Interview with Filmmaker Masa Gibson (ROOFTOP INTERMISSION)

ROOFTOP INTERMISSION was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the BLACK & WHITE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

When the pandemic first hit we thought we might be in lockdown for as long as two or three weeks (haha), so we got the idea to shoot a quick little sketch on our rooftop as a creative outlet. As the course of the pandemic progressed and evolved, so did our project.

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

About seven months. All in all we ended up shooting for fifty days, just for an hour or so each day during the optimal time for lighting. All for what ended up being a nine-minute final cut!

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

Time capsule.

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

The inconstancy of the sky. It became a daily ritual for one of us to head up to the roof at around 4:30pm to try and gauge whether it was going to be a good sky day or if it was a bust. Honorable mention goes to the birds that we took it upon ourselves to train to fly in and out of the shot for the beginning and end of the film.

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

We felt a visceral sense of connection with them even though they are strangers on the other side of the country. A recurring reaction was that our film really captured the feeling of that time in our society and that they could relate to what the characters in the film were going through. Apparently we were able to make them feel seen, and having set out to do just that, we ourselves felt seen.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Both of us had acting training and had appeared in a number of films in front of the camera, but we always felt drawn to the excitement of everything happening behind the camera when we were on set. Abby was drawn to the design side of things, and I (Masa) was drawn to the craft of storytelling and the composition of the frame.

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

Hard to say, but one that comes to mind is Vinterberg’s Festen (The Celebration).

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

It’s great. Pretty user-friendly.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Sashimi. Or anything with good french fries. Why? You treating?

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

We have another pandemic-inspired short in the works, but this one is less grounded in realism; it takes place in an alternate world and involves a choreographed dance…

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