Interview with Filmmaker Matthew Richardson (HALLELUJAH)

HALLELUJAH was voted BEST FILM at the LGBT Feedback Film Festival in April 2020.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Matthew Richardson: I experimented once before with combining circus arts and LGBTQ issues through film, and the response and support was so incredible that I wanted to create more. So I began brainstorming different concepts. While I was visiting LA one summer, I was shocked by how many protestors at LA pride were using their faith as a means to spread hate. The protest signs they used and things they said were unbelievable to me, and I couldn’t get the experience off of my mind. The idea of someone using their own faith, to make others feel terrible seems so backwards and I wanted to create something in response to this. The idea for the film came pretty quickly after that experience.

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

About 9 months.

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

Gentle. Reflective.

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

Honestly the entire project was smooth sailing. It was surprisingly easy once things started moving.

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

It was really moving for me to see honest reactions from the viewers. It gave me an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, and appreciation that my work meant something to these individuals. To see genuine feedback that was so positive and supportive, meant the world to me that day.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was at the airport in Montreal, when the idea came to me. I knew the two artists I wanted to use for the acrobatics, and knew that I wanted to address religion and the way it affects the LGBTQ community. Just with that concept alone, there’s so much that can be said. The isolation and rejection we feel from organized religion can be so damaging. And I wanted to give a gentle response to those who don’t understand what that must feel like for us. So while I was thinking about this in the airport, the idea developed quickly. Of course it evolved over time, but the initial idea struck very quickly. And then I began contacting the team I work with to start the process.

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

Dracula Dead and Loving It. lol.

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

I had a great experience, with no complaints.

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

Arrow by The Irrepressibles.

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

Yes I have 2 new film projects in the works! The situation with Coronavirus has delayed things, but they are coming eventually!

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