Interview with Filmmakers Lucy Joan Barnes & Ali Causon (FOR WANT OF A NAIL)

FOR WANT OF A NAIL played to rave reviews at the April 2019 Female Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lucy (director): The script and it’s message, it was not trying to “sugarcoat” what having OCD is really like.. it was showing how intense it can be for the person who suffers from it.

Ali (producer): Although I was not looking for a script that specifically focused on mental health, after reading FWOAN just a couple of times, it felt like a natural follow up to my previous short about PTSD.

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

Lucy: I believe it was about a year…

Ali: Writer Nick and I had been working together for a few months before mainly to find a director we wanted to work with. Lucy, Nick and I then ran a development workshop with volunteers from OCD Action and Actors to learn more about the condition.

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

Lucy: Frank and Eye Opening

Ali: Honest

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

Lucy:Finding Marty and a shower to film in 🙂

Ali:Definitely finding a shower! Our Actor Clark is quite tall

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

Lucy: I may not have agreed with all the feedback, but I can see where people came from, I learnt a lot , I will take on what has been said and it use it to evolve as a director

Ali: Excited! We had some really interesting feedback and although not everyone enjoyed the film, it certainly had them talking! For me that is the best result, the only way to raise awareness for mental health conditions, like OCD, is to talk about it. ‘For Want Of A Nail’ has been lucky enough to have full support and endorsement from OCD Action, the charity were very much involved in production from development to final film. It has always been important to me to show an honest portrayal of OCD.

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

Lucy: Nick had already written the script but the idea of adding animation was the first thing that came to mind when I read it..

Ali: Nick, our writer, suffers with OCD. He was inspired to write the script as a cathartic experience to try and get to grips with his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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

Lucy: Old Boy

Ali: Star Wars!

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

Lucy: I think it’s great

Ali: Very user friendly system.

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

Lucy: Oh that’s a hard one.. probably Bohemian Rhapsody

Ali: Same as Lu!

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

Lucy: I’m adapting a Shakespeare for a modern audience looking at the mental health of the character and hopefully get people to connect with Shakespeare more

Ali: I’m in the process of pitching the ‘For Want Of A Nail’ TV series and have just completed post for a feature film called ‘The Hidden Track’ which is due for release later this year.

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Interview with Filmmaker Barry Fahy (BOY RACER)

BOY RACER was the winner of BEST FILM at the May 2019 Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Barry Fahy: The world is so full of negative stories these days, I wanted to tell a real story that almost everyone can relate to that makes people smile. Even if it’s just a small break from the norm, to have that little bit of a change from reality and maybe think back to when we all were younger and hopefully bring some of that feeling with you for the rest of the day.

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

This was actually a pretty quickly turn around short. We came up with the idea in June, shot in July, and Post was completed in August! It was one that from concept everyone just got super excited about and everyone backed it from the get go! When you have a team, like Celtic Badger Media, that are as excited about the project as you, things can get done pretty quickly!

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

Playful Innocence

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

This whole film actually went really smoothly. The biggest worry in PreProduction was Finding the right child actor. We needed to find someone young enough to bring that pure imagination and happiness alive on screen, but old enough to be able to understand direction and be able to change his reactions and expressions based on what I asked him to do. We were super lucky to have found Sean Murphy (Who plays Evan) through Nigel Mercier at the Limerick School of Acting. Sean was fantastic, took direction really well, was fun to work with and was a trooper to hang out and film all day! It’s also been great for him as he’s won 2 best young actor awards and had several nominations too! Big thanks to Sean’s Parents, Paddy and Dervala, and his younger sister Grace, for being fantastic for the whole shoot!

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

I smiled…. I smiled the biggest goofiest smile I have. I was delighted to hear the audience felt that sense of wonder and playfulness that comes with innocence. I think people really got it and took something positive from the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

We were talking about shooting a short in a signal location and it was actually my Fiancé that came up with the initial concept about shooting in my Fathers garage and having an imaginary race in his Rally Car. I instantly got super excited about the concept and fleshed out the story over the next 2 days and had pretty much the final shooting script the following week!

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

Honestly, probably Team America – World Police. In College I loved that movie and could quote most of the movie. But in most recent memory, maybe Captain America – Winter Soldier or Fight Club.

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

I quite like filmfreeway as a platform. I think the search criteria when looking for festivals could be better, particularly non genre specific festivals. Boy Racer for example is a hard film to give a specific genre. It’s not really a Drama, or a comedy, a sci fi or fantasy…

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

Palahnuiks Laughter – Fightstar

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

Well as part of Celtic Badger Media we are currently in Post Production on our Second Independent feature, a horror film called “The Perished” directed by Paddy Murphy which I was DOP on. Aiming to have that completed and being submitted to festivals in June/July. As for Directing, I have been working on a few Music Videos, I have another short Written by Paddy Murphy I aim to Direct, we have a 48hr film competition coming up in June and I’m currently developing a feature script that I’d be planning to make in the next year or two. Good thing Badgers don’t sleep much!

You can keep up with Celtic Badger Media on Facebook here https://facebook.com/CelticBadgerMedia/

and Patreon (where Boy Racer is available to watch now) https://www.patreon.com/CelticBadgerMedia

Interview with Filmmaker Annabelle Frost (G(R)O(W)ING UP)

G(R)O(W)ING UP was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the April 2019 Female Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Annabelle Frost: My boss at the time encouraged me to make a film as he knew I had professional directing aspirations.

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

I started seriously writing this version of the short (there were others!) in December of 2015. We shot it in June of 2016. I finally finished post, with music coming in last, in September of 2017. So a little less than 2 years total.

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

Romantic & visual

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

Probably money. We spent a lot more than I would’ve liked b/c we had to a have a fire safety officer with us all 3 days and yet there was no ‘short film’ break on that. We had to pay what a full budget Hollywood film would’ve paid. Our location wasn’t cheap either BUT I believe it was worth it because it looked so strong on film it gave the piece a rich, visual unity.

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

My initial reaction was: grateful. It’s so hard to get honest reviews of your work and because you are so close to it as the artist you can’t really ever get a good, objective perspective on it yourself. It’s invaluable to hear what someone, who’s just watching it in a theater without having read the script or participated in the shoot, has to say about their experience viewing it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I had been kicking around a split screen idea that would track a relationship from beginning to end. I needed to keep the story simple because the structure was going to be complex. Ultimately, the structure was TOO complex to work as a 10 minute short film so I ended up writing this version that tracks a relationship as it goes up and down with a bit of structural complexity but not as much as I was originally going for.

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

Young Sherlock Holmes.

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

Worked great! No issues at all.

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

It’s got to be a tie between Sting’s “Be Still My Beating Heart” and Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain”.

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

I directed an episode of Gotham last season. Hoping to direct more episodes of television soon!

Interview with Filmmaker Samantha McDanel (PAGEANT PERFECT)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Samantha McDanel: This was my final collegiate project while in film school and I wanted to create something with my voice but different from everything I’ve created before.

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

Being a school project, this film was fairly rushed. From idea to script, pre-production, production, and post, this film took about 3 1/2 months.

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

Surreal Relationship

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

There were a few obstacles, the biggest being the time-frame to film and complete the film. We had a SAG-AFTRA actress, Michelle, as out main character, but casting her and getting paperwork in before our shooting dates was a big challenge. We had multiple young actresses on set, including our other lead actress Miriam, in which we had to really be on the ball with our shooting.

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

I loved the feedback video! It was very cool to see people who don’t know anything about me really take in the story and discuss their thoughts. People really understood the idea behind it all, the relationship between a mother and a daughter. I truly enjoyed listening to how each person interpreted the film.

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

This film originated from a separate idea circling around the concept of mothers criticizing their daughters. I think many children experience this, especially young girls because there are many expectations surrounding being a young woman. I was motivated to show this with an extreme approach. Putting this in the context of pageantry with an overly nitpicking mother actually replacing parts of her daughter, makes an audience look at how ridiculous and awful it is. But we as a society see young women change their appearances all the time, so it’s not really all that extreme…

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

This is a great question and my answer will sound funny… My most watched film is Scooby-Doo: The Movie (2002). I wrote multiple analysis papers on this film while in college and I truly enjoy watching this movie.

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

I love Film Freeway, it makes it easier to search for and find film festivals perfect for your film, as well as look at your submissions in one place. I hope festivals continue using film freeway.

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

Probably a Disney musical song, those are my jams.

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

Currently, I am working on a few projects. A new horror short that I’ve written is beginning pre-production and I am writing a feature based off of the Pageant Perfect short. Pageant Perfect is now a proof-of-concept to a much bigger story.

Interview with Filmmaker Melissa Lesh (PERSON OF THE FOREST)

PERSON OF THE FOREST was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2019 Documentary Short Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Melissa Lesh: Leading up to Person of the Forest I had been directing short conservation/natural history films, so when I was approached by Tim Laman and Trevor Frost to edit and co-direct a film on orangutan culture I quickly took the opportunity. Knowing the critical state orangutans are in also motivated me to pour everything I could into this story.

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

It was about five months total, starting with discussions about the footage and the storyline in September, to our first festival deadline in February.

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

Orangutan culture

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

The biggest challenge was sitting down with terabytes of footage that had been collected by many people (scientists, field assistants, cinematographers) over ten years and working it into one cohesive narrative.

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

It was interesting to see how many people focused on the conservation message. I am glad the impression was strong when it came to the impacts of palm oil, which became a main point of discussion after the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was approached by Tim Laman with the idea of making a film on orangutan culture, from there I conducted the interviews and constructed the story. My main goal was to make orangutans as relatable as possible, showing how similar we are, drawing parallels and ultimately why we should protect them.

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

That is hard to say. The first film I have a vivid memory of watching, and the one I believe that had the most impact on my life (at a young age) was Microcosmos.

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

I like it. It’s easy and straightforward. Definitely my favorite online submission platform.

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

Probably Fallin’ by Alicia Keys

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

I am currently working on a feature film in the Peruvian Amazon about wildlife reintroduction and mental illness. I am excited to share it when we finish production/post production hopefully by the end of 2020!

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Interview with Filmmaker Joey Katches (SOCIAL)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Joey Katches: It was my own conviction that I was spending too much time on my phone and neglecting the relationships of those around me. There’s this app on my phone called “screen time” which tracks the amount of time I spend on the internet and social media. It amazed me how many hours (Even days) I spent on social media in a week! God has blessed me with a wonderful family and I don’t want to neglect time with them being absorbed in my phone. Life is too short, and time is precious. My goal in making the film was never to say smart phones are bad, or social media is bad, but rather how we can be so absorbed in our social media that we neglect the face to face relationships around us.

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

Roughly 4 months

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

Screen Time

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

The day of filming I still had not landed on the ending to the film. Originally I had scripted that there would be a montage sequence at the end of the day showing the opposite of what would happen if the main actor had not been absorbed in his phone. But to me it didn’t feel punchy enough. So mid way through the shoot day the idea hit me that the main actor is confronted with the reality that what he posts on facebook (a happy family picture) is not reality. And in that moment it hits him that he’s neglecting the relationships that bring most fulfillment and happiness.

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

I loved hearing both the positive feedback and the criticism. I thought the audience was incredibly intelligent and helpful. I learned a lot from them and appreciated very much their insights! They will help me to become a better filmmaker. Also loved hearing how the message impacted others! That was my goal in making this film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I heard a TED talk by Simon Sinek about the addiction of cell phone usage. This talk motivated me to make a short film addressing the issue.

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

It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart

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

Very user friendly process!

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

True Grit soundtrack

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

Working on 2 short films and a documentary. But currently in the process of shooting a local commercial = )

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