Interview with Novelist Chris Loud (Fifer And The Crooked Tree)

1. What is your novel about?

A young girl discovers a strange portal to a distant land after a lightning strike hits her beloved tree house. Through this portal, she learns of a child in grave danger, and tries to help the child escape.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

Adventure, Fantasy, Young Adult

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Backyard Quest

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

Back to the Future

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

Break on Through – The Doors

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

7. What motivated you to write this story?

As a kid I would wander back behind my house, climb trees, and daydream. I wanted to capture the magic of just that simple act, and what it might lead to. I also wanted to highlight the importance of connecting with people who might seem far away, whether that’s geographically, ideologically, culturally, or anything in between.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Paul Newman

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

Family, travel, sports, the outdoors, and good conversation.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

This story has been in my head for several years now, in one shape or another, so I thought it would be beneficial to hear it outside of my own inner voice.

11. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

Keep writing, write bad stuff, and be ok with it.

I struggle with this daily, and I’ve heard it told me a thousand times, but it’s still the most important advice I can offer.

Watch the Novel Transcript Reading:

Interview with Writer Brett Thomas (IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Set in mid-1980s San Francisco during the AIDS pandemic, If These Walls Could Speak is an exploration of counterculture sexuality, protest against homophobia, and survival.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Experimental Documentary along the lines of Terrence Daivies “Of Time and the City”

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

If These Walls Could Speak documents how marginalized communities rallied to the sides of those afflicted by HIV and AIDS, in the process redefining what it means to be a victim, patient, survivor, and a true friend. Today, in the midst of another world health crisis, this film is a moving portrait of how to thrive during a pandemic.

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

Pandemic Timeliness

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

“Dreamwood” by James Broughton, “Meshes in the Afternoon” by Maya Deren, ‘Eraserhead” by David Lynch. “Day of the Locust” by John Schlesinger A room with a View by James Ivory.

6. What made you want to write stories?

Trying to make peace my experience during the AIDS epidemic and finding others are also ready to explore theirs.

7. What has been your experiences working with the FilmFreeway submission platform site?

FilmFreeway has provided me a method to submit my film “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” to audiences I couldn’t have otherwise reached.

Watch the LOGLINE Pitch Video:

Interview with Poet Fella Cederbaum (WHAT I THOUGHT I WANTED)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

Our constant desire and striving for things we believe will bring us happiness. The nature of true happiness.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I never sit down with an intention or motivation to write anything in particular. All of my poems are more or less spontaneous events. I suddenly hear a couple of words or phrases in my head and a poem appears. This one was triggered by a conversation with a friend and reflecting on how most people seem to forget to embrace their life. while entertaining fantasies and striving for true happiness – an apparently ever-escaping satisfactory goal.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

10 years

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Jordan Peterson

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

Curiosity about how it might feel to let my poems go into the world to be read by someone other than me. (I recite them in my short films)

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

One unpublished book (Chapter 1 read by Val Cole)

Music

7) What is your passion in life?

Truth
Music

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Interview with Writer Manny Soto (TWO FRIENDS ON THE PORCH)

1. What is your short story about?

My story is about two ladies that live next door to each other and soon their life’s become one big family.

2. What genre(s) would you say this story is in?

It has multiple genres it spreads over forty years of friendship.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

Powerful, Real

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

Two movies that I’ve seen multiple times, The Woman in Gold and My Great Big Fat Greek Wedding.

5. Do you remember the time in your life when you realized that you wanted to write?

I wrote my first children’s story at the age of twelve. I knew then I wanted to be a writer.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Hemingway’s “The Old man and The Sea.”

7. What is your favorite meal?

I’m Cuban so anything with rice and if you add black beans you got me.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

My father

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

I love film making

10. Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

My advice, if you don’t have passion for the topic you write about stop writing and select another topic. You have to feel the words.

11. What has been your experiences submitting your work with the FilmFreeway submission platform? (if this applies to you)

My experience with Filmfreeway, AMAZING.

