Interview with Screenwriter/Actor Sophie Mitchell & Director Erin Whited-Ford (THE WILD WOMAN AND THE PAINTER)

THE WILD WOMAN AND THE PAINTER played to rave reviews at the June 2021 LA FEEDBACK Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Sophie Mitchell: Erin and I were in acting school together when we got to know each other and realized we had both recently come out of unhealthy relationships. That prompted us to read Women Who Run with The Wolves, a book of the lost wild woman archetype. After reading one tale in particular, Bluebeard, we began to talk about making our own version of the story. While the film ended up in becoming more personal and deviating from the tale.

Erin Whited-Ford: I think after we connected over a shared experience of past relationship trauma, it was kind of a no brainer that we should use it to fuel our first attempt at

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

E: I think we first started talking about the idea in 2015? Played around with a script for a number of years before settling on the current version. Shot the film in the fall of 2018 and all post production was finished by the end of 2020.

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

S: Dream-like. Suspenseful.

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

E: Because we had a very minimal budget, the post production process was drawn out over a couple years. I think initially this was a tad frustrating but became enormously helpful in giving us the time and space to develop the final cut into what it is. The whole process, from conception to festival submissions was a slow and fulfilling build, much like the nature of the narrative itself!

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

E: Very grateful and emotional.

S: I teared up. It was so heartwarming to watch the videos.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

E: High School when I made a short doc and an animation. Didn’t think anything of it at the time and pursued acting but have since craved the visual creative language more.

S: I knew I wanted to make films ever since I was about 11 when my uncle gave my brother (Keenan Parry, our cinematographer) and I a digital camera and we started messing around with it. I went on to pursue acting instead at the William Esper Studio which is where I met Erin. After graduating together we both realized that as much as we love acting (and still do, obviously) we wanted to have more creative control of the projects we were involved in

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

E: Probably ET. Or really any of Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s films.

S: Probably a tie between Moulin Rouge and The Birdcage.

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

E: Convenient and accessible

9. What is your favorite meal?

E: Pesto pasta

S: My partner is a bread baker, so, sandwiches!

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

E: Always a new film or idea on the mind. Working on various scripts/concepts.

S: I am currently writing a short and percolating on a feature!

Interview with Filmmaker Lea Toran Jenner (LIGHT OF DAWN)

LIGHT OF DAWN was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the June 2021 DANCE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film is the „movie”-version of our original Circus Act. After having performed it over 1000 times across the world we decided that it would be great to re-adapt it and make a short film out of it.

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

I would say about a year. It took time to find the right location, decor and team and of course also adapting the framing and choosing camera movement and angles to match the story.

The choreography and acrobatic technique was created and improved over 3 years.

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

Love lightly

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

The time we had on set. We had rented the studio for one day, but after 10 hours we were not done with the shooting plan. So we added hour after hour, which was very costly. Since I was directing, starring but also paying for the movie it was not easy to stay in my character during those 4-5 extra hours during the night.

Also we shot this movie while working at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. We shot it on our only day off from performing. Physically this was a huge challenge as well.

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

Of course I am always happy when people are moved and touched when watching my art. Their comments where were kind. I also love when people who are not in the circus world comment on circus. The vocabulary they use, and their approach is different. Sometimes that makes me smile, and sometimes I am surprises how impressed people are by our acrobatic tricks. I tend to forget how impressive they are.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I used to document my travels and adventures as a circus artist with little videos. When I lived two years in Paris (2017 & 2018) and worked at the Moulin Rouge in Paris I noticed that I suddenly I had a stable enough life to go study filmmaking. I always liked movies but never really had the opportunity to try it for myself. The school I went to was very technical and „hands on”. It was very fun to learn about all the technical side, but I also realized that I am more interested in the artistic side and also in performing and acting.

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

Call me by your name by Luca Guadagnino

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

I think it is very well made, and easy to navigate! I suggest it to anybody who wants to apply to Filmfestivals!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Pasta al dente with a glass of red wine.

