Interview with Filmmaker Kurtis Theorin (MARY & MARSHA IN THE MANOR OF MADNESS)

MARY & MARSHA IN THE MANOR OF MADNESS played to rave reviews at the May 2018 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.
 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kurtis Theorin: Kris, the animator/director, wanted to do a project where he could learn 2D animation. He had a final project due for one of his college classes so we figured that would be good deadline to motivate himself to go out and make something.

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

The idea phase went through many, many iterations before we got something we liked and was feasible. Kris then did most of the animation in a very busy week and a half period in order to meet his class deadline. After that we did some revisions which took another week.

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

Lovecraft Scooby-doo

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

Making sure everyone understood a somewhat complicated story in a short amount of time without dialogue took a lot of careful planning and creativity, but I think we finally go it.

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

“Oh, thank god they like it. I actually have some idea about how to make good films and am not a fraud.”

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

Kris and I both like the Lovecraft setting so that was a good genre to think about. There is a Lovecraft board game called Mansions of Madness where you play characters exploring a spooky mansion hiding a dark secret. This seemed like a good framework to start with. The premise of a character rescuing their girlfriend provided good motivation for the characters to propel the story forward. Finally, since we were doing 2d animation I thought it might be interesting having the film occur in a 2d sidescrolling perspective, similar to video games like Mario or Castlevania, while everything was running around and going haywire. This made the animation side of production similar and also gave the film a sense of ruckus and momentum that I really wanted.

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

As a kid I watched Return of the Jedi 100 times. Nowadays I have The Third Man memorized.

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

It is an incredibly convenient platform. In terms of platforms acting on what they set out to do, it is in the top ten.

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

According to my iTunes it is the main theme from the anime show Baccano! I’ve also probably heard Bohemian Rhapsody over 300 times.

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

We are in various stages of production on a couple of short films. We are also continuing our commercial business of making branded content on social media for toy companies like LEGO and Mattel.

 

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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.

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Interview with Filmmaker Kristin Gorell (THE FLOWER GATE)

THE FLOWER GATE played to rave reviews at the May 2018 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kristin Gorell: I set out originally to make a puppet play to participate in a local theater program for fun- but as I started the script, it turned into a short film rather quickly and I decided to just go ahead and make it instead. I also saw the making of this film as an opportunity for healing in action for several of the people involved in different ways. I actually didn’t think much about showing this film until I started editing and found I was making something I truly liked. It was a lovely surprise to make something for different reasons than creating a product and then to love the finished piece as if it had been approached in a more precious fashion. I wrote/shot with very personal, immediate, and intuitive goals and it turned into something that felt like a piece of living poetry to me. I am so delighted to be able to share it now.

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

It was shot in about a week on a trip to Israel, with one scene being directed over skype for an extra shooting when I started going through the previous footage. I started writing in February and finished the film entirely by the end of September that same year. It took me some time to find the right editor- a couple of months in the middle were mostly lost to that- but once I found Antonio, everything clicked.

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

inside outside

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

Living in a different country than my location and having no real budget, working with limited borrowed equipment on a tight time frame, all of this was challenging. Additionally, shooting a film about the realities of a failing relationship with your recent ex has its own challenges.

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

It was overwhelming in the best of ways to feel the moderator’s genuine affection for the film as well as the audience member who bravely spoke so eloquently as well. I felt a real mix of astonishment and contentment to reach the audience in a way they could personally relate with while also engendering a layered process of intellectual engagement.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

The idea for this story came while I was reading the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen. I stopped midway and started wondering what it might be like if told today from the eyes of a similarly isolated female character. By the time I finished reading the original, images from scenes and and dialogue were starting to arise. I began rough work on the script that night.

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

I haven’t counted but it would be between these perhaps… Groundhog Day, Ran, Rear Window. I also love films from the early days of cinema.

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

It’s easy to use and overall a good experience working with that platform. There could be some improvements made on the information available to film makers about the different festivals and better ways to search festivals that might be a good fit for your work.

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

Really hard to say… probably something that tracks back to my childhood like – Here Comes The Sun (Beatles). I’ve loved that song since I was a wee lass.

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

Definitely more films. I’m also working on drawings/paintings, a stage play, and a novel.

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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 Filmmaker Sarah Gampel (THE BUS TRIP)

THE BUS TRIP was the WINNER of BEST ANIMATION at the May 2018 ANIMATION FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sarah Gampel: My motivation for making this film came after a trip I did in Israel and Palestine during the spring 2014. I went there to take part in a Film Festival Bus trip with international film students traveling around Israel showing short films. When I came home to Sweden I was overwhelmed by the experience and the emotions I felt during that trip, so I decided to make a film about it.

