Interview with Screenwriter Samuel Newman (CYCLE)

CYCLE played to rave reviews at the June 2022 SCIENCE & NATURE Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I feel deeply connected to nature, and think that you can learn so much about yourself and about the world by spending time outdoors. Yet day in and day out, I’m watching the natural world destroyed before my eyes on a global scale, with little being done to stop it. I’m quite honestly shocked with what’s happening to environments and landscapes across the globe, with governments and corporations claiming to care, but making no real world effort. I wanted to draw attention to this however I can.

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

This film took around three months to make from concept to finish, the majority of which was spent editing and doing sound design.

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

Fuck plastic.

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

Budget was the primary hurdle to making this film, as I am currently still a student and was working with no funding. So I had to get a bit creative with the production pipeline to get access to all of the assets needed to make the film.

There’s also a challenge when discussing environmental issues as (sadly) people often tune out, and feel they’re being ‘preached to’ when it comes to conservation. So part of the conceptual challenge was trying to find a way to tell the story without it being too overt too early on into the film. I’m sure it’ll still be a challenge in similarly themed films going forwards.

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

A little bit of disbelief! It’s quite wild seeing real people discussing my film and I was humbled by the positive reactions. If even one person is a little more aware of the scope of the problem after viewing, then that’s all the success I could hope for.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I’ve always loved cinema but hadn’t seriously considered the practical side of filmmaking until last year. I knew there were environmentally-focused stories I wanted to see on screen, but I wasn’t seeing them, and I wanted to change that. So I started an MA in ethnographic documentary filmmaking and began independently directing and producing films in September of 2021.

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

Before Sunrise! I’m a huge fan of Richard Linklater’s work, and that film has been a huge influence on me. It’s beautiful and thought provoking, and I love the long meandering shots of simple human conversation.

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 lot of young filmmakers (myself included) are often overwhelmed by the whirlwind nature of the film industry. Hearing from industry professionals in q&a or panel settings is something I always find really helpful in navigating this landscape.

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

FilmFreeway is great and easy to use, I’ve had a lot of a fun submitting my film to festivals there.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Eggplant parmesan is always a favourite (used to be chicken parm but 🌏🌿🤘)

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

I’m currently working on another short film for my MA thesis project, which is set for release at the end of August. It will be a fantasy/docufiction short exploring climate mythology as told from the point of view of Mother Earth. It will be dark and exceedingly weird, can’t wait.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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