Interview with Filmmaker Alec Palumbo (SPHINX)

SPHINX, 5min., USA, Suspense
Directed by Alec Palumbo
A tennis player gets irked by a strange figure watching him practice.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have been playing tennis my whole life basically, my day job is being a tennis pro when I’m not on set and I used to compete for years and years. I remember the pressure and the headspace I was in during intense competition. Thus, I got the idea to create a character that could not be phased by something that other people think is scary because he is mentally tough.

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

About seven-nine months approx. I had the idea for much longer and didn’t know what actually was going to be watching the protagonist until about a month shy of the shoot date. Having an actual date to shoot helped force me to figure out what was going to be the monster in the movie. It took less than 2 months to edit somehow and we released it on Halloween it was maybe the quickest edit yet.

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

Eerie and incomplete (we have a feature script ready to go!)

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

The shoot was from 7 pm-3 am because that is when the tennis club is unoccupied. So the actual shoot went smoothly but the blocking and timing of the lights and shots were a bit complicated. My crew were all savages though and never complained or rushed me out when it was late and they had to be up early. I can’t thank Adam, Jack, Zack, Carly, Cole, and Doug enough for being soldiers on that set, I love them. And thanks to everyone who helped in post.

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

I am so happy whenever somebody mentions that they “want to see more” because that’s the goal!

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

When I was 11 I made a short action film in the woods called “5 Dice” I ended up falling in love with the endless storytelling and named my production company after that title. My dad had the idea to have me shoot a movie because he knew I loved cinema so much.

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

Gladiator. Nothing short of perfection in every aspect. It’s so powerful and moving even after the 400th watch probably.

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 loved the feedback videos. There’s a lot of festivals that I can’t make due to travel or scheduling and it’s nice to see some authentic reactions from people.

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

It probably adds up to half of my credit card debt throughout the month but it’s so worth it haha. It’s a great site and is super easy to use.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Mussels from Herringbone in California. Highlight of that trip

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

I am currently editing a documentary I made impromptu. I met a woman with the craziest story at a film festival in September and she wanted to get her story out there but didn’t have a way to tell it. I took her up on the offer and shot the doc in December. It should be out in March, it’s very different from what I’m used to, it’s an emotional crazy piece. I’m also in pre-production with my biggest shoot since my thesis, it’s a satirical dark comedy about technology and humans and how they are rubbing off on each other. Just trying to tell as many stories as possible!


By matthewtoffolo

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

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