Brooke Goldfinch’s short film RED ROVER played at the Sci-Fi Short Film Festival in September 2016 to amazing success.
It was an honor to interview her and talk about her experiences making the film and what’s next for her:
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Brooke Goldfinch: The first scene of Red Rover was an idea I’d had for a very long time. Essentially we’re seeing people doing something very normal – having a dinner party- but there’s something sinister in the way they do it and the audience can’t shake the feeling they’re not understanding something. It wasn’t until years later that I had a disturbing dream about the end of the world and I felt compelled to put that scene on paper. I think the end of the world genre is fascinating because it allows filmmakers to address really big, universal themes and I saw an opportunity to tell this oft told story in a different way.
MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
BG: From script to shoot was really fast, probably around eight weeks. Then we had no money for post-production so the project stalled for a while. Screen Australia came to the rescue and then everything happened quickly. I’d say it probably took a year all up.
MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?
BG: Oh God!
MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
BG: At times it felt like the shoot was cursed. On day one our picture vehicle exploded, we lost our location and then we got lost trying to find the new location. When we finally arrived, we had to film the most climactic scene of the movie while people were doing their laundry. We even had a typhoon, which I think is fairly rare in upstate New York. There were times I thought we wouldn’t get the film made but my cast and crew rallied together and stood by me and I will always be grateful to them for their courage in the face of really terrible luck. We also had a lot of amazing locals come to the rescue, including the waiters at Dos Amigos, Wurtsboro, who lent us their truck for a week with no charge.
MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
BG: I was really scared to watch the feedback but found the experience very rewarding and elucidating. It’s rare that an emerging filmmaker gets to hear back from an audience in such a raw way. It was interesting to hear people’s perspectives on the film, which seemed quite varied. I loved the woman who said it made her think about whether it might be better to live 80 minutes rather than 80 years if you were happy. I also laughed when one audience member said they thought the central characters were cousins. Maybe I compromised clarity for the sake of suspense a little too much.
MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
BG: It’s hard to say where ideas come from. Growing up in a religious community and losing my faith as a teenager had a big impact on me and has influenced my work. I envisioned the opening scene of Red Rover many years ago but when I saw Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, the idea came back to me. I loved that film but wanted desperately to know what was happening in the town. What were ordinary people in that world doing? I guess this film is an answer to that question in a way.
MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?
BG: Probably ‘Goodfellas’. I’m a big Scorsese fan.
MT: What is next for you? A new film?
BG: I’m currently writing my first feature, Splitters, which we’re planning on shooting sometime next year. If you’re interested, please follow us on facebook at facebook.com/splittersthemovie. We’re going to be taking our followers from preproduction to the red carpet, with insights and tidbits about the process.
Also, Red Rover will be available on Short of the Week on October 20th so if you liked it, please share it!
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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 http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.