Interview with Filmmaker Lael Rogers (SHRAPNEL: Solitarius Lupus)

SHRAPNEL: Solitarius Lupus, 8min., USA
Directed by Lael Rogers
We follow a scavenger through a time not too far from our own as they find a way to survive the harsh realities of a world run by economy and conflict.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
NEON Machine asked All is Well, the Seattle film studio I co-founded, to make a film inspired by the world of Shrapnel — a yet-to-be released AAA Extraction FPS game. Writers Tony Fulgham, Peter Edlund, and myself were writing the script as the Shrapnel team was developing their world, so the characters and landscapes really took shape side-by-side.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
We started working with NEON Machine in earnest around the fall, and by early spring, the film was finished. It was a fast turnaround for a film of this scale!

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

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
One of our days landed on the 8th rainiest day on record EVER in the Seattle area. I’ve filmed in pretty bad weather before, but this one felt different. I was wringing out “waterproof” clothing at the end of every day. However, what we gained was an enormous gift. The rain was so heavy that it read on camera, essentially working like a rain machine. In the end, the weather added a ton of grit and atmosphere to the film. For free!

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Something that’s very important to me as a filmmaker is tone, and it was so great to hear everyone’s reaction to the feel of the film. I also haven’t yet had the privilege of watching the film with a group of people in a theater, so it was really fun to hear their thoughts!

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I’m one of those freaks that knew what they wanted to do from a very young age. I got ahold of a camcorder at 10 and decided I wanted to be a movie director. So far, it’s working out.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The cool answer is Boogie Nights (which I’ve rewatched a ton), but the real answer is probably Godzilla (not even the original, the Matthew Broderick version), which I watched so much as a kid the tape wore out.

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 have so much appreciation for festivals. I see them as huge connectors — to audiences, to other filmmakers and people passionate about film, and to industry. Anything fests can do to foster those connections are extremely helpful

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Film freeway’s been great!

10. What is your favorite meal?
This question is too hard!

11. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m currently in the post-production process for a short film called THE INFLUENCER, a horror satire about a social media influencer describing her perfect day harvesting the eyes and minds of her followers to transcend her humanity. 🙂


By matthewtoffolo

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

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