CYCLE was the winner of BEST FILM at the April 2020 FEMALE Feedback Film Festival.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Laura D’Antoni: I wanted to make a film that had a strong message, was visually interesting but also personal to me. This film shines a light on what it’s like for children in domestic abuse situations- it’s very confusing when a mother can’t leave the relationship because for a kid it’s a very black and white answer: If somebody is hurting you, you should leave.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
It took about 1 1/2 years to make this short. Post-production always takes much longer than expected, and we ended up adding a lot of sound effects to enhance the story.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The biggest obstacle for me I think was casting. It took a lot of rounds of casting and call backs to find Ella, the young girl who plays Elina. I had already cast the father and mother, so I needed a girl that looked like she could be their child, and also someone very talented as she really carries this film. I was very lucky to find her, but it definitely took a lot longer than expected.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was heartwarming to hear the positive feedback as many people said they enjoyed the film and understood why I structured it backwards. That was always a concern since you do have to pay attention to understand the story, and the fact that everyone also got why the story motivates this type of structure was definitely satisfying.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
I had been wanting to make a film that was personal to me, and this was a time in my life that really stuck with me. I had never talked about it, so in a way it was kind of like therapy on one side and wanting to tell a story with a message that might help others on the other.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
My Cousin Vinny 🙂 It’s my favorite film. Although if you had asked me at age 10 it would have been Aladdin, I’m pretty sure I wore out the VHS tape.
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 great! Super simple and I love that it has reviews from the filmmakers.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
I’d say the one song I listened to most times in my whole life would be Ironic by Alanis Morissette, or really any of the songs on her Jagged Little Pill album. I think I was 9 when my sister gave me that album, and I still listen to it today.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
Yes! I’m planning my next short, which is also based on a true story. This one is actually about my father. When he was a young boy in Sicily his father abandoned his mother and 3 siblings because he had an affair with a woman in the mafia and couldn’t get out of the relationship without endangering his own life.
I’m also trying to get a feature documentary made, as well as a dark comedic TV show about ghost roommates that I’d like to pitch to networks. Fingers crossed!