Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
The band Copperhead are good friends of mine, and they actually approached me about doing a music video for Telus’ Storyhive Music Video Edition. This is a grant program out here in Western Canada sponsored by Telus. We won the initial round to receive the $10,000 to make the video, and then we won the second round where out of 15 videos from Alberta we took the top prize. I love Copperhead, they are great people, and an absolutely fantastic band, so I jumped on the opportunity immediately.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
The timeline from finding out that we received the funding to having to deliver the final product was about a month and a half so that’s how much time we had to make it.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
Highschool Drama (sorry, I kind of cheated there) 😉
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The tight deadline was a pretty big obstacle. I’m actually a lighting technician in the local film union here, and I was working full time on Fargo season 3 when the band approached me. That show has crazy work hours, and when we wrapped, I went straight onto Heartland, so I literally produced this music video mostly by myself while being at work. I took any free minute I had to step off set and make phone calls and to arrange and plan everything. We also had a tough time finding a community centre that wasn’t completely booked up, as apparently summer is wedding season! I can’t believe how much we lucked out, finding a community centre that was also a bingo hall that happened to be available for one single day within our time frame! We really, really lucked out there, and the people that run the place were nice enough to let us use all the bingo equipment. I know you asked about the biggest challenge, but I just have to add one more thing…asking senior citizens to spend 12 hours on set, while caked in food, is a lot to ask! But the actors we got were spectacular, they were total champs, and they had a really great time, which took a lot of stress off my back! The last thing I wanted was for them to be uncomfortable!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
This was the first time that I saw feedback from total strangers talking about something I had created, and it was really cool to see that! The feedback was really positive, so that was encouraging, and I’m stoked that you guys do this sort of thing because it’s really neat to hear other people’s opinions and also having them dissect your work to the point where you’re like – man, I made this thing, and I didn’t even see that!
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
When the band approached me, they literally said: “Old folks home – food fight”. I said, perfect, let’s do it! Then I tried to figure out how we would get to that, because I’m really into story and motivation and the shaping of characters, so I came up with the rivalry idea. I’ve never lived in an old folks home obviously, but I know how my grandparents are, and that humans never really change. Sure, we get more mature, but really…we love drama! So I thought of creating that dynamic where the people in the old folks home paralleled to what we all know from high school. And bingo HAD to be the catalyst; I mean, there had to be a little bit of a cliche in there!
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Definitely, The Big Lebowski.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
Love it! It’s so easy! I love that you can just upload all your info and everything and then submit to everything at once. I just started pressing “apply” to so many things, that sometimes when I found out we had gotten into a certain festival, I didn’t even remember applying to it. The shotgun approach is really great sometimes!
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Well, I edited this music video myself so, probably Waiting by Copperhead.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m still slaving away on the union shows as a lighting tech, but I am really fortunate to be able to focus on personal projects as well. Right now my friends at Two Word Productions and myself are trying to get a documentary off the ground about the music scene in Alberta, which I think is often overlooked and for weird reasons, because we have bands coming out of this city that absolutely blow me away! I’m also working on starting my own production company, and am currently editing, developing, and/or planning about 4 more music videos. I’m also working on a feature length script, but God knows when that will ever be done!