Interview with Filmmaker Alex Hai (VENI ETIAM)

VENI ETIAM was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the November 2021 WILDsound Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My goal was to explain transgender in a subtitle way so the viewer can identify without rejection.

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

13 months, but 80% of the actual film material dates back to 2010-2014 and was thought for several different film ideas sitting on the shelves

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

Rowing thoughts

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

Covid 19 – We had to reschedule meetings do to travel restrictions and finally started post production with 4 month delay. Covid struck my team twice and provoked more delays and unpredictable changes . I had to make some tough decisions to meet deadlines. I had to lay everything in the hands of my editor Debra Gavlak in Los Angeles because of travel restrictions she needed to become producer director, find and manage a whole new team. We were on the phone of course but without her there wouldn’t be a film. Editors are so often underestimated but often the lifesavers .

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

Finally there were people who saw it than I was surprised about their interpretation and happy that none of them were taking about me being transgender, as this film was not aiming to be for my community but rather for a wider audience, mission completed.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was about 5 years old practicing my Oscar speech but life had other plans

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

The list is long. The very first film I remember watching often was Sergio Leon’s once upon a time in the west , I was blown away by the combination of music and shots.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

Especially in the pandemic where nearly all festivals are on line or hard to reach because of travel restrictions, more communication is the key . A filmmaker/ critic zoom chat room would be a nice idea.
It’s hard for newcomers like me to understand the festival jungle. For example the semi finalist, in some festivals meaning you are not selected and in others you were very close of winning , that’s a crazy gap. Winning a little laurel is always pleasing but can’t replace the spontaneous critic and atmosphere in a movie theatre , to know what people feel and think watching is precious to me therefore I chose wild sound.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

Filmfreeway has a great support team I can only speak high of. The little fireworks they create when there is a selection were uplifting in this isolated and difficult year.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Steak & Ice Cream

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

I am writing a story to be adapted for screenplay

By matthewtoffolo

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

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