Interview with Filmmaker Tonya Kay (MOONRISE Music Video)

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Moonrise marks the fourth Lyra Star music video under my Direction and each time I strive to portray contortion-on-film in a way it’s never been seen before. As soon as I site checked the location in DTLA, I envisioned using visual effects on the tv screen, in the atmosphere to heighten the whimsically haunting musical track. Because Star and I have collaborated so much and I consider her a dear friend at this point, it’s always a joy to be asked to Direct another piece for her. I know her on-camera style, her physical abilities, her creative ascetic and she’s very receptive to my Director vision and best of all, executes flawlessly.

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

From brainstorming to location scouting, principal photography to visual effects, press to festival submissions, I’d say the process took 6 months. We weren’t working for any outside deadlines, so we intentionally kept the process low-stress. That relaxed work attitude kept the team in high spirits and allowed all of us to fine tune our work without pressure. It’s my ideal creative work scenario, really.

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

Moving Meditation

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


Our location was gorgeous but had no AC in hot Los Angeles so that was a challenge! But seriously, my personal challenge with the location was making one small room look like five separate and distinct locations, which was accomplished through lighting, production design and a lot of planning.

Also, our editor/colorist, David Desio, and VFX designer Ryan Enos both worked remotely and there’s a challenge to reviewing footage and giving notes over the World Wide Web. Everyone has different machines, connectivity, storage devices, display screens … Ultimately, we developed our own work flow between post production, the producer/talent, Lyra Star, and myself that brought us all together without needing to be in the same room.

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

I loved that no one used the word “contortion”! The audience instead noted “acrobatics” and “flexibility” which reminds me what a magnificent and rare discipline we captured in our film. It’s uncommon to receive audience feedback on film projects and hearing the audience mention the Production Design and Visual Effects warmed my heart especially, since those both were very specific parts of my vision. Thank you for all the feedback – filmmakers LOVE hearing how we positively touch our viewers!

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I was shooting stop-time animation, music videos and horror films on my parents’ VHS recorder – how’s that for knowing early?!

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

Faster Pussycat Kill! Kill!

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

IMDb qualification for festivals is an important facet to furthering a winning filmmaker’s career, since that win can go into the film database to be referenced for all time. Live screenings with Q&A after introduces filmmakers to their viewers and potential buyers and is amazingly helpful to the filmmakers’ career. Interviews like this are deeply appreciated as is the opportunity to chat on a filmmaking podcast. Best of all, cash prizes for winning films directly impact a filmmaker’s continued growth and work.

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

I’m a fan of FilmFreeway as a slick network that connects filmmakers and festivals.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Vegan Thai Fresh Rolls with avocado

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

I’ll be Directing my fifth music video with Lyra Star in 2022 and just you wait to see what we’re bringing to the next concept to literally ELEVATE contortion-on-film! I’ve recently established Permanent Residency and a second home in Vancouver, BC, Canada (first home is Los Angeles, of course) and see my skills as a Director of high-level physicality as beneficial to the local action and superhero film/tv market! Especially as a local female directing acting, action and dance. Soon I hope you see my name in the credit roll of a WB project.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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