Interview with Filmmaker Shawn Cheatham (8 3/4)

8 3/4 was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the September 2020 Chicago Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My family suffered a strange, complex loss and the film concept was born out of that experience.

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

Two years from start to finish — life gets in the way!

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

Hope and recovery.

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

Finding the time to manage work, life, and creating art.

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

It was incredibly encouraging to hear the real words of thoughtful people talking about this piece. It was remarkable.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea was inspired by loss described above, but the concrete script idea came from some late night binge-watching of Fellini, especially 8 1/2, and daydreaming about how to use my young son (a natural born actor) in a film — he desperately wanted to act. Sometimes when you use the resources around you, it works best!

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

Pretty in Pink

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

It’s efficient and streamlined, but the submission status sometimes conflicts with reality that leads to some confusion (and broken hearts).

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

Probably “How to disappear completely” by Radiohead.

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

I’m working on a new film to be completed as a part of my PhD. It’s a documentary about some rather horrifying aspects of toxic masculinity.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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