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.

Interview with Filmmaker James Martinez (Rogue Seven: A Star Wars Fan Film)

“Rogue Seven: A Star Wars Fan Film” was the winner of BEST FAN FICTION FILM at the July 2021 Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I absolutely love Star Wars, and I love that it continues to grow with more movies, shows, games and books! But what was really important to me is that I wanted to see more stories with a rag-tag group of kids who struggle to work together and grow. So I decided to write a comedic, intense action film as a small story within the Star Wars universe.

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

This idea for Rogue Seven came up in 2018 as a much longer film, but we condensed it down to 15 minutes to make it feel more episodic and energetic. Filming began and finished in 2019, and post-production was completed in early 2020. 2 years, basically!

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

Very funny!

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

The biggest obstacle was learning how to complete the visual effects for the film. I had previously done experiments with filming things against a green screen, but I never learned how to do CG effects, or the intricate shots with miniature spaceships as seen in this film. I basically drew storyboards for the space fight sequences, and figured out how to do them as I went.

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

I practically melted. I was so happy that people enjoyed the film and thought it was funny!

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

In high school, I saw the film “Heat” by Michael Mann, and it was the perfect blend of style and substance, not one over the other. It had a very distinctive visual style with amazing cinematography, intense action scenes and great music, but it also had interesting characters and relevant themes. It deeply moved me, and I hope to achieve this feeling someday with one of my films.

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

All 4 of the Lethal Weapon movies! They’re technically all the same movie, haha. But still really good!

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

FilmFreeway is very easy to use, has a LOT of festivals (some quite affordable), and is a very helpful platform for new filmmakers who want large audiences to see their films.

9. What is your favorite meal?

A cheeseburger with fries, and a crispy cold Coca-Cpla in a glass bottle. I like them classics haha

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

If I’m lucky, I hope to make another story with the characters from Rogue Seven. A sequel, if you will haha. Honestly, I just want to make another film with my friends, no matter what it is.

Interview with Executive Producer Simon Dunmore (Where Love Lives)

WHERE LOVE LIVES played to rave reviews at the July 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

Simon Dunmore is also the founder of Glitterbox: https://glitterboxibiza.com/

What motivated you to make this film?

To show the power that music has to bring people together, to break down barriers and preconceptions. People are the soul of any great occasion. The freedom experienced on a dancefloor is often liberating but the journey can be arduous. Most aspects of dance culture have been covered but we felt that this was a story untold.

How would you describe your short film in two words?

Fabulous acceptance.

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

Inexperience. The nuance of the stories. Completing during the pandemic.

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

Approximately 2 years, it was delayed due to COVID. The pandemic has further highlighted the importance of community on the dancefloor, so we may extend the documentary to cover people re-uniting on the dancefloor. It will be an emotional coming together.

What is next for you? A new film?

Back to promoting fabulousness and unity through music and dance.

Interview with Filmmaker Reynaldo Dumas (MOVING-IN-LAW)

MOVING-IN-LAW was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the July 2021 Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was starting to see all of my friends grow up, and start families of their own. It got me to thinking about family dynamics, and how fragile those relationships are. So I decided to approach “Moving-In-Law” with that in mind. What is the impact of betraying the trust of your close relationships? The characters in the script act in their own self interest seemingly at the expense of only one person, but it’s really at the expense of their own existence in the family structure. If we have someone in our life that cares about us, there’s value in that. Brigitte doesn’t really respect Lisa, which we as an audience are made to identify with. However Lisa is there helping her. Not everyone will give you a hand (or arm) when you need it.

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

In theory this took about two years to complete. I had written this in 2018, filmed it in 2019, and completed it in 2020.

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

Family, damage

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

The biggest obstacle that I faced was cutting this from a 10 minute film with three locations, to a 5 minute film in one location. I had to make that decision when I couldn’t raise enough money to completely fund the film. The original script concentrated heavily on Brigitte and Aaron’s relationship for the majority of the film. It would helped us identify more with those characters and made this a stronger drama. At least that’s how I feel about it. Don’t get me wrong though. Ultimately I’m glad that I made the decision that I did, because I have a film. Also I’m talking to you. So it worked out better than I could have imagined.

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

Wow! Someone watched my movie!

