Interview with Filmmaker Thomas Chen Hui Gilchrist (MONEY TALKS: THE LIMITS OF FINANCIAL INFLUENCE IN POLITICS)

Directed by Thomas Chen Hui Gilchrist
The history and importance of governmental regulation of money in United States politics.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Storytelling is my passion. When choosing topics for films, I often ask myself what story my audience needs to hear. Often, the most impactful stories are those buried behind the headline and as soon as I started research into money in politics, I knew I had to uncover this amazing story.

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

I believe in extremely thorough research so I can make the most impactful story, letting ideas form in my head over long periods of time. I started research in July of 2021, however I did not start putting my film together until December. From there, it took about a month to execute my vision and have a completed film.

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

Money Talks!

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

The biggest obstacle I faced in the production of this film was finding an expert to talk to as money tends to be a sensitive topic among politicians. Finding Controller Pinsley was extremely serendipitous. Controller Pinsley was amazing to work with, not just for his amazing insight into the political funding system, but also for his own views and candid remarks on the topic. I learned a lot from Pinsley.

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

I was amazed at how much impact my film has on its audience. My purpose in making this film was to inspire as well as inform and watching the audience reactions was a truly heartwarming experience.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I have been making films from a young age starting with projects for school. As I grew older, I slowly realized the power of expression filmmaking truly has. I have known for the last few years that this truly unique storytelling was my calling, whether through film or music, and it has been my passion since then.

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

My favorite film of all time has to be Ocean’s 11. The film is pure genius. Watching it, I always feel immersed in the story and it always keeps me on my toes!

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

As I am relatively new to the filmmaking world, I am still finding my way around the workings of the industry.

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

My experiences through FilmFreeway have been positive overall with several nominations and screenings of my Money Talks documentary as well as several other of my short films.

10. What is your favorite meal?

My favorite meal is Indonesian nasi goreng (fried rice) that my grandmother always makes for me.

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

I am currently working on a film documenting my grandparents’ lives through the 1960s revolution in Indonesia and their subsequent relocation to the United States, framing many of my family’s current struggles as parallels to their struggles in the past and now.


By matthewtoffolo

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

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: