Interview with Filmmaker Tyler Mann (LIFECELL)

LIFECELL was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the June 2022 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

A: I made this as my final film project when I was in film school. All my professors told me not to do it and that it was too big a scale for a student film. Them telling me not to was super motivating to go on a make it. And, in college all my peers were making table dramas which are good in their own right, but I wanted to build a world and transport people to a place that as of now could only be seen with the power of cinema.

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

A: The idea I had for a few years and always knew I wanted to make it a short and then make it a feature someday. Then, in college with all the resources I had access to, I knew it could be possible. Production was two days with another day of pickups some months down the line. Then I turned it in and got an A and never did anything with it for several years. It sat on my hard drive collecting digital dust with no one’s eyes falling on it for about 6 years. Then, with a recent surge in motivation, I took it out, dusted it off, and finished some VFX that I never got around to it. Now, it is finally getting the festival run it deserved and everyone’s hard work is getting seen.

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

A: Thought provoker

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

A: All the visual effects. I had never done any before and couldn’t pay someone to do them for me so I decided to use this film as my education. Learned a lot and could probably do a better job after all this time but at some point as an artist you just have to say, “It’s finished” and release it to the world.

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

A: I was nervous as I always am when getting feedback on my work but that quickly changed after hearing how positive all the feedback was. And everyone had very interesting comments and reactions to my film, all of which were what I was intending for the audience to feel. It’s always nice affirmation when the audience picks up your intention. I was very pleased with everyone’s feedback.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

A: Since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to be an actor and be on the silver screen! But, it was when I was in high school and took part in a workshop through Mobile Film School, I got to experience what it was like behind the camera and immediately fell in love with filmmaking. Now I want to do both, acting in front of the camera and directing behind the camera. Just like Mark Duplass, John Favreau, and Ben Stiller.

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

Terminator II: Judgement Day. Still one of the best action and sci-fi films ever made. The action and visual effects still hold up and are frankly better than some stuff that’s churned out today. It’s so fun and I still get something new out of it as I grow older. I used to identify with the kid, then Sarah Conner as I grew a little more pessimistic as an adult, then the Terminator himself as I rediscover the beauty of humanity as I shift toward positivity in my life. Weird but it’s true. It’s a beautiful film. And the best sequel to a movie ever made. I can go on and on about that film.

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

A: Filmmakers could always use a cash prize. But, honestly, your festival provides so much for the selected films that I don’t think you need to do much more. With the feedback videos, awards, podcast interview and interview blog, that is a whole press kit right there for filmmakers to use to promote their films. So high five to y’all!

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

A: As a filmmaker trying to get my project out into the world, FilmFreeway.con has made it super easy for me to submit to festivals, keep track of my festival status and laurels and get my project seen. Loving it so far!

10. What is your favorite meal?

A: A steak dinner cooked medium rare with garlic, mashed-potatoes and fresh broccoli. Pair it with a nice red wine.

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

A: I have been very busy. Lifecell is still making the festival rounds with many more festivals to come. I just produced a feature film called Critic which is in post-production. I am an editor for a feature film called A Lion’s Game. And lastly, my wife and I are getting our own production company off the ground, Ruined Man Productions, and we’re going into pre-production on a feature called Forget Me Not that I will write and will be in front of and behind the camera for. And of course, I have a feature script for Lifecell that I hope to produce in the future that will be the first film in a trilogy. Always gotta stay busy!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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