Interview with Filmmaker Dominic McCafferty (BOONDOGGLE)

THE DOOR was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the November 2018 Thriller/Suspense Festival in 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Dominic McCafferty: I actually made Boondoggle as part of my final university project, where myself and my crew had to make a short film that was between 10 and 20 minutes. Of course, this wasn’t the only motivator. As I’ve only made a few short films (none of which were made with any real organisation), one of the main motivators for me was to make it as simple and minimalistic as possible, such as having it take place in one location and not having many characters or special effects, that sort of thing.

I also wanted to really test myself when writing the script by having the protagonist not talk at all throughout the entire film, as a way of pushing myself to think of more cinematic tools, other than just dialogue. I think having little dialogue creates perhaps more space for ambiguity and interpretation, something I enjoy in films. So, I guess we wanted to challenge ourselves to encourage thinking outside of the box, as well as showing that we could still make something with little.

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

As it was a still a university project, we had a deadline as well as other projects to focus on, which resulted the entirety of the process being stretched out to about 7 months. I wrote the first draft of the script in October of 2017 and was constantly re-writing and adjusting it until we began shooting in March 2018. The shooting itself took place over three days and I believe we spent roughly a month in post-production.

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

Futile greed.

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

The location. A week before we arrived, there was lots of snowfall all over the UK and by the time we were filming it had all melted, resulting in extremely thick mud at our location. At the start of the first day of shooting, my car and our cinematographer’s car both got stuck in the mud and we had to ask the landowner to help pull the cars out. In fact, in the first shot of the film where the car drives up to the little shack, we actually had to lay down some planks of wood so that it wouldn’t get stuck, which it did a few times after that. We were also filming just a couple of miles from Heathrow Airport, so planes would often fly overhead and ruin the sound for a take.

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

It was very surreal seeing a full theater of people talking about Boondoggle from across the pond. I found it really interesting to hear other people’s individual interpretations of the film and the characters. It’s strange thinking back to when I conceived the idea, to writing and shooting it and now to have people watch it and talk about it across the globe. It’s very exciting!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

A couple of years before I wrote the script, I read John Steinbeck’s ‘The Pearl’, which has similar themes of greed and power. I found the idea of having power alone controlling someone’s actions before they even get what it is that they desire, very interesting. In the case of Boondoggle, how up until the chest is opened, there is no proof that it possesses anything. It’s a real gamble that could go either way.

I also wanted to make a film that almost felt like it could be an ancient tale or a fable, which gave me the idea of the chest as almost having an ethereal atmosphere around it, kind of like Pandora’s box.

Being as greed was the main motivator for the characters, I came up with the dynamic of having the two opposing alpha males in contrast to the quiet, unassuming young man, despite them all ultimately wanting the same thing. I thought it would be almost comical to have the two alphas be so confident in what we they think they know about Nick (the protagonist), that they fail to realise that he would have his own ideas. Having them both come to him saying “Lets kill the other guy and take what’s in the chest” puts Nick in a difficult situation, but at the same time gives him an advantage, which I thought would be an interesting dynamic to film.

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

Probably ‘The Shining’. Having said that, there are particular clips from other films that I love and I can safely say I’ve watched those clips/scenes hundreds of times.

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

I thought it was extremely efficient. This is the first film I’ve ever submitted to festivals and it was very clear and easy to understand. All the other filmmakers I know use it to submit their films to festivals, which was how I found out about it in the first place.

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

Probably ‘The Man Who Sold The World’, the David Bowie version.

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

I have recently written a script for another short as well as completed a treatment for another, both are completely different to Boondoggle. Ideas often float into my head, so I’ve got lots of random, broad film ideas written down which I will certainly be developing!

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Interview with Filmmakers Bevin Hamilton, Rachael Murphy (INCALL)

INCALL played to rave reviews at the November 2018 THRILLER/SUSPENSE Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Bevin Hamilton, Rachael Murphy: We wanted to make this film to highlight issues that have traditionally been avoided by moviemakers because of a gender bias to stereotype women as softer and more compassionate.

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

From writing and casting to the end of post, it took us a year to complete.

