Interview with Filmmaker Z. Joseph Guice (THE BUTTERFLY)

THE BUTTERFLY was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2022 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

~ I was in lockdown at the beginning of the pandemic in New York City. The production company I’m a member of, Red Flight Pictures, decided since we were all out of work and stuck at home that we should write and make some films. The Butterfly was the first of three that we decided to green light. The film is definitely a product of the time it was created in… That volatile summer of 2020 with themes of isolation, prejudice and persecution, police brutality, etc.

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

~ Too long. Actually, from first draft to filming was relatively fast considering everything. About 5 months. It’s post production where we dragged our heels a bit. But we were also filming 2 other shorts. So post production for The Butterfly took about a year. All told, from script to first festival submission – May of 2020 until November of 2021.

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

~ Very good question! And a difficult one. I guess I would say it’s a “love letter” to all the helpers throughout history and those still today who do their part to aid those individuals that a particular regime attacks. Also, on a personal note, to my parents. For nurturing and protecting me.

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

~ Definitely, COVID. All casting and rehearsals were done via Zoom. When we arrived on location for filming, it was the first time many of us had traveled anywhere since the lockdown began.

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

~ There are always a few nerves that go along with the excitement of somebody talking about your work… but I absolutely loved listening to what everyone had to say. And there were definitely a few comments that prompted me to throw a celebratory fist up in the air HaHaHa Thank you all very much!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

~ It has been a lifelong journey for me. From those early moments of my parents taking me to the cinema when I was little. The first time I went to Los Angeles as a child was a clue too. I felt connected to that city in a way that I didn’t understand – but do now that I’m in the business. I feel like my whole life has been about getting to the point of making films.

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

~ Probably either Star Wars or Jaws

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 think networking is so important. Someone you meet at a festival today may become a collaborator or open a door for you in the future. You just never know. So events that put people together help us.

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

~ I love FilmFreeway. I’m not the best tech savvy person. And I have no problems navigating the platform. They make everything so easy.

10. What is your favorite meal?

~ I love this question. Because I love food. Oysters, crab legs, greek salad, and garlic bread.

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

~ Red Flight Pictures currently has 2 films on the festival circuit. And another one is coming soon. So, doing what I can to represent those. I’m also starting to think of my next short film. I do have the seed of an idea. And I’m excited by the possibility of a feature adaptation of The Butterfly.


By matthewtoffolo

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

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: