Interview with Filmmaker Sean L. Restivo (TOGETHER)

Directed by Sean L. Restivo
After the recent death of her mother, Alex is left with the responsibility of taking care of her brother, Jakob. After Jakob starts a fight at school. Alex makes a potentially fatal decision, that puts her in a conflict with the Questioner, a manifestation of her guilt.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

My mother passed away from Stage 4 Metastisized Breast Cancer in April 0f 2021. I wanted to make something that both honored her as a mother, and display my own feeling that I had after her loss. For a time after her death, I thought I had to be strong for my own siblings and the people around me, but inside I was hurting myself and depriving myself of the care that I needed.

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

The conception of this idea began in November 2021, the scriptwriting process started in late January 2022 and went through many drafts and workshops until it was locked in late March. Production began on April 23rd and was finalized on April 24th. The edit was finalized on May 17th. So all-in-all the project took 8th months from conception to completion

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

Caring, and empowering

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

Though the script went through several rewrites. I felt the actual production took a toll on everyone involved based on the subject matter we were dealing with, and several of us we emotionally exhausted by the end.

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

I was stoked! So many positive responses to what is essentially my directorial debut at festivals were incredibly inspiring. I was happy that the audience remarked how the style never overpowered the story as I want my story to come through first and foremost.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I’ve been experimenting with making videos since I was 12 years old. It was just silly youtube content, but it was effectively my introduction to the world of video production, editing, and directing. I’d say the moment that interest became a dream was when I watched the movie, Whiplash, for the first time.

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

That’s difficult to pin down exactly because I watched a lot of kids’ films numerous times. I’d say in recent memory, the film I’ve seen the most as someone who wants to make them. Moulin Rouge would be the film I’ve seen the most.

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’ve found in my festival experience that communication can often be rough between both the festival and the filmmakers. Communication with WildSound has been above average in how they communicate with their filmmakers. But in general, I appreciate more transparency from exhibitors

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

Fantastic. There’s so much opportunity and is great at getting your film out to more eyes.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Steak with mashed potatoes and peas. But a nice Bacon-Cheeseburger with fries hits the spot as well

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

Right now I’m trying to take any opportunity to edit. I have a few ideas for a script, but nothing that’s struck me specifically.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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