Interview with Filmmakers Jessica Graham & Clark D. Schaefer (LISTEN)

LISTEN was the winner of BEST CHARACTERS at the February 2020 Female Film Festival. Director Jessica Graham. Writer/Producer Clark D. Schaefer

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Jessica: This was my directorial debut. I very much wanted to start directing, but was waiting for the project that felt in alignment with what is important to me. Spreading awareness about domestic violence is something that I could 100% get on board for.

Clark: I wanted to bring awareness to Domestic Violence in a short powerful platform that I hope to go viral. My hope is that it effects both persons of the domestic violence story, to help stop it before it goes further.

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

Jessica: It took several years. It was stalled out in post for quite some time because we were finishing a feature film called The Tangle. Finally, Clark, the writer and producer, said he was going to take over post if it didn’t get done. So we got it done!

Clark: About a year and a half.

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


Clark: Important cause.

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

Jessica: I deal with chronic illness and chronic pain. That tends to make everything a little more difficult, including making independent films. The process of shooting the film was wonderful. Our DP, Sherri Kauk, was such an incredible creative collaborator. We had some really energizing and inspiring pre-production sessions and so much fun on set. The cast was a dream to work with too. Amy Walker, Trey McCurley, and Christina Moses are wildly talented.

Clark: I think this one went very smoothly, either the time to get editing done or the transformation of a one room, dining room to interrogation room.

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

Jessica: I had a giant smile on my face and felt so grateful to the festival. Lots of warm, happy feelings!

Clark: Very thoughtful feedback. It was a great experience to get the feedback in this type of format. Made me feel very accomplished as a writer, knowing that the feelings and thoughts were portrayed as they were written.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Jessica: I want to say something like Persona (saw it twice) or Sunset Boulevard (saw it once), but the honest answer is The Lost Boys. I watched it 14 times as an adolescent and young teen! More recently, I saw There Will Be Blood 4 or 5 times and Annihilation 4 times.

Clark: The Pope of Greenwich Village or Goodfellas.

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

Jessica: I’ve always had a good experience with FF

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

Jessica: That’s impossible to answer, but it’s most certainly a Beatles song. Recently I’ve listened to Just Breathe from Willie Nelson and Lukas Nelson on repeat.

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

Jessica: The Tangle, a Lyrical Sci-Fi, which I acted in and produced. Late 2020 release!
Into Light, a short film I directed about Inez Milholland. Fall 2020 release!
The Czech translation release of my book Good Sex: Getting Off without Checking Out. Fall 2020 release!


By matthewtoffolo

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

1 comment

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: