have always loved collaboration and the fusion of styles of dance. I approached this commission in the same way, when working with Northern Ballet and Kenneth Tindall on the
concept. I always work with darkness and light, I love contrast as I think its true to life. We started with thinking about ideas that would give us a foundation to base the story on. The idea of Ego came quite naturally because to be a professional dancer you need to tap into your ego to successfully perform on stage and push through the adversities of being a performer. So I thought all the dancers involved could relate to this feeling, which to me is very important. I want all characters in my films to have a hook and be able to personally relate to the foundation of the film.

Then to put Ego in the context of a relationship made sense as their were so many options and was relatable to the audience. I wanted the viewer to be able to get an inside the psyche of a relationship. Showing us scenes that we wouldn’t usually be able to see.

Northern Ballet and Kenny were so open to ideas and concepts and were really up for pushing some boundaries. They are predominately a ballet / classical contemporary company but they were open to using other styles in this film. I cant thank them enough for their open minds.

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

I actually can’t answer this, there are so many… I have recently been very inspired by ‘Homecoming’ (sorry I know its a series)

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

I personally think Filmfreeway is a great platform, very convenient and easy to use.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Due to my Breakdance background I must have listened to Jimmy Castor Bunch, It’s just begun over 1000 times.

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

I am currently in post production on a narrative short called Becoming Everything which focuses on the story of a man who unexpectedly loses his wife and becomes a single father. It’s the story of how men try to pretend that they are fine when a lot of the time they are far from it. We see his journey through mental health, where ultimately he finds hope through the support of his daughter.

I’m also in pre production on I Thought I Knew You… which focuses on Martha and Esther, they have everything behind them.
– 13 years, friendship, love and understanding but when Martha gets fed up with taking care of Esther she finds she is struck by her sudden feelings for a man. This short film is an exploration of what happens when a long term relationship is hampered by vulnerability, need and power.

I thought I knew you… stars UK Pop Star and actor Pixie Lott, established actors Marie McGonigle and Anthony Kaye. I’m also in pre production on PILL an online series and 1 large feature film based on a female war correspondent.

Interview with Filmmaker Luigi Coppola (BEEHIVE)

BEEHIVE was the winner of BEST DANCE FILM at the September 2020 Dance & Music Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Movements and dance always fascinated me. It’s incredible what a body can do, what sorts of things and concepts it can express. So the interaction between dance , Vertical Dance in particular and nature motivated me. The movie was shot in a spectacular natural place on the mediterranean coast in Italy, that looks like a Beehive, so we just figured bees inside with their movements, dance and their vital labor to the environment. This kind of dance allows viewing from other perspectives and that ‘s very interesting as well as spectacular.

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

It took us about three months to study project, choreography and costume design. We also needed some site visits before. Costumes are handmade by Italia Furlan, a creative girl who realizes unique garnments made exclusively by recycled materials.

We have worked hard for three weeks on the storyboard and on how to adapt the soundtrack to it. Exchanging ideas about the choreography and the camera angles has been the focus of our conversations. The shooting took one day and we immediately started working on the editing and post production. The editing took one week including 3D post production.

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

Powerful and Energetic

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

The location is a natural cave open to the public, it is very popular so there were lots of climbers, we had to manage the situation during the shooting and during the post production too, for example I had to delete images of people climbing on the cave walls. We descended in the hole all the materials, cameras, cameraman and the entire staff as well!

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

I was so excited , I smiled, I was happy. It was wonderful to see how our efforts had been appreciated by the audience. It was great because the comments seemed genuine and heart felt. They moved me so much I wanted embrace all them!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

The cave which is shaped like a beehive was the source of our inspiration. The idea and the development of the idea came to us very easily. The beauty of nature, the respect for the environment, the importance of bees in our eco-system are there important topics to me, Roberta and Lucia (the dancers).

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

Barry Lyndon

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

I think this platform is a tool that simplifies and facilitates submission procedures and contacts. It’s a great way to stay informed about all festivals in the world.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

The touch of your lips by Chet Baker. Recently I got hooked with Borrowed Love by Metro Booming

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

I’m very fascinated by Tomba Brion by architect Carlo Scarpa. A truly intriguing piece of art. I don’t know what will come out of this…

Interview with Filmmaker Olivia Adelman (BOXED)

BOXED was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2020 Dance & Music Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

While I was studying abroad in a foreign country, I was sexually assaulted. For months I was unable to truly process what had happened. Over time, I grew to become much more aware of sexual assault and harrassment in my life, whether that be on my college campus, through catcallers, or within the experiences of my peers. I developed this film not only to cope with my own experience, but also to facilitate greater awareness of sexual assault in society.

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

BOXED was completed over an eight month period. I came up with the concept late in the summer of 2019 for my Senior Comprehensive Project and spent about three months refining the logistics. Upon doing so, I assembled a crew and shot the project. I completed the film in April of the following year, in accordance with Occidental College’s Media Arts and Culture syllabus.

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

Interpretive healing.

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

The biggest obstacle I faced when creating this film revolved around my own fear of sharing a piece of myself to my film cohort – the reason I wanted to make this film. It wasn’t until I finally did that I realized how many people have experienced sexual assault themselves. It touched me when my peers and professors contacted me individually to offer their unconditional support.

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

I was blown away by the kind, supportive and encouraging words from the audience. Even moreso, I was honored that they were talking about MY FILM and that many audience members had a visceral, intense connection to the documentary.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I came up with this idea after a lot of self-reflection and an honest analysis into how I was feeling after my time abroad. I had many unresolved feelings and wanted to find a way to process everything, which ended up transforming into a sketch idea for my Senior Comprehensive Project at Occidental College. I had not talked about my feelings for a while and it felt as if I were carrying this heavy box of emotions with me. From the start, I had imagined a person telling the story, as an individual separate from myself. Upon research, I noticed that many documentaries, TV series, PSAs, music videos, etc demonstrate sexual assault or incorporate B-roll quite literally and explicitly. When watching these depictions, I felt myself becoming uncomfortable and wanted to find a way for the audience to learn about sexual assault and its prevalence in a less triggerring manner. Thus, I decided to incorporate a poetic, performative, dance interpretation into my documentary. I also wanted to create a symbol of destruction and emotional baggage, such that Barbara’s memory of the assault itself could be tangibly presented within a structural object — this led me to the box. Upon refining this concept, I worked to really stress that the message and meaning of the box is limitless, such that it may embody a unique experience for each viewer.

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

INCEPTION, by Christopher Nolan, is probably the film I have watched most in my life. I enjoyed dissecting every little detail that he so painstakingly refined in that movie.

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

I really enjoy using the FilmFreeway submission platform. The ability to have a majority of the film festivals accessible with one click as well as having the option to filter your festival choices is incredible. I found the interface to be very clear and simple to follow.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I’ve probably listened to George Michael’s “Careless Whisper” most times in my life.

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

I am so inspired by the people around me and the people whom I have connected with over the last few years. I feel so lucky to have met Barbara Handel and to have found my passion creating artistic documentaries with the purpose of empowering women and sharing their stories. I am currently collaborating with a singer/songwriter to explore bipolar disorder within women, understand what it looks like, and spread awareness about women’s mental health issues.

Interview with Filmmakers Melissa Skirboll & Penny Jackson (MY DINNER WITH SCHWARTZEY)

MY DINNER WITH SCHWARTZEY played to rave reviews at the September 2020 WILDsound Female Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Melissa: Penny and I really wanted to collaborate on something – we had worked together in NY theater previously and both were starting to segue into film. When we started talking about possible projects the Weinstein case had just broken and My Dinner With Schwartzey seemed really topical. And on top of being pertinent to the #metoo moment it had such wonderful visual and aural possibilities written in to the initial story; I got really excited about bridging that moment in time to life!

