Interview with Filmmaker Roberto Jay (MOON TALK)

MOON TALK was the winner of BEST FILM at the Dec. 2021 THRILLER/SUSPENSE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Before putting ink to paper, I wanted to create a story that reflected the confusion that occurs within someone experiencing a mental health crisis. As the story developed, my motivation became two-fold, in that I wanted to bring back elements from 1970’s thriller/suspense films, while digging deep into the constructs of mental health. I was motivated by the idea of making a splash in Chicago’s filmmaking community and establishing my signature style as a filmmaker. After all of that, Moon Talk became a love letter to films from the ’70s like Sybil and early 90’s horror anthologies like Tales from the Darkside.

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

A year and a half.

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

Mysterious and nostalgic.

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

Shooting it in 3 Days. Originally, we set out to shoot the 20-page script in two days for a number of reasons including budget, space rental, health and safety – COVID – and actor availability. We shot this film in the summer of 2020 amid a lot of health and safety concerns, so we needed to make sure that everyone was kept safe during the shoot, which was an obstacle all on its own, but overall, getting all the shots done that we wanted and staying true to the story was key, especially for one such as this with a grandiose twist in the end. We needed to make sure that all the details lined up and made sense so that the twist had a profound effect on the audience. As indie-filmmakers, that can sometimes be tough, especially given the minimal resources available.

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

I was so grateful! It was a joy to listen to the outpour of love for the film. I also enjoyed hearing the compliments towards the symbolism of the piece because as the writer, I placed very important pieces of symbolism within the film that I wasn’t quite sure an audience would pick up on. As producer, writer, co-director and actor in the film, I was
“over the moon” with the very positive reception from the Thriller/Suspense community.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Is it cliche to say “as soon as I was old enough to pick up a camera?” In all actuality, about 3 years ago. I always wanted to be an actor. I was motivated as a kid by my parents taking me to the movie theater on a weekly basis, so being a part of the movie-making industry in some capacity was inevitable, but it wasn’t until being cast as a lead in an indie feature film called Blame, and witnessing the whole movie-making process that I said to myself that I wanted to start making films as well. I’ve also always been a writer. As a young kid, I would write short stories and then draw movie posters to compliment those stories, but it wasn’t until about five years ago that I started writing actual screenplays. So after working on Blame, I combined my love of film with my writing skills to write Moon Talk. And after some edits, the story was born.

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

Alien by Ridley Scott.

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

Virtual networking opportunities and workshop/seminars with industry professionals to meet and share our industry insight with one another. Screenings of other competitors films as a “masterclass” of selected films.

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


10. What is your favorite meal?

Meatloaf and mashed potatoes.

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

My creative partner, Joseph Davis Castleberry, and I will be going into pre-production for another short film I wrote last year as a part of an internship with Los Angeles-based production company, Scat TV.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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