The Holographic Fantasies Of Edward Nygma: An Analysis Of Batman Forever — Fantasy Merchant

Fantasy/Sci-Fi FILM & WRITING FESTIVAL

My dreams are coming to me when I’m awake now… –Bruce Wayne 1995’s Batman Forever, directed by Joel “The Number 23” Schumacher, is one of the weirdest superhero movies you will ever see. It’s all about trauma and mind-control—you know, something for the kids and the Happy Meals!

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‘Onward’ to Mediocrity – Movie Review — Greggo Movie Rants

Fantasy/Sci-Fi FILM & WRITING FESTIVAL

Like many, I was enticed by the trailer for Pixar’s Onward (2020), hoping it would be a return to form for the animation studio by wrapping a heartwarming story in an interesting and well built world. However, the unfortunate truth is that Onward is yet another underwhelming release from a studio that lost its golden touch, and […]

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Interview with Filmmaker Samuel Douek (JUS + LIKE ME)

JUS + LIKE ME was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2020 LGBT Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Samuel Douek: Tom Falck the producer approached me about making a film about Phil Dzwonkiewicz, the HIV activist who was competing in Mr Gay UK 2018 and was starting an HIV awareness campaign in a new era of complacency around AIDS given the rise in anti-retroviral treatment and it was an opportunity i couldn’t refuse combining my background in documentary filmmaking and my investment in the LGBTQ+ community.

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

I first met Phil and conducted several amazing interviews in late August. We then planned a 4 day shoot across three weekend in September / October where we would travel to his family home on the coast, see him in action volunteering, and counting down to the deadline of hosting a panel discussion and a fundraising event where he would launch his campaign. We went straight into the edit throughout November and the film premiered on World Aids Day on 1st December 2018

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

HIV Awareness

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

Wanting to sensitively capture someone’s personal experience of contracting and living with HIV without victimising them. We have come along was since the panic of the early 80s AIDS epidemic and life expectancy of people living with the virus is the same as anyone else. It was important for me for this not to be a film that induces pity but one that empowers and supports the HIV community.

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

It was emotional for me to see the feedback video! Especially watching people across the pond. It’s heartwarming to know that people can engage with the story internationally and that everyone can empathise with Phil’s experience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Tom Falck the producer was the initial brain behind the idea but was very supportive of my ideas. For me, i wanted this to be a docu-fantasy, blurring the lines between real life and performance. Phil is a dancer and dance became a central visual theme that helped capture the emotion of the story.

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

I’ve watched Terry Gilliam’s Brazil about 7000 times.

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

It’s a fantastic platform. Filmmaking is such a time consuming process and to have every festival in one place makes submitting to various events easy!

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

According to Spotify, Ariana Grande – God is a Woman

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

I have just finished another short docu-fantay called STONEWALL 2069 that looks 50 years into forward to ask what will the queer future look like? It was made in honour of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots and will come out on BBC iplayer soon! I am also working on a bunch of music videos and my first narrative short which is a dark LGBTQ+ comedy.

Interview with Filmmaker Daniel John Harris (NOW AND NOT YET)

NOW AND NOT YET was the winner of BEST FILM at the November 2019 Chicago FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO MAKE THIS FILM?

Daniel John Harris: When thinking about what to do for my next short film, there were a lot of ideas swirling around my head. A lot of non-starters, though.
To clear out the noise, I thought about doing something that I felt
was important. Gun violence and some of the myths surrounding gun
culture came first. It’s hard not tho think about that when
mass-shootings make the news almost every day. It’s sad to think about
it, but I fear this short will be relevant for some time. Hopefully,
though, it won’t.

2. FROM THE IDEA TO THE FINISHED PRODUCT, HOW LONG DID IT TAKE FOR YOU
TO MAKE THIS SHORT?

I do most of my writing in my head while running, so I hopped on a
treadmill and when I got off 45 minutes later, I had the story ironed
out. It was written quickly, shared, re-written after my partners
weighed in on their thoughts, and we shot it 6 weeks later in one
night. Another 6 weeks after that, the movie was completely finished.
So, start to finish it came about very, very quickly.

3. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SHORT FILM IN TWO WORDS!?

Harsh reality.

4. WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE YOU FACED IN COMPLETING THIS FILM?

Surprisingly, we didn’t hit any major obstacles. The only thing that
sticks out was casting. Upon writing the script I knew who I wanted to
play for most of the parts, but I didn’t have anyone for the lead. We
held auditions, and thankfully we found Bryson. I cannot understate
how luck we were to book him. He is amazingly talented and has the
audience in his grasp from minute one. It’s hard to think the movie
would be as good without him.

5. WHAT WERE YOUR INITIAL REACTIONS WHEN WATCHING THE AUDIENCE TALKING
ABOUT YOUR FILM IN THE FEEDBACK VIDEO?

What’s great about the Feedback Festival is that the audience doesn’t
know the filmmakers are there. It isn’t like a normal film festival
Q&A where the filmmakers are dragged up front. They are hidden, in the
crowd, and I think this results in the audience responding more
freely. This is mildly terrifying, because the responses won’t be
watered down with a sense of politeness. They are going to be more
honest, more harsh, thinking the filmmakers aren’t there. Fortunately
for me, the audience responded positively. They understood the movie’s
themes and had wonderful insight. I felt a lot better when it was
done!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR THIS SHORT FILM?