Penny: I was motivated to make this film after hearing a dramatized reading of my published short story sponsored by Dixon Place Theater in downtown Manhattan. Although I had always been a playwright, I was always interested in writing a film. The Harvery Weinstein story had just been revealed and the Me Too movement was beginning to take shape. Melissa who directed that reading turned to me and said, “you know, with what’s happening right now, this could be our film” I always wanted to work with her and I admired her writing. I was very nervous about writing a screenplay and really trusted Melissa to help with the right language and images. We are both fans of the punk rock club scene of the 1989s and Alice In Wonderland. We liked to describe our film as Andy Warhol Meets Alice In Wonderland and Harvery Weinstein.

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

Penny: Melissa, I don’t know this answer!

Melissa: From our first meeting to rough out what parts of the story we wanted to put into the script to our final edit took about 9-10 months.

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

Penny: Looking glass

Melissa: Wonderland #metoo

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

Penny: Casting a sixteen year old girl who is mature enough for the very challenging role with sexual overtones was obviously difficult. We also were limited in terms of the time for the shoot. We had to be out of our bar location by 4pm so they could open. That meant arriving at 4 in the morning (after they closed) with our actors and makeup and musicians.

Another challenge was finding a rabbit and not having to pay exorbitant rates for the rabbit handler. Not sure I’d work with animals again.

And of course there is the budget. “There’s never time and never enough money” is one popular logo for filmmakers. But overall, making the film with this dream cast and a dream director was pure joy.

Melissa: While everything Penny says was true – for me the biggest challenge was getting enough extras to actually show up. We had more than a few no shows; a few of the extras we were hoping to “feature” – triplets, a Bowie look-alike, a fortune teller – ended up not making it. At the end of the day it all worked out but getting people to come hang out at a bar at 4am to create a crowd atmosphere is not the easiest task!

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

Melissa: I was thrilled! They nailed so many of the themes and metaphors that we talked about in writing the script and that were key in our pre-production meetings with the design teams. I love that they noticed and gave credit to the camera work,lighting, sound and music, editing, production and costume design – it was just great to hear people noticed all of those tiny details that went into creating this psychedelic ride.

Penny: So happy that everyone enjoyed the film and understood The Alice In Wonderland connections. Also happy that the viewers were fine with having an ambiguous ending. Thrilled that the acting and direction was so appreciated, as well as the color and the costumes. Overall, I was very impressed with the intelligence and insight of the audience in the feedback video. These are obviously men and women who love film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Penny: I wrote this story in the 1980s. I was inspired by seeing a teenage girl at a downtown rock club with a much older man. I was only a junior at Barnard College when I wrote this story! I decided to write the story in the young girl’s voice. In the original short story, Fiona, the teenage narrator, stays with Schwartzey. In the film we decided to have her leave him.

Melissa: Having directed the stage version of the short story I knew it had potential to be a really cool little film. The story itself, all Penny – it was written and published long before I met her!

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

Penny: Rushmore by Wes Anderson. I’m a nut for films set in high school and I believe this is BIll Murray’s best role. And the music!

Melissa: It’s got to be Wizard Of Oz just because back before streaming/cable it played every year and my whole family sat down to watch it every year. There are a few others that whenever I’d be clicking through the channels I’d always stop to watch: Singin in the Rain, When Harry Met Sally are up there… Most in movie theater might be Moulin Rouge or Matrix!

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

Melissa: It’s great – definitely makes it easier to find festivals around the world. It’s also a little dangerous! Very easy to submit to more fests and spend more money than you should. I learned a lot with my first short and have become better at strategizing, budgeting and choosing the better fits.

Penny: I am very happy with FilmFreeway. It’s easy to discover new and established film festivals.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Penny: Penny Lane by The Beatles. Of course.

Melissa: Does happy birthday count? Maybe Bohemian Rhapsody/Queen.

