Interview with Filmmaker C.J. Arellano (GRIFFICA)

GRIFFICA was the winner of BEST FILM at the November 2021 LGBTQ+ Short Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I wanted to make a film that depicted a psychological clash between two queer individuals with wildly differing backstories.

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

I wrote the film in Oct 2020 and completed it in April 2021.

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

Perfectly imperfect.

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

It was a challenge to shoot the film during the pandemic. The film is about a romantic relationship but the actors had to stay six feet apart most of the time. I utilized extreme close-up shots to help fill in those emotional beats, and I think that’s what lent the film its distinct visual style.

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

It was gratifying to hear that the audience enjoyed the film as much as I did making it. It’s every filmmaker’s dream to hear that the audience picked up on what you were trying to put down!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I realized I wanted to make films when I was 9 and directed my cousins in short comedy videos that I shot with my parents’ Panasonic Hi-8 camcorder.

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

It’s a five-way tie between Back to the Future, Pride + Prejudice (2005), Run Lola Run, His Girl Friday, and The Hours.

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

Everything that your festival has provided has been wonderful. I’m always interested in special events and other networking opportunities to connect with other filmmakers, artists, and distributors.

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

FilmFreeway has been a wonderful and user-friendly tool. I’m ever grateful for it!

10. What is your favorite meal?

The first answer that came to my mind was beer-battered fish tacos.

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

I’m developing a feature film called Case Unsolved. You can learn more at!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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