Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Jeremy Abram: The Vanderslice family were friends of my wife, and when I saw a social media post that included a photo of Louie looking out of the window from his hospital room at Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia at a crowd of people who gathered for a candle light vigil with a poster that said “Hope”, it peaked my interest to start following his story, and I fell in love with the family and their love for their son.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
Their father (Joshua) reached out to me and told me the Roc Solid foundation was going to be constructing a playground in their back yard in honor of Louie and to bring joy to their family. He had seen some of my video work and asked if I would ever consider documenting this event for them. Not only did I agree and feel privileged that he even asked – I assembled a team of videographers/photographers to volunteer their time to help cover the event. We started filming at 6:30am until 3pm, and it required around 70 hours of filming, photographing, archiving and editing.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Having to take breaks in editing to gather my emotions.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was bracing for impact on technical critiques, only to be relieved that everyone absorbed the overall story and that it resonated with an authentic human experience.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
The idea was there, the challenge was to strip it down to the bare bones to make it a potent story without unecessary clutter.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
I have submitted previous films to various platforms – but FilmFreeway was the simplest that actually delivered valuable critique and feedback. It was well organized and proactive.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Woman with the tatooed hands, Atmosphere
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I currently work full time in IT, and do freelance video production projects for pleasure as they arise.