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

Penny: My next film is Greetings From Sarajevo. I adapted this from a short story into a screenplay and Melissa directed it. It’s a very tense thriller with two female leads that takes place mainly in Times Square. We were very lucky to film it in November 2019. The film has won several screenplay writing awards and has already been accepted at YoFi Film Festival, Golden Door International FIlm and the screenplay is accepted at The Austin Revolution Film Festival.

Melissa and I are also considering making My Dinner With Schwartzey into a t.v. series or a full-length feature.

Melissa: Greetings From Sarajevo is just starting to hit the festival circuit. And as Penny said we are starting to work on a series based on the characters from My Dinner With Schwartzey. I have a couple of other scripts at various stages of development and hopefully will be getting those out into the world soon!

Interview with Filmmaker Honey Lauren (WIVES OF THE SKIES)

WIVES OF THE SKIES was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2020 Female Directors Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

I wrote this script several years ago and it was a semi-finalist at the Slamdance Scriptwriting competition… I had an offer to make it back then but I decided to wait. Then about a year and a half ago, I was in Berlin, visiting a producer/ manager I was working with… We were in the process of attaching a director to one of my feature scripts and she really encouraged me to direct instead attaching someone else…. I had directed two shorts and my last one was qualified for an Academy Award. I knew I couldn’t at that time raise the money for that feature but the offer still stood for me to make WIVES OF THE SKIES… I felt motivated to do it and work with certain cast and crew that I would want to work with on my feature. I thought this was a good way to see how we all work together. And it was an awesome experience!

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

Once I committed to make the film, it took several months to find a block of time and organize… maybe eight months because I was off shooting a feature and some of my cast and crew were shooting… Once we set the date, I worked three months pre production, nonstop!

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

Sexy & Sweet

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

That’s a great question… Some of the post production was very challenging. We didn’t have tons of money to make the film and I learned a whole lot about where I would spend my more of my budget next time. Ultimately it all worked out but I lost a little sleep for a few weeks. It was a great learning experience.

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

Gratitude! I was so blown away by this process. I was so grateful that these wonderful people took the time to watch the film and talk about it and put thought and energy into it. It was such a gift. I wish to thank each and every one of them and you for creating such an amazing venue. I’m a huge fan of your festival! I let my filmmaker friends and fam know about your unique festival.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Gosh, it’s always hard for me to answer that question… the ideas come to me in such a mysterious way… And at times I wonder myself. That said, I was introduced to this vintage, collectible, 1965 stewardess uniform, culture… There are a whole slew of people who collect these uniforms! So… they’re highly collectable… mostly by men and this fascinated me! I knew there was a story there!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s a tie really…. Abel Ferrara’s BAD Lieutenant (And every Abel Ferrara film) and TOMMY, the rock musical!

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

I really love FilmFreeway…. I used to use Withoutabox and FilmFreeway is actually way better. It’s faster and the info seems to be updated in real time and it’s super user friendly. And what a great way to learn about all these festivals all over the world.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I would have to say most Goo Goo Dolls songs… IRIS, BLACK BALLOON…. I’m a huge Johnny Rzeznik fan and his music makes me cry… Like a thirteen year old groupie! … I adore THE LOW SPARK OF HIGH HEELED BOYS by Traffic… That song puts me in a trance… And if course HORSES, Patty Smith, my hero and ZIGGY STARDUST… of course, thank you, David Bowie!

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m also an actor and I played the title role in a feature that will be released soon called, SWEET TASTE OF SOULS… I loved the cast and crew on that film and am still in touch with them. I also had the honor of working with Paul McCarthy, several times and his latest film NV, NIGHT VADER will be coming out as well… I’m working with producers to get one of my features made and I’m just finishing a novel I’ve been writing during the contagion!

Interview with Filmmaker Shawn Cheatham (8 3/4)

8 3/4 was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the September 2020 Chicago Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My family suffered a strange, complex loss and the film concept was born out of that experience.

