Interview with Filmmaker Chris Hale (EVERYBODY FALLS DOWN)

Chris Hale’s short film EVERYBODY FALLS DOWN played to rave reviews at the May 2016 FEEDBACK Short Documentary Film Festival.

Interview with Chris Hale:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I’d previously worked out in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan for the BBC, and the place and the people really got under my skin. They were so welcoming and open despite decades of suffering and so I was always determined to return somehow to help tell their story. Everybody Falls Down itself actually came about somewhat by chance as this was always meant to be a small part of a bigger film about Kurdistan’s quest for independence, but when it quickly became apparent that these people deserved their own story.

I went to film a series of interviews the mostly Kurdish refugees from Syria of the Darashakran Refugee camp in the Kurdistan Region of Northern Iraq. When I started editing what they had to say, I was struck by how these people could have been me, or you or our families. They’re just a small percentage of the millions of refugees impacted by the war, but when you look past the politics at the people, they just want to raise their children somewhere safe that they can call home and I found that incredibly moving.

And so what was meant to be a sequence within the bigger film took on an urgency and a life of its own and became this film.

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

Well, the idea to do something in Kurdistan was with me for 5 years, but turning the idea into reality built up steam over just a couple of months, then I was out there filming for 2 weeks and in edit for about 2 months before Everybody Falls Down started to stand out as a separate film. Its hard to put an actual time on it though as its been a labour of love, edited in what little spare time I had.

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

heartfelt tragedy

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

Time. The plan was to take a month off from other projects to complete it, but the freelance life is never that easy, especially as I’d spent all of my money on the production. So I ended up editing at evenings and weekends and early in the morning, whenever I could. I was watching rushes on planes, transcribing interviews on the train. I even took a mobile edit suite with me when I went to China on another project so I could edit in my hotel room. Not ideal but I was surprised how much spare time I could find in a day if I tried hard enough.

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

I was pleasantly surprised watching the feedback video, I was glad someone noticed the use of music for instance and even the mildly negative comments were useful as a filmmaker as they were about things I’d purposely chosen to do or not include and it made me realise I was comfortable with my decisions. Also the fact that someone said they’d be more likely to help because of watching this film was fantastic as thats all I ever wanted.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life? 

I’d love to be able to say something profound or that had an impact on how I make film but honestly, its probably Platoon.. I used to watch that a lot as a kid.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

A new film is underway as we speak. its the film about Kurdistan and the Kurdish struggle for independence that I was cutting before Everybody Falls Down took over. Its even more pressing now as there is talk of a Kurdish referendum taking place before the end of the year. Again time isn’t on my side and I’ll be pulling some weird edit hours but there are some incredibly powerful interviews in the film so its the least I can do.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short 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 on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmaker Clark Ferguson (SHADOW OF A GIANT)

Clark Ferguson’s short film SHADOW OF A GIANT was the winner of Best Picture at the May 2016 Documentary Short Film Festival. 

Interview with Clark Ferguson:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I was accepted into the Yellowknife International Film Festival for a short fiction film that I had shown there in 2012. When I google image searched ‘Yellowknife’, a drawing of the proposed ‘frozen block method’ was the first image viewable. I read up on the history of Giant Mine and the environmental situation occurring there. I felt a project specific to Giant would be too large, too difficult, and too sensitive – partly due to an infamous labour dispute with multiple murders and partly due to the involvement of the federal government in the remediation of the mine. So I pitched a project that would allow for travel throughout the territory and create smaller works in collaboration with the communities that currently exist around other abandoned mine sites. This project, also enormous with its challenges, seemed easier than working on a project about Giant. The project was proposed as a Canada Council residency project with Producers Lesley Johnson and Western Arctic Media Production (WAMP). And the Project was greenlit and I made my way North. However, coinciding with my arrival, was an open community consultation about Giant Mine and the proposed ‘Frozen Block Method’ of dealing with the stabilization of the mine site. It was at that point that I was hooked and felt I had to do the proposed project on just Giant Mine. After speaking with collaborators and co-producers, we went forth in the creation of a web-doc that told the story of Giant Mine through the individuals that live around the mine site itself. The short film came afterwards. And a feature was nearly created with Loaded Pictures out of Montreal – but we unfortunately came up short on that.

