Interview with Filmmaker Melanie Faye (PUPPETS AND PUSHPINS)

PUPPETS AND PUSHPINS was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the July 2018 FEMALE Feedback Film Festival in July 2018 in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Melanie Faye : I was in my last year of Capilano University’s film program and we received a small budget to make a few final films. I had missed music out of my life for the four years I’d been there and had to reincorporate it in my life. I can’t survive without music. I had quite a few songs written but I’d never recorded anything before so I figured I would make my first original music video. I decided to go all out because when am I going to have access to that much quality equipment for free again? The teachers accepted my pitch and we went ahead with the project.

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

About 6 months including recording the song.

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

Two words.. that is difficult. Abusive dances.

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

Directing and performing in the film at the same time was quite stressful as everyone thought I was biting off too much. Trying to keep believing in the vision and myself was very tough especially when I had all my close friends from film school working key positions on the project so I had no one to talk to. I became very isolated and kind of dark.

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

I was kind of in shock haha. This song and this video is very close to my heart and my art up until now had been a very private thing, a secret way of expressing myself. To see people critically analyzing my work as though it were legitimate art was such a privilege. I was literally sat there with my hand over my mouth in disbelief. I loved hearing everyone’s opinions and seeing what I could improve on when relaying my message and what did actually hit. Thank you so much for that!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I listened to my song over and over imagining different scenarios. I knew there was going to be a marionette ballerina. A controllable toy. The song is all about trying to shake emotional abuse and control so I needed a puppet type toy. It evolved from a marionette ballerina trying to escape her strings into the story it is now.

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

I am more of a TV girl. For films it’s between Nacho Libre, Lord of the Rings, and My Best Friend’s Wedding.

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

FilmFreeway made it so easy to apply to all the festivals that applied to my film. The filters are very helpful and the list of submissions saved a lot of time checking on statuses.

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

I don’t know that there is one song.. it changes with the times.. but She by Green Day is very close to my heart. I have a tattoo based on it.

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

I have been working on recording and putting out more music and on performing in Vancouver.

I have some songs recorded and ready to go. When I get some sufficient funding together I am going to be working on a video for each of them. They will all be somewhat connected though they sound very different.

If you liked Puppets & Pushpins you can check out more of my music on my Youtube channel.

Thank you so much for this opportunity! I loved this festival the most out of all the others. Unbiased feedback is invaluable.

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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 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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