Interview with Filmmaker Jared Walker (FLY)

FLY played to rave reviews at the September 2021 Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I needed a nice creative project to work on as an outlet, and it just so happened that I had a father/son trip planned with my son Joshua. So we decided to turn our trip into a creative passion project for the both of us. It gave us a fun project to work on together, and it gave him a goal to work towards knowing that we’d submit the film to festivals afterwards.

I also hoped that both the trip and the project would help Joshua gain a bit more confidence and help him be a little more independent. I think every parent struggles with how to help their children be best prepared for life, and I’m no different. You can see some of those concerns and themes come through in the film. And even though the film is about my son’s fears and hopes, really I was pouring my own fears and hopes as a parent (struggling with how to best help him) into the film as well.

On the technical side, since I was just getting over some health issues I decided to shoot the whole film on my iPhone. I figured that I wouldn’t have to lug lots of equipment around, and it would also be a good creative challenge for me as well.

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

I believe it took about 3 months altogether including a lot of planning for the film before the trip, a week of filming on the trip, and then about a month of editing and post-production work afterwards.

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

Either ‘Visual Poetry’ for the style or ‘Overcoming Fear’ for the theme.

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

Using my iPhone as the only camera for the film was definitely a challenge. I had never tried to do any filming with my phone before that was anything more than casual documentation or vlog-style videos. So I had to do a lot of research, testing, and planning beforehand to make sure I could get the image quality up to a standard that I was happy with.

Another challenge was working with my own son, haha. I usually have a rule of not doing any video or photo work with family members because it can lead to frustration and strained relationships…but for this project I made an exception. And honestly Joshua did a great job, despite us trying to balance being on a father/son vacation and working on this project at the same time.

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

It was honestly a really wonderful experience to hear everyone’s thoughts and perspectives. We haven’t been able to visit any in-person festivals or hear just about anyone’s feedback on the film. So it really was great to hear that the film resonated with people and that they picked up on the themes and ideas that I tried to infuse into the film. I will admit, I may have gotten a little misty-eyed listening to their feedback.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It was never a dream of mine to make films when I was younger, probably because I never really thought it was a possibility. I’ve always loved movies and have been amazed by the work of great filmmakers, but I suppose only in the last handful of years I’ve started wanting to move a bit more from working on commercials and advertising into more story-driven and conceptual films. Films that have more meaning to me personally.

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

That’s a good question. Growing up I watched movies like Indiana Jones, Star Wars, and Last of the Mohicans. Lately a few movies I’ve been watching multiple times include Walter Mitty, Edge of Tomorrow, and Game Night.

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

FilmFreeway has been great. This year is the first time I’ve submitted to any film festivals, and FilmFreeway has made it easy and enjoyable.

9. What is your favorite meal?

It depends on my mood, but I can always go for either a good burger, pizza, or enchiladas.

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

Right now I’m back into working on commercial/advertising projects, but I’d be up for directing a music video or short film if the right opportunity presented itself. Anyone that’s interested can see my work or contact me through my website at https://www.jaredwalker.co/

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