Interview with director Hank Isaac (LILAC)

LILAC played to rave reviews at the January 2018 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Hank Isaac: Lilac started out as a pretty mellow Disney-esque concept which I felt was too “light.” So I rewrote it as a somewhat grittier version, overlaid with the Robin Hood theme. This particular version was my response to the increasing number of children who were committing violent acts on one another.

My idea was to create a character who certainly could hurt of kill but makes a conscious choice not to. The underlying theme is: It’s not always necessary to annihilate one’s enemy to win the war.

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

Well, the “idea” percolated for nearly two years. I wrote two drafts of the screenplay over about a month or two. The actual filming took four very long days.

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

Tough love.

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

Always financing. Always. Editing was easy since we filmed with two cameras. There’s only one mistake that I spotted. CG and compositing were difficult. We did not have the best tools and had to create a ton of workarounds.

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

I was kind of sorry that one person was confused toward the last half (or third) and another felt the dialogue was childish and the acting unprofessional.

Elora, who plays the title character, has already won six international awards and has been nominated for five more. The screenplay alone has won awards. I do love that one audience member actually “got” the adult/child reversal of rolls.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wanted to create a role model who is a true super hero but not a super hero with mythological powers. Lilac’s “super power” is her uncanny marksmanship. Her “weakness” is her blindness over the fact she’s getting in way over her head. I also wanted to create a story which could appeal to a broad family audience without being too simplistic or cutesy. One that could deal with real issues.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

The original “Time Machine.”

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

FilmFreeway is fabulous. As well, their staff is responsive and open to suggestions.

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

April Love by Pat Boone. Has a special significance for this old guy here.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I’m constantly working on new projects. We’ve actually created detailed outlines for the remaining 12 episodes of Lilac. All we need is someone with full deep pockets who loves the concept as much as we do.

Seriously, though, I have several TV series and features in the works


By matthewtoffolo

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


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