Interview with Filmmaker/Actor Jason Ishmael Echols (ALONG CAME A CALLBACK)

ALONG CAME A CALLBACK was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the LA FEEDBACK Film Festival.

https://www.instagram.com/jason_echols/

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I use to do stand up comedy and the idea for the film started off as a joke I was working on. The premise was about an actor that I knew who was your typical opportunist who was otherwise rude and dismissive but would act like your friend when they thought there was something to gain from being in your proximity. The joke was basically I would write a movie and become ultra successful solely out of spite only to invite that person to the audition to berate them in front producers. I was telling the premise to a couple of comedy friends of mine over coffee. One of them said, “that’s not a joke, that’s a movie”. And I thought to myself, “Really? How would it work?” So we sat there and worked out the beats and in about 20mins we had the whole story.

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

After I had the initially idea I sat on it for about a year. The notes for the story sat prominently on my desk during that time just staring at me. Then one day I looked at them, sighed to myself and said, “well, I guess I better get started.” I would say from that point it took me about 3 years. It probably would have happened faster but things got pushed back over covid lockdowns and restrictions. It was probably better that way though because it gave me time to develop relationships that would be key in getting the film made.

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

Forgiveness/healing

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

That would be a difficult one because there were so many. But I think it was covid and all the considerations that came with that including key people getting sick and having to pause production.

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

I felt giddy and excited. This was literally the first audience the film has had. I had actual goosebumps watching people talk about the film. It felt a little surreal watching people talk about a thing I dreamt up. Hearing them communicate the ideas and themes that I toiled over was validating. You often hear artist say once you put a piece out there it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to everyone now. This was the first time I think I ever truly felt that about a piece of my work. I must say hearing all the positive feedback was also very encouraging.

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

I’ve always loved movies but I think somewhere in college I decided I wanted to work on films. One day it just hit me that I have stories to tell too and there are so many stories I personally want to see that haven’t been made yet and I love the medium of film for communicating those ideas.

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

The Wizard of Oz

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

I’m not really sure. This is my first festival run.

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

I honestly love it. Having nearly all of the festivals in one place takes most of the leg work out of having to find each festival individually and ultimately I’ve learned about and submitted to so many festivals I wouldn’t have known about otherwise.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Lamb chops

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

I’ve started exploring a few new ideas for films. I have a story about a salesman that deals with work place power dynamics and accountability and a Western that’s pretty far along in story. I’ve also been playing with what “Along Came a Callback” would like as a feature. But also looking forward to helping other get their films and productions of the ground.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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