Interview with filmmaker Rian Smith (Robbie the Rabbit)

Rian Smith’s short film “Robbie the Rabbit” played at the September 2015 WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival to rave reviews. The audience loved this simple yet complicated story of two childhood friends, a tragic event, and a boy’s obsession with Rabbits.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of ROBBIE THE RABBIT:

I recently interviewed director Rian Smith:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was told that there was money to be made in short films. I was misinformed.

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

It took about 4-5 months to make, but took 6-7 years off the end of my life.

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

Touchingly weird.

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

Assembling the crew. I had never even seen most of the crew beforehand, as all my crew regulars were on different projects. It was a take-what-you-can-get scenario, and strangely what we got turned out to be some of the best going. Very lucky.

5. Tone-wise, this is a very tough film to pull off because we have to be 100% convinced by your twist ending. Which we are. How, why and where did you come up with this idea for a short film?

A drunken joke. My producer Finbarr Crotty came into college hungover, and was talking about a drink-fuelled idea he had about a boy who wants to be a rabbit. All I did was ask myself ‘why?’ and the film came from there. Not quite an apple falling from a tree, but I’ll take what I can get.

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

Right before any audience sees my film I immediately think that I’m a fraud and the film is terrible and that I’ll be chased through the streets with pitchforks and tax increases. So, I was relieved that they actually engaged with the film, that’s all I ask.

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

The Departed, which I feel really shows in Robbie the Rabbit.

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

I’ve started writing short plays. I’ve been told that’s where the money is.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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