Interview with Director Margaret Costa (MY NAME IS JOAN)

Margaret Costa’s short film was the winner of BEST FILM at the August 2017 DOCUMENTARY FEEDBACK Short Film Festival

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Margaret Costa: I thought the topic was compelling and the story needed to be told. The fact that the Catholic Church and the Irish Government profited and abused unwed mothers and their children is unimaginable, yet it happened.

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

From start to finish, it took 5 years.

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

What the?

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

Money.

What were your initial reactions sitting in the cinema and watching the audience talking about your film?

Wow. I was right, this is a disturbing topic and the film is compelling.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I met Susan, she told me about her adoption and I started doing research.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably, the Wizard of Oz.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think it’s fabulous.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

That’s tough. My favorite group is Queen, but if I had to pick one song, it would probably be “Rocks Off” by the Stones.

What is next for you? A new film?

I do have a lot of ideas for a new film, but right now I’m negotiating with a distributor to sell this film world wide and will most likely create a longer version for distribution.
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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Director Igor Gavva (SUITCASE)

Igor Gavva’s short film “SUITCASE” was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the COMEDY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles in September 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Igor Gavva: The motivation was to try myself in a new art.

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

The most of time I have spent to write the script. After, everything was fast. How I remember, from the beginning till the end product was about 4 month.

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

Lets say: The art unites

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

Misunderstanding and conflict between me and the director of picture. Two different perceptions and opinions for one story.

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

The reaction was ambiguous. When audience talk about the film, it’s like they talk about me, but at the same time, it’s like it’s not your movie anymore, this film these people, who are watching and discussing it. It lives his own life.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

As I am a circus artist and most of my life I have spent at the stage, I had many times the same dream: Before performance I have to go to stage, but I am not ready. No make up, no costume, no props. It is terrible dream. So, it was idea for the film, what is the personage will do, if he is not ready for the perfomance.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I am trying to watch everyday a new film. So, I can’t remember, if I watch same film, what I really like more than 3 times.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

My opinion it’s very comfortable and easy platform to send the film to the festivals. I always recommend to my friends.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

One time I was listen one song more than 6 month. But I am not going to tell which one, it is my little secret 🙂

What is next for you? A new film?

Soon will be ready my second short comedy film and I am going to send it to the Comedy Film & Screenplay Festival.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Andrea Behring (BAGGAGE)

Andrea Behring’s short film “BAGGAGE” played at the COMEDY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles in September 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andrea Behring: I really wanted to have fun and tell an atypical comedy that poked fun at the norm and also pushed people’s boundaries a bit. Anything I could do in order to direct my own films, I was willing to try, including writing! My dad is also a director, and I’ve always been so inspired by him. I’ve also been challenged to make a name, style, and career to myself, separately from him, on my own merit. I needed to really challenge myself, and this was a challenging short film to make.

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

I first wrote the script in college at Sacramento State it in 2010, then rewrote it in 2013, fundraised through 2015, and then filmed and completed post production in the fall of 2016. So six years in total.

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

BLIND SIDED

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

We had two giant green screens outside a train car we had rented to shoot the subway sequences, and a very small single window of time one day to do it. Our train battery died over 30 times that day and made all kinds of noises, so a 6 hour filming day turned into a 13 hour day. Luckily my actors were total pros about it and managed to jump in and out and keep their composure as needed, and thankfully we did not have to reshoot the day.

Also learning how to produce, it is incredibly demanding!

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

I really felt pride in the fact that people at least wanted to take time to discuss it. Too often at film festivals they hold a 3 minute sugar coated Q&A session that doesn’t really get much discussion going. I sincerely enjoyed the different reactions people had at your festival; it reminded me of my class discussions back in film school.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

It was a bit of an urban legend to start, as I knew several people who claimed they had a “friend of a friend” who had really had this horrible crazy day in NYC. I would tell the story at gatherings and people would always laugh and feel slightly guilty about it. So I started building on her story and the backstory behind it, and wanted to make sure to give it a complete story arch.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Clueless (it inspired Baggage!)

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I liked it and preferred it over without a box, it’s very user friendly. I wish I could search for event more specific festivals, or festivals by region.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

To Live and Die in LA by Tupac

What is next for you? A new film?

I have written a 30 min comedy pilot script with my partner Andrew Nicholson called “Picture’s Up” that just won an award in the Hollywood screenplay awards, and am looking forward to building on that and hopefully getting it shot sometime in the next year. I have formed my own production company called &D Productions and will hopefully continue to build that up as well!

