Interview with Filmmaker Chloe Mondesir (JACKS)

JACKS was the winner of BEST MUSIC & SOUND at the April 2020 Female Feedback Film Festival.

Submit to the Festival via FilmFreeway:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Chloe Mondesir: I really felt that the message of empowerment was timely and necessary. My daughter who plays the lead (Sonia), is at the age where she has to deal with bully’s and I sometimes struggle as a parent with what to tell her. I want her to be “good” but I also want her to be able to speak up and stand up for herself. I knew that other parents and kids dealt with this very same issue and so I wanted to create something that shows that you can find balance in some of those relationships. It’s possible to be strong and stand up for yourself while also understanding that sometimes people are dealing with things internally that we don’t always see. Life isn’t always black and white; sometimes there are grey areas that we have to learn to navigate through.

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

I had the idea about a year before I actually started writing and even after I had written it, I didn’t reach out to my producing partner until about a year after that. Altogether it took about 2 and a half years to complete this film from the idea to completion.

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

Nostalgic / Empowering

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

The biggest obstacle we faced in completing JACKS would have to be financing. We started filming with our own money but when it was time for post production we had to do some crowd funding, which slowed us down a bit. Thankfully we had some support and that helped us tie things up pretty nicely. We didn’t have the budget that we would have liked to have but we made things work by using every resource we had. We shot this in one location and played it as two. Even more impressive, didn’t use one single light to film, only sunlight and a reflector!

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

First I want to say thanks to all of the individuals who gave feedback, that was awesome! My heart melted as I watched the feedback video. It was very encouraging to hear that the audience picked up on so many details from the music, to wardrobe, the relationships of the characters, the location(s), and most importantly the message. It felt great to see that people FELT something while watching JACKS. I’m just so filled with gratitude for this festival and everyone involved.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea for JACKS came from a story that my grandmother told me about her childhood. She was dealing with a bully in the 50’s and her mother went to talk to the bully’s mom and they ended up having a big argument. My mind took it further. Imagining my great grandmother fighting was more fun than I think it should have been but it’s what sparked the idea for JACKS.

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

I’ve seen Sister Act 2 a million times. I literally know every word and movement. I’m a huge Lauryn Hill fan, so her singing drew me to the film when I was young. The message it sends about working and fighting for your dreams even when you don’t have the support really resonated with me as a child. Sometimes you just have to do you and when people see you doing well, then they’ll understand.

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

I like that everything is in one spot and it makes things less
complicated. It’s a one stop shop which made it easy to find this
festival. I was actually looking to submit for a different festival and
found the FFFF so I’m thankful to Film Freeway for helping me find

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

This is a hard one because I LOVE music and when I find a song I like, I listen to it back to back like a weirdo. I really do it to learn the words but…I’m pretty sure I jam out more than the average person and I’m not ashamed of it.
I’ve probably listened to Lauryn Hill’s “Everything is Everything” a million times and Tenacious D’s “Rize of the Fenix” Nine hundred ninety nine thousand times.

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

I’m constantly writing and creating. I have several completed pilots that I’d like to shoot, but next in line is a film I’m directing called “JEREMY”. It’s a coming of age, crime suspense drama written by Jonathan Durrah and Paquita Hughes. I’m really excited and thankful that they trust me to bring their vision to life and I can’t wait to share it with everyone. If anyone wants to donate to that project they can do so at


By matthewtoffolo

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


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