Interview with Filmmaker Melissa Lane (SEX + ICE CREAM)

SEX + ICE CREAM played to rave reviews at the February 2020 Chicago Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Melissa Lane: I’ve always loved making short documentaries. So I knew I wanted to find a really interesting person to profile for my next project. I found Nicole on Instagram and initially fell in love with her aesthetic. But I officially decided to make a documentary about her after I realized how open she was about dealing with struggles in her life as well as mental health. She exuded so much joy and vulnerability simultaneously and that was really intriguing for me as a person and as a filmmaker.

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

It took about a full week to shoot. But it took about a year to edit. I was really struggling with how to make the story and the visuals flow in such a short amount of time. I had to step away from the project for a few months because I was getting so in my own head about it. I went through about 23 different versions of the edit before everything fell into place.

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

Colorful acceptance!

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

There were a lot of other interesting aspects to Nicole’s story. I had a really hard time deciding what would make the final film and what had to be cut. She just had so many amazing things to say and so many other challenges she’s faced in her life and I wanted to include them all. But in the end you have to decide what’s going to help progress the story versus what’s going get in the way.

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

I was really happy that people felt like they could relate to the story. I thought it was really funny that people wanted it to be longer since I had stressed out so much about trying to keep it super short.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The opening sequence with all the food really just came to me all at once. I think that was the strongest vision I had for any of the setups. The rest of it just came from getting to know Nicole and letting her story guide the direction of the film.

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

Hmmmm…. Probably “Frances Ha”

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

I thought it was extremely easy. It’s really nice to have all of my assets and submissions organized in one place.

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

I guess it would be “Banshee Beat” by Animal Collective

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

I know this seems random given how fun and colorful Sex + Ice Cream was, but I really love horror film. So it would be cool to make a short horror film some time soon. I also want to start focusing more on my film photography, since a lot of my directing style is inspired by the photos I take.

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