Interview with Director Jason Sanchez (IMAGINARY FRIEND)

IMAGINARY FRIEND was the winner of BEST CRIME/THRILLER at the December 2020 LA Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

– I wrote a feature length script about a year-and-a-half ago but realized I didn’t have the funds necessary for the full idea, so I trimmed it down to some of the core concepts and characters which ended up becoming ‘Imaginary Friend.’

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

From writing the short script to the final film, it took about nine months! Definitely delayed by covid, but we made it work.

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

‘Monster Mystery’ or ‘IMAGINARY FRIEND’ 😉

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

The biggest obstacle bar none was the actual shooting time we had for production. With everyone’s schedules and budget restrictions, we only had a 3-day weekend to shoot the entire film so there was little room for mistakes or wasted minutes.

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

It was like putting on a warm blanket in a chilly room. The kindness and genuine interest from the audience members was so awesome to hear and meant a lot to myself and the team. I forwarded the link to the cast members as well who absolutely deserve the praise. Thank you again for setting this all up!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The short film was inspired by a feature-length story I wrote a while back called ‘Raven’s Creek,’ which follows a detective waking up in a small, creepy town after a car crash. The central story begins when she’s pulled into a gruesome murder mystery that tests the limits of the town and reality itself. This larger idea was an amalgamation of some of my favorite horror video game and film franchises like Resident Evil and Silent Hill. In particular, I always resonated with the thematic (and narrative) idea that monsters are finite entities that can be defeated, whether it’s through a gun, strategy, or bonding with a sister in the case of ‘Imaginary Friend.’

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

Probably Casino Royale or Terminator 2

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

I think it’s great! FilmFreeway is so user-friendly that I was able to just dive right in and start applying to festivals. My only gripe is the financial obstacles for upcoming filmmakers trying to apply to as many festivals as possible, but I understand this is more of a systemic problem rather than the site’s doing.

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

Unfortunately ‘Stan’ by Eminem is probably up there. Don’t get me wrong- legendary song for all the right reasons, I’m just not proud of how strong my Eminem obsession was in middle school. Thank goodness I didn’t bleach my hair.

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

Absolutely! Starting to ideate on the next short film idea, but I’m also hoping to use ‘Imaginary Friend’ as a proof of concept for the feature script with any willing investors. And of course writing. The writing never stops!

By matthewtoffolo

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

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