Interview with Director Magali Barbe (Award Winning Film STRANGE BEASTS)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

STRANGE BEASTS was awarded “Best Film” at the Festival. 

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Magali Barbe: I’m a visual artist in a first place but what I really want is to tell stories. I was in a place where I was probably creatively frustrated, and I felt it was about time I’d write my own project. When I got this idea, I knew I’d need a bit of help, so I presented it to a few friends, then friends of friends, etc… I started to gather a crew. The fact people were getting involved, knowing there was no pay (it’s a self funded project), it meant a lot to me. I was feeling responsible to really make it happen, and to make the best short film I could.

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

One year. But I was working full time, as a VFX animator, at the same time as working on my short. So I was limited to evenings and week-ends. At some point, as I couldnt handle everything, I’ve quit my job and spent about 2 months full time on it.

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

It has to be three! Because it’s three acts/emotions: Excitement. Doubt. Melancholia.

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

As it was a self-funded project, it was really hard to be demanding when you know you can’t afford to pay people. The shoot was only a day and a half, but the post-production was a long run. And people have a life, and a job… I was feeling guilty, but I still had to chase people and keep the project going. Anyway, it all ended well, but I really hope I don’t have to experience this again!

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

I thought: There’s people talking about my short film, in a cinema room, so far away from here (I live in London) but it felt they’re really close. It was great.

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

Technologies is one of those things I like to read about, think about, talk about… There’s a mix of fear and fascination for it… That’s what I’ve tried to express in my short.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I usually don’t watch a movie twice, but I’ve probably watched Porco Rosso (Miyazaki) three or four times. I just love it. It’s funny, and poetic, and melancholic… And pretty unique I think.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I’m not sure, it’s the first time I use it. I find it pretty handy, overal.

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

‘Cries and whispers’, Li Jee Soo, from the Old Boy soundtrack.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes. I am currently developping another short, with a production company/studio called QUAD. I am also writing a feature out of ‘Srange Beasts’. The short film has been seen by the right people, and I now have representation (UTA), who got me to meet with lots of producers and studios (Hollywood and London). And those people are waiting for a good script, so… let’s write something good! 😉


STRANGE BEASTS, 5min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Magali Barbe‘Strange Beasts’ is an augmented reality game. It allows you to create and grow your own ‘pet’. How far can it go?

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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