Interview with Screenwriter Sarah Courchaine (DIRT FROM A HOLY PLACE)

1. What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is a retelling of my life growing up as a Pentecostal Apostolic girl in the early-mid 2000s and the social, personal, and emotional hardships that such a life inflicted on my friends and I as teen girls.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I’d categorize it as a coming-of-age/dramedy

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

The subject matter is interesting to a lot of viewers (i.e. 19 Kids and Counting, Jesus Camp, etc.) and I feel as though women in these cults and sects are underrepresented in media or not fully fleshed out when they are featured.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Religious hysteria

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

American Beauty

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I had been working on this episode on and off for 2 years before I submitted it.

7. How many stories have you written?

I write novellas for a living and I’ve been writing since I was seven, I really couldn’t tell you how many of my stories are floating around in the universe.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Black Hole Sun by Soundgarden is a safe bet

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Being uncertain whether or not I was able to present the story and its details in a way that was believable to an audience that wasn’t familiar with the evangelical way of life. I feared that a lot of the things I wrote would seem too absurd when they happened just as I’d written them (or within a close approximation).

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Music, art, language, veganism, social issues, medicine

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

I’ve had a very good experience with FilmFreeway personally. I feel like the return on my investment with entering these festivals has been worthwhile as I’ve been able to actually attend one of them and receive invaluable feedback from industry professionals.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I needed to gain insight from people who work within the film industry in order to have a better understanding of how my script would realistically perform if it was produced. I had asked friends and strangers within online communities to review it and received feedback there as well, but here I felt like I would be getting a more objective viewpoint to work with.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A group of five young girls navigates the trials and traumas of adolescence while growing up in a religious patriarchal cult. Based on true events.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
Carla (F-50s): Val Cole
John (M-50s) Steve Rizzo

Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Jack Tenbusch (SYMBIONIC)

SYMBIONIC played to rave reviews at the October 2021 CHICAGO Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

SymBionic had been a goal of mine since transferring to art school. I had come up with the concept from a word prompt, “error,” and loved the idea so much that I knew I had to make it as my capstone project.

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

It’s difficult to quantify, but I want to say around 10 months. The concept came quickly, but it was taking every opportunity to create it from storyboard to production that took around a year, including a summer outside of school.

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

Unlikely bonds.

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

The biggest obstacle for me was time. I was getting a later start on my short film than was the standard at Columbia College Chicago – but thankfully due to my Professor Jason Hopkins recognizing the film’s potential and my own dedication to working on it outside of my semesters, I was just able to get it finished.

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

A sense of joy and artistic gratification I hadn’t known until now. Unfortunately due to the pandemic and everything being remote, I had lost my ability to watch my film debut in front of a live audience and to hear their reactions – but the thoughtful comments made in the feedback video have more than made up for that. I am truly blown away by the support and appreciation my animation has received, and I’m deeply grateful to everyone who spoke about it for providing such thoughtful discussion of its contents, strength, and message. I’m so glad I hit the emotional beats I was working for.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I had always wanted to make animated movies since I was a kid, and I remember the way I really got started on that was when I was around 8 or 9 and had used my family’s video camera to make stop-action videos. I would pose action figures and voice dialogue, cut the recording, then record again with them in new positions with new dialogue. After that, I grabbed what software I could online to make animations, and by the time high school rolled around I was just sort of like, “yeah, that’s something I can’t get enough of. Let’s go for that as a career.”

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

Toy Story. The franchise as a whole has remained a presence in my life from childhood to adulthood, and it’s nice to have characters grow up with you the same way that series does.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is a bit of a godsend, frankly. Having little to no prior knowledge of film festivals to go on by myself, the site is definitely my go-to place to find festivals and, thanks to its project page feature, make it a lot easier to submit than going through film festival sites individually.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I’m a burger guy. I could go to any restaurant that has them and be happy as a clam.

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

Currently I’m working in Los Angeles as part of an internship program, and I’m looking to make connections here and online that, someday, I hope lead to being part of a team of animators on a production. SymBionic really cemented how much I loved the process of cleanup in animation, so that’s a position I’m going to be striving for.

