Interview with Filmmaker Rachel Leigh Dolan (only living boy)

“only living boy” was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2021 DANCE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was inspired by my own experience being a dancer/choreographer/artist in New York City during the pandemic, and specifically the feelings we share in a day in New York. There are days we feel alive, amazing, and on top of the world and we go through our days with joy; and there are days where we feel discouraged, uninspired, and sad and similarly, we have to go through our days with those feelings. Regardless of our emotional state, New York is still there; still present; and ever pressuring or uplifting us.

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

We had our first meeting about this film in December of 2020, and the film was released May 2021.

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

Love/Hate

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

COVID. We recorded the song, rehearsed, and worked in New York City during the pandemic. It was important to keep everyone safe and working!

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

It was really exciting to see and hear people talk about a film that I have really only shared with people I know or am connected with. It is inspiring to know that complete strangers are watching, enjoying, and understanding my film. They really understood what I was trying to convey and that felt encouraging.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When the pandemic began I felt really lost having worked in live theatre for the last 20 years. I knew I wanted to keep creating and challenging myself and film seemed the right fit.

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

Probably West Side Story.

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

The FilmFreeway platform is easy to use and navigate. It made it easy for me to submit to multiple festivals without having to upload my video/information over and over again. I liked that!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Pizza in Naples. No question.

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

I am working on getting a dance grant to make a longer dance narrative film featuring new music. Basically I want to unfold “only living boy” into a longer piece.

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