Interview with Filmmaker Jean Ngooi (THE THINGS I FEEL)

THE THINGS I FEEL, 12min., Australia
Directed by Jean Ngooi
As an android nanny, Hadley takes care of a young, inquisitive boy named Charlie. When a malfunction causes her to develop sentience, they embark on an adventure to find a real-life animal, a scarcity in their world. On their trip, Hadley faces what it means to feel things for the first time.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I really love sci-fi films that bring to light questions revolving around humanity and its boundaries so I wanted to challenge myself to tell a story that would do just that but also be achievable as student filmmakers. I believe the limitations that we had in regards with being a student film helped me shape aspects of the story and really focus it on the main two characters.

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

The conception of the film came together around the early/middle of 2021, we shot in early 2022 and the film was completed entirely at the very beginning of 2023. So all in all, it took about a year and half to make The Things I Feel.

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

Android emotions.

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

Every stage has had some challenges but I think the greatest one for me was working out the story and what I wanted to say with it. I needed to figure out what I wanted audiences to get out of the relationship between my two main characters and how we were going to convey their different perspectives on the world.

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

Although it was a little daunting at first opening up that video, I was delighted to see that certain things I wanted to get across in the film were being discussed and how it led to some deeper questions about the way the characters and their place in the world that we’ve created. I feel like they understood what we were going for and sympathised with Hadley and as a filmmaker, it’s incredibly validating.

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

Probably when I was around 7 or 8 and was making little films with my soft toys. They would never make sense but I have always loved pointing a camera at things and capturing it. Then I guess as I got older, that passion developed into wanting to tell stories of my own.

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

I have no idea but it will probably be My Neighbour Totoro.

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 someone that is hoping to make an entrance into the film industry, I would love it if we could have some interactions with some current industry members and develop some tips and insights on making a career in film.

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

It’s been quite easy. My producer and I had developed a strategy for our festival submissions and came prepared when it came to our submissions.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Probably something potato related.

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

I’m currently working on a few new ideas and hoping to develop one of them into a short sometime soon.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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