Interview with Producer/Writer Michael Lai (SUNSHINE HEALING)

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Last year I met a girl who is an international student studying in Australia. One day she told me about the tragic news about her father who caught COVID and passed away. On top of that, her grandfather was very sick and still in the hospital. All of this happened just in the space of one week. She was inconsolable because she was unable to travel back to Brazil where she was from. I found her crying in the toilet, heartbroken, and even though I felt so sorry for her I didn’t know how to comfort her. My words felt so weak and meaningless at that moment. I thought about myself. I haven’t seen my family for more than two years, and I missed my mum and grandma so much. I couldn’t imagine how I would feel if the same thing happened to me. I guess there must be so many people who been through similar experiences during the pandemic, and we are all affected by the pandemic in one way or another. I really want to do something that could comfort them at a time like this. I also want to provide people with a positive message from this film, that despite the situation that we still find ourselves in at the moment. Hopefully people who watched the animation can find something to movie can feel more optimistic.

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

Nearly 7 months.

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

Love & Hope.

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

Making a short film requires a lot of time and effort, especially in our first attempt and during these times.

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

When I watched the audience talk about the animation I was in a quarantine hotel, and I also heard the news about my grandmother passing away shortly on the first day I landed in the country. So the story that inspired me to create the animation became my story as well. One of the audience member said that we always think we still have time to stay with our family or the one we love, but we don’t always have that luxury. I have the same thoughts. I hope that my grandmother would be proud of me and the work that I put into this.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

It was around Christmas time in 2021, shortly after the experience I described earlier.

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

Eat Pray Love

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

Create opportunities to connect with other film makers and the audiences, but I feel like the FEEDBACK Animation Festival does provide a unique experience in what it offers to the film makers.

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

Everything worked as expected.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Any home-cooked meal with family or friends

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

I hope so, but not sure at this stage. I worked on a children’s education app previously, and then this animation. Who know what other opportunities will come around in the future?

By matthewtoffolo

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

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