HALF A MAN was the winner of BEST DANCE FILM at the August 2020 Music & Dance Festival.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Jessie James: I had just moved to London a few months previous to our production days and I was really feeling quite stuck in a creative rut. Being in a new city, work was slow. I had to reinvent myself in the London Creative Industry and that was taking more time than I wanted it to. So I decided that I needed to create work for the sole purpose of creation vs recognition and that’s when Half a Man came to be! I heard the song and immediately saw the visual come to life in my head.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
Thankfully I had a wonderful cast/crew who was very professional. From day one of the idea to finished product was about 4-5 months. I spent a few weeks developing a creative treatment for the film and sent it to Josh (who filmed the piece) and he was on board! From there we worked together for about 8 hours of rehearsal to create the movement and then shoot day consisted of about 5 hours of shooting. We were limited on the space we could use to film so it was essential to get the lighting and camera choreography sorted ASAP. Like I said the dancers were incredible on shoot day. Josh Kinsella of Ninetyone Films also edited the piece and he did a fantastic job!
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The entire film was self produced and self funded so I would say that finances were a challenge.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Honored. I felt so honored to touch all of these people in different ways. I’m so happy the message of the video was communicated clearly.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
The moment I heard this song I knew that it needed to be told in a visual sense. The song is just so beautifully haunting and I wanted to match that story with dancers.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
I find using FilmFreeway a very user friendly site. I appreciate having one place to find festivals and events.
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
This one is hard…..I am a big music lover. My dad and I used to clean the house to Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl and Piano Man. Although more recently I am a major fan of Dermot Kennedy’s.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
I am currently in the process of writing a new short film. It’s in the beginning stages but I am really excited about it!