Interview with Filmmaker Derek Frey (GOD CAME ‘ROUND)

GOD CAME ‘ROUND played to rave reviews at the February 2018 ROMANCE FEEDBACK Film Festival on Valentine’s Day in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Derek Frey: I was drawn to creating visuals to the song because the lyrics involved fantastical situations and paranormal elements. As someone that’s always been interested in the paranormal, I loved the confluence of a sci-fi fantasy and a hopeless romantic fantasy. Also, the pairing of Deep Roy (playing a ghost, leprechaun, and alien) with Aiko Horiuchi (who played the evil spirit Kayako in The Grudge 3) was pretty irresistible.

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

I first heard the song and conceived the story during a long-haul flight last April. I reached out to actor Deep Roy a few days later and he agreed to be part of the project immediately. We filmed over 2 days and 2 nights in late May around London, and I finished up the edit by the end of June. From start to finish I think it was the quickest project I have ever been part of.

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

Off-kilter.

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

It ended up being an extremely smooth shoot. There were quite a lot of things that could have gone wrong that fortunately didn’t. Deep was game for anything we threw at him, literally. We had a challenging number of setups and costume changes which kept us on our toes throughout.

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

I was certainly nervous before hitting play. Knowing that the festival was held on Valentine’s Day and may have been a romantic outing for audience members, I wasn’t sure what reactions they would have to our slightly odd music video. I was relieved to find the responses to be spot on. The film is intended to be off-center, not meant to disturb but perhaps present a spin on romance and relationships. I could see from the reactions the film did just that! I especially liked a women’s comments that Deep’s character “looked and felt like a stalker”. We wanted to have a touch of that slightly creepy aspect, so it was great to have that recognized.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

Trever Veilleux’s songwriting and poetic lyrics were the initial inspiration. I’ve been a fan of his music for a while now and this song spoke to me creatively. I first collaborated with his band Technical Difficulties in 2001 on a music video for the song “Sex is Easier”. I listened to an advance copy of his new album Professor T and the East Side Shredders and the track “God Came ‘Round” jumped out as something that could become a unique, funny music video. The vision of Deep dressed as a gondolier, selling flowers and experiencing all of these strange characters struck me instantly and by the end of the flight I had the entire film outlined.

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

It may be a three-way tie between Vertigo, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Edward Scissorhands.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Platforms like FilmFreeway have really streamlined the process. Prior to online submissions it was a daunting experience – mailing physical copies, filling out forms, printing press photos, etc. It’s also much easier to have a site where you can view all of the various festivals and find ones that may be a good fit for your project. Having the ability to present your film and supporting materials on a site like FilmFreeway keeps the focus on the creative – and allows prospective festivals to consider a project in a form shaped by the filmmaker.

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

“Pictures of You” – by The Cure.

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

I’m currently in London producing a live-action version of Dumbo directed by Tim Burton, which is a reimagining of the classic 1941 Disney film. That will keep me well occupied through post-production this year. I’m also developing a stop-motion anthology series based on characters from Tim Burton’s book: The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories. I’m editing a music video: Pangea, which I directed recently in Hawaii for Professor T and the East Side Shredders. Looking further ahead I’m developing a couple of feature films including Awkward Endeavors with my frequent collaborators the Minor Prophets, and Quiet Fire, a story about the recording of the album Kind of Blue and the creative collaboration between Miles Davis and pianist Bill Evans.
 

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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