Interview with director Lisa Baron & Writer/Actor Malin Barr (HEDDA NEEDS HELP)

HEDDA NEEDS HELP was the winner of BEST FILM at the November 2017 Female Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lisa & Malin: We (Co-Writer/Lead, Malin Barr & Co-Writer/Director, Lisa Baron) both really wanted to create a short film that made people laugh, that showed that inner-hustle of a young artist in the city and also, that spoke to how we’ve perceived female sexuality on Film & TV. Female sexuality is often looked at as a woman’s super-power, able to seduce and fix any problem, but our realities and Hedda’s realities are much different. We wanted to bring something lighthearted and fun that could say all that, in 14 minutes.

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

The film was written, funded through a, about $12,000 Kickstarter campaign, and shot, within an 11-month time period. We exited post-production at 15-months.

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

Desperately Charming.

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

Post-production for us was the most challenging part, because we really wanted to make certain festival deadlines and we had to move though the process very quickly. We had to go rely on intuition to make decisions rather than having the opportunity to play and view different options. In general, for any filmmaker, finalizing a cut, or making a decision on something that you know you could perfect for weeks, we imagine those things will always be hard. As somewhat new filmmakers, we struggled with that, definitely. Regardless, we finished with something we really love and made our deadlines. There’s something really reassuring in knowing that we are able to do that as well.

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

It was really great to receive feedback, especially since people seemed to enjoy the film! Of course, that feels good. It was also really rewarding to hear that the audience liked Hedda and was on her side though her motives and actions, because our biggest note in our first draft was creating a more likeable character, given the dark nature of our plot. After hearing the feedback, it feels like we accomplished that goal!

Watch Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The early drafts of Hedda Needs Help were first written by Malin [Barr], and was inspired by a friend’s story about a dog-sitter in NYC. Lisa [Baron] started on as a Co-Writer after a mutual friend urged that we had similar senses of humor. Which we found to be very true and we had so much fun co-writing this film.

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

What a fun question!

Lisa: Unfortunately, “The Goonies”, which is a movie I hate. The beauty of attending a small public high school was that every Friday before any Holiday break the teachers had the right to completely give up and play a somewhat neutral movie for the entire day. It’s socially acceptable. GREAT! Except, teachers don’t gather before to plan the programming for the day, like the good Film Festival that it essentially was. It ended up being “The Goonies” on repeat for basically every period, for every holiday, for many years. One time we watched, “El Rey Leon” in Spanish. That’s probably why I ended up studying Spanish in college.

Malin: I think I have to say ‘The Wizard of OZ’. I love that film, but it was also one of the only films I had on VHS growing up and it was of course the favourite as the other one was’ Winnie the Pooh’. In adult life, I believe ‘Amélie’ is one of the films I’ve watched the most times.

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

We liked FilmFreeway a lot, as new filmmakers, we felt it was easy, tracked our submissions well and you can upload everything you’d send to any festival right there. We’d use it again.

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

Lisa: The Animals – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood
Malin: Oh man, tough one.. I’ll say Coldplay ‘ Yellow’

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

For Hedda Needs Help, we will have a NYC screening in the Spring, but as for after Hedda, we’re both working on new scripts right now, so hopefully we will see everyone again at your festival in the future! Malin is also acting in a couple of other films coming up, just finished two short films, and a TV series. We’re both excited for the New Year!!


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