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

Two years from start to finish — life gets in the way!

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

Hope and recovery.

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

Finding the time to manage work, life, and creating art.

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

It was incredibly encouraging to hear the real words of thoughtful people talking about this piece. It was remarkable.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

The idea was inspired by loss described above, but the concrete script idea came from some late night binge-watching of Fellini, especially 8 1/2, and daydreaming about how to use my young son (a natural born actor) in a film — he desperately wanted to act. Sometimes when you use the resources around you, it works best!

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

Pretty in Pink

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

It’s efficient and streamlined, but the submission status sometimes conflicts with reality that leads to some confusion (and broken hearts).

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Probably “How to disappear completely” by Radiohead.

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

I’m working on a new film to be completed as a part of my PhD. It’s a documentary about some rather horrifying aspects of toxic masculinity.

Interview with Filmmakers Jessica Graham & Clark D. Schaefer (LISTEN)

LISTEN was the winner of BEST CHARACTERS at the February 2020 Female Film Festival. Director Jessica Graham. Writer/Producer Clark D. Schaefer

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Jessica: This was my directorial debut. I very much wanted to start directing, but was waiting for the project that felt in alignment with what is important to me. Spreading awareness about domestic violence is something that I could 100% get on board for.

Clark: I wanted to bring awareness to Domestic Violence in a short powerful platform that I hope to go viral. My hope is that it effects both persons of the domestic violence story, to help stop it before it goes further.

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

Jessica: It took several years. It was stalled out in post for quite some time because we were finishing a feature film called The Tangle. Finally, Clark, the writer and producer, said he was going to take over post if it didn’t get done. So we got it done!

Clark: About a year and a half.

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

Jessica: TRIGGER WARNING

Clark: Important cause.

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

Jessica: I deal with chronic illness and chronic pain. That tends to make everything a little more difficult, including making independent films. The process of shooting the film was wonderful. Our DP, Sherri Kauk, was such an incredible creative collaborator. We had some really energizing and inspiring pre-production sessions and so much fun on set. The cast was a dream to work with too. Amy Walker, Trey McCurley, and Christina Moses are wildly talented.

Clark: I think this one went very smoothly, either the time to get editing done or the transformation of a one room, dining room to interrogation room.

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

Jessica: I had a giant smile on my face and felt so grateful to the festival. Lots of warm, happy feelings!

Clark: Very thoughtful feedback. It was a great experience to get the feedback in this type of format. Made me feel very accomplished as a writer, knowing that the feelings and thoughts were portrayed as they were written.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZRmNTAa3HV8

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

Jessica: I want to say something like Persona (saw it twice) or Sunset Boulevard (saw it once), but the honest answer is The Lost Boys. I watched it 14 times as an adolescent and young teen! More recently, I saw There Will Be Blood 4 or 5 times and Annihilation 4 times.

Clark: The Pope of Greenwich Village or Goodfellas.

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

Jessica: I’ve always had a good experience with FF

8. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Jessica: That’s impossible to answer, but it’s most certainly a Beatles song. Recently I’ve listened to Just Breathe from Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson on repeat.

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

Jessica: The Tangle, a Lyrical Sci-Fi, which I acted in and produced. Late 2020 release!
Into Light, a short film I directed about Inez Milholland. Fall 2020 release!
The Czech translation release of my book Good Sex: Getting Off without Checking Out. Fall 2020 release!

Interview with Filmmaker Alex Ramirez (THE QUIET SHORE)

THE QUIET SHORE was the winner of BEST FILM and BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the September 2020 LATINO Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The film is not the easiest watch and I think the passion for the truth in the material was the overall factor. I write from the perspectives of people I know and these two lead characters, Elena and Adrian played by Jeaux Bartley and Joseph Rene respectively were characters I really understood. They come from the same world I do. Seeing how they got through was a great catharsis and motivator for myself.