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

I am actually working on a Late Night Show format. It is a mix between a Talk Show and modern Circus. Currently I am testing versions of it, and writing the first season. I hope to be able to tell you more about it in a couple of months!

Interview with Filmmaker Sam Asaert (экзальтация / exaltation)

экзальтация / exaltation was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the June 2021 DANCE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

A combination of three things motivated and inspired me to make this dance film. The first was the location. The space beneath a multilane highway overpass had been completely cleared for heavy-duty construction. Entering the construction site one evening inspired me to utilize the space between these massive rugged concrete pillars. The second motivational factor was Juliet Burnett. Aside from being a close friend of mine, she’s also a balletic tour-de-force and we’d been talking about making something together for a while. Her presence, her strength and her quality of movement make her a natural star.

Third, was Christopher Hill. He’s a former ballet dancer and now a talented choreographer, as well as a close friend of both Juliet and mine. When the three of us where able to spend some time together over the Summer of 2019, everything kind of fell into place and we decided to create this film. And so really, having the luxury of getting the three of us together — a dancer, a choreographer and a dance filmmaker — was the true motivation to create something.

Having a dancer as talented and as stunning as Juliet was of course a responsibility as well, as it necessitated the creation of a film worthy of how special she is as a performer, as a strong female artist, and as a soulful and mesmerizing presence. Knowing our standards, our work ethics and levels of expectations, we all knew that this film would be terribly demanding work — especially for Juliet who performed outside in the dust barefooted. But it was also tremendous fun!

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

The pre-production lasted just over a week. I provided the initial visual concepts and thematic narrative, influenced both by the location and by Juliet as the performer. The choreography that followed out of this thematic narrative, was created over the course of a week, with Christopher creating on Juliet and her adding traditional choreographic elements from her native Indonesia.

I would attend the rehearsals and give input regarding the relationship of the choreography to both location and — what would work on camera and what wouldn’t, within the chosen location and with what lenses. I storyboard every dance film I make and so I took a day to fully translate the choreographic language of dance into the filmic language of dance cinema. The film was then shot over the course of two days. The location was under heavy structural renovation, which limited us to shooting in the afternoon, when the construction was halted and we had the site to ourselves.

The post-production was a far lengthier process. It’s not immediately obvious, but this film contains quite a few visual effects shots. The dance film was conceptualized to start with an altering of the gravitational axis of the cinematic landscape, to symbolize the shift into sentience, and I wanted there to be a tranquil and slow-paced interplay between close up and wide shots throughout the rest of the film — the whole film is shot on a 200mm and a 500mm lens. What wasn’t initially conceptualized, however, and which I discovered after I had finished a first cut, was that the film worked a lot better if Juliet was in the center of the frame as much as possible. This allowed the eye of the spectator to flow with the choreographya lot more fluently. Mirroring the background became the natural way to extend the cinematic landscape in order for Juliet to be able to retain a centralized position. The editing and
post-production process therefor lasted several weeks in order for me to composite the necessary shots
and achieve picture lock.

Building the soundscape was a gradual process that I worked on as the edit progressed, so that by the time I had picture lock, there was a very rough sketch of what the soundscape could be. I approached Russian composer Andrey Dergachev for permission to use one of his absolutely mesmerizing music pieces and was elated that he obliged. His almost angelical score really lifted the film to new heights and in accordance to the atmosphere his music added to our images, I completely redid the soundscape within 24 hours.

From start to finish the production took about half a year to complete. But with the Corona pandemic happening, this process was a lot more spread out than initially planned. Shot in 2019, the dance film was only finished by the start of 2021.

