CLOUD COVER was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the September 2018 Experimental Film Festival in Toronto.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Nick Dolinski: Upon hearing the song Cloud Cover I knew that it would be something that I wanted to put to pictures. The team was made up of myself, Tim Smith the Cinematographer and Merganzer the musician herself. Because of their creative talent and personalities, I knew doing the project would be a joy.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
It was three days (or evenings) of shooting. There was perhaps two more days of editing.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
Loneliness and Beauty.
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
There were few obstacles for this for me but more for Merganzer. Though perhaps not immediately noticeable, the entire short is in slow motion (notice the speed of the cars) but yet Merganzer appears to play at normal speed. This gives the short its dreamy and smooth quality in her movements. To achieve this, Merganzer had to play the song at double speed while shooting, then it was slowed down in post to match the song. I’d imagine this was a strain on her yet she didn’t falter once.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It’s so hard for me to say. I hate watching my own stuff in an audience. I guess I’m surprised at how much people gleaned from it- they saw more than just photography and sound which made me extremely happy.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
Again, very difficult to say without writing an essay. My big goal was to A) visualize the feeling the song gave me and B) portray the “multiple personalities” within the song. All parts – from the plucking of the strings to the beat are performed by Merganzer simultaneously with the use of a loop pedal. Each of these individual shots were filmed each in their own unique framing – be it a close up or a profile shot or a dolly shot and so forth. Cut together, my goal was to have it feel like multiple people up on the roof yet there’s only one.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I tend not to re-watch films a lot and the ones that I do re-watch seem kind of random. So to answer your question – The original Alien.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
Practicality wise, I think Film Freeway is a brilliant way to submit. I found the website to be really well-run. My biggest beef is not with Film Freeway but more festival submissions as a whole. Many of my indie filmmaker friends and I have, over the past year, decided to no longer submit to festivals as we don’t believe that our submissions are being actually considered, only our submission fees taken. These festival runners need to understand that A) we’re getting wise to them and B) they are no longer the only venue for our films – We can likely reach a much larger audience online. On the other hand, the Experimental festival really offers something beyond simply watching something on YouTube or Vimeo. It was a really refreshing experience and it really revived my opinion of festivals. I may just submit again.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Lujon by Henry Mancini.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m in the post-production process of a Television Pilot currently. Exciting stuff.