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 director Urs Kälin (FAREWELL)

Urs Kälin’s comedy “FAREWELL” played to rave reviews at the May 2017 European Film Festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Urs Kälin: I created the script to this film in a workshop. In my head were ideas about a road movie with dark humor. After I finished the script it wasn’t easy to find the right persons for directing and producing this idea. After a while I couldn’t wait longer for the right persons so I decided to produce the film by myself and tried to do what I learned on a set as an actor.

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

I created the script to this film in a workshop. In my head were ideas about a road movie with dark humor. After I finished the script it wasn’t easy to find the right persons for directing and producing this idea. After a while I couldn’t wait longer for the right persons so I decided to produce the film by myself and tried to do what I learned on a set as an actor.

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

I think it took almost three years from the idea in the workshop till the premiere in the cinema. It was a very long time but I learned a lot. For example, I didn’t edit any film
before. So, I had to learn to edit my film by myself and there were many try and errors.

Sometimes I’m still thinking I should have done it like this or this if I watch the film but at one point you have to finish it.

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

Dark humor

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

The work next to the set especially for the pre- and post production. I had to learn all these things like find the right locations or editing and if you don’t know the editing program for example it is hard to find the right way. It was also difficult to find the right way for this project. There are so many ways to complete a film.

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

I was very nervous to see the feedback video. I couldn’t imagen how the audience will react. But if I was watching it, it made me very happy!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the short film:

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

I was thinking about a film that is like a road movie with a dark side. I had several ideas when I wrote the script. At the end, I was trying to create dark humor with a sensitive
touch.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think I like drama and comedy or tragicomedy.

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

This is a difficult question. I think it has changed during my life and I listen so many different kind of music. I think it is Rock and Hard Rock and some 80’s pop.

What is next for you? A new film?

Right now, I’m on the pre production of a new short film. I try to find some sponsors for a new idea. This film would be more social critic. I would try to animate the audience to think about culture and what did it to them or not.

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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 director Sébastien Petretti (STATE OF EMERGENCY MOTHERF***ER!)

Sébastien Petretti’s short film “STATE OF EMERGENCY MOTHERF***ER!” was awarded “Best Overall Performances” at the May 2017 EUROPEAN Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sebastien Petretti:

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

« State of emergency motherfucker! » is born during the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Paris and Brussels.

Everything gets out of control.

I can’t complain, I’m on the good side of things with my « angel » face. But I’ve to admit I find it difficult to stay put and do nothing as I see minorities being stigmatized (in the best all cases.)

All this led to this comedy.

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

Around 6 months

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

3 words : DURUM & SEX & COPS

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

Finding Police cars and uniforms to rent.

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

We really enjoy it ! Thanks a lot. It’s very interesting to see people talking about your film without being there. They can be honest without being scared to say something wrong in front of the director 😉

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the short film:

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

The Paris & Brussels terrorist attacks.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

The Big Blue from Luc Besson.

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

Bohemian Rhapsody from Queen

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently finishing my last short film called « Make Aliens Dance » . A 25 min drama happening in UK.

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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 director Eugenio Villani (OTHERS LIKE YOU)

Eugenio’s short film “OTHERS LIKE YOU” was awarded “Best Cinematography” at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Eugenio Villani: After our first short film “Haselwurm” we took a break because of several businnes issues. Then we felt the urge to write a new story. We love horror movies and every kind of queer and odd story.

Through this years we saw a lot of films expecially from Europe. We wrote a screenplay wich is not fully into the horror genre but is more in tune with an European concept of film ( Fabrice Du weltz and Ben Wheatley jus to to name a couple of example)

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

We worked very hard on the screenplay.It took us six months for the script and about three months for the pre production.

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

A weird shriek.

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

The biggest issue was to find the actress who fit the role of the evil doctor. The location also was a big deal because we needed a very special place to set the women in the cabe scene.

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

We really love when the audience comes up with a lot of questions because we think that movies are built for that. We would have liked to be there to answer all the questions: especially the cat one.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO from the April 2017 Film Festival:

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

We started from an imagine I had in my mind. A woman who finds an umbilical cord. Everything started from that.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

My favourite is The Locatarie by Roman Polanski

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

Bohemian Rapsody (Eugenio)
Dammi una lametta (Raffaele)

What is next for you? A new film?

We are working on a script inspired by The white People, a novel by Arthur Machen.

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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 director Oliver Park (STILL)

Oliver Park’s short film STILL was the winner of “Best Film” at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller Festival. It was a joy to chat with him about the film and his future:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Oliver Park: I had a dream that inspired the feature idea for STILL and wanted to make a short to raise awareness for it.

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

It took about nine months as I had to spend time working on a crowdfunding campaign for it before filming. After we had the money, we moved very quickly as we had festival deadlines to hit.

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

Sweet dreams.

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

The biggest obstacle with many short horrors is shooting at night. When you’re using a friends house as a location and the sun starts to come up, you’re out of time. We were lucky enough to be able to go back to pick up the shots we were unable to get but t’s never easy when you’re against massive time constraints.

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

Joy! I was so happy that people liked it. You make horror to scare you and just hope it will scare others. I was glad that small things were picked up on like “finish your wine” for example. I agree with the fact that one probably wouldn’t have a shower under those circumstances and I don’t think it’s an excuse that ‘it’s a horror so it’s fine’. If I could go back, I would have put more effort into giving her a reason to get into the shower (she gets dirty from the greasy boiler suit, for example).

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO from the April 2017 Film Festival:

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

I had a dream about a masked figure arriving at my front door…

What film that you’ve watched in the last 5 years has inspired you the most?