As for continuing to make films, absolutely – I have plenty of ideas to animate as independent works, and I’d love to continue SymBionic’s narrative into a puzzle platforming game. The short film is basically the opening cutscene, and there’s a lot more to be explored in its world and story.

Interview with Filmmaker Harvey Puttock (LIFE’S A SHOW)

LIFE’S A SHOW was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2021 COMEDY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to try and make a short film safely during the pandemic. It was inspired by the reactions people were having on social media, early on in the first lockdown it seemed like everyone was going live on Instagram and showing their everyday lives. I started to wonder how a self involved actor might get the attention they need after having their play cancelled.

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

I first wrote the outline of the film on a note on my phone whilst commuting in October 2020, and we locked the edit in May 2021 so it took approximately six months to complete.

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

Self-involved silliness.

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

A global pandemic! Obviously this film was inspired by it in some ways, and it was always intended to be made in a way that reflected this. However it still caused problems, our one in person shoot day was almost delayed when the Covid Tier system was introduced by the UK government, but we managed to squeeze it in two days before the law became in effect.

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

The film has played at a lot of online festivals but it’s yet to have an in-person screening that I could attend meaning it’s been difficult to hear other people’s opinion on it. To hear the audience’s brilliant positive feedback has been great, especially to see that they understood it. I didn’t even have to pay a director to get these reactions from them, unlike the protagonist in the film!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I’ve enjoyed making up stories for as long as I can remember and have always been an avid film watcher. When I realised I could put these two things together it seemed like a no-brainer!

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

The Muppet’s Christmas Carol because it’s on every year at Christmas

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Filmfreeway is a great platform to help filmmakers get their work out there. It’s simple to use and since Withoutabox is now gone it doesn’t really have any competition!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Medium-rare steak and chips.

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

I’m currently working on a script for another comedy short that’s set at a party. It’s completely different in terms of style and tone – and one things for sure it will have no videocalls!

Interview with Filmmakers Dustyn Martincich & Andrew Roddewig (THE THE NTH)

TO THE NTH played to rave reviews at the October 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

DM- Dustyn Martincich- co-choreographer; film coordinator
AR- Andrew Roddewig- film director; editor

1. What motivated you to make this film?

DM- Jess, Andrew, and I have collaborated on several projects in the past, mostly in Chicago, and mostly for live performers and audiences. COVID put added challenges on the live performing arts, and when thinking about how to create new work, having to mask, maintain social distance, and convert live performance to a filmed one, I reached out to Jess and Andrew for inspiration and collaboration. I floating the quote by Al Bartlett to them as a starting point. We were in three different locations, and I really wanted a sense of community through distance in addition to investing in an opportunity to do something new, learn something new, continue to challenge ourselves to evolve despite the many challenges.

AR- I don’t do purely creative pursuits often, because I tend to get consumed by the work and that can have a ripple effect on the rest of my life, so I do it sparingly. However, I was in a place where I had a lot of feelings about the world; pandemic, global warming, civil unrest and just didn’t have a good way to process that. Then Dustyn called and asked if I wanted to “Make some art” and she laid out some basic parameters on theme and logistica and I thought this could be a great place to explore my own feelings and work with some amazing people. What I love about working with Dustyn and Jess, and now Stephen, is that the process is the point. Yes we have a finished piece that we love, but we also take real joy in the journey; exploring with everyone the themes, the disciplines and learning about their craft along the way.

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

DM- Jess and I began our collective brainstorming in Summer 2020. Andrew came in on the process in Fall 2020, as did the dancers. Stephen entered the process in December 2020/January 2021 and really created a finished quality to the work by composing this incredible score based on the film footage, our source music inspiration, and our research and prompts exploring the exponential function.

AR- Oh jeez, like six months? It developed, there were stages of it. I made some proof of concepts for the effects, and how the black and white would look. Jess and Dustyn did rehearsals and I watched those, then we revised. The piece really evolved over multiple stages. ( if you want I can pull up some of the early visual tests) But really it didn’t feel finished until Stephen joined us. I actually can’t watch the piece very often because his score floods me with emotion. It’s haunting and beautiful at the same time. It’s just so rich and powerful it can overwhelm, in a wonderful way.

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

DM- Exponential exploration

AR- Exponential Existentialism.

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

DM- For me, trust. In live performance I’m in the room where it happens, I can edit and adjust and fix every little step of the way until the performance. In film, you have to let go more. Allow the camera and the editor to be collaborators as well. With Jess and I, creating phrasework wasn’t a problem in separate spaces, but composition was tricky, I would imagine especially for Jess.

AR-Language. I am not a choreographer ( Jess and Dustyn tease me that I am but I’m not) so there was a learning curve in the language that is used to describe dance. I’ve done some documenting dance before so I have a feel for it but this was the first time I was influencing the choreography through edits. With a live performance you do your best to capture, and look away from mistakes. But in this piece I was taking all of these separate performances and making decisions about when, where and what. I am so grateful to Jess and Dustyn for trusting me with their work. We discussed it alot and I think the final piece is actually version eight or nine, but they really gave me a lot of freedom to explore. I had to learn their vocabulary first, and really understand what their work was and how they built phrases and movements and where they were coming from.

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

DM- Gratitude! I was really thrilled that folks enjoyed it and that the film effects and editing and sonic elements really made this a work of collaborative screendance.

AR- The feedback was so wonderful, being a cynic I want to know where the bad feedback is, but it was really special to hear from people who appreciate this work. Thank you for that, it was so special and I think other festivals should look towards this as an example of how to encourage community over distance.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

DM- ooh. I don’t even know if I ever said that. But I LOVE collaboration and live for opportunities to connect with other amazing artists and audiences sharing my medium (movement) and seeing how it translates.

AR- I can’t recall a time where I didn’t want to make films, or TV and Commercials. I’ve just always loved capturing scenes, moments and performances. I like the medium a lot. I make commercials professionally and have also done sketches, short films and series. My family often teases me because as a child I used to explain my favorite commercials at dinner. My dad still remembers me spending ten minutes explaining this Lexus Marble commercial. The ad is only 30 seconds but I explained to him in detail every shot. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AktHnnA9QIM

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

DM- feature films and animated shorts. I’m really caught by great writing, scoring, and shots that offer the audience an opportunity to use their interpretation and imagination to translate meaning.

AR- It’s a tie between Big Lebowski or Mad Max: Road Warrior. Let’s say Mad Max: Road Warrior if we had to choose. It’s brilliant and still holds up. Normally I don’t like action movies but that movie is on a different level, and Fury Road was also amazing. So I guess that is three, but Road Warrior has the most views for sure.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

DM- all new for me! I love the ease in getting a chance to see the kinds of festivals that are out there and the kind of work that is being lifted up and shared.

AR- FilmFreeway is nice, I think it’s much better than submitting directly one at a time.

9. What is your favorite meal?

DM- any sit-down meal shared with family and friends that isn’t rushed.

AR- Pizza, Chicago tavern style cut into a New York style slice.

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

DM- I’d love to work more with film. I’m not sure how to connect with others yet. I’m returning to live performance in staging dance and theatre as it becomes safe. Jess and I are looking forward to reimagining to the nth into a live venue in DC this coming March.

AR- My day job is making car commercials, I am aware of the irony. For pleasure, I am starting an audio project. I am working with another long-time collaborator. We are in very early stages but the basic premise is; Studs Terkel’s “Working” meets Dungeons & Dragons. It’s a bit of a comedic piece with heart, and also dragons.

Interview with Filmmaker Christopher Barga (CLEANING UP)

CLEANING UP was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the CHICAGO Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The cleverness of the story stuck out to me and I was excited by its potential to be a gritty, noir, crime thriller, a genre that I’ve always been a fan of. When my partner, Aidan Walters and I dove more into the script together and I was able to get a better grasp on his intention for the story, I jumped at the chance to take a new approach to the genre and sort of add a civilized element to characters who are often portrayed as heartless criminal, only driven by their greed. I was inspired to tell this kind of story in a new light.

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

About 10 months

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

Humanized noir

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

Our modest budget didn’t allow us much room to hire a large crew, which we could’ve used. We pulled as many favors as we could from friends and colleagues, but it ultimately led to everyone wearing multiple hats and completing tasks outside the scope of their job title. However, this was an obstacle that we all overcame together and I, personally was inspired by the teamwork and overall willingness by everyone to do what was needed so that we could all achieve this finished product. Turns out, it’s the biggest obstacles that teach us the most.

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

I was very moved by everyone’s positive feedback and I felt affirmed as filmmaker. It truly is such a victory just to find people who are willing to watch your work, but it’s an absolute honor to find people who are willing to take a little extra time to analyze your film and let you know their feelings on it. I was hoping for some constructive criticism but I’ll happily take the ego boost. Haha.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When I was about 9 years old, I remember telling my teacher that I wanted to be a film director. I’ve pursued other ventures since then but that desire to make films never left me and when I got into my early 20s, I found myself in a fortunate position to learn and develop my craft, which paved the way for my incredible team and I to come together and feeling the confidence to make it happen.

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

Good Will Hunting. One of my all-time favorites!

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is a valuable resource for any filmmaker! As a festival first-timer, I am so pleased with how easy they made it to find festivals all over the world and to submit by allowing me to keep all my press kit materials in one place. FilmFreeway has expanded the business side of filmmaking to a broader community and I love that inclusivity.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I’m a huge fan of Mediterranean food! I could live the rest of life on Chicken Shawarma over rice with some falafel and hummus on the side.

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

Yes! I’m always writing and dreaming up my next big project, while directing smaller-scale productions in the meantime; Music videos, branded content, that sort of thing. But another short film is absolutely among my next directorial efforts.

Interview with Filmmaker Spence Warren (BAKING IS HARD)

BAKING IS HARD was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the October 2021 COMEDY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

That’s a bit of a long story. Back in 2015, Pat Russo – our Director of Photography – and I worked together on a no-budget music video in Napa Valley. We had not worked together for well over a decade and I was, for the first time, experiencing the effects of food poisoning. Even still, once our talent arrived on set, we immediately fell into an effortless rhythm! A shorthand for designing shots and solving problems – of which there were plenty – seemed to manifest like magic. Despite the fact that Pat lives in LA and I’m in Chicago, we decided that we need to make more things together. As luck would have it, an actor I met in Chicago who I also really wanted to work with had recently moved to LA. The stars seemed to be aligning perfectly. I reached out to that actor and asked what sort of film she’d want to make so that I could write something for her. Her response – “Comedy!”. I did not then, nor do I now consider myself a person with a talent for comedy, but It is my custom to hold onto lines of dialogue when they pop into my head for later use and in that moment of self doubt, one such line I had dreamed up a few months prior rang out in my head. To wit: “The vagina is the path to the fornix! The fornix is the arch to the cervix. The cervix is the portal to the uterus and the uterus is the cradle of life!”. The actor who provided that initial spark was not available on the shoot day so we had to cas from scratch, but from there on, if you’ll pardon the cliche, everything just kinda fell perfectly into place.

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

From idea to end of first shoot day, it took about a month. With the addition of a pickup day that essentially became a second shoot day, it was about a year altogether.

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

Approachably subversive.

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

We lost a lot of time in the beginning of what was to be our only shoot day. To compensate, the choice we made was to streamline a lot of our shooting plan and the result was that we got the shots necessary to tell the story but with very little style to support the substance. Setting up that very necessary second shoot day was quite challenging; it happened about 8 months after the first day so along with schedules and money we also had two haircuts and a new set of braces to contend with.

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

I don’t think I’ve ever had a more gratifying experience than that of listening to complete strangers from different parts of the world and vastly different social locations connect with the themes of our film. A couple of audience members even shouted out things that we (actors, crew and I) talked about in pre-production and on set! I felt humbled, proud and invigorated!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I found filmmaking via my work with a small non-profit in Chicago called Community TV Network. The people there and the experiences I had as a teenager in the mid 90s gave me purpose.

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

What a fascinating question. I’m not certain but I believe it would have to be either Fear of a Black Hat or Bloodsport.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Navigating the festival world without guidance from some sort of mentor would have been very difficult for me without something like FilmFreeway. The ability to find, and research such a wide array of festivals and then make, and keep track of submissions all in one place, with such ease is invaluable.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Breakfast! either pancakes, eggs, bacon and sausage or a well composed omelet. Unmitigated divinity.

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

I sit on the board of a nonprofit, radical multimedia production company called Soft Cage Films and we are in the process of fundraising for a modern day Robin Hood adventure that will go into production next summer. I’m working on a few scripts including a sci-fi space adventure paying homage to A Trip to the Moon and a slice-of-life short about a bounty hunter who dreams of being an artist! I’m also working on a few music videos.

Interview with Filmmaker Taso Papadakis (Byoul Part 2: Da)

“Byoul Part 2: Da” was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the October 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Internationally celebrated South Korean Dancer and Choreographer DaEun Jung approached me about illustrating part 2 “Da” of her long-form 3 part dance known as the “Byoul” series:

about “Byoul”:

Inspired by Korean dance forms as well as Merce Cunningham’s “chance operation,” exquisite dancer/ choreographer DaEun Jung and singer/ composer Melody Shim frame this nuanced performance in a structure that borrows Cunningham’s “throw of the dice” technique and utilizes the basic structure of the Korean alphabet “Hangul.” -REDCAT, https://www.redcat.org

Da reinterprets DaEun Jung and Melody Shim’s long-time collaboration Byoul through the intimate lens of filmmaker Taso Papadakis. Da blurs the boundaries between the classical form and pedestrian moves as well as discipline and spontaneity, branched out from the original project, Byoul, a dance made by chance procedure using the Korean alphabet combining system as a compositional method to randomly arrange classical Korean dance movements.

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

The film took approximately three weeks of study, conversation, rehearsal and pre- production, one full day of intense filming and two weeks of consideration to complete the final cut.

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

powerhouse style

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

Manual labor involved in set-up and tear down in the space on the shoot day

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

Very pleased and happy to hear attentive minds generously sharing their observations, thank you very much for your time to watch & discuss, for offering this part of the presentation to us

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

In our early teens, my brother Petros and I used to make complex “radio” shows, edited on cassettes and graduated to making comedic sketch home movies. My brother was the star, I was the camera person and editor. Then, I went into athletics to pay for my education in Religious Studies.

When I was twenty, I started snapping documentary street portraiture on Polaroid film. The Polaroids were very inspirational to me.

I had a rare “Aha” moment and went right into professional commercial still photography.

Since then, I’ve been a professional commercial art and live performance photographer for the last 20 years.

I gravitated to filming and directing motion pictures in 2011. My brother hosts a successful syndicated sports talk radio program for over 20 years!

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

Fellini’s Roma

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Intuitive, well designed and lighting fast

9. What is your favorite meal?

By the sea in the southern Greek countryside (wooden chair, under an olive tree, by an ancient chapel)

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

Currently doing film work with with best post-modern Dancers in the United States, true story DaEun, Melody Shim and I are so honored to be selected as “BEST SOUND AND MUSIC ” in your festival. thanks to the viewers and judges.

Interview with Filmmaker Gabriela Loza (ERASED)

ERASED was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2021 SCI-FI/FANTASY Film Festival.

http://www.erasedfilm.com

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The seed of an idea for ERASED came from heartbreak. I was in my early twenties and I was in so much pain at the time that I used to daydream of a way to erase someone or a memory from one’s psyche to stop the pain of loss and grief. I realised I would have paid for the erasure service. I carried this idea around for a long time hoping to turn it into something. So that idea merged with my love of filmmaking, storytelling and science fiction to become the story for ERASED.

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

The original idea for Erased came to me in my twenties about 30 years ago. The principal photography was my graduate film from film school from 10 years ago. I completed a rough cut but knew I wanted to do so much more than was available to me at the time. So Erased sat on my shelf for about 6 years. Then the pandemic hit and I began discussions with partner and producers, Ruth Sligo and Harriet McKern, and we decided to do whatever we needed to finish the film. SO we began to assemble the post production team which finished Erased and elevated it to the film I originally wanted to make.

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

About love.

