Interview with Filmmaker Selket Kaufman (A VOICE FOR WHALES)

A VOICE FOR WHALES was voted BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the May 2020 Documentary Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Selket Kaufman: This film has been long overdue. It’s a story that needed to be told and I am honored that I have the opportunity to do so. I am very passionate about this project because it’s close to my heart (Greg Kaufman is my late husband). I feel it’s a work in progress still, but I was happy that I created something I wanted to share for the World Whale Film Festival in Maui, Hawaii 2020. This is also the year Pacific Whale Foundation, celebrates its’ 40th anniversary.

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

I know a similar story needed to be told about Greg’s work and the foundation he started, but once he passed away, I know I had to create something to honor his legacy, it took approximately 2 years.

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

Inspirational Legacy

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

There were many obstacles, I was dealing with the grief of my husband while holding down a full-time job. I have to conduct a lot of research, go through so many archives, hunt down people that knew him best. It took time to acquire all the permits needed to get necessary footage. To take on this film was a challenge within itself because it had to be done right, but it was also a blessing in disguise because I learned so much more about someone I looked up to and it did help me heal.

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

I was blown away, because these are all people I have never met and they had no idea who Greg was, to hear them relay the message I was trying to relay in the film made me know that I did it right. I teared up because it meant so much to hear how it touched so many people.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It was a story that needed to be told, there are so many people out there fighting the good fight and it was an honor to be able to tell Greg’s story.

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

I have a lot, I love all kinds of films… Shawshank Redemption, Donnie Darko, Romancing the Stone, The Shinning just to name a few.

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

I like this platform; it’s organized informative and they keep you up to date. It’s an effective tool to find the right venues to share your film.

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

Oh boy, I have a longer list than films for this one. I grew up with classical music, but I love almost all music. Beck’s new album is one of my favorites right now.

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

Storytelling is defiantly my passion, but for now I am taking a break and reassessing what I want to do next, until the next great story comes along.

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