Interview with Filmmaker John Bonner (NO TREATS)

NO TREATS played to rave reviews on the June 2021 HORROR & THRILLER Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I try to push myself to make more shorts in general, mainly for practice, but also because you never know what’ll come out of the finished product! When I shot this, it was either before or after Halloween and I wanted to make something spooky, so I when I thought to myself “I want to make a scary short this week but I have no idea what it’ll be about,” the idea gradually came to me in the next day or so, and then very shortly after that–the next day or the same day when I figured out what to do–I very quickly shot it all in one evening. Maybe I should’ve gotten pumpkins and a candy bowl to emphasize the Halloween aspect…next time.

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

There was a lot of in-between since I have a day job, but from conception to publishing, all the work put together…maybe a few days altogether? It was very spur of the moment!

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

“Suspenseful, hopefully!”…”Relatably scary”?

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

Aside from myself? It was teaching myself how to do a new effect/post-production trick. A filmmaker friend gave me a great piece of advice, which is that if you want to learn how to do a certain effect, then you need to make a movie you want to use that effect in, so that’s what I did here. 🙂

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

It was such a delight to see and hear these reactions, it really made my day! You make these movies by yourself, and afterward you share them with friends and family, you hope more people will see your work and respond, so to see these reactions after being in isolation while making the video is so satisfying! The audience was very generous and so kind with their words and I really appreciate it, it’s inspiring and only makes me want to keep going even more!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

v6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

My brothers and I had always made (very bad) home movies when we were kids, but it wasn’t until taking Creative Writing in middle school and then talking with friends at lunch that I realized I wanted to be a filmmaker. Since then, it’s been a huge part of my life and everything that I work toward or am inspired by ultimately leads me to film and filmmaking in some way. It’s something I want to grow in and improve upon for the rest of my life, and to just keep learning more and more.

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

Oof tough question! When I was a kid, it was probably either something like Robert Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit or Tim Burton’s Batman, and we also watched The Wizard of Oz a lot in our family…but now as an adult (technically)? Maybe either Frank Oz’s What About Bob? or Steven Spielberg’s Jaws. Comfort movies take all forms!

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

This is all still new to me to be honest, submitting to film festivals is something I’ve put off doing for far too long, but now I wish I’d started much sooner! Yes it still feels like work in its own right, just in terms of doing the research and filling out forms, etc., but I’m also very grateful for how easy and accessible FilmFreeway makes the process, especially since submitting to festivals can already be pricey, but here you don’t even have to worry about burning DVDs or Blu-Rays or paying for shipping, which is enormously convenient right off the bat! Plus the site just makes it so easy to find festivals to submit to, I look forward to utilizing it further!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Usually breakfast, except on the weekends when I treat myself for dinner, like with Thai or Mexican food, yum! 😋

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

There are some more shorts of this scale that are either already in production or that I’ll start soon, and I’m rewriting a more ambitious horror/thriller short that I’d absolutely love to shoot this year! Watch this space…
Thank you so much for reaching out to me, it’s been a lot of fun answering these questions and I’m so glad people enjoyed the short films made by me and others here!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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