VOWS was the winner of BEST FILM at the Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival in April 2018 in Toronto.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Mark McKinsey: Going into my final year at my alma mater, I knew I wanted to dive into the challenge of creating my own short animation. I didn’t know when I would get the opportunity again, since my school offers an incredible amount of technical resources that can be quite expensive without access, but are crucial to producing a 3D animated short. Additionally, representation has always been extremely important to me. Growing up, I knew I was gay from a very young age, but wasn’t really given the opportunity to understand exactly what that meant. The media that I was consuming was strictly romanticizing heterosexual relationships (especially in animation). With this film, I wanted to romanticize a different kind of relationship, while also not ignoring the very real hardship many queer people face when they pursue the love of their life.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
I started concepting the film about 8 months before it went it actual production. The reason for the long break was I had to adjust my academic schedule due to receiving a couple of internships. The 3D production process took about 5 months total from beginning to end.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Definitely learning how to manage a production timeline and collaborating with many artists across the pipeline. It was super rewarding, but definitely took some time to figure out.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was just really cool to see strangers find meaning in something that my friends and I put so much effort into! That’s why the piece was created in the first place, so it was neat to see that actualized.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
It was inspired by the 2015 DOMA ruling. I had a couple of simple vignettes in mind of a man preparing for his wedding, and after meeting with a couple story artists to bounce things off of, developed a short little story based on those vignettes.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Oh gosh. That’s hard to say. I love musicals, so I’m sure it would be a musical. Probably a tie between a few Disney animated films, West Side Story, Grease, and Dreamgirls.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
It’s awesome to be able to consolidate all of your information into one space! From a filmmaker’s perspective, it’s really helpful and keeps you organized.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Another tough one. Probably a tie between Whitney Houston’s “I Have Nothing,” “Out There” from the Disney adaptation of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked. Also I’m sure Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” given how many Halloween’s I’ve lived through.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
At some point, yes! I’d love to direct another animation and apply everything I learned the first go around. Right now though, I’m a newly graduated artist working in VR media in Orlando, Florida. Adjusting to post-grad life, and enjoying it so far!
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.