Interview with Filmmaker Hayley Thom (Tony McClean Nepal Trust)

TONY MCCLEAN NEPAL TRUST was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the October 2019 Female Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Hayley Thom: I was very excited to direct and shoot this film. It was Hannah McClean’s idea tell the story, the story of her brother Tony and the work he started in Nepal before he passed away. Hannah is also the Producer & talent in the film!

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

It was probably about 4-5months, including crafting the idea, travelling, filming and then coming home to edit the story together.

It was a small team, Hannah McClean and Leah Oram were the producers and I shot and edited it all together.

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

Real and hopeful.

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

Good question, it’s always a challenge to create a film in a country like Nepal – it’s hot, there’s the language barrier and you don’t have your usual comforts.

(I did manage to submerge my foot in human poo up to my calf, to the amusement of most of the village who were looking on!)

The logistics of trying to shoot a film in Nepal while finding talent when you’re there on the ground can always be a bit of a challenge. You have to build quick rapport, trust your instincts and keep your eyes open for opportunities.

Coming home at the end of the trip and having hours of footage to look through can also be full on. That initial selecting when you’re trying to work out how it will all come together. With doco style pieces you always have a plan before you go but never know exactly what you’ll be able to get.

We managed to capture everything we needed so we were happy with the outcome.

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

Hearing people over in LA talking about the film that we’re so close to, was really cool and bizarre actually! We appreciated the comments, it was awesome to be part of this festival.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Hannah McClean came up with the idea to capture the story about the work her family are doing over in Nepal following the passing of her brother Tony 10years ago. Hannah and I also worked closely on the idea and the script in the field and throughout the edit.

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

Ooh I don’t know if I have an answer for this.. I am known for being obsessed with watching trailers though!

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

I loved it actually, I thought it was awesome! So easy to use.

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

I just arrived home last week from India. I was shooting a couple of new films over in New Delhi and Kurnool. One to raise money for a school/orphanage over there and another to do with tourism. I am now getting stuck into editing both of those together.

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