Interview with Filmmaker Kaitlin Creadon (FOR THE LOVE OF THE CHILD)

FOR THE LOVE OF THE CHILD played to rave reviews at the March 2018 DOCUMENTARY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kaitlin Creadon: With the wonderful opportunity to make any type of film I desired through my schooling, I had the chance to turn this once-in-a-lifetime event into a documentary. Creating this personal documentary was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I knew it was a story I truly wanted to share with the world. A big motivation for completing this film was the hope that someone else
going through this will see it, and that the film will help them through their own journey.

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

I started working on the concept in August of 2016 and it took about a year and a half to produce and edit. Even today, I am still working on BTS as I just have a wonderful goldmine of footage still to share.

How would you describe your short film in two words?

True love.

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

The biggest obstacle I personally faced was overcoming my own fear of being on camera. It is a very personal story, so I knew right from the beginning that I would have to be on camera and talk about my experiences. It was difficult for me at the time, yet I am so glad I put that aside to become an integral part of my own documentary.

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

Excitement, yet surprisingly defensive. Nonetheless, the was extremely interesting to hear the audience’s take on the documentary!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Like I mentioned, through the MFA thesis process I had the chance to work on a film of my choosing. Ultimately, I landed on documenting this experience. Meeting my birth mother in person was something I knew I wanted to do, and this was a great way to do it. I reached out to the adoption agency The Cradle, then Tabitha (my birth mother) Collette (birth aunt), and Robbie (half-brother) and his family, to see if they would be interested in being a part of this as well. I received overwhelming support. It all started to come together, and we began filming!

Even if I hadn’t used this footage for a documentary, I feel so blessed the entire process was caught on camera as it is hard to remember everything that happened in person!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think it has to be Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it on DVD, but the thirteen-year-old me saw it a record seven times in theaters!

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

The submission process for this film festival was quite easy! The Documentary Feedback Film Festival made me feel very comfortable right from the get-go.

What is next for you? A new film?

Currently no films on the docket, however I am a new Adjunct Professor at DePaul University, where I received my MFA in Directing! I am looking forward to seeing what this new journey has in store for me.
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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with documentary filmmaker Jenna Gartlan (MISSING PEACE)

MISSSING PEACE played at the November 2017 Short Film Festival to great reviews. It is by far one of the most unique films the FEEDBACK Festival showed in 2017.

 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I was really shocked to learn about Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), but I was instantly intrigued. I have always been interested in ‘fringe’ or unique aspects of people’s lives. When I read more about the condition and spoke to those who suffer from BIID, I realized that their stories weren’t being told properly. The media had been sensationalizing their plight and was more interested in criticizing than helping bring awareness and understanding. I also realized that people with BIID just want to be happy and accepted and I really relate to that and sympathize.

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

I came up with the idea in November of 2015 and we finished the film in the summer of 2016. So about 9 months.

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

Provoking acceptance.

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

The biggest obstacle was filming in two countries on a small budget for a short timeframe.

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

I liked hearing what people had to say, and at the end of the day, there are many things that I would have liked to have done differently but time, budget, and availability of our subjects were tough to navigate.

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

I came up with the idea after reading about BIID in an article.

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

Hot Fuzz (2007) or the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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

I think Filmfreeway helps a lot of emerging artists by simplifying the submission process and clearly explaining what needs to be done.

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

I can Feel a Hot One by Manchester Orchestra

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

I have been working away in the industry while writing on the side. I hope to be working on a comedic web series in the next coming months.
 

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

MISSING PEACE, 17min., USA, Documentary/Drama 
Directed by Jenna Gartlan

Missing Peace follows Chloe Jennings-White and Jeremy as they struggle with Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Chloe wishes to be paraplegic, and Jeremy wants to cut off his hands.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

 

Interview with director Marina Meijer (CARGO)

Marina Meijer’s short film “CARGO” was the winner of “BEST FILM” at the May 2017 European Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Marina Meijer: I needed to make a film about the importance of women and love, in an environment where she is absent. So I went looking for places at sea (the birthplace of Afrodite, goddess of love), to find a small men’s microcosm, where only men live and work together, seperated from land and the women in (their) life. And then I met Frans, a rough sailor who had lost his love.

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

I did two months of research, and in this period I lived on several ships to meet different crews and men. After I found Frans, I wrote a filmplan, and then my cameraman, soundsman and me, stayed on the ship for a month to shoot. Our school gave us a 6 weeks to edit the film, and then another month for sounddesign, music and other postproductional things! So I think in total it took us half a year to make the entire film.

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

Waves, Women.

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

The fact that is was my graduation film, gave us quite some limitations in our shooting and edit period. But I learned a lot, so it’s not all that bad… And of course the fact that I did a lot of puking at sea, hehe.

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

It made me very happy..! Some things people said, really touched me. I loved it that although it’s quite a subtle story, some people do feel the emotional layer underneath it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the short film:

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

As a woman, there are places that are almost unattainable for me, places where men are among themselves, isolated from the outside world. This film takes place in such a ‘man’s microcosm’ at sea, a place where men and women are physically separated. It’s a place that intrigues me, because it feels out of balance. It’s a small world that symbolizes the world in which we now live, where the ‘hard’ and strong often dominates, and where the soft and sensitive is still struggling to break through. For me this film is a portrayal of this struggle with feelings. About a man who lost his wife, his unexpressed feelings and loneliness within this men’s world. A small film about the importance of women and love, which becomes even bigger when she is no longer there.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Beau Travail, from Claire Denis or Three Rooms of Melancholia, from Pirjo Honkasalo.

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

‘Maggot Brain’ from Funkadelic or ‘If you want me to stay’ from Sly and the Family Stone. And I still don’t know the lyrics.. Words are not that important to me, i guess.

What is next for you? A new film?

I hope so! Working very hard on a new idea.. I’m very uncertain about a lot of things in my life, but filmmaking is the one thing I’m very sure of, that I really want and need to do.
 
 

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with documentary director Christian J. Harris (THE LONG GOODBYE)

“THE LONG GOODBYE: AN ALZHEIMER’S STORY” played to rave reviews at the Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival in April 2017. Part of the best of documentary shorts program.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Christian J. Harris: I’ve always been drawn to journalistic pieces. I love human interest stories and this one was so close to me that I had to do it. The couple shown are my grandparents actually. After watching my grandmother whither away into a stranger, I was deeply effected. But it was actually harder watching my grandfather slowly lose the woman he loved. But he never complained and he never considered giving her up, it was true love right in front of my eyes. I just felt I had to tell that story.

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

About 3 months. I wanted to tell the story right. So it took me a little while to decide on the most appropriate way to portray their relationship.

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

Impervious Love

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

Definitely interviewing Jim, my grandfather. There were some rough, emotional moments during the interview seeing as I was so close to the subject matter. It was the first time I had ever seen my grandfather cry.

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

It was amazing. I loved to hear people calling it a “Love Story” because that’s exactly what it was. I was also glad they understood it was meant to bring awareness to Alzheimers.

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

Just visiting my grandparents and watching the disease unfold inspired me to tell their story. I’m also a huge sucker for love stories in general.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Cinderella Man. The idea of a man literally fighting to keep his family’s lights on and food on the table is the ultimate story to me.

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

Pools-Glass Animals

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently working on a longer human interest piece about the importance of organ donation. I’m telling the story of a liver transplant survivor that has been given a second chance to live. I’m using the story as an anecdote for the cruciality of being an organ donor.

Interview with director Paul Zehrer (BEING SEEN)

Paul Zehrer’s short film “BEING SEEN” was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

My cinematographer, Chikara Motomura, and I were approached by the director of Lifehouse Agency in Marin, CA, to create a video that would help the community better understand the work they do. Lifehouse has been serving adults with developmental disabilities to live independantly for over 40 years.

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

About three years. We originally made a longer film specifically for Lifehouse that was more of a promotional film. However, in making that film, we became very involved with these individuals throughout the Bay Area and realized that there was a much more universal story to tell.

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

Being Seen

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

We were fortunate to have some funding to make the film, but it’s been difficult finding the necessary funding required to get this out in the world and maintain a website and social media outreach — all which requires enormous amount of time and energy and difficult to get money to support.

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

Very rewarding. Affirmed what we had hoped to achieved by making this film. Thank you.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It simply evolved organically out of the stories we heard from the people we met and interviewed. It was pretty self-evident that these people had a lot to share and what they spoke about was not about how tough they had it or self-pitying, but rather dreams, desires and ambitions like most people.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I actually don’t have a lot of time to watch films anymore. I very much like the poetic and soulful work of Terrance Malick and Andre Tarkovsky– but few people know of those filmmakers anymore.

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

Probably something I’ve had to play for my son like Baby Beluga or Somewhere Over the Rainbow 🙂 If I had time, I’d listen to more Indian ragas.

What is next for you? A new film?

We are looking to raise completion funds for a documentary we’ve been making about early childhood education in crisis zones like the Gaza and the Westbank, as well as Oakland and South L.A.. It’s a film that looks at alternative interventions that help young children overcome debilitating trauma that often effects them years later as young adults — legacies that too often perpetuate the cycles of violence in those places.

Interview with director Cassie De Colling (GULMARG – PARADISE ON EARTH)

Cassie De Colling’s short film played at the March 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

A lot of factors came into play when making this film. I was struck by the situation in Kashmir and I wanted to help create a perspective for the western skier to see I wanted that to strong but also not negative as I am very aware that they are injecting a lot of economy into the area, its a double edged sword. It was a challenge as the topic is a strong one and I didn’t want to use my own voice, as admit I am not an expert on the melting pot of issues that are revolving around Kashmir politically and socially.

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

5 years. It took me about 4 years to find the time to get it to a 45 minute edit which was a really strong piece but I just didn’t feel as though it was balanced. It was also my first film as a observationally documentary and I personally didn’t fee like I had adequate infrastructure in place for a smooth distribution. That is when I decided to cut it down to make it shorter, more palatable to the short film circuit and audiences.

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

Rough Diamond

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

When I returned for Kashmir my parter who helped me film it was particularly difficult and didn’t’t want me to use the footage. I basically had to wait a year for things to cool off before seeking legal advice to negotiate obtaining his permission to use the percentage of footage he had shot. It was very emotionally draining. The story also we really difficult to string together I didn;t feel expert enough to go into great detail about issues, so it was the struggle to set up my scenarios and tie them off whilst not getting too invested. Also maintaining relationships with both Kashmiri people and westerners through out the experience has been tricky, some people see the film as something that could portray Kashmir in a negative way, which it isn’t, But Kashmir is a complicated place, I just want tourist to have some understanding of that when they are making a journey their.

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

It was great. The film has been such a struggle for me to get together. It was lovely that it sparked conversation and considerations to the people in the audience. Especially in Toronto a multi cultural city, in a country that is known for snow and mountain culture.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I originally set out to Kashmir to do a pro-bono film a documentary on a NGO that were providing Snowboards and training to Kashmir. When I arrived the company was no where to be found and they went silent. I never heard from them. So I was in Kashmir with my partner and I was dedicated to filming something… We had lugged our DSLR’s and filming gear through the military enclosed airport of Srinagar, we had to make the most of it.

The tension with the westerner and locals sort of lays dormant in Gulmarg. I could feel that but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Over the time I was their I supposed I saw and filmed more and more things that proved this to me. So it was just a matter of capturing those the best we could and at the same time making friends and building relationships with the people I interviewed.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I am a bit of a one time film watcher… So don’t know

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

It would be some kind of 80’s Australian anthem. Money for Nothing – Dire Straights https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wTP2RUD_cL0

What is next for you? A new film?

I am working on a very exciting VR project called Uku360 It is an underwater 360VR project looking at the first peoples of the world connection to the ocean. Check out http://www.360uku.com for more information. We are about to film the pilot in April 2017.

Interview with director John Mollison (THE GENTLEMAN NEXT DOOR)

John Mollison’s short film played at the March 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I believe that old warriors have great insight into life.

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

45 days.

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

Old, new

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

John’s (the subject character) health.

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

Gratitude! Thank you x 100!!

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I do this all the time…it never fails to be worth my time.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Brazil, The Best Years of Our Lives or 2001

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

Wow! Hmmm…

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes…another film. 🙂