Interview with Filmmaker Morgan Emlyn Thomas (JOHN POP’S STORY)

JOHN POP’S STORY played to rave reviews at the May 2022 Under 5 Minute Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film was made during my time at Bournemouth University and was actually an assignment. Myself and Ewan, my co-director, came up with the idea of this as John is my grandfather. We both thought that the topic had an interesting history behind it and felt that there was so much that could be told within the span of 5 minutes.

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

I believe in total, the film was made around 5-6 weeks. From the onset, we were extremely motivated to produce this film, and what made it even better was getting the experience to interview someone with so much history involved with the subject, which made us extremely motivated and hyped to get this film finished.

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

I would describe this film as emotionally informative.

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

The biggest obstacle was trying our best to work with John. We had to make sure we took our team and did not rush any part of the interviews. As now John has some problems with his health, we made sure to interview him in the comfort of his own home. We allowed time between takes for him to take a breath and take his time. In the long run, this was ideal because it allowed him to also collect his thoughts and give us a strong but casual interview.

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

I had just finished a late shift at work and received a text that the film had won Best Cinematography. I quickly rushed to my emails and was ecstatic to see this. As this was the only festival I had submitted to so far, I was hoping to gain some feedback on this film – I didn’t expect to win anything! After getting home I then watched the audience’s reactions. To be honest, I got quite emotional. This project holds a special place for me and I am quite passionate about it, so I was hesitant at first to see other people’s reactions. Then to my surprise, the reactions were amazing. The way they described my film, how they felt whilst watching – it was all great.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I’ve always loved films and always watched films growing up. I never actually thought about the creative side of filmmaking until I was 17 and starting out in my local college.

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

No doubt In my head, it has to be Forrest Gump!

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

The festival offers one of the most important things a filmmaker can ask for – exposure. Exposure is, in my opinion, one of the most important factors a film festival can offer. I loved how this film festival guaranteed that films submitted and selected are going to a live audience, with their initial reactions recorded and sent directly to us. I found this absolutely fascinating.

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

My experience has been great. The festival team kept in touch with me throughout the entire period when the festival was taking place. They were clear about what was happening when it was going to happen, and then the outcome. As this was the first festival I have submitted this film too, I will definitely be submitting again.

10. What is your favorite meal?

It would have to be my family’s Sunday roast dinner!

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

I have a few things planned for the future. I am highly interested in making more documentaries within my local area, Maesteg. I feel this place has so many stories and history that It needs to get out there and be told. I am also keen on writing and directing a short film. But we’ll have to wait and see!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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