Interview with Filmmaker Ashley Gerst (THE SPIRIT SEAM)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ashley Gerst: I was motivated by my relationship between my grandfather and myself. He passed away in 2013, and I wanted to do something to honor his memory and to help me find a way through my grief regarding his death.

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

A little over 5 years! The initial outline for the story is dated at Oct 13, 2013. The final was completed January 15th!

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

Magically nostalgic.

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

Technically: the main character (Pollywog)’s hair. It was a nightmare, and took about 6 months and 3 rebuilds to finish.

Emotionally: there was one day, where I had set up a full classroom with rendering – each computer displaying a scene from the film as they rendered away overnight. I stood in the room, looking around before leaving, and realized that I was surrounded by my memories and a visualization of my relationship with my grandfather. It was a bit overwhelming.

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

I loved hearing the reaction and emotions each person had when watching my film!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wanted to base it on my life, my memories of my grandfather, and also his memories that he was so excited to share about his childhood! The main character (Pollywog) would be about the same age as my grandfather was in 1952 in the film.

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

A very weird one: The Mouse and His Child. it was an early sanrio production (makers of hello Kitty) and is very bizarre.

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

I enjoy it overall, I find it easier than Without a Box.

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

that’s a hard one – probably Billy Idol’s Mony Mony.

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

Yes! I am currently finalizing the script and character designs for my next film: Being Pushed Down by Shadow. It’s about newly adult daughter living with her single mom. They love each other but do not see eye to eye.
This animated film will take place in 1969-1970 and will fall within the horror genre.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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