Interview with Screenwriter Sara F. Hathaway (Disaster: The Changing Earth Series)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Sara F. Hathaway: Featuring Erika Moore, The Changing Earth Series, presents a legendary story of a survivor of the Great Quake attempting to navigate a world torn apart by a series of natural disasters
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2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Dystopian

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

This screenplay would make an epic TV series that follows the riveting stories of the earth’s inhabitants as the changing planet tests their ability to adapt. Viewers will be drawn into the drama as it unfolds in a series of must-see adventures.

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

Thrilling adventure

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

Gladiator

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

The screenplay is a scene from the novel, Day After Disaster, book one in the Changing Earth Series. It took me eight years to write the book. The screenplay was adapted from it so it took me about a day to do.

7. How many stories have you written?

I am the author of eight novels. Seven of them make up The Changing Earth Series and the other story the life story of one of the villains, TJ Swenson, from the novel series. Also, I have written a full pilot for The Changing Earth TV series.

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

Radioactive by Imagine Dragons

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

The most challenging part was making the scene fit on one page.

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

Martial arts and women’s self-defense are another passion of mine. As a third-degree in Taekwondo and a practitioner of Jujitsu, I take great pride in helping others learn that they are capable of protecting themselves.

Natural disaster preparedness is another facet of my life that I take great pride in teaching others. Ensuring individuals have the knowledge and gear to protect themselves and their families during any disaster gives me a priceless feeling of purpose.

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

Working with FilmFreeway has been a great experience. The narration of the story was adequate. The actors voicing as the characters did a fantastic job. I wish the narrator wouldn’t have stumbled over some of the words as much as he did. However, overall it has been an outstanding experience.

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

The festival can help to fulfill the dream I have of seeing The Changing Earth series played out as a TV drama, so I felt compelled to enter.

Interview with Screenwriter Paul Root (RESET BUTTON)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Paul Root: A guy with no direction in life, losing the only person he thinks he has, and coming to terms with that. Learning to trust in ones self and others. Blah blah blah. It’s a coming of a age story

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Overall I would call it a “Dramedy”

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

It’s fun. It’s light. It’s honest. Its “Caprs-Esque,” which isn’t a bad thing

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

Tolerable saccharin

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

Probably Uncle Buck

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

A little over a year

7. How many stories have you written?

Not many. This is only my second honest attempt at finishing something

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

Depends on the day. I listened to Bob Seger “Shakedown,” Harold Faltermeyer “Fletch’s theme,” David Bowie “Young American,” a lot writing this

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

Mostly myself. Creating obstacles that didn’t exist. “I can’t keep rewriting this,” or “I’ve done everything I can do.” I have rewritten once, and polished three times since submitting. Always room to improve

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

At heart I’m an actor. Sports. Food. Travel. Activism. I would love the opportunity to give back in so many ways. Working toward that goal.

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

In terms of the submission very simple and straightforward

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Thirty-something “ne’er do” well Cameron discovers his dear Grandmother, Peggy, has cancer, and not long to live. Not able to cope, Cameron hits rock bottom, until Peggy tells him if he completes a simple list, he stands to inherit a small fortune. After a chance meeting with the steel willed and wild Laura, Cameron is swept around the world, and finally having a life worth living…but will he accept it?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Cameron: Nikolai Afanasev
Peggy: Julie Sheppard

Interview with Screenwriter Molly Waterman (RANCH EXIT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Molly Waterman: In order to prove her loyalty, an ambitious GMO scientist must convince stubborn owners of an fiercely independent sustainable ranch to partner with her agro-chemical corporation or risk losing her job, and worse, her reputation.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama

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

The debate over how “clean” our food should be has become a hot topic in America. Ranch Exit dramatizes the connection between chemicals used in – and on -crops, and how chemical companies will do anything to suppress the truth that their products are deadly.

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

thought-provoking

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

Probably Erin Brockovich… the film definitely inspired Ranch Exit

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

On and off for ten years, but really concentrating on it for the past three years.