Watch the Short Story Reading:

Interview with Novelist Denise McCabe (Poetic Justice)

1. What is your novel about?

My novel is a crime caper about a predator who moves from city to city, and the path that leads him to L.A. and a local detective who goes after him.

2. What genres would you say this story is in?

It is a soft crime novel, with a romantic twist.

3. How would you describe this story in two words?

The title says it all: Poetic Justice.

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

Four Weddings and a Funeral or Moonstruck (tie).

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

The Last Time I Saw Richard (Joni Mitchell); the entire Blue album really.

6. Do you have an all-time favorite novel?

Too many to name, but if I had to pick one I would say “Time and Again” by Jack Finney.

7. What motivated you to write this story?

The story just developed on its own, as with most of my writing.

8. If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

John Lennon.

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

Reading, pets, crossword puzzles.

10. What influenced you to enter your story to get performed?

I have had three plays produced as well as a short film based on one of my short stories. This is the first novel I have published and I thought it would help with sales and promotion of the book.

Watch the Novel Transcript Reading:

Interview with Poet Colin Guest (TENDER LOVING MOMENTS)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

Love

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

To show my feelings of love for my wife.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been writing poetry for a number of years, with one poem in the final top four in a competition.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Ernest Hemingway

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

I thought it would be nice for other people to hear my words of love for my wife.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I write short stories, novels and memoirs.

7) What is your passion in life?

To have one of my stories made into a film.

Watch the POETRY Reading:

Interview with Filmmaker Jeremy Benning (FOOTSTEPS)

FOOTSTEPS played to rave reviews at the July 2021 Short Documentary Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film is incredibly personal for me.

I first met Andy Malcolm in 1990. My parents arranged a surprise visit to “Film House” (the name of a now defunct post production facility) in Toronto for my 16th birthday, as I had a keen interest in photography and sound at that age. I had seen the classic 1979 film Andy made called “Track Stars: The Unsung Heroes of Movie Sound” on TVOntario as a kid, and had become fascinated with the concept of Foley and sound effects in general. Over a few years back in those days, I would visit Andy and his team and hang out to watch them work. I’d sit quietly in the dark at the back of his Foley stage and watch Andy perform to a 35mm projection of the films they’d be working on. Sometimes I would even help out, and dabbled in Foley myself at times on my own student films.

I would end up becoming a cinematographer as an adult; but never lost interest in sound.I’d heard later that Andy had moved to a rural property an hour north of the city in the early 2000’s. We reconnected a few years ago (after 25 years!). After visiting their studios, I was struck with the idea of capturing some of their philosophies of Foley that I’d been introduced to as a wide-eyed teenager.

I’d also like to point out my homage to Track Stars in general, as the film had such an impact on me as a kid. The use of split screens in the opening sequence of Footsteps is directly inspired by that film Andy made way back when. Even the general photographic tonality, lighting and final colour grade are a nod to the look and feel of Track Stars, which was shot by iconic Canadian cinematographer Mark Irwin csc asc. Andy had in his possession the only 35mm release print remaining of the film, he owned the rights. I was able to get the film scanned in 4K (which had never been done before) in order to get the best quality clips of it for my short.

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

About five years. I began making this film in 2016, I started doing with the interviews with Andy, Goro and Sandra first. I went back to their foley farm several times over the ensuing years until I had finally completed it in early 2020, right after all the lockdowns began. My last in-person shoot at their studios was January of 2020. My good friend and top notch editor Kurt Ritchie cut the film for a few weeks after that and then in mid-March 2020 we recorded the score at Canterbury studios in Toronto. That was actually my first real taste of remote work in the new pandemic world. Tyler Emond the composer (and bassist) went into the studio with Adam Campbell the marimba player and I was attending via Zoom and giving notes from home.

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

Sonic wonder.

