Interview with Filmmaking Team Shira Alon & Michael Sternberg (LINE 25)

LINE 25 was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the July 2022 ROMANCE & RELATIONSHIPS Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Michael: Opportunity. I rode the bus at line 63 in Tel Aviv, in real life, and there I saw the same situation. At that time, I was an acting student at “Impro – Acting Studio for Films, TV and Theatre”, where I met Shira Alon, who was looking for a film to participate in. All the dots started to connect in my mind, and I decided to make this film.

Shira: Opportunity is a great word to describe it! At the time, I felt vulnerable and not appreciated as an actress, and I have expressed those feelings to Michael. As a response, Michael told me he’s been having this story in his head he wanted to film for a long time and that he pictured Zack Dorfman and me being a perfect match for Yael’s and Victor’s parts. I was flattered! Without giving me any chance to question or overthink this OPPORTUNITY, Michael said – “let’s do it!”. And that motivated me to execute it and have it filmed.

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

Michael: Development, pre-production, and principal photography were all covered in LESS THAN A MONTH! Although, I think that the idea of the film was in my mind for about a year.

Shira: Only now, after dozens of other film productions here in LA, do I realize how ambitious that timeframe was! I am still proud of that accomplishment – our passion and that “let’s-do-it” attitude of Michael helped us move mountains. But then the post-production and distribution stages came… In our defense, we were still young and inexperienced, and that artistic passion was not enough to navigate the industry and transform what we considered an art piece into a product. So “Line 25” was put on the shelf… Only years later, I decided to revisit the film and finally release it to the world! That’s when Elena Viklova, our creative producer, came into the picture! I primarily met her as a director with whom we worked together on one of my recent projects, a short drama titled “Through her glasses”. That experience was so smooth and pleasant that I had no doubts she could boost “Line 25” to a new level. Elena brought many hard-working and talented people into this project – Jessica Pradhan, who doctored and finally locked the picture; Aaron Adrian, who gave color to this story; Sofia Terpou, who mastered and produced our distribution materials. All in all, you saw the final result – if it wasn’t good enough, you wouldn’t take this interview, right?

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

Michael: Love story.

Shira: Michael has taken the two words right out of my mouth. Indeed, it is a love story.

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

Michael: There were so many. The biggest one was that we had only ONE day to film the whole movie. Have I mentioned it before? We had only one day out of that month for principal photography because of the budget (or, let’s be honest, NO budget!) and the schedule of everyone.

Shira: Apparently, I do relate to that struggle. However! The most challenging thing I had to do for this project was to revisit it. It took so much emotional energy to open that drawer, rewatch our raw files, and make decisions from scratch. But having Elena, Jessica, Aaron, and Sofia by my side helped me to go through it and make this film to reach its audience.

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

Michael: It felt like a dream. I thought, “Are they really talking about my film?!”. I was extremely excited to see the feedback!

Shira: Likewise! I couldn’t wait to see that first-hand impression on our film – I was so moved and happy. I couldn’t stop smiling.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Michael: I remember seeing the festival in my acting school for the first time; I said to myself, “one day, I will make a film of my own.”

Shira: I was 12 years old when my drama teacher asked me to read for the role of the teacher for our graduation party. The reactions I got from my classmates were absolutely irreplaceable. So I promised myself this is what I would do for the rest of my life – entertain humankind.

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

Michael: I think “Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban.”

Shira: This is easy – “Miss Congeniality”. I think I even watched it two times in a row once!

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

Michael: Money. Definitely money.

Shira: I would say, if not money, then further opportunities to distribute our films. That’s said, I can’t wait for the Wildsound app to transform into a fully-fledged streaming platform.

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

Shira: That is another credit to Elena, who, apart from her creative vision and resources, also empowered us with a thoughtful festival strategy that seems to work so far.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Michael: My favorite meal is my Russian girlfriend’s vegan curry.

Shira: Well, I feel obligated to say ice cream, but it’s anything that is made with love.

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

Michael: I want to write a play and direct it. I also hope to make more films in the future.

Shira: I am finishing post-production of a short film titled “And then…” that should be released by Janurary 2023, prepping to explore some new boundaries as an actress and perform a schizophrenic character in a short film titled “Universe 25” developing podcast series titled “A Diary of A Babysitter,” two short films titled “The Headquarters” and “Questioning”. And last but not least, acting as one of the lead characters in Elena’s upcoming film, “Intern.”


By matthewtoffolo

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

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