Interview with Filmmakers Matthew Gilsenan & Blake Thornton (CHASE THAT FEELING)

CHASE THAT FEELING was the winner of BEST FEATURE FILM at the June 2022 ACTION/ADVENTURE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

We always had a passion for filming and documenting the sports we loved. I (BT) was a travelling professional surfer and Gilso would join me on trips whenever he could with a camera in hand. We would surf and take turns in filming one another and produce short action based edits after these trips that would circulate throughout the surfing industry circles. We had headed to Mexico for a month and had set out to do the same thing, score perfect waves, film, edit and release online. Along the way Gilso started to capture more content surrounding the journey to surf. The people, the transport, the landscape and the places we visited. We made an edit from this called the journey begins and it got so much traction and strong feedback that we quickly realised there was more to these trips then just surfing and audiences loved seeing the journey to make these trips happen. That was the light bulb moment where we knew we needed to go deeper with our adventures and share with an audience. This is where Chase That Feeling was born. You can see the edit here

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

The Mexico trip happened in late 2012 where the idea came to us. Our first trip for the film was in 2013 where we went to Canada and Alaska. We were shooting from the hips a bit with no storyboard to speak of and our goal was to simply film everything and describe it to the camera. Myself and Gilso did all the filming on this trip. Over the next 6 years we continued filming on our various adventures and we became a lot more streamlined with our process and engaged an additional filmer on each trip to make everything run smoother. We finalised all our filming in early 2019 and essentially could have released our product in early 2020 but due to covid we delayed the release so we could have a huge premiere with our local community and this was achieved in February this year with a full house at the Ritz cinema in Randwick, Sydney.

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

Ambiguous inspiration

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

The post production phase was initially the biggest obstacle as we had planned to attack this ourselves. Both myself and Gilso had some experience with editing software but the layering and detail was foreign to us and finding time with busy schedules was also a huge hurdle. We had some people look at it and make suggestions and the project got a little side tracked at one point. We were lucky to meet a like minded creative named Colin Clarke who was a former pro snowboarder turned content creator. We discussed our project and he expressed his desire to make a feature film so we engaged him and he has brought Chase That Feeling to life. We have become great friends also and have had some amazing little adventures together since.

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

It was emotional for us. I guess we are so deep into this project that we became a little numb to it and you can’t help but question the quality of the film and how it will be received. After watching the feedback from complete strangers who clearly have an eye for film and storytelling, it was almost the biggest moment of conviction we’ve had this whole project so thank you so much for sharing.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

We both had a passion for filming from a young age. We would head down the coast south of Sydney to surf and we would film each other surfing. Our first overseas trip without parents was to remote Indonesia in 2003 on a boat in the middle of nowhere and it was a wild adventure. We documented a fair bit of that on the handycam and those kind of memories are priceless not only for ourselves but for friends and families of our own one day. I think this trip to Indonesia was the moment we realised we would make films.

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

For me it’s the Lord of the rings trilogy. I love the fantasy side of the story and how you have to use your imagination but it’s balanced out so well with the real New Zealand landscape. We visited New Zealand in our film and we were lucky enough to check out some of the places the film was made.

Gilso: For me it would have to be Point Break. Such an iconic movie and I always loved the skydiving scenes it in!!

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

This experience has been brand new to us as this is our first feature film. The overall experience has been really pleasant. I don’t think we can really comment on things to implement as first timers and we’re generally easy pleased guys.

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

Film Freeway is such an amazing platform. We actually spent a few months research different film festivals, but we found it really hard to find out how to enter them and where we could find more. After finding Film Freeway, all the searching was over! We found the holy grail of film festivals. It makes entering film festivals so easy and the communication between festival and film maker is so streamlined also!

10. What is your favorite meal?

BT; I spent so much of my childhood down the south coast of NSW where we had an old BBQ with an open fire and hot plate over the top. We would cook every meal on it and it was a skill in itself. From there I grew a love for a good steak and vegetable meal. If it’s done right then that’s my favourite.

Gilso: I would have to say Spaghetti Bolognese would have to be my favourite. A meal we had a lot growning up, I always cooked it when we were on our advenuters as it is quick, easy, and delicious!!

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

I think we really just want to get Chase That Feeling out as far and wide as we possibly can and hope for some continued great feedback. Our concept is a never ending which is great so a second film is by no means out of the question but we’d need to try and streamline it a bit more and film it in a much shorter time frame.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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