Interview with Filmmaker Veronique Vanblaere (BOTTOMLESS)

Veronique Vanblaere’s short film “Bottomless” played at the August 2016 Animation FEEDBACK FIlm Festival. It’s a documentary meets comedy meets animated work that both funny and heart warming. Terrific film.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Veronique Vanblaere: My good friend and filmmaker Jen West and I have really fast conversations. We do not see each other as often as we’d like to as we live in different towns, but when we do, we cover a lot of ground in just a few hours, ideas burst out! Sometimes, we meet in different cities: while she was doing a screenwriter residency in North Carolina, the idea of collaborating her talent and knowledge as a filmmaker with my artwork was born over in the tiny town of Wilmington. We met again in Miami a year later and decided to make the project a reality.

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

VV: 2 years.

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

VV: Cultural clash.

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

VV: Funding. I spent quite a bit of money on festival applications and traveling to the festivals. I sold all the originals drawings of the films and many prints to finance the Cannes trip. It takes creativity and time. The film itself however was mostly put together by trading artwork in return for services.

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

VV: I got to be a fly on the wall. Seeing and hearing people talking about my film while I could not be there was not only a “voyeuristic” treat, but provided fantastic constructive feedback on my work. I do not know of a festival that provides this type of experience for their filmmakers.

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

VV: I actually had a completely different story in mind at first, but once I started writing it , it took its own life and changed into Bottomless.
At that time I was planing to tell a story about my experience of moving from one culture to another, with all its misunderstandings and miscommunications at a “Moth” type of event, but the event did not happen, then, when I started drawing the storyboard, came the idea of turning that story into my film.

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

VV: My dad had a TV and VCR repair shop in Belgium in the seventies, we were the first on the block to get a VCR. We never went to the cinema. But had an extensive collection of video tapes, which I watched over and over and could recite along. My favorite were the De Funès like La folie des grandeur and La grande vadrouille.

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

VV: I am never out of ideas, and I have several for more films, but I am also very busy between my visual art, running an art gallery, being a cycling activist, a world traveler and having a very social life, so making another film happen will all depend of having a producer that is as determined as Jen West was for Bottomless.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of BOTTOMLESS:

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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 Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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