In the meantime I am currently also a location manager in Atlanta on the TV show “Dynasty”. This job has allowed me unique access to work with each episode’ directors one on one and study their various techniques. It has also allowed me to have creative input in the extravagant design of the show by helping find and select the locations where we film in Georgia.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Dan Pal (COUNTING)

Dan Pal’s short film COUNTING played at the ROMANCE FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles in September 2017. It was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Dan Pal: I am a company member of a non-for-profit organization in Chicago called Pride Films and Plays. We were looking for a short script that took place in our city and that featured an LGBT theme. The screenwriter, Kari Morris, is part of our writers network. Her script for Counting was the most beautiful and heart-wrenching I had read. It really reflected the idea that no matter how far we go with equal rights in the U.S., we must always remember those that came before that were not so fortunate. I was thrilled to be able to bring this story to life!

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

We chose the script in the winter of 2016. There were about four months of pre-production soon after that. Shooting was completed in two days at the end of July 2016. Post-production was fairly brief. We had a couple of rough cuts in August but after a few tweaks, we premiered the film at a Pride Films and Plays film festival in early November.

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

Marriage Inequality!

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

About two weeks before production, our Director of Photography dropped out of the project to work on a feature film. Fortunately, he had a replacement ready to go! Then our outdoor location fell through and we had to quickly find another spot to shoot the very key opening scene! After combing a few neighborhoods in Chicago we found a lovely park bench in front an older couple’s house. I knocked on the door and, after a little bit of negotiation, they agreed to let us film on their property!

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

I was definitely grateful for the variety of responses and perspectives! All of the feedback was very constructive and useful. I can’t wait to share this with our screenwriter and music composer!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

As I mentioned earlier, the story was the brainchild of our screenwriter Kari Morris who was inspired by an older gay man who told her he had been with the same partner for decades. Sadly that person died before they could legally wed in the 2010s. Kari adapted his story to reflect a female couple.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. It inspired me when I was young and suggested that film doesn’t have to follow a specific structure and style.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I love it! It’s a great way to get your work out into the world and seen by programmers, film fans, and other filmmakers.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

Wow! That’s a tough one! Music is a BIG part of my life! I can’t come up with just one…but maybe a Top Ten if I really think about it!

What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently working on a short script and have outlined a feature I may want to develop. Pride Films & Plays is also currently reviewing screenplays for our next short so it could be one written by someone else again.
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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Andrew Galloway (WALLY)

 

Andrew Galloway’s short film “WALLY” was voted BEST CHARACTERS at the LGBT Documentary Film Festival in August 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andrew Galloway: I first met Wally Linebarger as an art teacher at my school. I was in 4th grade and he entered our room pushing his art cart. A man that would become the founder of the art department at our school. That would come in time. At this point however he was simply a man armed only with an artcart and an enthusiasm for teaching. In this first day he appeared a seeming madman leaping from student desk to student desk encouraging, commenting, and guiding each student. So was the introduction.

Years passed. Wally and the art department he lead grew in stature. Gone were his vagabond days where he traveled from classroom to classroom pushing his art cart. He had his own room complete with a photography studio, and his students… why they became contenders, and at time champions, in District and State art competitions. While I was a renaissance man, my extra-circular activities of athletics and Theater prevented me from having him as a teacher.

Wally was a constant figure to be seen around our school. He did not hesitate to offer his time or lend an ear. For many, Wally may have acted as confidant. Others may have sought him out for encouragement, or guidance. Regardless of what it was for, Wally would not hesitate to led an ear or share with his students. This seemed especially true with my class.

After I graduated from the University of Texas I went back to Trinity to visit some of my teachers. I was able to find them all except for one: Wally Linebarger. When I asked the front desk where Wally Linebarger was, they merely turned their heads and mumbled that he didn’t work there anymore. They wouldn’t tell me why. It was not until years later at a reunion that I found out what had happened to Wally Linebarger and his family. Shocked at the injustice of what had happened to one of my favorite teachers I began a Facebook correspondence. The relationship of Teacher and student grew into one of friends. When I began my M.F.A. in Documentary Production and Studies at the University of North Texas I knew that I had to film his story.

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

In total, my project took about four weeks to shoot and about four months to edit.

The week of Thanksgiving was when my project began. I heard that his daughters, who resided in New York City and Los Angeles, would be gathered at their Mothers house for the Holiday and I was able to interview them all. Though they only knew me as little more than an acquaintance, somehow I was able to earn their trust. Either it was that, or they had decided that it was time to give air to the pain, the joys, and the sadness that the memories contained. I say this because they admitted after their interviews that they did not talk about this topic and all were surprised by their sisters reactions. It was so good in fact that I knew that their interviews would be the core of my film. Two days later I was able to travel to Jefferson City, Missouri to do location scouting for my documentary filming that would take place in two weeks. At that time I recorded him on audio and asked him questions about his firing and his reflections on the experience for him and his family. I did not tell him nor did he know what his daughters had said. When I shot the documentary proper, I had threae weeks to shoot which consisted of about one week in Dallas and two weeks in Jefferson City.

