Interview with Filmmaker Philippe Woodtli (ACROPHOBIA)

acrophobia_movie_poster.jpgACROPHOBIA played at the April 2016 FEEDBACK Film Festival to rave reviews. It was a pleasure sitting down with the filmmaker.

Interview with Philippe Woodtli:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Philippe Woodtli: We where hired to make a commercial for a clothing brand. So we shot that footage for them.

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

PW: It took us about 4-6 months in total to finish the film. The actual shooting was almost the shortest part of it.

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

PW: Thoughtful & Motivational

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

PW: To get the shots we wanted as we had really only a few jumps that we could film. We had 2 Days to film the jumps (which sounds a lot). But you can only make 2-3 jumps a day, so it makes it rather challenging.

Also the jumps are only a few seconds. Then you have to wait several hours to get the next exit on camera.

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

PW: First I got goosebumps.

It’s amazing to see people from the other side of the planet that are watching our movie and enjoying it.

Then I was amazed seeing the different reactions. That some thought it’s a parody or the cure for Acrophobia. I’m always impressed on the different views and approaches that different people have. And on the different mindsets and how exactly the same thing is interpreted and analyzed in totally different ways.

For me that’s the beauty of filmmaking. You can have an idea on how people will react to it, but you can’t be sure until they have seen the film. Which makes it really interesting.

MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

PW: We made this as a commercial film… but it was missing something.

On the first day of shooting, we have been standing at the exit point where they jump of the cliff. So we where filming close to the edge without rig or parachute.

Then we wanted to make a beautiful shot against the sun. For that, we asked Martijn Maas to step towards the exit point and stand there so we could make our shot.

He declined. So i thought that it must be my english. I asked him again and he said no again. Which was totally fine for us. As we never film anything that the actor doesn’t want to do. A couple of hours later we have been sitting at the table for dinner when Martijn came over. He told us that he was really impressed how we handle the cameras on the rocks and that we are crazy to stand there without parachute. That’s when he told us that he had Acrophobia.

It was only a couple of month later when Keith Partridge (famous filmmaker) suggested that this footage might need a voice over to make it better. Which gave me the idea to tell Martijn’s story.

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

PW: I don’t know. Probably Star Wars 4-6 (the originals). I watch so many movies all the time (to get inspired…)

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

PW: We are currently working on 2 new projects which we want to send into the festivals. One is about a women that got a shoulder implant/replacement and is going back to skydive/BASE jump. The other is about Kitesurfing and to explore the known instead of flying to the edge of the world.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK for ACROPHOBIA:


Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

By matthewtoffolo

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


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