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

It took me about 1 and a half year to finish the film. It started out as my graduation project from film school. We had one year to make a short. But I needed 6 more months and so I was lucky to find funding to be able to finish the film, after I’ve graduated.

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

Layered experience

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

The biggest obstacle or challenge during the making the film was writing the script and finding a way to combine both political opinions and personal feelings in a comprehensive way.

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

This is one of the best feedback session I’ve ever had. People were being honest and sharing their thoughts unconstrained. It’s not too common that people share their honest opinion, and especially not when there is some sort of critic involved. And as a filmmaker it can be difficult to hear negative comments about ones film, it puts me as a filmmaker in a defensive position. But the critic I got to hear here made me feel the opposite. I could tell that the audience had really watched my film carefully and given it a lot of thought before they spoke, I could hear it in the way they talked about it. So even if some of them were criticizing parts of my film I can understand what they mean and almost agree with them. It also makes me proud and happy that my film is seen seriously and good enough to get criticized.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

When I came home from my trip in Israel and Palestine I wrote a travel diary, depicting what I’ve experienced during the days. The text was mostly informative and only describing my activities day by day and my political opinions about Israel and Palestine. So when I’ve written the text I felt like I still had a lot of emotions from the trip that I wanted to share, and this became the starting point for the film.

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

I usually don’t re-watch films, but I just re-watched The Never Ending Story from 1984. Think it’s amazing how relevant it still feels and that the film feels scarier the older I get.

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

It’s a great and user friendly platform. Specially the feedback section where filmmakers get to review the film festivals according to how they treat their filmmakers. This helps a lot when you decide which festivals are worth the submission fee.

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

That’s a difficult question. I listen to a lot of different kinds of music and it’s a big inspiration for my filmmaking. But I remember when The Sky Was Pink by Nathan Fake in the James Holden remix-version came out and me and my friends would listen to it at least once or twice a night, either at a party or after hours. I can never get tired of this tune.

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

Two things: First of all my film ‘The Bus Trip’ just got on the streaming platform Seed&Spark. So now everyone who hasn’t seen it yet can stream it through either their website, ROKU och APPLE TV.

Here’s the link: https://www.seedandspark.com/watch/the-bus-trip

I’ve also started working on my next animation short film project. This time it’s going to be a sci-fi saga for kids.

the_bus_trip
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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 Filmmaker Andy Hourahine (BREAK ROOM)

BREAK ROOM was the winner of BEST FILM at the May 2018 ACTION/THRILLER FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

What motivated you to make this film?

I love fight films, strong female protagonists, and fantasize about a world where people might actually have to back up their opinions with physicality in general so it was an easy decision to make the film.

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

We went through a few drafts of writing, then casting, rehearsal, shooting, and post. The actual shoot was over two, break neck days, but probably four months of work in total.

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

Chick fight

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

Trying to complete an enjoyable short with a VERY limited budget. Cast and crew were all volunteers.

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

Twofold. A film fan, I think the idea of the audience being able to participate is great. In fact, debating films is one of the joys of movie-going. On the other hand, as a filmmaker, you learn to consider the source and be very selective on what criticisms to listen to. Otherwise, you’d never put anything out there ☺. All in all, I thought the curator very intelligent and understood the film well.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

The initial idea came from a real life experience where during a martial arts training session, two of the participants showed up injured. Both happened to be teachers and the light bulb went off in my head.

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

I’m actually not a fan of watching a movie too many times. I like to enjoy the initial feelings I get from the early experience and hold onto those. If a movie inspires me, I’ll then break it down scene by scene to learn. If I HAD to choose, I’ve probably watch Jesus Christ Superstar the most since childhood.

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

Our producer actually took care of festival submissions and I’ve only heard good things!

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

Depends on my mood, I’m a pretty wired individual so I like mellow music during my downtime. Again, if I have to say what’s been on repeat most lately during my working hours is House of the Rising Sun remake by Five Finger Death Punch.

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

We are currently finishing a feature length documentary so the narrative work is on hold. However, we have three fight films roughed out and awaiting attention ☺

break_room.jpg
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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 Filmmaker James Miller (PREY)

 PREY played to great reviews at the May 2018 Action/Crime/Thriller FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

 1. What motivated you to make this film?

The motivation for this film was mostly based on us not having made anything that was truly ours in a long while! We had spent a lot of time creating music videos and commercial projects for clients and just felt like we had an itch that needed to be scratched.

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

A long time… Well a lot longer than planned!, The initial idea came to me in 2015 which also happened to be the same year I turned 30 and the same year I got married. Both these events along with a huge new client prevented us from actually going out and making the film. So nearly a whole year after coming up with the idea we finally got to go out and shoot something!.

