Vu Hoang directed the short film Adventure/Western “MARTY: A WILD WEST NEVERLAND”, which was showcased at the Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival in December 2016. The film was awarded “Best Film” at the festival is and easily one of the best short films made in the 2016.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Vu Hoang: I was first inspired to make a film about childhood after I saw the film The 400 Blows in one of my film classes. I then came across two music videos called Hoppípolla and Glósóli by Sigur Rós. It started to make me think about how fast we are all growing up. These videos really gave me such an amazing feeling of nostalgia and made me think a lot about life as a kid. I ultimately wanted to make a film that felt nostalgic while also being adventurous. At the same time I wanted to add some seriousness and dark themes of childhood.
MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take you to make this film?
VH: This short film was originally a concept for a music video, but the project fell through. Which for me deep down, I knew it was meant to be bigger than a music video, so I sought to make this a short film. I held onto the idea for about two years. It took us about 6 months to write, a couple months of Kickstarter, 4 days to shoot it and about 3 months of post-production. Overall, I’d say about 3 years from idea to finished production and about 1 year to make it.
MT: How would you describe your short film in two words?
VH: Kid Western
MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
VH: I would say we had quite a few obstacles, but here are the two big ones.
Our first obstacle was trying to raise $25,000 on Kickstarter for a bunch of unknown filmmakers. It felt like a miracle raising “almost” that amount. We fell about $4000 short, so we funded the rest of it.
The second obstacle was the overall production, we ran into so many issues. The first day our equipment truck broke down 3 hours from our location in Yucca Valley, CA. We had to have someone drive out back towards LA to pick up the camera and we were hours behind schedule. Our cars were getting stuck in the sand, which would stall some of the shoot.The heat made things much more difficult and we had about 25 kids running around the set. The list goes on, but we had an overall ambitious script with only 4 days to shoot, so most of our shots were done in 1-3 takes each. These are some of the many obstacles and I’m still surprised at how we pulled it off. Major props to the amazing cast, crew & parents.
MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Los Angeles audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
VH: The responses of the audience were great. They really broke down the film well and it seemed to resonate with people the way I intended.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:
MT: How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
VH: I would say question #1 answers this question a bit. As I said before, I was influenced by a couple amazing music videos and the classic film The 400 Blows. After familiarizing myself with more westerns, I wanted to make an epic western with all kids. The idea just flowed after the all the nostalgia that came from my influences.
MT: What film have you seen most in your life?
VH: Probably Dark Knight, Goodfellas, and/or Gladiator
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.