Interview with Filmmakers Madeline Graham & Christopher Whiteside (VIOLET)

VIOLET was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the January 2020 LGBT Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Madeline Graham & Christopher Whiteside: Same sex marriage has only recently become legal in Northern Ireland and we felt that it was important to give voice to the people who have overcome (or may still face) a difficult journey towards equal rights. Violet’s message is about how important it is to have self-acceptance and it’s a universal one.

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

The script was written all the way back in 2013 by our good friend Ross Johnston, who received script development from Film 4 (a UK based television channel) as a reward for a short film competition. We embarked upon the project in 2018 as the film’s context was shockingly still relevant.

The shoot took two days but the crowd funding campaign and script development took several months. None of this would have been possible without the support of our backers who raised the films budget on Indiegogo.

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

Tragic Love

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

A storm hit Northern Ireland during production so we had to reschedule a lot of outdoor scenes. Stuart Drennan, our Executive Producer and Lia Campbell, our First Assistant Director, were amazing and made sure that everything went smoothly on set.

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

Pure delight! We always appreciate hearing feedback and we see our audience as co creators of the film’s meaning. We are happy to see that Violet has relevance and has resonance with people outside Northern Ireland.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The script was written by Ross and we felt compelled to tell his story because of its powerful message. We connected with Violet and Tanya and wanted to be allies of the LGBT community, to tell a coming of age story in a different way that people won’t have seen before. The horror elements were very important in communicating that self-disgust and internal struggle and the imagery was crying out to us be brought to the screen.

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

Christopher: Jurassic Park

Madeline: Toy Story

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

It’s easy, hassle free and we appreciate the gold member incentives.

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

Christopher: Feeling Good – Muse

Madeline: Life on Mars? – David Bowie

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

Soulless corporate commercials. Just kidding, hopefully something strange and beautiful. We want to make another short this year, paving the way to feature films, that’s the dream.

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