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

Doing post production before and during the pandemic had its logistical issues. Especially when needing to do ADR while having your actors in different states and countries.

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

It was a huge boost to my spirit as a filmmaker. You always wonder if you will connect with an audience. That feedback reel confirmed the connections for me.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When I was about seven years old, my mother took me to see the film musical “Funny Girl”, starring Barbra Streisand. The theatre was quite full so we had to sit in the third row, front and center. I remember looking up at my Mother during the film, she was laughing so hard with her head thrown back. When I looked over my seat to the audience I could see the light coming from the projection room glowing over all the laughing heads, including my own, projecting the moving images onto the screen in front of me. I think that was the moment I was hooked and fell in love with this amazing art form. When we were walking back to the car talking about how much we enjoyed the film, I said to my Mom, “I want to do that”. As she unlocked the car she asked me, “You want to be an actress?” I said “No, I want to make them.” I wasn’t sure what ‘them’ was at the time but have spent my life in pursuit. I know that day I created a deep connection to filmmaking and storytelling. It’s a feeling that has never left me to this day.

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

I have three answers…I can’t pick one. All three are standouts I have revisited frequently over my life. (1) Julia (1977) Dir Fred Zinnemann. (2) Reds (1981) Dir Warren Beatty. and (3) Moulin Rouge (2001) Dir Baz Luhrmann

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think it’s great. I have really enjoyed using Film Freeway.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Being Mexican – American my favourite meal is really good Mexican food!!

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

I have another short film, ‘Tattooed” which is currently in post production. I am also interested in developing Erased as a feature film.

Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Koji Yamamura (POLAR BEARS BOREDOM)

POLAR BEARS BOREDOM played to rave reviews at the October 2021 ANIMATION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film is inspired by the Japanese picture scroll in the 12 to 13rd century: Bird and Beast Character Caricature.
I wanted to draw the chubby round shape of the marine mammalians.

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

It took around 5 months.

Animation part was finished in almost one month, but music development took 4 month.

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

Marine Mammalians
(Is this one word?, if you need I add “Word play)

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

Using short rhyming words in both English and Japanese at the same means, the work is continuous for seven minutes with no interruptions.

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

I was very pleased with the positive feedback from everyone.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

A couple of years ago, I was planning a children’s book featuring marine mammals, which was based on an idea I had.

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

“Tale of tales” by Yuriy Norshteyn.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

The number of film festivals is increasing year by year, and the interface is easier to use.

I used to use 4-5 sites together, but now FilmFreeway and Short film depot are enough.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I like Japanese food. Especially if there is rice, soy sauce and seaweed.

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

I finished my first feature animation film, “Dozens of Norths” this year.

I also started to develop new short and feature films.

Interview with Filmmaker Rachel Leigh Dolan (only living boy)

“only living boy” was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2021 DANCE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was inspired by my own experience being a dancer/choreographer/artist in New York City during the pandemic, and specifically the feelings we share in a day in New York. There are days we feel alive, amazing, and on top of the world and we go through our days with joy; and there are days where we feel discouraged, uninspired, and sad and similarly, we have to go through our days with those feelings. Regardless of our emotional state, New York is still there; still present; and ever pressuring or uplifting us.

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

We had our first meeting about this film in December of 2020, and the film was released May 2021.

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

Love/Hate

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

COVID. We recorded the song, rehearsed, and worked in New York City during the pandemic. It was important to keep everyone safe and working!

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

It was really exciting to see and hear people talk about a film that I have really only shared with people I know or am connected with. It is inspiring to know that complete strangers are watching, enjoying, and understanding my film. They really understood what I was trying to convey and that felt encouraging.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When the pandemic began I felt really lost having worked in live theatre for the last 20 years. I knew I wanted to keep creating and challenging myself and film seemed the right fit.

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

Probably West Side Story.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

The FilmFreeway platform is easy to use and navigate. It made it easy for me to submit to multiple festivals without having to upload my video/information over and over again. I liked that!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Pizza in Naples. No question.

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

I am working on getting a dance grant to make a longer dance narrative film featuring new music. Basically I want to unfold “only living boy” into a longer piece.