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

I would use only one: Exaltation…

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

Besides the obvious challenges of the Corona pandemic, the biggest obstacle was more of a creative challenge: to do Juliet justice. It’s easy to film dance, it’s hard to make dance cinema and create a cinematic experience that exudes the level of experience and sophistication of the dancer in every single frame. Dancers, and especially ballet dancers like Juliet, train their whole lives to achieve a certain level of physical prowess and artistic perfection — sacrificing much in the process. A filmmaker can undo those years of hard work and dedication by not knowing the choreographic vocabulary well enough, by being careless or unprepared or rushed, or choosing the wrong approach, the wrong angle, or the wrong take. When a dancer gives me their confidence to capture them on film, that always comes with a great responsibility. And that can be a daunting, but ultimately very inspiring, challenge.

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

I was really touched to get such intimate feedback and such personal takes on our film. As an artist your raison d’être is to create, but no creation is truly complete without it being received by an audience.

So, it was absolutely lovely to see and hear the audience talking about Exaltation. Once a film is made it belongs to all who view it and it’s a real treat to get an insight into what they make of it, what they read into it and what they enjoyed. Hearing one audience member noting that the body can be “grotesque and statuesque in the same realm,” really resonated with me as truly delves into the meanings of this film.

In times of corona, where live events have been lacking, this was a real treat and I applaud you for organizing this!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When, at the tender age of four or five, my dad let me sneak a peek at Gene Hackman chasing a metro train in the French Connection I was hooked on the medium of film. When around 10 years of age I saw the Alien trilogy by Scott, Cameron and Fincher (Jean-Piere Jeunet hadn’t made Alien Resurrection yet), I knew I wanted to make films. I’ve been blessed with very art-minded and liberal parents who allowed me access to a lot of films that perhaps are deemed too much for young children to handle, but that ended up impressing within me a deep love for the artistic world-building and the creative storytelling of cinema.

When at the age of 21 I saw my first ballet performance — The Return of Ulysses, by Christian Spuck
— I knew I wanted to make dance cinema.

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

That’s a hard question, because when I get into a new film that I like, I watch it over and over to analyze and scrutinize. At this point I think it’s probably a tie between Ridley Scott’s Alien and Andrey Tarkovsky’s Zerkola (The Mirror). Though Dennis Villeneuve’s Sicario and Abbas Kiarostami’s The Wind Will Carry Us are hot on their trail at this point…

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

I think platforms like FilmFreeway are a great way to democratize film festivals and create direct accessibility between curators and filmmakers. Over the years FilmFreeway has allowed me to build up a steady relationship with several international (dance) film festivals, something which would have been a lot harder without. For one, FilmFreeway is a centralized hub on which you can seek out film festivals far and wide, from larger and more prestigious film festivals to smaller niche festivals. And second, all communication can be done through one platform. I’m a big fan!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Having lived in Iran, I am an absolute sucker for Persian cuisine. On any given day I’m down for a nice, homecooked Gormeh Sabzi. Which is the most delicious and succulent herb stew.

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

I’m currently in post-production for another interesting dance film project. I can’t say too much about it at this point, but it’s a truly cinematic and riveting translation of a choreography by one of the great choreographers working in ballet today. It’s a set of different movement phrases for ten dancers. The dancers where filmed performing individually in front of green screen and will be composited together digitally, into an artistic and poetic mosaic of evocative ballet.

I’m also in pre-production on a personal project of dance cinema. It’ll be about the juxtaposition between the natural, nurturing notion of growth and the manmade, violent notion of growth. Currently I’m working in tandem with the choreographer and making some conceptual storyboards. It is poised to become a truly cinematic pas de deux for two female ballet dancers. I’m looking forward to sharing both projects with the world within the coming months…

Interview with Writer Sheila English (WRATH)

1. What is your short story about?

At the beginning of time when gods formed the universe, a race of beings called “The Unnamed” came into being. Not gods nor men, they took shape just as humans were born onto the earth. The leader of The Unnamed was called Wrath. Seeing how humans warred, killed and betrayed he did as any being would and set out to destroy that which harmed, that which interupted peace.

But humans were the plaything of gods and The Unnamed were cursed by the gods, sent into the earth until they were called upon to serve. They would serve one being for each human they had killed. Wrath would not taste freedom anytime soon.

