Interview with Filmmaker Gordon Yarley (WHEN THE STAGE LIGHTS GO OUT)

1. What motivated you to make this film?

What motivated me to make When The Stage Lights Go Out, was seeing the impact that the pandemic had on my friends in the performing arts industry and how they seemed to be tossed aside when thousands of people were affected. It hurt me deeply seeing them get told that they weren’t worthy of emergency funding or of getting any ounce of respect. Artists are people too.

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

In our first year, I pitched the idea of the project in March 2021, created a pitch document to the school that was submitted in April 2021.

Then we had our summer break, then returned back and first week of school in September 2021. It was picked by the students and faculty to go into production and we had an incredibly short preproduction period, compiling research and data and planning locations and interview subjects for filming in Mid October 2021. We then filmed it over four days, then started editing it together and finished it in December 2021. In all an incredibly tight turn around.

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

Powerfully Moving.

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

The biggest obstacle was our budget and the time constraints for making it, due to making it in school. We made it on a $1,000 budget provided by the school, with additional support covered by myself to pay for rental of our filming location.

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

My initial reaction when watching the audience talking about the film in the feedback video was immense pride and joy, knowing that they had been touched by the piece.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I’ve always appreciated the performing arts, but I’d have to say that when I was very young watching shows like The Muppet Show and Sesame Street and Star Trek it intrigued me. My love of cinema came from watching Mel Brooks, and black and white classic films with my Mother.

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

It’s a tie between The Muppet Movie, Wrath of Khan, and Clue.

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

I’d have to say that it’ll be nice to go back to being in person, but with festivals being online, being able to do interviews remotely is a massive bonus.

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

I’ve found it really fantastic and easy. I do wish it had, this festival requires a premiere status and might conflict with another one you have submitted to.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I’d have to say pizza. It’s universal and can come in both meal and dessert form.

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

Yes I’m actually going to be editing a studio drama for this term about a wife who has early Alzheimer’s. We just finished filming it on campus as part of the program at Humber College.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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