Interview with Filmmaker Kayleb Lee (LE COUP)

LE COUP was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2020 Romance Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kayleb Lee: My motivations for the film is a combination of seeking creative storytelling methods and metaphors. With the circumstances being if I only had two actors, one location — how can I tell a unique story? So I wrote “Le Coup”, translated to French as ‘The Shot’ and an anagram for Coup(le), so the metaphor of the film being “one shot” and their shot(s) in their own relationship.

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

It took 1 month of writing, tweaking, and planning. Our production was 2 days: one for set-up and the last day for filming. However, editorial took 3 – 4 months, getting the sound, editing, and pacing to what we felt was right.

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

Relationship Stories.

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

Editorial. Engaging the audience through mostly sound was much more difficult than anticipated. It provided a different challenge and respect for the art of sound designers and music editors.

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

Surprised. Honored. Blessed. Much of the previous reactions were from peer student filmmakers and the criticism focused on technical nuances. So to hear from an audience that my intentions in story and cinematic creative goals were ingested makes all the hard work of my team and I worth it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It was actually accidental, while I was brainstorming alongside my motivations. I went to sleep, but awoke to my neighbors fighting and arguing. It clicked and sparked me to write around that moment.

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

The Fox and The Hound on VHS.

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

I believe FilmFreeway is a valuable source for independent filmmakers today. It’s also a place where you can discover other artists and see how a film or subject plays in a variety of communities. I think our generation is blessed to have such a platform, it’s not to say things are easier than before, but that opportunity has grown.

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

This is a hard question, I listen to a variety of music depending on what I’m doing. When I write, sometimes I listen to classical music and other times, depending on the story beats, I’ll find a melody that matches to find that emotion.

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

Right now, I am actually part of the Academy’s Gold Program. It’s a talent development and inclusion initiative. I’m focused on improving my filmmaking and working on developing another short. It’s between Subli(mind)al and Cupid Hates You. One dives in mental health and identity, while the lather explores a person who loves love.

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