Interview with Filmmaker Navid Tavakolnia (BEAUTIFUL)

Navid’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Navid Tavakolnia: The idea and message of the film itself was the biggest motivation for me to make this film happen.

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

From the idea to the finished product, it took about 4 months to make this short.

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

Reality isn’t Beautiful

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

Not having a budget and financial issues has always been the biggest obstacle for filmmakers but in the process of making Beautiful, I confronted with another obstacle which now seems fun to me. We planned everything to shoot in a school with the students in the classroom and a teacher. As we got close to the shooting day, the school canceled the promises and we had to find another location in couple days before the shoot with no students other than our character. So Literally, we asked all friends and families we knew that they have kids and asked if they were willing to have their kids to be in the film. Our kid character’s mom had a little teaching classroom and also she accepted to play the role of the teacher and all of a sudden we even had more students than we expected to have before! It was an amazing experience and I was really grateful to have all those people around me.

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

It feels wonderful to see the audience understand your message and they give their opinion about the piece you created. I feel really proud and I am really thankful to have all these opinions to make my next film better than this.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

At the beginning, the story was not supposed to be about war. It was just about a burned face kid and the blind guy and the “humanity”. After I talked to one of my friend’s who was in an army before and hearing his stories, also all the bad and sad news of the world, discrimination, war, refugees, etc. I taught that it would be a really good idea to relate the story to war and show that we are all victims, no matter what color or race we are. We are just people and war is an absolute loss for everybody except the warmongers!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Saving Private Ryan is the film I have seen the most.

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

Filmfreeway and its platform of submission make the path really easier for filmmakers to have their films seen in festivals and promoting them. It is a great opportunity with doors open to filmmakers.

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

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

What is next for you? A new film?

I am working on a new script and pretty soon I am planning to make my new short film with the help of the same amazing crew.

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Interview with Director Roman Rubert Bernat (REQUEMBARREN)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

REQUEMBARREN was awarded “BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY” at the festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Roman Rubert Bernat: The stories of JL Borges

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

8 months

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

Black atmosphere

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

The numerous natural decorations

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

I was pleasantly surprised

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

Filling the book Pedro Paramo

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Viridiana

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

Very happy

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

Marieta, of Tarrega

What is next for you? A new film?

A film based on the aphorism of Gustav Mahler ‘Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.’

REQUEMBARREN, 16min, Spain, