Jane Eakin’s short film “101 Cupcakes” played to great acclaim at the Family FEEDBACK Film Festival in August 2016. The film has many different layers about family, love, and connection through food and the afterlife.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Jane Eakin: I’d just finished making a really intense suspense thriller, which was well received on the festival circuit, so I wanted to turn my hand to making a film that was completely the opposite – life affirming and full of love for a broader audience base. I also wanted to tell a story that my mum would be happy to share with her friends. The idea hit me whilst I was cooking a gazillion cupcakes, and I knew it was going to be my next film.
MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
JE: It took a good year and a half from start to finish. The majority of the time was spent in raising the money. We wanted to make sure that everyone involved got paid, even if the payment was a fraction of what they would normally charge. The turning point in the production came when we found our main location.
I like to say that my dogs helped me find the perfect house. I took them out with me when I went canvassing for a location. I was down to my last flyer, and a woman called out from her garden that she liked my dogs. We got to talking and she ended up showing me around her house. It was perfect.
MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?
JE: Wholesome and heartwarming.
MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
JE: Raising the funds to make the film was definitely the most challenging part. I teamed up with a wonderful producer and we worked on different strategies to help raise the money. We hit upon an idea of creating a competition to help choose the cupcakes that featured in the film and we wrapped this competition up in an indie-go-go campaign. People sent through recipes and I contacted various chefs and personalities to help us judge. We ended up with 9 winning recipes and we combined these, along with behind the scenes shots into a souvenir cookbook that we gave to our contributors.
MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
JE: I was pleased that audience members followed the story and were able to relate it to their own experiences. It was also good to hear areas that could be improved.
MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
JE: This story is a culmination of three real people and their experiences. A friend of mine had been nursing her sick mother for years and needed a break, another friend had just lost her mother suddenly and had disappeared into a cave of grief, and an insane night of cooking where I baked all the cupcake recipes I had in the house and then had to work out what to do with them all. The idea struck me, what if cooking had the power to draw my friend out of her grief? And that became the genesis for the story.
MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?
JE: There are so many great films out there. I’m a great fan of Luc Besson’s work, it’s inventive, he creates fantastic action sequences and always has a sense of humour, Michel Gondry’s style is always eye catching and Steven Spielberg’s films always have heart.
MT: What is next for you? A new film?
JE: I have a number of projects bubbling away. I’m in the process of raising money for a new comedy web series, due to shoot at the end of the year. I have another awesome short suspense thriller that’s almost ready to go, and the project that I’m most proud of is a feature film script that I’ve just finished. It’s an uplifting and beautiful story about the power of love and honouring a loved one’s memories, reminiscent of Cupcakes, but for a teenage audience. It’s very family friendly with a good dash of adventure thrown in. So watch this space!
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of 101 CUPCAKES:
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 2nd to last and last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.