Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Erlend Bjelland: I’ve always been a huge Star Wars fan and it’s probably the films that originally got me into film making. I had recently gotten my girlfriend the lightsaber prop and thought, “I bet I could light an entire film with this lightsaber”. From there I began brainstorming and that eventually led to ‘Star Wars: Trials’.
From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
I was doing nothing but working on this film for probably a solid two months. Doing several camera tests with the saber to make sure we could in fact light this whole thing with the prop. All together I spent about 40 hours rotoscoping the lightsaber effect in each shot frame by frame.
How would you describe your short film in two words!?
What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
For this project it was definitely the music. Trying to find something that wasn’t specifically Star Wars but could get you general mood of the film and the setting was tough. I went though several different versions and at one point had just a slowed down version of the Imperial March.
What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Elated! I loved being able to see everyone’s feedback and thoughts. It’s great to see people understand and figure things out about the film that I wanted them too.
How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
Part of the lore of Star Wars has always been the Trials that the Padawans must do before becoming a Jedi Knight and we’ve never been able to see that. And at one point our main character was a Jedi. Then I thought that it would be a lot more interesting if the audience (because of the name and the color of the lightsaber) only thought they were seeing a Jedi but who turned out to be not only a darkside user but Vader’s new apprentice. I thought it would be a really cool reveal if we could pull it off.
What film have you seen the most in your life?
That’s a tough one! Probably Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back or one of the Indiana Jones films. (Not Crystal Skull
You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
So far I have nothing but good things to say about Film Freeway. They make the process super easy and convenient.
What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Another tough one. The songs I listen too most are normally tied to a good music video. Probably Hurt by Johnny Cash.
What is next for you? A new film?
I currently do a lot of work and help out with a production company called Wages of Cine. I’m about to start production as Cinematographer on one of their short films and then later in the year will be Directing a short horror film for them as well.
STAR WARS: TRIALS, 5min, USA, Action/Adventure
Directed by Jeremy Garcia
Rowan awakes in the dark depths of a cave with nothing but her lightsaber. As she navigates the dark environment she learns she may not be alone.
CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!