Interview with Filmmakers Bruce Lazarus & Robert Martens (OYSTERS!)

OYSTERS! was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the October 2021 ENVIRONMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

We were inspired by Billion Oyster Project, an organization dedicated to restoring the oyster beds of New York Harbor. Being environmentally concerned citizens, we set out to create our own supportive statement about the near extinction and subsequent revival of New York oysters. Also, our previous collaborative video, Moving Parts, was a completely abstract “optical ballet” of rhythmically moving dots forming all sorts of symmetrical and asymmetrical patterns and shapes, so for our second video we wanted to do something completely different.

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

About one year.

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

Oyster Renaissance!

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

The covid lockdown. For our first film “Moving Parts” we had live planning meetings, but just as we conceived of producing our second film “Oysters!”, the 2020 lockdown hit and we, living in New York City which was the epicenter of the pandemic, had no choice but to rely on Zoom meetings and email exchanges for the entire production from beginning to end. It didn’t thwart us, but it took us a while to adjust to this new manner of collaborating.

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

We were both very delighted. It was refreshing to hear honest, positive reactions from people whom we didn’t know personally.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Robert: As a child I was inspired by my grandfather’s amateur films to make my own little shorts. That desire never completely left me although I chose to attend art school and became a visual artist. It wasn’t until I began archiving and preserving my grandfather’s legacy that my interest in filmmaking came off the backburner, and it’s been cooking ever since.

Bruce: I had composed soundtracks for other people’s films, but I didn’t become involved in the filmmaking process myself until Robert and I collaborated on our first film “Moving Parts,” an experience that I found very rewarding.

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

Robert: Tossup between “2001 A Space Odyssey” and “Forbidden Planet”

Bruce: I was going to say “Forbidden Planet” but Robert beat me to it.

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

We’ve found FilmFreeway to be an invaluable service for filmmakers. We would not have known about the hundreds of festivals out there, including yours, if it weren’t for FF.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Robert: Anything but second-day leftovers.
Bruce: Anything I didn’t cook myself.

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

Yes, we’re working on an animated anthology of science fiction themes. The segments will vary in mood from funny to dramatic, and the settings will jump from alien worlds to futuristic cities. We’re very excited by it.


By matthewtoffolo

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

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: