Interview with Filmmaker Maya Witters (THE TURTLES)

THE TURTLES was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the July 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I had wanted to make a film for a while and ended up making it my new year’s resolution in 2019. It was my first time writing/directing, so it was a major challenge, but also an amazing learning experience.

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

It took about a year. I started writing the script in February, we shot in August, and it was March by the time the entire post-production was finished – right in time for a year of pandemic film festivals… The slow post-production process was mostly due to me having no clue what post-production entails!

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

Bittersweet comedy.

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

Scraping together any budget at all, and creating something of high quality on the nearly non-existent budget. Music sourcing was also a major hurdle. I think we did a decent job!

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

It really made me smile. In a pandemic film festival season we haven’t had any chance to attend screenings in person, so getting direct and honest audience feedback was a rare occurrence.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It’s an idea I had been playing with for a long time, and something I thought I would be good at. I finally decided it was time to put that hypothesis to the test…

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

Robin Hood, Disney fox version. I definitely had a crush on Robin. I may still have.

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

It’s really handy to have a centralized platform, so you don’t have to fill out endless forms. It’s easy to use, the only issue seems to be distinguishing between which festivals are and aren’t worth it.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Really good omakase sushi.

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

It’s been hard to do anything for the past year, but I’m currently co-writing a script for a short that I will also direct if we can get funding for it.

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