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

One of the main challenges of making this film was working around everyone’s busy schedules. I was often working on The Expanse and the foley team at Footsteps is constantly busy, I could really only go film there when they had gaps in their schedules, which I had to hope would land when I had a free day. Combine that with the hour plus drive each way, meant it would take a fair bit of coordinating for each visit. I probably went back and forth 6 or 7 times over 5 years.

Then there was the post production during a pandemic. I have to give huge thanks to Deluxe Toronto for the massive favour on all the colour grading and 5.1 sound mix (by the Oscar nominated Christian. Cooke!). Thankfully I was set up for remote grading season 5 of The The Expanse with them from home with a special calibrated OLED monitor and a proprietary internet link to Deluxe’s facilities, so I was able to work with Joanne my colourist from home on Footsteps using the same technology.

When it came to the sound mix a few weeks later, Deluxe was allowing limited access to the building, so they set me up in my own 5.1 mix theatre, and Christian was in his own theatre down the hall – perfect social distancing!

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

I really loved hearing their reactions, because it reaffirmed how well the film worked in getting the message and feeling across I was trying for the whole time I was making it. They really seemed to take away the vibe I was hoping would resonate with viewers.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was probably around 9 or 10, seeing films in theatre like Raiders of the Lost Ark and then seeing the making of films on TV afterwards opened my eyes to this whole world of story telling and artistry.

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

I tend not to rewatch films generally speaking… but if I had to choose one, it would be Baraka. Its been a few years now since I have watched it – but I have seen it at least 6 or 7 times. To me its a time capsule, a visual poem… the kind of film that I would hand to an alien race if they came down and needed a crash course in the human experience.

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

The platform seems to be a huge asset to filmmakers of all levels. There is part of me that feels like its become a giant business of endless festivals that hand out awards and laurels constantly to satiate the massive output of thousands of filmmakers worldwide… but I still feel its important to have such a platform and all the exposure it allows artists.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Nothing beats a good hearty vegetable stew and some crusty bread.

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

I am about to start prep on a new Netflix anthology series I am DPing here in Toronto, unfortunately I can’t say much more other than its pretty exciting! In terms of personal projects like Footsteps, my partner Francis Luta and I have a few indie docs we have at various stages of development, we are hopeful one or more can find funding… that is always the challenge with indie projects. Our first feature we made together, which came out in 2020 (“Alone Across the Arctic”) was entirely self-financed. It was a good learning experience – meaning that going forward; we want learned to focus on finding funding before undertaking commitments too early.

Interview with Filmmaker Lindsay Gilmour (WEIGHT OF THE MOON)

WEIGHT OF THE MOON played to rave reviews at the July 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was inspired to explore the reciprocal relationship between body and ocean through the Discipline of Authentic Movement.

I invited sensing instead of making sense, encouraging direct experience with the natural world without conceptualizing. I wanted the camera and dancer to be in dialogue with the ocean and non-human animals and for the sand, seaweed, and sagebrush to cease to be inert objects of perception with dancer at the center, but rather animate entities with which the dancer and the camera are in conversation. There are many ways to engage, disrupt, shift and heal our communities, selves, and environment. This film is a quiet revolution of deep presence encouraging listening and conversation where we experience ourselves not as the center, but as a thread in a larger fabric of being.

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

Three months

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

Direct Experience

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

People of the beach

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

Very moving to hear the reactions to the film!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When I connected with the photographer/editor of the film Nathan Whitmont!

Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Vladislav Dubkov (CHIMICHANGA DAY)

CHIMICHANGA DAY played to rave reviews at the July 2021 ANIMATION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have an idea + I want to animate = I need to do it))) This is a creative formula by which I work)))

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

At the beginning of December I started and on January 30th it was completely ready. That is 2 months for animation drawing, editing and rendering. Yes, rendering of 3D backgrounds of Indypolis also took a lot of time. It turned out so quickly because I liked the idea and worked with enthusiasm.

