Interview with George Pogatsia, filmmaker/actor “Family on Board”

George Pogatsia’s short film “Family on Board” played to outstanding reviews from the Toronto FEEDBACK Audience at the November 2015 Film Festival.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of “Family on Board”

Matthew Toffolo: First off, I have to ask….what happened at the end? Did he take off in the car with the family like most of the audience members thought?

George: He leaves in Ms. FREE-MAN’s Audi (Urban dictionary: Audi adj. or v. to leave, or to be leaving).

He takes his brother’s advice. His family is on board with the plan … wait for the feature.

Matthew: What motivated you to make this film?

George: Three things …

1) I lived downtown durring 9/11 & I probably suffered from a degree on PTSD. The towers striking the towers actually woke me from bed.

2) The Joe Horn story in Texas, he saw 2 men breaking into his neighbor’s home & called 911. He told the operator that he’d shoot them if they came on his property & that’s exactly what he did. He did not serve a day in jail. I thought the outcome would be very different in New York.

3) I had a friend that was scheduled to report to prison downtown on 9/11. He got as far as Canal Street & was turned away by police who told him “Not today, call your lawyer and figure it out.” He ended up walking to a Midtown facility to check in. He only served a year. I asked myself “What would he have done if he were facing more time?”

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

George: About three years.

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

George: Thought provoking.

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

George: Cutting it down. We left some good material on the cutting room floor. Tusting the material enough to allow people to feel without telling them how to feel.

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

George: I wanted to create characters that people cared enough about to think about them after they left the theater. I think we accomplished that. I like having the audience “participate” in any art form. If they care enough, here they get a chance to wonder, imagine & write their own ending. I found it funny that the woman who seemed frustrated with the title got the exact reason for it.

Matthew: As the people in the audience stated, you had some heavy hitters in your cast. How did you bring them on board? How were their reactions when they saw the completed film?

George: Thankfully, everyone responded well to the script. Tony Sirico & I have the same manager, he absolutely loves the film, he’s very proud of it. Eric Roberts signed on almost immediately after reading it, he thinks the sky is the limit. Karina Arroyave auditioned & blew everyone away. She a huge supporter, she thinks it’s amazing. I’m sad to say that Matthew Cowles never got a chance to see it, but his wife Christine Baranski thinks it’s beautiful.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

George: Rocky

That would be my answer too!

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

George: I just got cast in a exciting, cutting edge film “Bushwick” starring Dave Bautista & Brittany Snow. I’m developing Family On Board into a feature. John G. Avildsen is slated to direct. I’ll be directing a beautiful short story “Where There is Love There is Life” this winter.

Thanks for your continued support! George Pogatsia

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