7. How many stories have you written?

Besides Ranch Exit I’ve written another drama and two comedies.

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

Probably “Out Here On My Own” from the 1980 film “Fame”

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

Working a full-time office job (40-60hrs/week), raising two children who are now in college, and trying to spend quality time with my husband of 30 years.

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

Besides my family (husband, two children and our awesome dog), I love all the Colorado outdoor activities (running, skiing, hiking, golfing, gardening). I also see as many movies, musicals and plays as I possibly can.

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

This being my first submission, I’ve found the FilmFreeway site to be a streamlined way to upload my script, and easily build my profile for use on future submissions.

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

The LA Feedback Film Festival caught my eye because I really want as much feedback as possible, and the festival name itself intrigued me. I received in-depth, thoughtful feedback for which I am very grateful. Based on this feedback, I still have a lot of changes to make on Ranch Exit: t’s all about the re-writing!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

An ambitious GMO scientist must convince stubborn owners of an organic ranch to partner with her agro-chemical corporation or risk losing her job, and worse, her reputation.

CAST LIST:

Haughton: Luke Robinson
Lassiter: Scott McCullouch
Cathy: Julie Sheppard
Narrator: Regan Brown
Isabel: Vanessa Quagliara
Marcus: Daniel Jones
Lala: Cassandra Guthrie

Interview with Screenwriter Jax Smith & Helene Taylor (DISCORD)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Jax Smith & Helene Taylor: A prodigy pianist with misophonia (extreme sound sensitivity) becomes unhinged when she interviews with a sexually predatory Music Director.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama.

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

With women’s empowerment movements such as Time’s Up elevating consciousness about obstacles women encounter daily, both in their personal and professional lives, ​Discord​ seeks to highlight one such situation of employment disparity within the realm of classical music.

DISCORD ultimately asks the question: How out of harmony with herself does a woman have to fall, to stay in tune with a male conducted workforce?
An experience, undoubtedly, far too many women will find relatable.
4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Uncomfortable and timely.

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

Together? We’ve seen none, lol. Clearly we need a movie date soon.

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

Jax: Off and on, for a year and a half.
Helene: A weekend.
Jax: …
Jax: Clearly one of us is more committed.

7. How many stories have you written?

Together? About four officially, but about a billion half-baked ones according to our texts & notes apps on our phones.

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

Together? Anything vinyl. Because we want you to think we’re cool like that (not hipster cool, but cool).

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

You actually don’t want the answer to this question, it will get far too dark for this interview.

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

Jax: Nothing and no one.
Helene: Popcorn.

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

It’s been a beneficial tool for our screenwriting goals.

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

We felt DISCORD suited the festival’s ethos and the feedback was helpful and appreciated.
 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

This short is about a female musician putting up with inappropriate advances from a senior male musician in order to secure a job.

CAST LIST:

Server: Daniel Jones
Narrator: Regan Brown
Meastro: Luke Robinson
Jane: Cassandra Guthrie

Interview with Screenwriter Dave Cowzer (SHE KNOWS)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Dave Cowzer: A coming of age, coming out story.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama

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

It’s a story of a family torn apart that figures out how to heal together, despite their differences.

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

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

Star Wars

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

One year

7. How many stories have you written?

1 published novel, a second in production a funded feature lengthy screenplay and several short stories and screenplays.

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

Today’s favourite…Somewhere only we know by Keane

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

The biggest obstacle is finding the time it deserves.

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

Family, friends, environment, sports.

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

Very good so far.

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

It caught my attention on filmfreeway.

Watch the Winning Reading: 

Having “that conversation” is not easy for a traditional father and his alternative son…

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Regan Brown
Malcom: Scott McCullouch
Kevin: Daniel Jones

Interview with Filmmaker Ignacio Lasierra Pinto (FIRST COMMUNION)

FIRST COMMUNION was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY and BEST PERFORMANCES at the January 2020 European Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ignacio Lasierra Pinto: I wanted to make a film that opened certain moral issues and did not necessarily offer an answer. I guess like everything I’ve shot, it was out of necessity. The need to tell this story.

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

I wrote the script for “First Communion” in 2011. Since then, I haven’t stopped thinking about it. For years I was rewriting to improve it. Finally, I spent a year looking for adequate financing to be able to roll it well. Since I shot the short, it was another half year in post-production. It has been a long process, but it was worth it.

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

A short film that invites you to ask questions and offers few answers. I would also say that it is a short film that can be morally uncomfortable.

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

The main obstacle was finding the truth in the eyes of a girl. Luckily, we found her in Andrea Fandos. Andrea had never acted in anything before. Now she is a young actress with a promising future. She has a lot of talent, spontaneity and freshness. And she has truth in her eyes.

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

I loved seeing how the public has appreciated our short film from so far away. Although thousands of kilometers separate us and that we culturally belong to different places, I am surprised to see how universal issues transcend borders and countries. It has been a great experience to hear the opinions. As if we had been there!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It was after watching “The Communicants” by Ingmar Bergman. Hence the title. Although the story has nothing to do with it, the viewing of Bergman’s film questioned me in such a way that I needed to write almost in response to what the film had caused in me. It was the starting point. That and wondering what would happen in a family where two very different positions regarding God could be confronted at a time as delicate as the death of a loved one.

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

I recognize that perhaps the one that has marked me the most and that I usually visit once a year is “12 Angry Men” (Sidney Lumet, USA, 1957). Although the one I may have seen the most time, for having grown up with it, is Jurassic Park (Steven Spielberg, USA, 1993). The first time I saw it, I was 9 years old and since then it has fascinated me. I grew up with that film!

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

As a filmmaker, such a platform exists is essential. Thanks to FilmFreeway, you have the opportunity to show your work on the other side of the world. And to get that work to the public.

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

I usually listen to the same groups and I like very different music. At times I listen more to one type of music or another. I could not say which. I am quite eclectic musically and I recognize that I like almost all musical styles.

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

I am currently preparing a feature film project. The trip I’m about to start is long term, so hopefully it will be next. I do not know if before filming this film I will shoot another film or not. What I do hope is that it will be soon. For a filmmaker, there is nothing better than a shoot!

Interview with Filmmakers Madeline Graham & Christopher Whiteside (VIOLET)

VIOLET was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the January 2020 LGBT Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Madeline Graham & Christopher Whiteside: Same sex marriage has only recently become legal in Northern Ireland and we felt that it was important to give voice to the people who have overcome (or may still face) a difficult journey towards equal rights. Violet’s message is about how important it is to have self-acceptance and it’s a universal one.

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

The script was written all the way back in 2013 by our good friend Ross Johnston, who received script development from Film 4 (a UK based television channel) as a reward for a short film competition. We embarked upon the project in 2018 as the film’s context was shockingly still relevant.

The shoot took two days but the crowd funding campaign and script development took several months. None of this would have been possible without the support of our backers who raised the films budget on Indiegogo.

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

Tragic Love

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

A storm hit Northern Ireland during production so we had to reschedule a lot of outdoor scenes. Stuart Drennan, our Executive Producer and Lia Campbell, our First Assistant Director, were amazing and made sure that everything went smoothly on set.

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

Pure delight! We always appreciate hearing feedback and we see our audience as co creators of the film’s meaning. We are happy to see that Violet has relevance and has resonance with people outside Northern Ireland.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The script was written by Ross and we felt compelled to tell his story because of its powerful message. We connected with Violet and Tanya and wanted to be allies of the LGBT community, to tell a coming of age story in a different way that people won’t have seen before. The horror elements were very important in communicating that self-disgust and internal struggle and the imagery was crying out to us be brought to the screen.

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

Christopher: Jurassic Park

Madeline: Toy Story

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

It’s easy, hassle free and we appreciate the gold member incentives.

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

Christopher: Feeling Good – Muse

Madeline: Life on Mars? – David Bowie

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

Soulless corporate commercials. Just kidding, hopefully something strange and beautiful. We want to make another short this year, paving the way to feature films, that’s the dream.