Interview with Filmmaker CJ Colando (MAYBE NEXT YEAR)

MAYBE NEXT YEAR was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the March 2022 Toronto Comedy Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

It’s easy to get caught up in the pressures to make films that deliver some deep, thoughtful analysis on part of the culture. But to me, that section of the market is taken care of. There’s a surplus of those films. Now more than ever, I’m drawn to making films that aim simply to entertain more than anything else. So that’s where this started. Then later came the desire to make a mockumentary-style comedy that takes place over the course of a single night. And there was also a desire to work with the immensely multi-talented group of people who have formed Starseed Pictures. You’ll be seeing a lot more of us soon.

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

Start to finish it was probably around 9 months. After conceiving the idea and the writing, we went pretty fast into production, shot most of it over three days, reshot and added some stuff in subsequent months. Editing was unusually long, due to the mockumentary format. Though it was ultimately rewarding, the confessional interviews especially, because you’re rolling the camera for several minutes at a time, it can be a grueling process to sift through everything and make sense of it all. So rather than cutting based on a concise shot list and a narrow editorial vision, this was a gigantic puzzle that took some time to assemble.

How would you describe your film in two words!?

Chaotic friends

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

It’s always a challenge making something that involves set pieces with a lot of cast and extras. It’s more rewarding when you can ultimately pull it off, but it definitely makes the experience more difficult. As I mentioned, editing was the other obstacle; having never done a mockumentary before, the process was far more intensive, chipping away at hours of footage to get it down to a concise 14 minutes that makes sense and is entertaining. During that time I read/listened to a lot of Christopher Guest discussing his process, and it was reassuring to learn we share in the heartbreak of having to constantly cut really funny stuff that unfortunately doesn’t vitally serve the story.

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

I want to send each of them a casserole baked with love. (I don’t bake but will hire someone to take care of this.)

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I was drawn to films at a very young age, but it was seeing Jaws for the first time when I was 6 or 7 where my obsession with consuming films instantly shifted into an obsession with making them. Years later I found it interesting that it seems to be the film that inspired dozens of successful directors; Robert Rodriguez, Kevin Smith, Bryan Singer, M. Night Shamalan, Eli Roth, etc.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Well, Jaws is the obvious answer. Dazed and Confused is up there too. Although just over the pandemic there were a ton of repeat viewings of movies of varying quality/prestige. The Mummy Returns was one of them. Wow is The Rock awful in it. However let’s rehab Brendan Frasier, get him some new hair and make him a star again. I also watched Spielberg’s Hook a truly embarrassing amount of times during quarantine. It’s always on some channel, and I’ll stop on it every time. I cannot apologize for it. It’s got early 90s nostalgia, Julia Roberts being an unhinged lunatic behind the scenes, and a kid who turns himself into a bowling ball to take out pirates. Great stuff.

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

Wildsound has been awesome in promoting their film selections and the filmmakers. And as it continues to grow, it only becomes more distinguished amongst other festivals as top tier.

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

FilmFreeway is fantastic. They make the festival experience super convenient and intuitive, and they’ve become the standard so now I really can’t imagine a world without them.

What is next for you? A new film?

We recently completed another short called TEMECULA which we hope to have out on the festival circuit soon. And Starseed Pictures is developing another film that is far bigger and more ambitious (a.k.a. remarkably more expensive) than MAYBE NEXT YEAR that will shoot during the summer.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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