Interview with Filmmaker Luke Whitmore (MORT THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS)

MORT THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the May 2021 COMEDY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film was originally made for the 48-hour film festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada. We were provided a theme at 6pm on a Friday night last June, and we had till that Sunday (48 hours later) at 6pm to hand in the film. The theme was Covid-19 and we were required to have a minimal crew. All of this aided in the creation of this minimalist short film.

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

Funny enough, despite being given 48 hours to complete the film, we really only needed approximately 30 hours to finish it. I think a lot of luck played into it — just one of those weeks where everything seemed to fall into place.

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

Energetically depressing.

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

I was very worried that when it came time to edit, the back-and-forth dialogue with Mort and his many personalities wouldn’t feel organic and funny. I wanted the audience to be inside Mort’s mind, and a big part of that had to do with making sure the many personalities of Mort felt somewhat real. It was really hard to say if what we were filming would actually “sell.” And I’m not saying that I expect the audience to believe in these characters Mort plays through reflection, but I really just wanted the characters he was playing to not feel inanimate to the audience. In hindsight it seems like it’s nothing I should’ve worried about, but at the time I’ve never seen any type of example of playing characters through reflections to this extent, so I was a little worried it wouldn’t deliver in the way I wanted.

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

It was great! An ego boost for sure, haha. It’s awesome that this festival offers this type of feedback. It can be quite rare to receive non-bias feedback, so I loved being able to hear from a range of people that have no connection to me. I only wish they felt comfortable giving more criticism. I always appreciate finding out what didn’t work for people. It can be hard as a filmmaker to truly understand what it’s like to view your film for the first time with no knowledge about it. I find that perspective is very valuable and helps me shape how I approach future works.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I actually made this decision at 8-years old. Here is how it started:

One Friday/Saturday night, I recall crawling on my hands and knees through the dark living room as the blue light from the TV illuminated my older sisters watching the Scream movie. I was sneaking around because it was past my bedtime and they wanted to watch a scary movie that a child of my age could not endure. But as I laid behind a couch, undetected, I watched in fascination this new kind of of film. It was so different from the children’s content my little eyes were exposed to. It didn’t take long before my sisters discovered I was sneaking around and put me back to bed. But later that Halloween, I saw the Ghost Face mask, and I remembered it from my brief and rebellious act, so I wore it for Halloween that year. Anyways, long story short, from my young perception of the beginning phone call scene in the Scream movie, I casted my family to play innocent victims while me, an 8-year old child, went around wearing ghost face and and slashing them with a plastic pirate sword from a previous Halloween costume. We filmed it with with my parents VHS camera they bought to film their wedding. The video was obviously horrible!. When we popped in the VHS tape to watch my directorial debut, my family nearly peed themselves laughing. But I was amazed at how I created something that elicited that strong of a reaction. And I guess you could say I’ve been chasing that high ever since, haha!

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

Punch Drunk Love is by far my favourite and most watched film. I love Paul Thomas Anderson and that’s my favourite film of his.

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

Filmfreeway is a great hub to find festivals. It pretty much subtracts 3/4 of the work researching and trying to find festivals. I don’t know what I’d do without it to be honest. My only complaint is that submitting to festivals can be very addicting.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I’m basic — pizza probably.

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

I’ve just finished a new film titled Anita McNelson. It is absolutely nothing like Mort Through the Looking Glass. Anita McNelson is a slower art house (almost silent) film that takes you through a peculiar and bloody love story about a married couple whose relationship has hit the skids.

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