Interview with Filmmaker Sam Wall (BYSTANDER)

BYSTANDER was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the DRAMA Film Festival in May 2021.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have been editing, working in post, working full-time as a projectionist and doing many other roles for a long time. In short (no pun intended), I have broad interests in filmmaking. I felt it was time to make the leap to directing and learn from the process. BYSTANDER is my first film.

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

It took me just over two years. I shot the film in December 2018, spent a lot of time in post editing and sound designing it. And as a silver-lining from the pandemic, was able to find the time during quarantine to finish it.

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

Unfortunately funny.

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

The biggest obstacle was working under essentially no budget, but creating something that looked and felt sufficiently professional.

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

It made me super happy – to see strangers react so positively to something you are so close to. It’s reaffirming to say the least. I really appreciate the time everyone took to leave their reactions.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I realized I wanted to make films when growing up my mom didn’t let me watch TV and I decided to mess around with our family’s video camera. The joy I got from making my friends laugh with the films I made carries through to the present day.

Also, watching the behind the scenes of The Lord of the Rings films. Seeing the wonder play out in front of and behind the camera really speaks to the magic that can only come from creative collaboration.

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

I think I’ve seen The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers like over a dozen times.

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

I think the submission platform was pretty straightforward. No issues on my end. Overall, been a really cool process.

9. What is your favorite meal?

My dad makes some delicious crock pot chicken and dumplings. They never fail to give me both a deep sense of comfort and an over-full stomach.

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

I have a few projects I’m working on. I’m outlining a concept for a dramedy anthology series, helping my friend edit a feature, and working on writing a TV pilot.

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