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

I would say from proposal to the launch of the web-doc was about two and a half years. However, throughout that time, we were attempting to gauge interest in a feature and were attempting to fund that project while working to finish the web doc with the limited funds remaining. There were two periods of shooting: One three month period of research and creation at the end of 2012 and one ten day shooting period in 2013. The editing took place in my Montreal office. Paige Saunders, web programmer/designer, worked throughout that period and implemented our graphic design teams animations and designs of his own. Co-producer Lesley Johnson was working out of Toronto at that point was able to come to Montreal periodically to help develop the project and pursue funding. And throughout that period, we were also working with Loaded in attempting to secure funding to bring the project forward as a feature doc for television. So there were a lot of moving parts in a lot of different places. I imagine the turn around would have been much faster if there was a broadcaster involved or we had just focused on one platform and if we were all in the same place.

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

I don’t know if two words would do the trick but perhaps a description of a feeling would be more appropriate: That feeling when the air gets pushed out of your chest when you have a big emotional weight placed on yourself. I guess that would be intense frustration and disappointment. But the film itself is a bit more hopeful than a couple negative words or a horrible feeling.

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

The logistics of having a team spread throughout the Country and creating the work for a number of platforms was difficult. The team was also very small. Lesley Johnson and I were both doing research for the project and were both searching for funds for the project. She was my closest collaborator on the project. Paige Saunders and our team of animators persevered to create amazing work with not a lot of funds as well. I was shooting, directing, editing, managing the animators and working with Paige Saunders on the Web Design. I think I was wearing one or two too many hats. It was always meant to be a small project but the scope of the project seemed to naturally bloom as the scope of the issue was just too important to gloss over.

But that wasn’t the main obstacle. The main obstacle was that you never were really able to see the Arsenic Trioxide underground. In fact, Yellowknife and the surrounding areas are absolutely beautiful. Even the scarred mined out areas are aesthetically interesting. The danger is one that is not seen. It’s the potential that increasingly seems inevitable. But creating visual storytelling around something that is buried underground is difficult.

A close second main obstacle was that a labour strike and subsequent murders that occurred nearly 20 years earlier at the site made the community within Yellowknife unwilling to participate in the documentary. The awful legacy of that incident overshadowed the environmental legacy of the site.

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

I wasn’t able to attend the screening but to see an audience watch a work and give feedback (that was good!) was really touching. It actually felt really great to watch the reactions of those who expressed themselves. I also though Lesley Johnson did a great job responding to questions about what it’s like to live near the site and talk about the process of making the project. But ultimately, I was very touched to hear the first speaker react to projection. And the many that followed. It felt good in my heart.

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

The treatment was based on a previous project. But basically, the idea was to have individuals most affected by an environmental tell the story of the mine site from their perspective. The participants in the film were also able to create an idea for an animation that would exemplify what the mine, present of past, means or meant to them. There is empowerment in expressing those ideas. There is power in speaking for your community and there is dialogue in a diversity of speakers. That in essence was the concept of how the doc would be made.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life? 

I’ve always loved Jean-Claude Lauzon’s Leolo. I find it uniquely creative in it’s story telling. I don’t tend to watch a doc multiple times but did watch Manda Bala by Jason Kohn several times and will probably watch it again in July. A great doc that will blow your mind.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

I’m shooting for other people a lot right now. It’s been good to work with other directors and help them create their vision. I love visual storytelling and the problem solving that goes on during a shoot. It’s thrilling for me. I am most excited to do that for the moment. Next large doc project I will be doing, I will not be editing.

