Interview with Filmmaker Sam Tahhan (TEST DRIVE)

Directed by Sam Tahhan
In 2037, in a war-torn world where soldiers are in high demand, a rogue fighter pilot must protect his precocious daughter from enemy forces.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
– In order to pay my way through grad school, I took a job as a pharmaceutical rep; a job I genuinely hated. Drawing upon those angsty years (and my years as a soldier), I wrote TEST DRIVE by taking the drug industry and the military to their next logical (and terrifying) outcomes. I then submitted it to my manager Audrey at The Cartel ( Audrey LOVED the short and shared it with multiple executives and professional filmmakers, who both encouraged me (and joined our team) to shoot the film. Some of those filmmakers have worked on the biggest films in the world. So TEST DRIVE has already served to advance my career considerably!

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Six months. We started planning online during the pandemic then shot the film in four days over the summer.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Sci-fi action

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
COVID. Hands down. The pandemic proved to be the most challenging aspect of shooting the film. Luckily, I was able to surround myself with a team of incredibly talented filmmakers who were able to adapt and overcome every step of the way.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
That was such a great moment. Every audience member had such cool things to say about the film. I could tell that they all understood the plot, tone, and mechanics of the story; which was super important to me given the complexity of the storyline. I also appreciated the way some people were moved by various aspects like lighting and music. I really enjoyed all of that. Super motivating.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
When I borrowed my friend’s camcorder as a teen and started shooting whatever short films I could.

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

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

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I’ve had both negative and positive experiences with FilmFreeway. Mostly positive. Your festival was very easy to interact with.

10. What is your favorite meal?
I love Fish Tacos (especially from a little joint in Hermosa Beach).

11. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m currently writing an explosive action-comedy which I will soon submit to The Cartel. After that, I’m working with Audrey and KT Kent (the producer of TEST DRIVE) on the feature version of TEST DRIVE. And after that, I’m shooting another short in the fall.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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