Interview with Filmmaker Philippe McKie (BREAKER)

BREAKER played to rave reviews at the February 2018 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Philippe McKie: A deep love of Cyberpunk!

BREAKER is my first attempt at expressing some of the great potential contained in Japan for cinema within the genre, and contains references to many of my favorite Cyberpunk works ranging from film / literature / anime and beyond!

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

We shot the film in just two frenetic days, with most of my small crew bunking together in a love-hotel overnight! From pre-production to completed film the process took less than a year altogether. With all the shooting done in Tokyo, and the post-production done in Montreal.

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


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

The film was pure indie, a skeleton crew working with no time and limited resources.

With no assistant director on set or production manager behind the scenes I was responsible for all the planning going in, which isn’t my forte so it was a challenge (especially since I was also taking care of building the props and organizing the art direction simultaneously)

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

I was BLOWN AWAY by many of the comments!

For instance the first gentleman who figured out the meaning of ‘URK’ in the script, wish I could give him a high-five! The comments were mostly very heartwarming and I was touched by how keenly the audience watched my film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

For BREAKER I sought to make a film with a storyline that would be accessible to viewers who haven’t been down the Cyberpunk rabbit hole too deeply before, while showing Tokyo’s potential for the aesthetic with very little VFX manipulation, balancing fresh ideas and visuals with a sprinkle of references to some classics.

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

Princess Mononoke
Gets better with every single viewing.

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

It’s AMAZING, submissions are easier than ever before.
I remember sending out my first shorts through DVDs in the mail, it was a struggle in comparison!

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

I’d say the album ‘The book of secrets’ by Loreena McKennitt is one I find myself returning to endlessly over the years.

On the note of music I’d like to add: to all you filmmakers out there looking for fresh sounds for your films- look for up and coming artists on ‘Soundcloud’! There is SO MUCH talent out there waiting to be heard, and as indie filmmakers we can all benefit from collaborating. ALL the music in BREAKER was from artists I reached out to through Soundcloud, so don’t be shy and contact artists whose music you discover there!

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

I am currently working on my first feature film. The genre is very different from BREAKER, but it will similarly shine a spotlight on the incredible richness of Tokyo subcultures!  




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 for more information and to submit your work to the festival.


By matthewtoffolo

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


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