One day he was called upon by a creature of great and dark power. This creature, which looks like a man but radiated death and destruction would become his master for a time. Wrath wondered what a vampire might want from one such as him.

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

It’s a cross between fantasy and horror.

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

Modern Gothic.

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

Frankenstein

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

I do. I was ten years old and had been reading Stephen King for well over a year. I completed my first full-lenth novel at the age of 12. It was 300 pages long, written in #2 pencil. I still have it today. I’d never show a soul. Since then I’ve always wanted to write. The universe in which this story takes place is one I’ve written novels about. Those have won various awards and I now have comic books in that universe as well.

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

Frankenstein

7. What is your favorite meal?

BLT with extra crispy bacon!

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

Mary Shelley.

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

Doctor Who, dogs and typewriters.

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

Don’t give up. Write daily even when you don’t know what to say. Finish the damn story.

11. What has been your experiences submitting your work with the FilmFreeway submission platform?

I’ve had some successes with my submission and it’s wonderful to have industry professionals review and like my work.

Watch the Story Reading:

Interview with Writer Russ Meyer (FREEDOM)

1. What is your short story about?

It is about how freedom is the most important thing in some people’s lives.

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

Drama.

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

Near future.

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

Airplane!

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

I was racing, got turned by another car, heading straight for the wall six inches away at seventy miles an hour: “Yeah, I’ve got some writing to do.”

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

Farewell, My Lovely by Raymond Chandler.

7. What is your favorite meal?

German potato salad.

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

Orson Welles – The conversation would be interesting, and no one would notice if I ate too much.

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

History, and racing.

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

You must write before you can rewrite.

11. What has been your experiences submitting your work with the FilmFreeway submission platform?

Very professional and easy to work with.

Watch the Short Story Reading:

Interview with Screenwriter Danielle Nicole Baker (The Merry Widow- La Viuda)

1. What is your screenplay about?

This screenplay is about a woman coming of age and claiming her power.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror/Adventure/Romance

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

To make exciting and romantic cinema

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

Visceral and Heartfelt

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

Lord of the Rings, though Moulin Rouge and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind might tie a quick second and third.

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

I would say the idea has been formulating over the course of 10 years through a lot of my experiences and peer suggestions.

7. How many stories have you written?

Hundreds

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to themost times in your life?)

A Beautiful Lie – Thirty Seconds to Mars

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Deciding what was the most important emotions to convey in the dialogue, choosing the elements of murder and interaction between the protagonist and antagonist, defining these character relationships in an engaging and real way, making the romance believable without pulling on real life experiences. I want the characters to have a unique edge while also being able to easily “turn on” the audience to their own interpersonal relationship with themselves and others. The movie is meant to really engage a lot of different elements in our lives and accelerate our critical thinking skills by connecting the major lessons we learn from childhood stories to adult experiences like relationships, grief/loss, or heartbreak to death. To add in an extra element of real life magic in a human world was the most difficult part because I needed the character’s to maintain their dignity and attractiveness to the audience. I wanted to make a movie that is as cool as ‘Zombieland’, as thoughtful as the ‘Joker’, with characters that could stand next to Rose and Jack from ‘Titanic’. The element of interesting and cool coming from the characters interacting with magical or ghost-like entities and energies within themselves and the world around them a lot echoes Harry Potter and Twilight with a modern twist. I included a lot of high contrast situations and plot turns to maintain the idea that the movie could be made from the idea of a trilogy, not one singular project or storyline, so grabbing the most fantastic images and putting them down in a short screenplay was a challenge while also needing the audience to reimagine these characters having a life beyond the story and continued evolution into a Magic/Sci Fi Film Series.

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

Music and Science

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

It has been amazing working with FilmFreeway. The amount of professionalism is really great. I hope to really see things go up from here, and I’m excited to see what is to come.