Motivation aside, I knew I could only make a movie with the resources
on hand. I started with the location. I’d known the owner of the
corner store for some time and was confident we could book it. Then I
started to think about certain actors I’d been dying to work with
(Caitlin and John), and how they would best fit. Everything flowed
from there. So essentially it was a combination of theme and
resources.

7. WHAT FILM HAVE YOU SEEN THE MOST IN YOUR LIFE?

Probably Star Wars. I’ve been watching that pretty regularly since I
was 4.

8. YOU SUBMITTED TO THE FESTIVAL VIA FILMFREEWAY, WHAT ARE YOU
FEELINGS OF THE SUBMISSION PLATFORM FROM A FILMMAKER'S
PERSPECTIVE?

I’m a big fan of Film Freeway. It does a lot of the heavy lifting and
makes finding and submitting to festivals extremely easy.

9. WHAT SONG HAVE YOU LISTENED TO THE MOST TIMES IN YOUR LIFE?

Oh, it’s a tie between any number of Springsteen’s songs.

10. WHAT IS NEXT FOR YOU? A NEW FILM?

I’m currently editing a short film that shot by my long-time
cinematographer Chris Murphy, called _Unclaimed_, directed by TW
Miller. It’s my first time editing a fictional narrative that I didn’t
also direct, so it will be fun. There are a few scripts, including a
feature, idling on the runway, so we’ll see if any of them take off.

Interview with Filmmaker Melissa Lane (SEX + ICE CREAM)

SEX + ICE CREAM played to rave reviews at the February 2020 Chicago Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Melissa Lane: I’ve always loved making short documentaries. So I knew I wanted to find a really interesting person to profile for my next project. I found Nicole on Instagram and initially fell in love with her aesthetic. But I officially decided to make a documentary about her after I realized how open she was about dealing with struggles in her life as well as mental health. She exuded so much joy and vulnerability simultaneously and that was really intriguing for me as a person and as a filmmaker.

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

It took about a full week to shoot. But it took about a year to edit. I was really struggling with how to make the story and the visuals flow in such a short amount of time. I had to step away from the project for a few months because I was getting so in my own head about it. I went through about 23 different versions of the edit before everything fell into place.

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

Colorful acceptance!

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

There were a lot of other interesting aspects to Nicole’s story. I had a really hard time deciding what would make the final film and what had to be cut. She just had so many amazing things to say and so many other challenges she’s faced in her life and I wanted to include them all. But in the end you have to decide what’s going to help progress the story versus what’s going get in the way.

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

I was really happy that people felt like they could relate to the story. I thought it was really funny that people wanted it to be longer since I had stressed out so much about trying to keep it super short.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The opening sequence with all the food really just came to me all at once. I think that was the strongest vision I had for any of the setups. The rest of it just came from getting to know Nicole and letting her story guide the direction of the film.

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

Hmmmm…. Probably “Frances Ha”

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

I thought it was extremely easy. It’s really nice to have all of my assets and submissions organized in one place.

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

I guess it would be “Banshee Beat” by Animal Collective

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

I know this seems random given how fun and colorful Sex + Ice Cream was, but I really love horror film. So it would be cool to make a short horror film some time soon. I also want to start focusing more on my film photography, since a lot of my directing style is inspired by the photos I take.

Interview with Filmmaker Frank Schlichting (Undermine Beneath Canada’s Ghost Towns)

Undermine Beneath Canada’s Ghost Towns was the winner of BEST DOC CHARACTER at the March 2020 Documentary Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Frank Schlichting: It was made to promote what I was doing to get on TV

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

Some of it was from videos I had made on YouTube so several years.

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

Crazy steep!

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

Computers and bureaucracy

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

I thought it was awesome that I could show people thousands of miles away what it was like underground in an abandoned mine.

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

Telus had the contest to make the film so I worked hard to get the funding and basically the film was just an upscale version of what I was doing on YouTube.

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

Apocalypse Now

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

The theme from my YouTube channel we used in the first few years. Into the darkness

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

No I will continue with the YouTube. Of course there is always the chance that the phone will ring someday and some producer asks me to do a project with him. That was the idea of making the film in the first place.

Interview with Filmmaker Kev L. Smith (Taobh Le Taobh)

Taobh Le Taobh played to rave reviews at the February 2020 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kev L. Smith: My next door neighbor, is the artist you see in this film & I really wanted to show what inspired him to create his artworks.

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

1 year

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

Two worlds

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

Finding the time to get it finished

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

It was cool to see how people interpreted the ideas we worked on in the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wanted to try & represent how a landscape inspires an artist to create his work .

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

Litmus – It is a surf film by Adrew Kindfilm – http://www.andrewkidman.com/film/litmus-1996/

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

It is a very convenient way to show finished work.

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

Pale blue eyes – The velvet underground

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

I am currently working on a photo book based on a project I did for a year in 2018 , where I took a picture of the same view of the cliffs of moher for a year. – http://www.kevlsmith.com/daily-cliffs