Interview with Filmmaker Nicole Berger (HOLES)

HOLES was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the September 2019 FEMALE Feedback Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Nicole Berger: Stuck in LA traffic like most Los Angelenos, I was flipping through radio stations when I caught the down beat of The Police’s Hole in my life. Finger tapping and heading bopping brought me back to the last months as a teenager in NYC, and a boyfriend playing a record of OUTLANDS AMOUR. This was my introduction to THE POLICE and to boyfriends. As traffic crawled, the song kept moving me from memory to memory of boyfriend to boyfriend… Of falling in love, of getting to intimate to fast, of being left, of leaving to soon, of being hit… and then the song ended. I heard my friend EVAN RACHEL WOOD come on the radio and share her story of abuse. See this was the time in in our short history when women publicly spoke up about their abuse. She told her story with bravery and courage and I felt guilty for not being able to tell mine. I am married with two young girls and I don’t want to go there. I was left, ironically, with a hole in my heart. This was the begining of my film Holes. It was my way of speaking up. How the abuse made me feel and I how I hoped it left him empty in the end.

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

Pre production was a month, shooting was 3 days, editing 2 months and securing the music rights 3 months. In total 6 months.

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

Sweet Sorrow

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

Lighting! Knowing that we were going to shoot on two Sony A7 iii’s, I knew i wanted to shoot at night. During location scouts I looked for places that metaphorically worked with the concept of a hole (donut shoppe, a tunnel, an empty apartment). We used all natural lighting except one key light outside of window. Other than that it was au natural.

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

They get it! I was trying to make a dance film where the dance wasn’t abstract but organic to the world we created. It seemed that the audience appreciated that feat!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

I really enjoyed the audience feedback. It was insightful and knowledgeable. What a gift!

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

Stuck in LA traffic like most Los Angelenos, I was flipping through radio stations when I caught the down beat of The Police’s Hole in my life. Finger tapping and heading bopping brought me back to the last months as a teenager in NYC and a boyfriend playing a record of OUTLANDS AMOUR. This was my introduction to THE POLICE and to boyfriends. As traffic crawled the song kept moving me from memory to memory of boyfriend to boyfriend… Of falling in love, of getting to intimate to fast, of being left, of leaving to soon, of being hit… and when the song ended I heard my friend EVAN RACHEL WOOD come on the radio and share her story of abuse. See this was the time in in our short history when women publicly spoke up about their abuse. She told her story with bravery and courage and I felt guilty for not being able to tell mine. I am married with two young girls and I don’t want to go there. I was left, ironically, with a hole in my heart. This was the begining of my film Holes. It was my way of speaking up. How the abuse made me feel and I how I hoped it left him empty in the end.

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

From my childhood…. The Goonies. From adolescence to now has been an exploration of story tellers from Kubric to Kirasawa. Barry Lyndon was always fascinating to me… the use of natural light was incredible.

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

Film Freeway was easy and user friendly.

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

Blackbird by The Beatles

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

Yes a short narrative TAPPED OUT. We are in the editing phase. A young woman going through a miscarriage looks back at a pivotal moment she shared with her mother as a young child. And there is a dance scene in there!

holes

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