Interview with Filmmaker Katie Garibaldi (STAR IN THE EAST)

STAR IN THE EAST played to rave reviews at the February 2019 Experimental Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Katie Garibaldi: “Star in the East” is a song I wrote about the Biblical story of the three kings who follow a star to welcome the newborn baby Jesus. After recording it for my album Home Sweet Christmas, I got the idea of doing a claymation film as a music video for the song, somewhat as an homage to old-school Christmas movies. I love how those stop motion children’s movies put you in the warm and fuzzy holiday spirit, and I thought that idea paired so great with this song.

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

I had the idea for a few months and then through researching animators, I hooked up with artist Marc Morgan for the project and he spent just over a month making the film.

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

Christmastime nostalgia.

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

The only obstacle was time constraints since I wanted to premiere the video before Christmas since it’s a Christmastime story. Marc had limited time to pull off the art, and I’m so impressed with all that he was able to do in such a short window of time.

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

I was nervous at first since you never know how people will receive your art, but after watching “Star in the East” play on the big screen, I was so proud of it and felt that the audience received it well.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Home Sweet Christmas is my latest album, but I actually wrote the song “Star in the East” when I was a kid and tucked the song away for that ‘someday’ when I make my own Christmas album. So the song has somewhat of a childlike vibe to it, and I wanted to make the production really magical and majestic sounding. All those things combined reminded me of the joys of Christmas through a child’s eyes, and I loved combining the true meaning of Christmas as I see it with such a quirky medium like claymation.

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

Probably my favorite Disney movie, The Little Mermaid. I loved it as a kid and I love it now.

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

I really like FilmFreeway because you can research a bunch of different festivals and opportunities all in one place. You can get a good idea of each event with their submission rules and people’s reviews succinct on one webpage, and then you can always do more research on the festival’s site and social media. It’s a great way to organize festivals you’d like to submit to and keep an eye on for future projects.

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

That’s so difficult to truly know! I can think of a few top contenders, but I’ll say my favorite all-timer: Huey Lewis’ “The Heart of Rock & Roll.”

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

I’m currently writing my next album and also formulating plans for my next music video, to be made later this year. I have one foot in the music world and one in the film world, screenwriting for TV as well.

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