There are FAR too many! Great modern horror is hard to find but I am a huge fan of the recent ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’.

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

I love to listen to film soundtracks and classical. Anything by Glass, Newman, Zimmer or Einaudi works and I adore Chris Young (composer of Sinister).

What is next for you? A new film?

There are many things going on right now, mainly feature development, so I certainly plan to make many many more films very soon and rest assured, I will stay in horror for now!

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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 director Sofia Vyshnevetska (CONFESSION)

Sofia Vyshnevetska’s short film CONFESSION was the winner of “Best Cinematography” at the Los Angeles April 2017 Female Film Festival. It was an honor chatting with the talented director who is on the rise.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sofia Vyshnevetska: Throughout the world more than 2,000 children are reported missing each day. Unfortunately, one of the reasons why it happens is because there is a lack of vigilance. This can cost parents the life of their child. Promoting this topic through media will help to reduce the quantity of missing children as a reminder to be aware of their child’s surroundings. This is what has motivated me to make this film, to promote awareness.

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

This film was a class project and it took one month from writing a story to locking it onto a screen in post production.

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

Everything pays-off.

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

The lead prop in the film was the biggest obstacle. The doll was supposed to be created by an artist from Chicago, but two weeks before our shoot, the artist got injured so I had to order a new doll with a Ukrainian artist. It was a risk that the prop might not be done on time, or would arrive on time, since it was being shipped internationally. Any delay with flight delivery would have definitely affected this film. Since it was a school project we weren’t allowed to move our shooting days. The doll arrived one and a half days before the day of shooting its scenes.

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

Similarly in film school, I accept constructive criticism or feedback. However, the difference is that at the film festival the film is already completed and you can’t change anything to improve story using the helpful information from what audience says. But I listened to the feedback at the festival and took it in as a lesson for my future projects. I was very excited to hear all thoughts from people at the festival!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

My personal connection to the topic inspired me to write this story.

In my native country, Ukraine, during the 1990’s, many children were kidnapped and their organs were sold.

When I was 7 years old I was sitting at my ballet school after my class was done and was waiting for my mother to take me home. My teacher didn’t want to wait much longer, and since I remembered how to get home, she sent me on my way.

I felt so much pride and independence walking home by myself. I chose a short solitary way. The path was laid through bushes and abandoned buildings.

In one moment from behind I heard a car engine sound, that was following me as I was walking. I heard it stop and a woman talked to me. She came out from the car and suggested to look at the doll that was inside. Her driver was watching through the window with readiness to drive in any moment. I kept walking, as my mother always was strict about talking with strangers. When her walk became much faster than mine, I started to run. She screamed something on Gipsy to the driver and ran after me. I don’t remember what I was feeling in that short moment, but clearly my thoughts were about the possibility of never seeing my mother again.

Two women from afar rescued me when they saw what was happening. They ran towards me. Their loud scream stopped the Gipsy woman and she rushed back to the car.

My life-savers called the police and by our descriptions that couple was under the criminal investigation department from another part of Ukraine for kidnapping children and selling their organs.

The reason why my mother did not come for me was because she was hospitalized that day. And that day is still the worst day for her as she could have lost her daughter.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a hard question to answer. I really love and have re-watched Martin Scorsese’s films many times. However, one film that has really affected me was the recent science fiction film “I am Legend.” Although it’s a lot different from the Scorsese films, I loved the script as well as the technical parts of the film. Every time I watch it, I discover new things and always enjoy it.

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

About three years ago I was writing a feature script called “Silence”. It’s about the German invasion of Ukrainian villages in 1942 during World War II. In the script, a young German soldier is sent to search the houses and look for anyone hidden there. He finds a piano in one of the houses and starts to play. As he plays Beethoven’s “Silence” on the old out of tune piano, a little Jewish girl is hiding in the lower deck of the instrument. I listened to this composition over and over as I wrote the script and the song has become a very special part of my life. It means a lot to me.

What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently working on a documentary about the legal and illegal cat and dog meat industry. The film will address the cruelty and violence as well as the political aspects that affect Russia,Taiwan, China and even America. In addition, the film will cover the serious health concerns, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, the kidnapping of animals and interviews with those for and against the practice.

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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 director Ian Schiller (KONG’S)

Ian Schiller’s short film KONG’S played to rave reviews at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller Film Festival. It was an honor catching up with the very talented filmmaker.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ian Schiller: I work in film but mostly documentary sports and commercials. I want to broaden my story telling ability. Kong’s, the market you see in the film is a block from my house. I had been thinking about a short film for a while and the story sort of presented itself walking into Kong’s one day for some beer. I guess the motivation in summary was to challenge myself to develop a short soup to nuts.

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

Script started maybe mid February 2016
Script finalized in April of 2016
Shot May 2016
Post completed August 2016

About Six months.

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

Very intense

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

My own self doubt. And an actor who I had to fire for showing up a day prior to filming drunk.

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

Initial reactions to the feedback – I like how the audience fills in some of the backstory. The criticism is great as well. The last comment, doesn’t feel like an independent film but something larger is what I was going for. So, overall, I’m happy and grateful for the comments.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the short film: 

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

We set a world/box to play in. I wanted to lead the audience with breadcrumbs. Kong’s per my mention above is close to my house. The art direction was already there for a seedy noir-ish story. The idea sort of presented itself.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Big Trouble in Little China

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

Something either by the Horrors, The Kills, or the Eagles of Death Metal

What is next for you? A new film?

After financially recovering from Kong’s, I’d like to pursue either a feature length script idea of mine or a television show. More soon hopefully.

Thanks everyone coming out to watch the films and comment. Much
appreciation

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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.