Interview with Actor/Screenwriter Jovanna Burke (THE TRAP)

Jovanna Burke’s THE TRAP played to rave reviews at the October 2016 ACTION/CRIME Short Film Festival. It was the winner of “Best Overall Performances” at the festival.

It was a pleasure sitting down and chatting with her about the film and what’s next for the very talented actor turned writer turned upcoming director!

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jovanna Burke: Adam (director of the film) and I wanted to collaborate on a project together. Adam wanted to make a cool neo-noir but needed an idea. I said I could come up with something cool, so I wrote the story. He wrote the screenplay. I played the actress. He directed. It was a great collaboration.

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

JB: It took us about a year, when all was said and done.

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

JB: Noir thriller.

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

JB: To be honest, it was the final colour correction. The colour of the film was a really important element in giving it that true NEO-NOIR style. We unfortunately, had to scrap the entire first go, which set our timeline back by a lot. But once we found the right people to do it, it was smooth sailing!

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

JB: We were all so happy and proud! It was so awesome to hear everyone’s reactions and to see that the twists really affected everyone like we wanted them to. Our team (our fabulous producers: Lawra Robertson, Phillip Nee Nee and Andrew Burke… and of course Adam and I) spent a lot of time really carving out all the moments and working with the script to make sure everything would work. We poked holes in every single scenario to make sure it was bullet proof. It is truly superb to see the reactions after putting the puzzle pieces together.

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

JB: I’ve always loved the film noir movement. I had an obsession with the genre and have seen most of the films and broken them down, studied them and I even hosted an evening of “Noir” where I wrote monologues and other actors performed scenes from famous films. So when Adam said neo-noir…all my creative juices just started flowing. I wrote the story in a few days, it essentially wrote itself with all the info I had stored in my brain from my noir obsession.

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

JB: Oh gosh…I have kids so likely a whole lot of Disney these days. Lol. But the ones that are always on repeat are my classic favorites: Double Indemnity, Amelie, The Princess Bride, The Royal Tenenbaums, North by Northwest, Dirty Dancing and Charade.

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

JB: Yes, I am just in re-writes on a new film, one that I plan on directing this time. (I’m excited and terrified all at once) So hopefully when it gets made, I will be able to screen it for you and the audiences in Toronto again!!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of THE TRAP:

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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