Everyone seemed to be touched by the writing and the performances, which pleased me. Writing isn’t something that comes naturally to me, and I have to work on it more than most. I think about everything in the script from the prose of the slug lines to the wardrobe of the characters. Everything is going to inform the story, and the characters. So it was nice to have that recognized once people saw the finished product on screen. The actors, Chanell Bell, Terence Sims, and Deandrea Brown, did the heavy lifting on the performances. The only thing that I will take credit on for that is casting them. Even though I had never worked with them before, they were the strongest choices for the roles that they played, and they are good at their job as actors. If you get people who are good at the job, then directing becomes easier.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I said that I wanted to become a filmmaker when I was in eighth grade, but I didn’t really know what that meant until I got to film school. Then I crashed and burned on a short film, and said “I’m not doing this again.” Finally after working a “Real Job” I was like “Ewww. I’ll go back to that filmmaking thing.” A few short films and many years later, I find myself more curious about filmmaking than I ever was in film school. It’s probably because I’m older now, and it’s less about impressing people with the result, and more about why I’m making the decisions that I make.

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

That’s a tricky one. I’m going to guess “E.T.” which was the first film that I ever saw. Someone got it for me on VHS when I was about four years old. I must have watched it hundreds of times. In fact I tried watching the VHS in 2010, and it finally wore out. They really built VHS tapes to last. If not that movie then “Back to the Future.” If neither I’ll just say…”Moving-In-Law.”

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

FilmFreeway is awesome. Between crowdfunding, producing, casting, editing, and every other challenge that comes at you as a filmmaker, the last thing that I want to do is go through hoops submitting to film festivals. FilmFreeway makes it so easy, and you can track your progress too.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Anything with the word breakfast in it.

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

Yes. I am currently working on my next short film called “Dinner’s Ready.” I am also writing two spec pilots, and location sound mixing. Hey, who’s got two thumbs and owns his own location sound recording equipment? This guy (Pointing at myself)

Interview with Producer Marco De Ornellas (THE MIDNIGHT TRIP)

THE MIDNIGHT TRIP was the winner of BEST SHORT FILM at the June 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

With the passing of my grandfather I became more invested to explore and understand better the real of the spiritual. How can we connect deeper within our inner world to become more connected with the outer world.

That journey led me to study the natural laws of life, which consequently led me to immerse myself into the source of all natural wisdom: the indiginous cultures of our human family.

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

This was two years of pre-production and a couple months of production. The preparation was “long” because I wanted to make this film as authentic as possible.

In the course of two years I fostered a beautiful friendship with the indigious artist and friend Lawrence Laughing, or his native name Ah Lawentaneh. It was a beautiful journey of trust, surrender and courage into the realm of the unmanifested to discover the soul of our film, which carries the mission to awaken people to their innate truth as protectors of all life, truth and peace.

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

Natural Integration.

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

As an independent producer and filmmaker, finding the financial source to sustain a production of any level is one of the greatest challenges to a producer. When I cast a project I do it without any limiting belief. Hence to say that the team was globally diverse. From flying the directors from London, or the make up artist from Berlin, to casting a legitimate wolf and a native american man to be the main characters of the film. Very challenging but equally rewarding.

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

Sincerely, I felt such gratitude, so much love and warmth that all I could do was to listen and cry of happiness for seeing how this piece has positively affected people. My goal with my films is always to uplift the human spirit and bring a high level of authentic storytelling to all audiences.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It was around 2013 that I did a photoshoot inspired by my drive to create a piece that would bring awareness to indiginous culture and fashion entitled: Son of the wild. This piece is now in pre-production for a full length documentary on indiginous culture of the world.

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

Uh, that is a tough question. I LOVE watching films. I think it is safe to say that one of my all time favorites is “Legends of the fall”, because it beautifully portrays the wild within men and the initiation from boyhood to mature masculinity.

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

I love FilmFreeway and how easy they make the connection between the filmmaker and the festival. Bravo!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Wow, that is a hard question. Haha. As a foodie myself, and a good Brazilian / Italian man, I love all food. My favorite meal would be a meal that is shared with great wine, good laughter and the love of family.

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

Although we live in a society that is driven by the “next big thing”, in my years so far I have learned that the work never stops. I am personally on a path of self mastery and for that reason I will never stop creating. I believe that it is the artist’s duty to inspire life and light with their life and work, and in that light I am committed to make more films and creative productions that will add positive value to the human experience. My next film piece is called “Scorpio” and it will premiere this July 24th, 2021.