Interview with Filmmaker Sarah Gampel (THE BUS TRIP)

THE BUS TRIP was the WINNER of BEST ANIMATION at the May 2018 ANIMATION FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sarah Gampel: My motivation for making this film came after a trip I did in Israel and Palestine during the spring 2014. I went there to take part in a Film Festival Bus trip with international film students traveling around Israel showing short films. When I came home to Sweden I was overwhelmed by the experience and the emotions I felt during that trip, so I decided to make a film about it.

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

It took me about 1 and a half year to finish the film. It started out as my graduation project from film school. We had one year to make a short. But I needed 6 more months and so I was lucky to find funding to be able to finish the film, after I’ve graduated.

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

Layered experience

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

The biggest obstacle or challenge during the making the film was writing the script and finding a way to combine both political opinions and personal feelings in a comprehensive way.

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

This is one of the best feedback session I’ve ever had. People were being honest and sharing their thoughts unconstrained. It’s not too common that people share their honest opinion, and especially not when there is some sort of critic involved. And as a filmmaker it can be difficult to hear negative comments about ones film, it puts me as a filmmaker in a defensive position. But the critic I got to hear here made me feel the opposite. I could tell that the audience had really watched my film carefully and given it a lot of thought before they spoke, I could hear it in the way they talked about it. So even if some of them were criticizing parts of my film I can understand what they mean and almost agree with them. It also makes me proud and happy that my film is seen seriously and good enough to get criticized.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

When I came home from my trip in Israel and Palestine I wrote a travel diary, depicting what I’ve experienced during the days. The text was mostly informative and only describing my activities day by day and my political opinions about Israel and Palestine. So when I’ve written the text I felt like I still had a lot of emotions from the trip that I wanted to share, and this became the starting point for the film.

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

I usually don’t re-watch films, but I just re-watched The Never Ending Story from 1984. Think it’s amazing how relevant it still feels and that the film feels scarier the older I get.

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

It’s a great and user friendly platform. Specially the feedback section where filmmakers get to review the film festivals according to how they treat their filmmakers. This helps a lot when you decide which festivals are worth the submission fee.

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

That’s a difficult question. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and it’s a big inspiration for my filmmaking. But I remember when The Sky Was Pink by Nathan Fake in the James Holden remix-version came out and me and my friends would listen to it at least once or twice a night, either at a party or after hours. I can never get tired of this tune.

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

Two things: First of all my film ‘The Bus Trip’ just got on the streaming platform Seed&Spark. So now everyone who hasn’t seen it yet can stream it through either their website, ROKU och APPLE TV.

Here’s the link:

I’ve also started working on my next animation short film project. This time it’s going to be a sci-fi saga for kids.


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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