Interview with Writer/Producer Vanessa Every-Burns (100 CANDLES)

100 CANDLES played to rave reviews at the January 2021 Comedy Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

We made this film in Australia for a massive film festival called Tropfest. Each year this festival challenges filmmakers to make a 7 minute or less film using a set object. This year was “candle” hence the title and premise.

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

We pulled this together pretty fast as we were working on a deadline. I think it was a little over a month including pre-production to post. It was a two day shoot but a third day would have been ideal. Really, really, ideal!

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

Disturbingly amusing.

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

Oh, there were many. We actually locked in a famous News Reporter to do our finale newscast regarding the death of the Queen. The news team were a huge fan of the festival and loved the script, we were thrilled. I had been liaising with her Publicist who was organising the shoot at the Channel Seven news studios in Sydney. This news cast was needed for our last scene, to play on the set TV. At last minute I got a call from the Publicist saying the head of the news department pulled the plug as it was too risky if the “fake news” was leaked and the entire world thought the Queen was dead, delivered by them. Fair enough really ha-ha. We couldn’t believe they actually agreed to do it in the first place. They were kind enough to still create the news cast, but using a Producer, not the famous Reporter.

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

I was delighted hearing the feedback. I love that the audience enjoyed how we took it that bit too far and got our Aussie humour. I feel like Canadians and Australians have a really similar sense of humour. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, and not easily offended.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Well, we had to incorporate a “candle,” so the immediate thoughts of birthday or romance came flooding in, then I remembered my great grandmother’s 100th birthday when she got her letter from the Queen. My co-creator Sarah also had a grandmother approaching her 100th birthday at this time. This got us all thinking, what if she didn’t it? What would the family do to assure she got this letter? Then it escalated and we set an old lady on fire… naturally.

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

Bridesmaids, I just love this this kind of self-deprecating comedy.

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

FilmFreeway is a fantastic platform for filmmakers. It’s great to be able to see what’s approaching and for keeping an eye out of current submissions.

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

Oh, that’s a tough one. I’m not a huge music buff. I love lots of music but don’t really binge on anything. Maybe the intro song to Full House. I’ve heard that way too many times.

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

I’m currently living in Los Angeles and writing my heart out. I’ve written a number of comedy features and TV pilots and I have an agent shopping a few things around.

I’m also investigating the idea of making one of my feature films independently. A huge challenge but something I’d love to do. Watch this space.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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