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

My feeling is to always share what you love and are most passionate about and for me, that has always been writing and creating art. It’s a huge dream of mine to create movies that will hit the big screen as a director and writer. I wish to really influence Young Adult audiences to create a better, more positive future with powerful work. A lot of my writing tends to tackle complex and uncomfortable relationships in a semi-advanced world with a main theme of following your heart, almost like experiencing euphoric therapy on screen that is meant to target your serotonin and adrenaline levels mainly through pleasure and the empathic brain with interesting dialogue, music, and insanely visually satisfying fashion, food and people. If an audience watches my film and can say they enjoyed it, it made them emotional, and they believe in love again, I’m happy.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Type of Story: Horror/Adventure

The Widow is a woman who is an embodiment of the Joker told from the female perspective who loses her first husband to a mysterious accident and is in search of her mother like the children’s book “Little Miss Spider”. She meets a guide along the way and falls in love before actually encountering her mother who is a wickeder villain.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Mireda: Val Cole
Howard: Geoff Mays
Stranger 1/Sarah: Hannah Ehman
Stranger 2/Thomas: Sean Ballantyne
—–

Interview with Screenwriter Oona Helena Koivula (THE MORNING AFTER)

1. What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay, The Morning After, is about two girls in their early 20’s, who end up having a one-night stand with two guys after a wild night out in London. After waking up at the guy’s flat, Gemma and Sofia are committed to getting out of the awkward situation without waking up the two guys, who are flatmates. Gemma and Sofia make it their big mission to get out of the flat without having to confront the guys and this journey is full of comedic obstacles and surprises…

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The Morning After is a female driven Comedy.

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

I believe that The Morning After is very timely and the story fits well into the current age of “hook-up culture”. Interesting and fun female driven stories are needed at the moment and they always have an audience, so I believe this is the perfect time to make The Morning After into a film. I think many women, especially in their late teens and 20’s can relate to this, as I already know having pitched the idea to many women, that a lot of them can really relate to this story and the characters, as well as find the story hilarious.

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

Wild and Funky

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

Gone Girl by David Fincher or To Die For by Gus Van Sant.

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

I wrote the first draft during quarantine in Spring 2020, so a year ago. I wrote the first draft in one day and in just one sitting, and only came back to the script 10 months later and wrote the second draft.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written and finished 2-3 short and feature scripts, of which one was recently produced.

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

I have far too many favorite songs, but I would have to say “I Feel Love” by Donna Summer is one of my all time favorites and it just never gets old!

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

There were some plot points which took me a while to resolve, but other than that, I didn’t face too many obstacles, the story was very clear to me from the start.

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

I’m passionate about many things, but I especially have a special interest in human psychology, politics, and philosophy, which are all subjects that I want to integrate in all my screenplays by exploring the themes surrounding these topics.

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

Very positive in every way! No complaints.

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

I really enjoyed the feedback and thought it was very insightful, it made me think about the script in different ways and what to consider when writing the next draft and I have already adjusted the script slightly according to the feedback.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

After a wild night out in London, Gemma and Sofia – two girls in their early 20’s, find themselves in an awkward situation – waking up next two guy’s that names they don’t even remember, or perhaps never even cared enough to ask for.

Absolutely petrified of the awkward morning after confrontation, the two women make it into their mission to escape the flatshare, without waking up the sleeping guys… But they have exactly 8 minutes until the other guy’s alarm rings, will the girls make it?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Gemma: Hannah Ehman
Sofia: Kyana Teresa
Moustache Guy: Andy Camp
Old Lady: Allison Kampf

Interview with Screenwriter Jessica Sutton (VALUE OF A RING)

1. What is your screenplay about?

John, a deceased man, must navigate the afterlife to find Paradise and his wife. However, spirits tempt him to discard the very ring that connects him to her.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance , Fantasy, Experimental, Character Study.

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

It would be an interesting visual experience, and commentary on love and the afterlife.

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

Love Echoes

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

Road to Perdition, Inception , Kill Bill and Pans Labyrinth.

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

About a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written a Sci-Fi feature : Runaway Ruth, two other shorts : Gun and Value of a Ring, and I have written a lot of material for a TV series called The World Takes. It is a goal of mine this year to write out some pilots and write some new features this year

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

Specifically Glycerine by Bush has touched me the most. Quite a few Linkin Park and Florence and the Machine songs have stuck with me as well.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Time mostly , I work 40 hours a week and have a house to keep up. Covid has been an odd blessing because it allowed me time to work on some of my writing outside of work.

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

Art, movies, my cat , gardening and hiking.

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

So far so good, I like how user friendly the interface is the most.

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

I was motivated to enter and share my work. I have been hoarding most of my work since 2013, and I felt it was time to share it. The feedback was very good and allowed me to see places I am strong as a writer and places I need work.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

John, a deceased man, must navigate the afterlife to fond Paradise and his wife. However, spirits tempt him to discard the very ring that connects him to her.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Hooded Sailer/Odin/Captain: Andy Camp
John/Anubis: Sean Ballantyne
MaidenJane: Val Cole
Mother/Crone: Hannah Ehman –
Short Man: Geoff Mays
——

Interview with Novelist Deeann D. Mathews (Black, White And Red All Over)

1. What is your novel about?

A small-town police captain is put at odds with his regional police colleagues when a new Black newspaper demands records about police brutality in the county … Captain Hamilton not only has to figure out what he is going to do, but also what his colleagues are going to do before violent confrontation becomes inevitable …

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

Mystery, Suspense, Current Events, Clean Christian

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

“Historical Present”

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

The Empire Strikes Back

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

Too many to name because I am a musician across a number of styles

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

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

7. What motivated you to write this story?

In 2019, I won a writing prize on what today is hive.blog and created 17 days of extra content in recognition of the prize … that became this novel. What was in my mind was Charlottesville, police brutality, things being done in my own community to make things better, my old journalism career and the skills and tools I still have from there, the silliness of people saying they want the Civil War over again to change the outcome, and, old chops of mystery writing.

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

Officer Eugene Goodman, the hero of January 6, 2021 during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol

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

Music, and community work

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

Keep writing, every day, about whatever interests you, and get interested in as many people and as much solid history related to them as you can.

Watch the Transcript Reading:

Christian, Mystery, and Suspense

SYNOPSIS:

Police captains Hamilton and Lee meet with Mr. Varick and Mr. Turner from the Lofton County Free Voice newspaper to discuss the release of police records that contain explosive information about police brutality against African Americans in Lofton County.

Interview with Filmmaker Aidan Tracy (HIT THE BUCKET)

HIT THE BUCKET was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2021 MUSIC Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

– I used to always watch a group of cypher rappers perform in union square on fridays. One day in particular, I saw 2 rappers- Henny Mack and Mike Mezzl going bar for bar with one another to the beat of a bucket drummer. I was so inspired by it that I went home and wrote the script.

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

– From idea to finished product, it took about a year and a half to complete.

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

– Musical community

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

– Scheduling. We were able to get the cast and crew that we wanted but it ended up being a lot of people. It was tough finding 2 days that everyone would be available, weather would be nice enough to shoot, and covid cases would be low enough for us to shoot.

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

– It was so surreal seeing people who I had no affiliation talking about the film. There was one reviewer in particular whose excitement about it truly moved me in a way I can’t express. Those kinds of responses feel so rewarding as a filmmaker.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

– I watched a documentary on Richard Linklater as a senior in high school which first planted the idea in my head. Then I read a book by filmmaker Ed Burns, who mainly talked about making micro budget films. I felt like I could relate to these guys personally and as storytellers. The way they talked about films and the ability to express yourself and your ideas through them made it something I wanted to pursue.

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

– Remember The Titans

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

– I love the platform. It makes it so easy to browse and submit to a bunch of festivals. It also makes it easier to find the hidden gem festivals.

9. What is your favorite meal?

– Steak and baked potatoes

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

– I have been involved in a number of projects since as an editor, producer and coordinator. I would love to direct another short film before the end of the year and continue working on a feature script I’ve started.