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

Female power.

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

Location fees comprised a disproportionate amount of our budget – we were very particular about our sets as they played a crucial role in telling the story. We were forced to shoot ten pages in two days! Lets just leave it at that 😉

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

We were excited people wanted to share their interpretations of our narrative and insights into our characters! It was interesting to hear different points of view from diverse and enthusiastic movie goers.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

We wanted to tackle timely and controversial subject matter from a unique perspective in an experimental fashion. After watching a documentary on prostitution, we boldly and excitedly delved into the world of BDSM (which was unfamiliar to us), exploring female sexual relationships and power play. Our characters are enigmatic, passionate and complex, instead of one-dimensional, chaste and meek.

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

Bevin: I’ve seen Gone With The Wind the most over my lifetime. I love the epic filmmaking and attention to detail. Victor Fleming took a risk making Scarlett O’Hara a strong, feisty character at a time when women were portrayed as anything but…

Rachael: Dirty Dancing. Swayze oozes charisma… and introduced Gen X to “the lift” (a spectacle fit for a pool party).

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

We enjoyed using the FilmFreeway platform, it’s intuitive and comprehensive. We could easily navigate the site and upload materials as well as research and connect with festival curators/organizers. Also, opportunities we wouldn’t have thought to consider otherwise were brought to our attention, such as directing fellowships and the like.

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

Bevin: Lately its been my own record, Mirrors and Echoes (just released on iTunes lol! https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mirrors-and-echoes-ep/1381182764).

Rachael: Aside from, In the Name Of (Mirrors and Echoes ;), I heard Simply Red’s version of, “If You Don’t Know Me by Now” every Sunday morning of my childhood (thanks Dad).

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

We are currently writing our first feature length script; a tragic love story set in a futuristic, consequentialist world. We’ll keep you posted 😉

Interview with Filmmaker Marvin Nuecklaus (CROSSROADS)

CROSSROADS was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the May 2018 Thriller/Suspense Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Marvin Nuecklaus: Shooting a murder scene using a tire iron.

No, just kidding. I wanted to create a story that was entertaining and
challenging to follow but also comes with a deeper meaning when
you look close enough. For me, Crossroads is about a woman who
buried a traumatic event in her childhood and therefore was never
able to process it which resulted in a psychological disorder.

And those are the people we so often label as crazy without putting
in any effort to really figure out what happened to them.

We’re confronted with headlines such as: “10 years old girl sexually
assaulted” and hands down, what are the first questions you want to
get answered? Who did this? What happened to the offender? Is he
in jail? How many years did he get?

But what about the victim in 1, 2 or 10 years down the road? My
hope is that some people who watch Crossroads can see the
intentions I had with the film.

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

It took about 1 year to write the script as I worked on other projects
simultaneously. We had 2 days of principal photography with an
additional 2 months of post production.

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

psychological rollercoaster

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

Letting it go. When making a film, as a director you’ll always find
little things you want to fix, even re-shoot. It can turn into a never
ending project. Since I also produced the film, I had nobody giving
me a deadline or put an end to it so, I had to give myself a deadline
otherwise I would still be working on it.

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

For me, the reactions of an audience while watching your film and
afterwards are more valuable than any award. It was so pleasing to
see that people were able to guess my intentions behind the film and
that they won’t just see what’s in front but also behind the curtain in
terms of the characters and their world I created. Any positive and
negative critic is valuable to me to refine my craft. I want to thank
each and everyone in the audience for their feedback. Those are the
people I’m making films for and will keep doing so!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It really was a combination of a lot of things. First, I wanted to shoot
a psychological thriller that keeps the audience on the edge. A film
where you have to pay attention all the way through to understand
the ending. Second, I was always fascinated by mental disorders in
particular dissociative identity disorder (DID). Unfortunately,
Hollywood has used it too many times to shape the villain and
portrait it very inaccurately. So, most people have a very wrong
perception of what this disorder really is. While getting counsel from
psychologists and contacting people directly who suffer on DID and
were willing to speak to me, I started shaping my characters based
on the research and built the world around them. I was looking for 2
opposite locations that not only differ visually but also represent my
protagonists state of mind. Almost characters on its own. The desert
is wide and open without any boarders. She can run anywhere she
wants but really doesn’t get anywhere. She runs away from her past.
The interrogation room is small, claustrophobic. There’s no escape
except through the door but she has to go through Spencer the
psychologist in order to not be trapped.

Well, and this is how the story came together.

One thing I want to mention though is that the tire iron was there
from day 1. I guess it just inspired me when I had a flat tire.

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

Probably Inception by Christopher Nolan. His way of storytelling
fascinates me.

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

I really enjoy FilmFreeway and it is my favorite platform to submit to
film festivals. I enjoy how easy it is, how they categorize things,
their filters, and that I can find most information and feedback about
the festival right on their page.

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

In the End by Linkin Park

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

I recently finished working on a remake of the classic german horror
film “Nosferatu” directed by David Fischer, starring Doug Jones as
Count Orlok which was amazing as I’m from Germany myself and I
remember writing papers about this film while I studied film.
I’m currently writing a psychological horror feature script which I
plan to shoot in 2019. There has been some interest to turn
Crossroads into a feature which I’m very intrigued by as well. Time
will tell.
crossroads.jpg

Interview with Filmmaker Erik Bloomquist (SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS)

SHE CAME FROM THE WOODS was the winner of BEST FILM at the October Horror FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erik Bloomquist: My brother Carson and I grew up watching ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK?, which really woke up and shaped our sensibilities as filmmakers and horror enthusiasts. We wanted to go back to basics — something warm and nostalgic and spooky.

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

Just over three months. It was a super quick one!

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

Campfire rollercoaster.

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

We shot the whole thing with a skeleton crew in just two very fast overnights.

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

Heartwarming. Truly. We’ve been very fortunate to play all over the world with this movie to very enthusiastic audiences. But to hear such positive, organic feedback from a group of people when I wasn’t even in the room is extremely special. I just sent the link to the whole cast. I’m still smiling.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The campground where we filmed triggered a distinct mood and aesthetic for both me and Carson. The movie just sort of spilled out of us from there.

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

Probably SCREAM or TITANIC. Pretty much the same movie.

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

Super user friendly. Great customer services. Awesome interface.

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

Between Toto and now Weezer’s cover, probably “Africa”. It’s a bop, dude.

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

We’re currently in the middle of a pretty intense USA tour with my debut feature LONG LOST. We’ve been getting some amazing responses and award recognition (including Grand Jury Prize at Laughlin Film Festival, Best Feature/Audience Choice & Director to Watch at Eastern Oregon Film Festival, and a nomination for Best Debut Director at Twin Cities Film Fest). It’s a dark domestic thriller that we shot right after SCFTW. Check us out at Facebook.com/LongLostMovie.
House Wide (Cropped)

Interview with Filmmaker Andres Passoni (3:32)

3:32 played to rave reviews at the October 2018 DRAMA Feedback Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andres Passoni: My work is mainly focused in documentaries and I had never worked with actors. I wanted to work with Calu Rivero, an argentinean actress, and I had an idea of a character I thought she would feel related.

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

It took me almost a year to have the final script and then a year for the shooting and post-production.

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

Intimate and delicate.

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

A lot! but I think the biggest was to tell everything I wanted in 3 minutes 32 seconds.

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

That feedback is so important to inspire yourself and grow as a filmmaker.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Once I read an interview to a music producer stating that 3 minutes 32 seconds is the perfect length for a pop song. I’m a huge consumer of pop music, especially from female performers and thought it was a very interesting concept to develop a conflicted character and a short story with the same length.

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

The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock and La Mujer sin Cabeza by Lucrecia Martel, everytime I see them I discover something new about filmmaking and human nature.

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

It helps you to learn about distribution, find a lot of festivals in one place and it’s very friendly to use.

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

Ray of Light by Madonna, every time I listen to it makes me feel very creative.

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

I’m writing and developing different ideas but I still haven’t decided my next project. I’m curious what the future holds for me.
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