I’m working on three or four projects: One doc project, a personal essay based autobiographical work and writing some fiction.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short 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 on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmaker Daniele Bonarini (LIKE A STAR)

Daniele Bonarini’s short film, LIKE A STAR, played to rave reviews at the May 2016 Documentary Short Film Festival. 

Interview with Daniele Bonarini:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Daniele Bonarini: For many years, i work primarily with people with physical and intellectual disabilities. I grew a lot as a director and film-maker and I was able, with my works, to enter the international film festival circuit. Attend a film festival no about disability, was a great achievement because I could bring Tiziano in a neutral context, and especially him to live an incredible experience like a trip in America. For this reason I decided to make a documentary of his journey, it is part of an experience that lasts for many years

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

DB: Our projects are very long. To make a short film takes several months because of the difficulty of the guys to get into the characters. As I said above, the trip to Texas is part of a journey along a few years and only now beginning to see good results

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

DB:Like a star is the opportunity of a person, cornered by the company, to express their potential and live a dream..in other words..Like a star is like a dream!

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

DB: Hard to find those who believe in our project. Or rather, many support us and believe in us but then economically hardly anyone believes that these special actors can make good cinema products. Travel expenses and for the realization of the short film were self-financed. This is one of the complicated aspects, in addition to having to still manage a person with a disability who is never simple!

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

DB: It’s really great to see people on the other side of the world who look at your work. Above all it is amazing to see how they understood and appreciated that the project is ahead of Poti Pictures. When the blonde girl points out my words (the Thin Line Film Festival) “What people can do …” I think my project is all there and it’s nice to see that people have it figured out.

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

DB: The moment we decided to accompany Tiziano in Texas was spontaneous take the camera and shoot every moment of his trip. Like a star is only one part of what he has lived in that week. He is an amazing guy and he makes show in the States!

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

DB: There are many films that I love relate to continuous, one of these is “The green mile”( but i prefer the book!)I believe there is good in all of us and I believe that everyone has a potential that can give to others..in essentially this is my job.

Try to show what a person can to to do and not what cannot to do.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

DB: We are working on a short film with 26 children aged 9 years together with 6 of our “special actors.” So, the real project is the inclusion and fun. We have many jobs scheduled, in each one there is a guy with disabilities showing his acting skills

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short 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 on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmaker Andrés Passoni (CHAMPION)

Andrés Passoni’s short film was the winner of Best Picture at the May 2016 Documentary Short Film Festival. 

Interview with Andrés Passoni:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andrés Passoni: I love animals and when I heard about greyhound races I instantly felt very attracted to immerse myself in this world. I thought it would be interesting and a challenge to share this controversial theme from a different point of view and I worked very hard to create a special experience while viewing it. I also thought this project would be a great growth for me as a filmmaker.

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

AP: It took me two years to finish it. I had specific images in my mind that I wanted to achieve and I also invested a lot of time in the montage and sound design. It was hard but I felt very proud after watching the final result.

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

AP: Exciting and Fascinating!

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

AP: I don’t know if it was an obstacle but it was difficult to choose which images would stay in the final product because I shot a lot of material that I think it’s beautiful, but then I wanted to select the ones I thought added a special value to the narrative of the film and what I was trying to communicate.

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

AP: It was very interesting to hear the different comments and reactions and I had a huge smile throughout the whole feedback video. What I specially liked about it is that everybody felt what I was trying to communicate, which is a great feeling.

Thank you for the opportunity to show my work!

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

AP: Two years ago in a family birthday an uncle started talking that he liked going to greyhound races, after hearing that, I thought it would be a very interesting world to portray, from the very beginning I knew I had to tell it from the dog’s point of view.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

AP: The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock and La mujer sin cabeza by Lucrecia Martel.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

AP: Right now I’m finishing a script for another short film called 3:32, the theme it’s very different from what I’ve done but it shares my love for image and sound. In this case I’m also trying to build a particular experience around a character.