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

Funny & tasty))))

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

I think that creativity is one big obstacle))) But personally, I like when problems arise, it makes you “turn on the brain”. But if we talk specifically about this animation.

On creation, I realized that without a background, it just wouldn’t work. I’ll be honest, I’m not good at background. Plus, I try to optimize my creativity. Since I do everything alone, drawing characters and background would simply increase the creation time many times over. The only way out was to create a 3D model. As a result, the whole town of Indypolis emerged from the originally conceived “piece of the street”. I modeled this city for about a month. Another problem that came up was combining 2D hand-drawn animation and 3D background, but I quickly learned how to combine them. I think these were the main 2 problems. Everything else was fine.

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

I was glad to receive an email with a link to the video. when I started watching I saw them smiling and I was glad. You have done a great job. Getting feedback is very important in creativity. It is very important for development. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you very much for your work. And of course personally to each participant in the video. Your feedback is very important to me.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

As I was finishing the previous animation (Gwen & Gwen. Heavy Fashion), I realized that I wanted to create a sequel and develop this world of cosplay characters. This topic is interesting to me. Films are made about superheroes, spies, agents and others, but why not tell about people who are fans of these heroes.

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

This will probably be a very unexpected answer. But first, I’ll tell you the background. My childhood coincided with VHS tapes. The selection of films was not very large, each film was watched many times. But the viewing champion was … the drum roll … the fantasy film Guyver: The Dark Hero.

Yes, this is an unexpected answer. It’s hard to even remember exactly how many times it was viewed more than 100 times. And you know what I’ll tell you, I recently watched it again))) When you watch this film, you feel that the creators, not having a large budget, tried to make the most of the available resources. I think they did it great! Of course, many years have passed since school days, but this film is definitely definitely number 1 for me. Of course, many years have passed since my school days, but this film will forever remain the number 1 film for me.

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

Platforms like FilmFreeway make the director’s life much easier. This simplifies everything. You can find a suitable festival very quickly and send your film just as quickly. Such platforms definitely help development. I am very glad that FilmFreeway exists.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Joey Tribbiani’s principle. Everything edible, inedible is tasty – season with ketchup))))

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

After “Chimichanga Day” I already created a new animation “Lo Lo Love”. But that’s not all. I am currently working on a new animation. It will be in the same style. A lot of parody, humor, music. This time I want to touch upon the topic of adventure films. And, of course, it will not be very easy, but I set myself the task of making an animation – 12, maximum 20 minutes. It may take a whole year or a little more to implement the plan. But I think it will be very interesting and fun.

Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Pedro de la Llave (BEHIND THE GLASS)

BEHIND THE GLASS was the winner of BEST SHORT FILM at the July 2021 ANIMATION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I grew up in a neighbourhood where there was a lot of people in need, that gave me a lot to think about it, since I felt that we have normalized the situation.

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

Around four years, It was kind of intense since I have been working on my spare time since I work as an animator in feature films, and because I did this short all by my own.

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

Metaphoric drama.

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

Probably the final look (illumination and color), that is not my field at all, I didn’t want to do something too complicated that I can’t accomplish properly, so I went minimalistic and I focused on what I wanted to express with this film.

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

My god, it was breathtaking! I felt really really shy and grateful at the same time, It was an amazing experience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When I started to study animation, I felt in love with animation of course but some part of me was telling me that someday I would like to animate my own stories.

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

Probably Aladdin, although that doesn’t mean is my favourite film necessarily. It is just musicals are something that you never get tired to watch.

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

I think is a great platform, the best one by far in my opinion, I don’t know what I would have done without it on the middle of the Covid pandemic.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Probably roasted chicken with fries, I’m a simple man with simple needs.

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

I’m going to keep studying film direction and script writing for a while in my spare time, since I’m gonna keep animating on feature films, and when I feel ready, I’ll start writing a new script and how knows, maybe I try making a pitch for a feature film.