Interview with Filmmaker Tony K. Hall (LONESOME)

LONESOME was the winner of BEST FEATURE FILM at the 2021 BLACK & WHITE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I wanted to make a film that was based on a very small construct – something as simple as a guy and his roommate taking a trip to the beach; and then building a simple romantic narrative around it. I wanted to focus on the small moments everyone goes through when they are on their search for their ideal partner, or ‘the one’.

From a Director’s perspective – this film Lonesome was heavily influenced by the films of the film-makers Jacques Demy, Wong Kar-Wai, Guy Maddin, Agnes Varda, Jean Luc Godard and Paul Fejos.

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

Completing ‘Lonesome’ was a doozy. It took 16 days of filming over the course of 26 months. (not including B-Roll and Drone Photography). We started in October 2018 and had our last day of filming in December 2020. Also, when the COVID shutdowns went into effect in March 2020, we weren’t completely done with the film. The script was modified to cut some things out, but we were able to film for 1 day each in October and December of 2020 by following the SAG protocols for ‘Safe Sets’. Lonesome was left with a short run time of 65 minutes due to leaving some scenes out that we were never able to get to, but we felt we had enough for a completed product.

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

Too Cute

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

The cast & crew were mostly volunteer and unpaid. All of the main people involved were involved in other paying gigs and their own 9 to 5 jobs. We were only able to film when everyone was available which was extremely challenging from a Producer and organizer’s perspective. All of the financing of this film went to music licensing, editing, building/designing sets (fake rain machine, fake computer servers, hot air balloon basket, etc…) and keeping the cast & crew well fed on the days of filming. It was a small miracle that we were able to complete this film.

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

Overjoyed!!! It is also fantastic to hear other people’s takes on the film.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

For perspective, I am in my early 40s. In my college years I always thought, ‘Hey I could write a Screenplay’… but I never got around to it. I had always written movie reviews for my high school newspaper, and I ran my college campus’s movie channel, and I have a review blog that I share with friends and family that I have kept throughout my adult life. BUT THE EXACT MOMENT THAT I KNEW I HAD TO MAKE A FILM was in 2008 when I watched the film ‘Once’ directed by John Carney and the song “When Your Mind is Made Up” came on. I was in my mid-twenties and at that exact moment, I knew that no matter what it takes, someday I have to make a film. I was already a pretty big film buff seeing every movie that has ever been nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards going back to its origination and seeing every movie on every list that the American Film Institute has come out with. At that time, aided by my love for the website TheyShootPictures.com and the book ‘1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die’ by Steven Jay Schneider I created a list of 300 films that I felt I had to see to ready myself for trying to be a film-maker. This list was composed of the top films of the top directors of all time like Ingmar Bergman, Jean Renoir, Jean-Luc Godard, etc… I also started heavily paying attention to the local film scene and learning who were the top film-makers in my area that made things that made it out onto the national scene. I participated as extra help on some short film sets over the last several years too. It was a long, long game to finally being able to complete this first feature as a writer and director.

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

Omigosh this is such a tough question for self-described film buffs. The films that I watch over and over again are:
Chungking Express (1994) directed by Wong Kar-Wai
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) directed by Jacques Demy
My Winnipeg (2008) directed by Guy Maddin
As a kid it was Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) directed by Steven Spielberg

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

For this film – to share the IMDB page and encourage people to rate the film: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt15380124/
For furthering a career – to help network with other award winning directors and producers; as well as any executives or acquisition agents for distribution companies – which is probably very difficult to do from a festival organizer’s perspective.

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

I love FilmFreeway. I almost love it too much. It is too addicting. It is so easy to spend my paycheck from my regular 9 to 5 job submitting to all the interesting sounding festivals.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Spaghetti. A nice plate of spaghetti.

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

I have several other feature film scripts that I have completed, but the project has not been green-lighted yet. They include –
A. Adapting a novel about an eco-terrorist and an executive that gets caught in their crosshairs.
B. A story about young twenty-somethings experiencing the aftermath of a hurricane.
C. A story about a college drop-out and her traumatic experience that propelled her on a different path in life.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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