Interview with Filmmaker Patrick Gehlen (ASTRONAUT SPACEMAN)

ASTRONAUT SPACEMAN was the winner of BEST FILM at the Animation FEEDBACK Film Festival at the November 2020 Experimental Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My wife and I have five nieces between us, and I want them to have a healthy world to grow up in. The rate at which the climate crisis has accelerated is truly frightening, so I wanted to do whatever was in my power to try to help spread a message about the importance of dealing with this threat before all hope is lost.

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

About four months….it was a very tight turnaround.

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

Sorrowful Hope

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

Coming up with a memorable look to the piece that could be accomplished basically out of the box due to the very tight schedule and micro-budget was challenging.

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

I was very touched by what everybody had to say. It really made me smile and made my heart happy. I sent the link to my wife while she was working in our backhouse, and she came in about ten minutes later with tears in her eyes. It made me feel that all the work I poured into it was well worth it 🙂

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

My friend, Jared Kotler, sent me the song a year ago, saying that he thought it would make a great animated music video, and he asked if I could come up with an idea. So I listened to it many, many times and this story just kind of formed in my mind of a small band of brave scientists and a determined little girl fighting to restore a spark of life to our dying planet.

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

Oof. Realistically I’d have to say A Christmas Story, since it runs pretty much non-stop in the background every year around the holidays. A close second might be Shawshank Redemption, which is pretty much a perfect film in my opinion.

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

I’ve found it incredibly helpful…the one-stop shop aspect of it is dangerously convenient.

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

At this point, Astronaut Spaceman may win that prize. I basically lived inside that song for four months 😉

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

I am actually working on a pitch inspired by Astronaut Spaceman, taking the characters and concept into the realm of a limited series show.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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