If everything goes according to what’s planned I’m shooting in September and I can’t wait to share it with all of you!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short 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 on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmaker Christopher H.K. Lee (The Last Tear)

Christopher’s short film, THE LAST TEAR, played at the Documentary Short Film Festival in May 2016.

Go to Website

Interview with Christopher H.K. Lee:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Christopher H.K. Lee: I’ve heard about the topic “comfort women” many times in the news, media, books, newspapers, etc. but I never had my interest in the subject until we began our research with the students about a possibility of putting together a documentary. We traveled thousands of miles to visit the actual historical locations and had the opportunities to meet with the ladies still alive and be witnesses of the scars left on their bodies and souls. Some were supported by the political platform and some were a part of an organizational base trying to make their voice heard which is unknown to the rest of the world. They are becoming weaker day by day and we believe that such traces of painful memories and tragic stories cannot be restored but by remembering them and embracing them, we will provide them the sense of closure.

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

CHKL: This is a collaboration project with US-Korea Institute of Johns Hopkins University as an academic research. The film nearly took 18 month of research and preparation. The film and post-production took nine month.

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

CHKL: Healing and Closure

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

CHKL: The subject and issues were very sensitive politically and emotionally to many. The ladies we interviewed were in the 90s and we needed to consider for their health issues while respecting their voices and feelings.

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

CHKL: I couldn’t make out what the first lady (Korean-American) was saying. I am not sure if she understands to implication of our actor and dancer in the movie. They were the voice and expression for the lady (the survivor) in the film. What we presented to you at the film festival is a short 11 minute version. Our full version which is 53 minutes long has more facts and compelling stories with plenty of emotions of our main character that was missing in the short version.

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

CHKL: We specially edited for a short version to submitted to many film festivals as possible. Our film’s purpose is to share the emotions of the past and to connect our generations in a more personal and humanistic way. Through understanding the faults of the past, we allow them to never be erased, and prevent them from happening again.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

CHKL: The Truman Show. This is one of the most inventive movie in memory.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

CHKL: As part of our Fading Away documentary series I am currently working on several documentaries to preserve our culture and history. I am also writing a feature film based on the story inspired by a documentary film I did earlier.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short 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 on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Editor Jake Roberts (Oscar Nominated film BROOKLYN)

It was a pleasure to sit down with Jake Roberts, the editor of BROOKLYN, which was nominated for 3 Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay). Jake has already established himself as one of the top editors in the industry. This year alone he cut two Hollywood Productions coming to a cinema near you. COMANCHERIA, starring Chris Pine & Jeff Bridges. And TRESPASS AGAINST US, starring Michael Fassbender & Brenden Gleeson.

Interview with Jake Roberts:

Matthew Toffolo: Tell us about your experiences working on “Brooklyn”? How many months do you work on editing the film? How does it feel to be the editor of an Oscar Nominated film?

Jake Roberts: ‘Brooklyn’ was a great experience. There was a really positive energy throughout the shoot and it felt like we might be working on something quite special. It was personal to a lot of the people involved and that seemed to come through in the material and that makes you want to raise your game, especially when you’re watching a performance like Saoirse’s unfold you feel a huge pressure to do it justice. Once John and I were back in London we cut for about 3 months and obviously there was plenty of back and forth but at the same time it was quite a calm and controlled process. We had a very strong first assembly and we never deviated too far from it or went down too many experimental cul-de-sacs. This is largely a testament to Nick’s script which only needed the subtlest of refinements so essentially it was about distillation, making it as tight as possible and all the while carefully calibrating the emotional journey through the performances. As for the Oscars it is all a surreal bonus, like I say you hope as you work on something that it is special and obviously a nomination suggests you did something right but the most thrilling thing is that a wide audience gets to see it and thankfully it seems we managed to strike a chord with a lot of them.

PHOTO: Still shot from BROOKLN:

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Matthew: You have worked on many documentaries. Is this something you like to continue to do?

Jake: In theory yes as documentary is so much of an editor’s medium but having fought for so long to get into features it’s difficult to turn your back on them. Certainly as a viewer I’d rather watch a great documentary than a fictional film so if the right one came along it’d be hard to say no.

Matthew: What is the key difference between working on a narrative film in comparison to a documentary?

Jake: In documentary you are creating the narrative as you go, effectively writing the script in the edit, but at the same time you are obviously constrained by your material so you have to know both how to tell the story but also how best to illustrate that within the limitations of the footage you have available. Someone once said that it’s like being given a bag of sentences and being asked to write a novel. The fact that in narrative film you get to follow a script that has been very carefully written and developed means that all that heavy lifting has been done for you and your role is just tell that story as effectively as possible.

PHOTO: Documentary film LONG WAY AROUND, starring Ewan McGregor:

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Matthew: How did you transition from working on short films to features?

Jake: The very first short film I ever cut was for the director David Mackenzie after which we made a low budget feature together, I was 23 at the time, but then David went on to make a bigger film with actual film stars and the producers insisted on a more experienced editor so I lost that relationship. I then spent years cutting every kind of project that came my way, documentaries, commercials, music videos, shorts, television drama, you name it. Basically I honed my craft and just tried to become the best editor I could always hoping I could return to features one day. Many years later David was preparing his sixth feature film and his regular editor was unavailable so we reconnected and fortunately I had gained enough experience to be given a chance by the financiers. We have now made 5 features together.

Matthew: In the last 16 years you’ve worked as an editor on over 20 productions. What film has been your favorite working experience so far?

Jake: Films are like children and like any parent you can’t really pick favourites but each has their own unique qualities. Being involved in ‘Long Way Round’ Ewan McGregor’s round the world motorbike trip was a great communal experience, working out of a garage in Shepherd’s Bush in the months before they set off we were cutting upstairs as they prepped the bikes downstairs. Everyone involved stayed up all night helping pack up the equipment the night before they left and then months later we were flown to New York to be there when they arrived. We shot ‘Tonight You’re Mine’ in 4 days at a music festival working 22 hour days which was a very intense and disorientating but bonding process. ‘Starred Up’ was shot over four weeks in Belfast but was similarly intense as David was insisting that we have all the scenes fully cut within hours of them being filmed. We were shooting completely sequentially and he wanted to have as clear an idea as possible about the shape of the film up to the scene he would be filming the next day so we basically made the film as we went. We eventually screened the entire movie at the wrap party and locked the picture 3 weeks later so it was ultimately very short and sweet. Just recently I was cutting in a log cabin in New Mexico and every Sunday we would have a barbecue and screen assemblies for the entire cast and crew, Jeff Bridges would bring his guitar. That was a lot of fun.

Matthew: What is an editor looking for in their director?

Jake: Work. No seriously I think a coherent vision that hopefully translates into the dailies and then a sense of collaboration in the cutting room. It’s definitely a conversation and I think I would struggle to work with someone who insisted on doing all the talking.

Matthew: What is a director looking for in their editor?

Jake: You’d have to ask them but I would imagine someone who brings ideas and solutions to the table but doesn’t force their agenda, merely offers it. Ultimately someone who makes them look good, which we usually do.

Matthew: What film, besides the ones you’ve worked on, have you seen the most times in your life?

Jake: Probably Jaws or This Is Spinal Tap.

Matthew: What type of film would you love to edit that you haven’t worked on yet?

Jake: I’d love to do a kids film so that my children might be allowed to see what I do for a living.

Matthew: What suggestions would you have for people in high school and university who would like to get into the industry as an editor?

Jake: Start early. I can only speak from my own experience but if you’re clear about what you want to do then I wouldn’t waste time getting a media studies degree, you’re going to have to work for nothing to get started anyway so better to do it at 18 than 22. Get any practical experience you can, firstly to make sure this is really something you want to do, it’s going to take a lot of work and sacrifice so make sure you’re suited to it. Approach established professionals directly and tell them you want to do what they do, most will try and help in some way even if it’s just a cup of coffee and some advice, I always do. Try to edit rather than assist. Personally I think you’d learn more cutting a zero budget music video than you would assisting on a big budget feature. Even if you’re at the bottom of the ladder doing very basic tasks do them as well as humanly possible, listen to any instructions very carefully and never think of anything as beneath you or not worth trying over. Care. I once had to edit 9 hours of obese women discussing their bras in a focus group but I treated it like I was making art. You never know where the contacts who can ultimately give you a break might come from. It might be the guy directing the corporate video you’re working on? He might be making a feature in a few years so do an incredible job and he might remember you. If you are always creative, reliable, conscientious and good company doors will eventually open I promise.

PHOTO: Saorse Ronan in BROOKLYN: 

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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 Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

 

Interview with Filmmaker Francesco Faralli (LIKE IN THE MOVIES)

Francesco Faralli’s documentary short film played at the best of Under 5min. Short Film Festival in January 2016. A film filled with a lot of feeling and laughter that the audience truly loved.

I recently chatted with Francesco and talked more about the film:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Francesco Faralli: I thought it was a funny and inspiring story that could be narrated in a quick way. I was editing the material for Daniele’s last video and I thought it was a goldmine of amusing moments to start with.

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

Francesco: I think I had the idea on July, I shot 3 days (1 day for backstage, 2 days weeks later for the interviews) and I finished it in November.

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

Francesco: Just 2 words?! well…Informal and funny (doc, if I may add a substantive)

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

Francesco: I didn’t have real obstacles on this project, I think the most fundamental choice I had to do in this short it was to accept and use the mistakes made by Daniele, which normally I would have cut. Embracing this mistakes I think give to this doc a layer of spontaneity that now I find very important, creating also a parallel with Tiziano’s mistakes.

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

Francesco: I was interested and  a little in apprehension. I think it’s very important to laugh about Tiziano’s errors because if you feel guilty to laugh about it it’s because you feel a kind of distance from him and your thought is something like “poor thing, I feel sorry for him and his condition, so I shouldn’t laugh about it”; instead, Daniele taught me that equality goes from here too, you can laugh as long as you can see and appreciate the efforts.

Matthew: If there anywhere we can watch the movie online?

Francesco: You can watch the movie online following this link: https://vimeo.com/81343294

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Francesco: It could be “The Shining” or “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind”.

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

Francesco: I’d like to realize a fiction short movie next, I have a couple of ideas for different shorts but I haven’t decided which one write yet. Fate and budget will dictate what will be my next move.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short 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 on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

How to make a Documentary Film

MAKING A DOCUMENTARY
FILMMAKING NOTES

DOCUMENTARY FILM – TIPS for Documentary Film Production

THE FOUR BASIC DIVISIONS OF STYLE

1) EXPOSITORY DOC’S
Commenting on the Acting of the scene rather than being a part of it
-A lot of times Propaganda films (TV NEWS)
-Express point of view clearly and leave little room for misinterpretation

2) OBSERVATIONAL DOC’S
MIRROR TO THE WORLD – Way it’s going on, is going on
-Keeping the camera rolling
-Story comes out of the life of the people, not from the actions of individuals
-Conveys the rhythms and texture of everyday life

3) REFLECTIVE DOC’S
A relationship between the filmmakers and its subjects
-Filmmaker is a part of the film. -Seen through the eyes of the filmmaker. They are usually the main character in their own film

4) IMPRESSIONISTIC DOC’S
NO RULES-Poetic instead of argumentative-Generally categorized under Experimental film

WE ALL LOOK AT OURSELVES AS UNIQUE – SO DO THE SUBJECTS

“The proper route to an understanding of the world is an examination of our errors about it.”
– ERROL MORRIS director (The Thin Blue Line, Dr. Death)A DOCUMENTARY DIRECTOR’S MAIN TASK IS LISTENING TO PEOPLE

Once you get an idea worth spending some time on ASK QUESTIONS
1) Is it practical?
2) Would it be high or low budget?
3) Does it have broad or narrow audience appeal?
4) What approach could we take to the subject?
5) Can we sell the brilliant idea?
6) And if so, how?

