Interview with director Sofia Vyshnevetska (CONFESSION)

Sofia Vyshnevetska’s short film CONFESSION was the winner of “Best Cinematography” at the Los Angeles April 2017 Female Film Festival. It was an honor chatting with the talented director who is on the rise.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sofia Vyshnevetska: Throughout the world more than 2,000 children are reported missing each day. Unfortunately, one of the reasons why it happens is because there is a lack of vigilance. This can cost parents the life of their child. Promoting this topic through media will help to reduce the quantity of missing children as a reminder to be aware of their child’s surroundings. This is what has motivated me to make this film, to promote awareness.

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

This film was a class project and it took one month from writing a story to locking it onto a screen in post production.

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

Everything pays-off.

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

The lead prop in the film was the biggest obstacle. The doll was supposed to be created by an artist from Chicago, but two weeks before our shoot, the artist got injured so I had to order a new doll with a Ukrainian artist. It was a risk that the prop might not be done on time, or would arrive on time, since it was being shipped internationally. Any delay with flight delivery would have definitely affected this film. Since it was a school project we weren’t allowed to move our shooting days. The doll arrived one and a half days before the day of shooting its scenes.

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

Similarly in film school, I accept constructive criticism or feedback. However, the difference is that at the film festival the film is already completed and you can’t change anything to improve story using the helpful information from what audience says. But I listened to the feedback at the festival and took it in as a lesson for my future projects. I was very excited to hear all thoughts from people at the festival!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

My personal connection to the topic inspired me to write this story.

In my native country, Ukraine, during the 1990’s, many children were kidnapped and their organs were sold.

When I was 7 years old I was sitting at my ballet school after my class was done and was waiting for my mother to take me home. My teacher didn’t want to wait much longer, and since I remembered how to get home, she sent me on my way.

I felt so much pride and independence walking home by myself. I chose a short solitary way. The path was laid through bushes and abandoned buildings.

In one moment from behind I heard a car engine sound, that was following me as I was walking. I heard it stop and a woman talked to me. She came out from the car and suggested to look at the doll that was inside. Her driver was watching through the window with readiness to drive in any moment. I kept walking, as my mother always was strict about talking with strangers. When her walk became much faster than mine, I started to run. She screamed something on Gipsy to the driver and ran after me. I don’t remember what I was feeling in that short moment, but clearly my thoughts were about the possibility of never seeing my mother again.

Two women from afar rescued me when they saw what was happening. They ran towards me. Their loud scream stopped the Gipsy woman and she rushed back to the car.

My life-savers called the police and by our descriptions that couple was under the criminal investigation department from another part of Ukraine for kidnapping children and selling their organs.

The reason why my mother did not come for me was because she was hospitalized that day. And that day is still the worst day for her as she could have lost her daughter.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a hard question to answer. I really love and have re-watched Martin Scorsese’s films many times. However, one film that has really affected me was the recent science fiction film “I am Legend.” Although it’s a lot different from the Scorsese films, I loved the script as well as the technical parts of the film. Every time I watch it, I discover new things and always enjoy it.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

About three years ago I was writing a feature script called “Silence”. It’s about the German invasion of Ukrainian villages in 1942 during World War II. In the script, a young German soldier is sent to search the houses and look for anyone hidden there. He finds a piano in one of the houses and starts to play. As he plays Beethoven’s “Silence” on the old out of tune piano, a little Jewish girl is hiding in the lower deck of the instrument. I listened to this composition over and over as I wrote the script and the song has become a very special part of my life. It means a lot to me.

What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently working on a documentary about the legal and illegal cat and dog meat industry. The film will address the cruelty and violence as well as the political aspects that affect Russia,Taiwan, China and even America. In addition, the film will cover the serious health concerns, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, the kidnapping of animals and interviews with those for and against the practice.

confession_2

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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.

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