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

It took a long time. I think the idea began to germinate in the late Summer of 2017. I had the script written by Fall. We shot in the Summer of 2018 and Fall of the same year. Post work was slow: editing and mixing and scoring. We finally screened in Fall of 2019. The whole process was difficult and life interfered in almost ridiculous ways at points… until it interfered in the most real way possible and the film’s production became a crucible of artistic perseverance.

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

Supportive crew. Everyone was so supportive when they read the script. It’s hard to get people behind your idea but when most read the script and the idea got out behind the picture, the crew was so in love with the material as were the actors. The community really went out for it, the ones who knew what we were filming.

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

There were many that really stuck daggers in my chest. Menial production issues that aren’t important in retrospect. Every production has its difficulties. The big one was my Father passing away a month after we wrapped principal photography. That was debilitating and unexpected and the film became my eulogy for him.

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

I thought the feedback was absolutely lovely. The words were so affirming for all the hard work we put it and it was so nice to see and hear from people who connected with it. Also, the diversity was a huge plus. I try to create work with an inclusive cast in mind, for a diverse audience, so hearing feedback from such was aces.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I read an article in college about a couple that was dealing with the trauma and grief associated with an ALS diagnosis. It was honest, heartbreaking, and overall, hit me like a freight train. At that time, the only real mention of ALS in the world was the ice bucket challenge which, for me, started with the best intentions but unfortunately devolved into an internet fad. This article had none of that, just a sobering look at a real-life medical tragedy in progress.

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

I think the Departed might be the most. Somewhere in the mid-60s.

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

I use Filmfreeway a lot so I’m really acclimated to it. I think it’s great and quite user friendly. No reason to really change.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

If I had to take a guess, I’d say “Blue Ridge Mountains” by Fleet Foxes. Some tunes just don’t leave you.

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

I’m writing and directing a horror film that has received a grant from my city. I’m very excited for that because it explores themes of indigenous practices and Mexican-American stories as the backdrop to the main plot. Other than that, I’m going back to my roots and writing for the theatre again.

Interview with Filmmaker Anna Ludwig (OLE, BENNI AND THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE)

OLE, BENNI AND THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2020 Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

The idea just came up and I can’t tell where exactly it came from. Only in retrospect I do find several reasons. One for example is that in Primary School I had a classmate who couldn’t walk. Her legs were stiff. She had to use crutches. Once the two of us played together during the school break. We hid in the bushes and imagined that we were robbers. The game was so vivid that we forgot the time and didn’t go back to class when the break was over. The whole school was alarmed. Finally, the facility manager found us. Although this girl obviously was a great playmate, I can only remember playing with her this one time. In retrospect, I can’t find any plausible explanation for it, except that she was different.

I can’t make up for it, but I can make a film about it so that other children forget their reservations and stand by their friends.

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

All in all, it took one year and a half.

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

Mission Friendship!

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

We only had 12 days of shooting and it would have been relaxing if it had been more.
Fortunately, there were no other major obstacles. Or maybe it’s a bit like giving birth. You forget afterwards how exhausting it was!

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

That was really amazing. Chicago is 7258 km from Munich, where I live, and that people overseas took the time to watch the film and rate it so positively made me very grateful.
I would have loved to meet them personally and say thank you!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

During a hike with friends, it suddenly was there. I find it really inspiring to be in nature.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think this must have been the “Dead Poets Society” that I saw many times as a teenager. We even named the guys around us after the guys in the movie… A few weeks ago I watched it again and found that it had lost none of its validity. A real masterpiece!

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

It’s easy to use and quite effective!

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

During the making of “Ole, Benni and the Rest of the Universe”, I kept listening to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. A super cool song, I love the slight melancholy and at the same time there is something heroic about it. Hopefully a bit of that spirit ended up in the movie.

What is next for you? A new film?

It would be great if I had the opportunity to do a 90 minute next!
And it will definitely be for kids again!