Interview with Filmmaker Jacob Samuels (DAMNED IF I DO)

DAMNED IF I DO played to rave reviews at the March 2020 DRAMA FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jacob Samuels: I wrote this film during an interesting time in my life. I was going through it. Lots of pent-up anger and jealousy, ultimately feeling like some sort of deranged version of myself. I wanted to take those negative emotions and create something satirical out of it. I’m not much of a comedy writer, so it ultimately became this sort of darker, tongue-in-cheek, humor. It was very cathartic for me.

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

The process, in total, took about five months to complete. School got in the way here and there.

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

Good fun

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

Definitely that scene with the fire. If I didn’t have a good VFX person, that whole sequence wouldn’t work. Hire Lauren Brems. She’s amazing.

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

Kinda surreal. It’s an amazing feeling to hear people react positively to something you’ve created. It’s an extremely vulnerable position to be in.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It’s very loosely based in reality. I had lots of fun taking something real and blowing it out of proportion as much as I possibly could. It’s fun to write that way sometimes.

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

Probably Pulp Fiction. I was much too young when I snuck my dad’s VHS copy and watched it. I’ll never forget that feeling of watching you know has instantly changed your life forever. I hope everyone has something like that.

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

I think it’s amazing. Everything is so accessible now and I’m able to be introduced to festivals and films that I otherwise might have never seen before.

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

Gosh, I don’t know. Maybe “Black Math” by the White Stripes.

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

Our company, Yellowhammer Motion Pictures, has a couple films in development at the moment. The plan is to direct a new film about a deranged cult leader this January. We are living in an uncertain time right now, so fingers crossed.

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