But after filming the bulk of the film we realised the story wasn’t working and this prompted us to shoot a lot more footage to fill in the gaps which did affect continuity, in particular the changing shape of the wrapped up baby.
Filming actually wrapped around the beginning of 2017 but we didn’t finish working on the film in its current form until just recently with its conversion to 4k and new grade.

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

Intense and claustrophobic

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

Time! And lack of it, with only 2 of us doing the bulk of the work on the film barring the music and Foley it was an uphill struggle to find time to just sit down and work on the movie especially when you throw in the fact that we both have full time work commitments and families and of course friends social engagements etc.

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

Mostly intrigue, it was fascinating to hear other people’s honest opinions about something we’ve effectively been working on in isolation, not many people have seen this film at all so for us to get feedback at this stage it’s actually very helpful.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

The idea and concept itself came to me while I was on a flight home from a short holiday in ROME. I had wanted to create a ‘chase’ type film for a while and originally the protagonist was actually a werewolf.

After some basic research into different mythological creatures we stumbled across the Tik Tik or Aswang, which is essentially a Filipino folklore usually possessing a combination of the traits of either a vampire, a ghoul, a warlock/witch.

These traits worked perfectly for our film and it meant we weren’t treading the usual vampire route like many other people.

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

I want to say the 1989 Batman movie but it’s most likely Star Wars.

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

I think it’s pretty good it’s nice to get at least a little something for entering like the feedback etc that you guys have provided as it makes parting with your money a little easier.

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

Eminem – Loose Yourself

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

We have a few projects up and running mainly music video based, as well as our daily 9-5 projects which are for a major car company.

Film wise we have a lot of project ideas and hopefully we get to start one of them this summer called ‘Terminal’ which is just a working title, it’s much more sci-fi than horror/thriller and is something we can’t wait to start.

prey_1.jpg

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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 Animator/Filmmaker Brian Giovanni (WHEN COMES THE RAIN)

 WHEN COMES THE RAIN played to rave reviews at the May 2018 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Brian Giovanni: I was taking an online animation class taught by Bill Plympton. The assignment was to produce a short film throughout the class, and this is the film I had created. As for motivational factors, getting the film made and completed in time for the class deadlines was certainly a factor, but the larger appeal was simply having the chance to work with Bill and getting his creative input and guidance along the way. I’ve been a huge fan and admirer of his work for years, so the opportunity to do this project and see it through to completion was especially exciting.

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

The class itself was 2 months, and then I spent another month fine tuning some extra details to get it festival-ready.. So in total 3 months.

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

‘Misplaced Ambition’ seems appropriate.

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

For my animation projects, I typically do most, if not all of the work on my own. In this particular film, I did it all (story, animatics, full animation, music, editing, sound, VFX, etc..). Being a one-man-show has its challenges, and it’s certainly time-consuming, since you’re carrying all of that workload by yourself. But at the end of the day, it does have its advantages. Being responsible for every aspect of what the audience is seeing and hearing on screen – it can be quite empowering as well.

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

It was fun seeing the various impressions people received, and the artistic details that resonated with them. You never know how someone might interpret your work, and allowing others to see it in their own way and share that impression back with you can be quite insightful. Also, getting out of ‘isolated creation mode’ and into the world of actually sharing it with other people is always a welcome treat.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

One of my on-going animation outlets is submitting to LoopdeLoop – an Australian-based animation collective that hosts bi-monthly festivals of looping animations / GIFs, set to a given theme. They have screening cities all over the world (even here in LA!) and the loops can range from a few seconds to a few minutes, from narrative to experimental. One such theme a few years back was ‘Ritual’ and I immediately had this idea of birds doing a ritualistic rain dance to fill a birdbath. Later on, the idea became too extensive to complete in time, so I tabled it, and went with another idea instead. Then when the class with Bill Plympton came about, I brought it back, and it became the perfect fit for this assignment.

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

Probably a two-way tie between Tim Burton’s ‘Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’ and Warren Beatty’s ‘Dick Tracy’ – two childhood staples that I watched endlessly in my youth. Today, I could probably still watch them over and over…

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

It’s great! The process is incredibly streamlined to not only submit your film to a wide collection of festivals at one time, but it also helps in the overall research process. Looking for the right kind of festivals for one particular film can be fairly time consuming. Their platform makes it easy to find the right kind of setting or audience that you’re looking for.

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

Probably ‘Mack the Knife’ by Bobby Darin. It’s become my go-to song for karaoke!

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

Yes, there’s always a new film on the horizon! Giving ‘When Comes the Rain’ a pretty decent festival run seems to be turning into its own full-time job these days, but I have three other short films in various stages of production at the moment. Never short on things to do!

 when_comes_the_rain

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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.