Robert Vassie’s short film “BURNT” played at the October 2016 best of HORROR FEEDBACK Short Film Festival.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Robert Vassie: I’d recently moved to London and had been itching to make a new film for a while. London is such a cinematic city, especially at night, so I thought it would make the perfect backdrop. I asked a fellow writer to put together a thriller script for me, as I’ve always been a fan of that genre and wanted to make a film which would keep the audience on the edge of their seat from start to finish.
MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
RV: About four years in total – but it was spread very thinly across that time. At one point there was a gap of almost a year due to people’s availability, which is always a challenge when making a film for very little money.
MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?
RV: Slick, Suspenseful.
MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
RV: Finding dates where everyone was free to film! Even with a skeleton crew, the fact that most scenes required all of the actors to be in the same place at the same time was a logistical nightmare. But strangely enough when I finally pinned everyone down, the key scenes were all shot within a two week period.
MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
RV: I was very pleased that the majority of the feedback was positive. I was especially pleased to hear that people considered the production values to be so high they thought the film had a significant budget – whereas in actual fact there was no budget at all and I produced the film myself for about £2000.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the short film:
MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
RV: The writer who I had approached is also one of my closest friends and so knew the kind of films I liked. I basically gave him a brief with a very loose idea of the kind of things I did and didn’t want to do and let him run with it. It was a really cool process as the script was effectively tailor written for me to direct, which is not something I’d experienced before.
MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?
RV: Probably ‘True Lies’… I’m pretty confident I could quote the entire film if I had to!
MT: What is next for you? A new film?
RV: Absolutely, I’m in pre-production on my next film right now. It’s another short set in London, about a group of Con Artists who are betrayed by one of their own. It has long been an ambition of mine to make a film about Con Artists as there’s something about that profession which I find truly fascinating. I have a terrific script which I’m really looking forward to shooting and I’m also planning on launching a Kickstarter campaign just after Christmas which if successful, will allow me to step the production values up a notch and help make the film as sophisticated as possible.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.