The true labor would lie in the post production work. I had to scan and prepare photos from the past. I wrote transcripts of the interviews and wove them into a skeleton that my documentary would arise from.

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

Bittersweet life

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

Biggest obstacle? Let’s see, I had many things that could be considered obstacles during the making of this film. Beyond the limited funds and impossible dreams common to every filmmaker, I did face some unique constraints. I had shooting locations in two different states. I arrived in Jefferson City, Missouri to find that my subject hesitant to talk about the relationship between he and him and his daughters. The last day of my shooting was two days before Christmas so my crew was understandably anxious to home with their family, But with each obstacle faced, I knew that I had to continue to press forward regardless.

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

I truly enjoyed hearing the critiques of the audience members. Just like the documentary Wally, their commentary served to provoke thought at times and evoke emotion at others. One thing I found to be an excellent compliment on my editing skill was the audience member who believed that I had shown Wally commentary on his daughters interviews was prompted by his listening to their answers. This was not the case. I interviewed both Wally and his daughters separately then cut the interviews together. Not only was this comment a testament to my skill as an editor, but more importantly it revealed the sympatico relationship between a loving father and his daughters

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

The story itself was one that cried to be told. As documentary is at its base story, I felt that this was an exceptionally strong narrative.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I think that Filmfreeway is an exceptional platform for film makers to submit their work to festivals.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

This would have to be a toss up between Secret World and Blood of Eden by Peter Gabriel.

What is next for you? A new film?

The next film I worked on was The Eviction, a story about the forced removal of a homeless enclave in Dallas, Texas named “Tent City.” Beyond focusing on the reality of homelessness, I also gave attention to a group that is attempting to rectify the social reality of homelessness by buiilding homes to house them. I also am working on a documentary about rural homelessness, the craft beer industry, and a story about a 74 year old man who made contact with his 95 year old birth mother who agreed to meet. After a lifetime of not knowing what happened to the other, the two meet. This has been given the working title: The Chosen Baby. Updates to all of my work can be found at http://www.andydocs.com . Any questions can be sent to andy@andydocs.com.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director Katie Maguire (THE SESSION)

Katie Maguire’s THE SESSION was the winner of “BEST PERFORMANCES” at the August 2017 Female Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Katie Maguire: My sister and I wanted to make a film together. We wanted the film to be funny yet have a dark side much like our own sense of humors. We also felt that there was a lack of short films showcasing females as funny. We wanted to make a film that was driven by females both in front and behind the camera.

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

6 months

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

“Therapeutically” funny

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

The biggest obstacle we faced was losing our location the day before our shoot! The location was a doctors/therapists office. Thankfully Molly, our director, is also an amazing production designer. We ended up turning my bedroom into a doctors office the night before the shoot!

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

It was great to hear and watch what people took away from the film. How different people digested the film. All of them were spot on when talking about the films message. I was lovely to see people understand what Molly and I were trying to convey.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the short film: 

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

My sister and I had taken a producing course together. We decided that we wanted to make a film that was simple and funny. We started talking about one of our favorite films “House Of Yes”. It’s a great indy film originally a play. It’s hilarious but very dark and twisted. We wanted to make a film along the same lines. We started writing dialogue between two characters and came up with the idea for The Session.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

A tie between “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “House of Yes”

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I love FilmFreeway! I was using without a box before joining filmfreeway. I find filmfreeway to be much easier to navigate and have had much more success submitting my films and finding the appropriate festivals for my work.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure

What is next for you? A new film

I’m currently wrapping up Season 2 of my Webseries LI Divas http://www.lidivas.com
and writing my first feature film.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director’s Blair Bomar & Olivia Applegate (GRACE & GRIT)

Blair & Olivia’s short film “GRACE & GRIT” played to rave reviews at the August 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Blair & Olivia: We wanted to experiment with the parts of ourselves that are in and out of alignment with the concepts of grace and grit and gain a deeper understanding of the personal impact that arises from marriage of these two ideals. We were also interested in co-directing a project.

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

One month — that was our goal.

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

Experiential discovery

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

Finding clarity in the story

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

Moved by how opinionated/invested the audience was and how our original intention for the message of the story did actually come through/translate/prevail– which was rewarding to see..

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film: 

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

We were both reared in the South and have had interesting journeys, to say the least, in regard to exploring the expectations we grew up trying to fulfill both consciously and unconsciously.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

First Wives Club

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I’m a fan.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

The Cranberries- Linger
Run baby run – Sheryl Crow No More I love yous- Annie Lennox Hush Hush – ‘Til Tuesday Aimee Mann

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.