CONCEPT – A comprehensive idea that will drive the film in a distinct direction according to a clear plan

AMBIGUITIES – People who see they are being filmed want to know how to act in front of the camera

IN DOCUMENTARY FILM
ARE WE THE FILMMAKER TELLING THE STORY
OR ARE THOSE OF OUR SUBJECT TELLING IT

In Documentary Film, just like any other film, you need to write a script before you begin filming. You have to have a plan and an overall THEME in what you are trying to say with this film.
DOCUMENTARY SCRIPT FUNCTIONS

1) The script is an organizing and structural tool. A reference and a guide that helps everyone involved in the production

2) Communicates the idea of the film to everyone concerned. Helps everyone understand what the film is about and where it is going

3) Essential to both the cameraman and the director. It conveys to the cameraman a great deal about the mood, action and problems of the camera work
Also helps the director define the approach and the progress of the film, its inherent logic and continuity

4) Script helps crew answer a series of questions
-What is the appropriate budget for the film?
-How many locations are needed and how many days shooting?
-What lighting will be required?
-Will there be any special effects?
-Will archive material be needed?
-Are special cameras or lenses called for because of a particular scene?

5) Guides the Editor
As soon as you have an understanding of the subject, ASK YOURSELF:
Who are you going to show it to?
How will the project be cinematic?
How are you going to structure the film
What are you going to do?
What do you want to say?
How are you going to reach the audience?
What is the Target audience?
What is your own personal motivation to the subject?
Why is there a need for the film?
Why NOW?

THEN YOU’RE READY TO RESEARCH THE SUBJECT

As a researcher you must be an observer, analyst, student and note taker

1) PRINT RESEARCH
Learning to see and to distinguish the important fact from the obscuring detail
-Remember biased and self-serving points of view
-There lies, more lies and statistics in a lot of research

2) PHOTOGRAHS AND STOCK FOOTAGE

3) INTERVIEWS
-Talk to as many experts in the field as possible
-Get the best people — the most knowledgeable, most open

4) LOCATION RESEARCH
-Getting the feel of the actual place
-Try to suck up the subject, getting as close as possible

RESEARCH IS LIKE AN ICEBERG — SEVEN EIGHTHS OF IT IS BELOW THE SURFACE AND CAN’T BE SEEN

Make quick choice and select boundaries

“It’s sad that too many documentary filmmakers set out to make a documentary and not a movie.”
MICHAEL MOORE, director (Bowling for Columbine, Roger and Me)

DIRECTING THE DOCUMENTARY FILM

The job of the director is to find the pieces that will come together in the editing to make a complete film

AS A DIRECTOR YOU HAVE TO BE TOTALLY SURE OF WHERE YOU WANT TO GO AND HOW YOU ARE GOING TO GET THERE

Director has to have the ability to listen – Need to absorb and pay attention. In trying to understand the progress of story, there is no other way but to LISTEN

YOU NEED THE INTELLIGENCE TO SHOOT THE RIGHT THING
-If you are uncertain, consult the crew and listen to their opinions

-When something happens that is completely out of your hands (and something WILL happen) you need to make fast decisions in order TO SAVE THE FILM

THE DIRECTOR’S EYE

Please remember VISUALS
The sense of what is VISUALLY important

Let the cameraman know your thoughts and feelings

Have a good sense of freedom and composition
Seeing the best angle from which the story can be told

HUNTING FOR THE SYMBOLIC SHOT

DIRECTOR AND THE CAMERAMAN

Getting the Cameraman to understand and translate your vision to film as accurately as possible. Then adding their own creative skills to the project

TALK OVER WITH THE CAMERAMAN ON WHAT YOU PLAN TO DO WITH THE FILM

Most build the relationship of openness and trust — a relationship where each values and respects the other’s creativity and judgement

REMEMBER: A shot doesn’t stand by itself. It has to be edited into a sequence

DIRECTING THE INTERVIEW

You need to build confidence into the person being interviewed
-Make sure you get to know the person being interviewed
-You need to know your objectives and what you want to get out of the film session

Make the subject feel that he or she matters
You are concerned and involved in what they have to sayThat you care about their opinions

EMPATHY – The more the interviewer feels this, the better the interview

THREE BASIC SETUP POSSIBILITIES FOR THE INTERVIEW

1) The interviewee looks, or appears to look directly into the camera
ADDS A CERTAIN AUTHORITY, POLITICAL STANCE – I’M YOUR FRIEND

2) The camera catches the interviewee obliquely, so that he or she seems to be having a conversation with an unseen person off camera – left or right
MORE FORMAL AND FRIENDLY

3) The interviewee is seen on-camera with the interviewer so that we are quite clear who is the second person involved in the conversation
WHEN THE HOST IS THE STAR OR WHEN YOU EXPECT A CONFRONTATION

Ask yourself — How far do you want the viewer to be drawn into the film?

People perform most naturally when they are doing some sort of ACTION

DON’T BE OVERLY SENTIMENTAL OR EMOTIONAL

EDITING THE DOCUMENTARY FILM

The best EDITING is done with a FRESH EYE
The Editor sees only what’s on screen. Suggestion is to get someone else to edit your film. They are not as close to the footage as you are

During filming, you should have ORGANIZED what you have shot for the editor

When editing a documentary film, it’s just like editing a Narrative film. You have to make a STORY with the basic storytelling functions
The proper editing structure – CLIMAXES, PACE and RHYTHM

-Is there a smooth and effective opening?
-Is there a logical and emotionally effective development of ideas?
-Does the film have a growing sense of drama?-Is it focussed?
-Are the climaxes falling in the right place?-Is your ending effective?
-Is there a proper sense of conclusion?

CONTINUALLY ASK YOURSELF – Is the material really working where I have placed it?

Pay attention to the RHYTHM within the sequence?
Are the shots at the right length?
Do they flow and bend well?

NARRATION IN A DOCUMENTARY
Pictorial narration rhythm and flow should be the fist consideration and the words should be written to picture, rather than pictures adjusted to words

WRITING THE FINAL NARRATION
Can set up factual background of a film providing simple or complex information that does now arise easily or naturally from the casual conversation of the film participants

COMPLIMENT THE MOOD OF THE FILMPROVIDE FOCUS AND EMPHASIS

LETTING THE READER KNOW THE 5 W’S
WHO, WHERE, WHEN, WHAT, WHY
You draw attention to certain situations and present evidence about them. The Judgement must come from the viewer

The basic RULES OF NARRATION
1) Don’t describe what can clearly be seen and understood by most people
2) And then AMPLIFY and explain what the picture doesn’t show

CLEAR AND EXPRESSIVE

SIMPLE POWERFUL SENTENSES

DIRECTING ATTENTION – LETTING THE AUDIENCE SEE WHAT YOU WANT THEM TO SEE

Remember that people remember the visuals – not the narration – don’t be too wordy

LET THE PICTURES TELL THE STORY

“I never, ever want to apologize for a film. If it’s bad I’ll say it’s my fault. And that’s what I can say so far in all the films that I’ve done, that if you don’t like it, it’s entirely my fault.”
– KENS BURNS director (The Civil War, Baseball, Jazz)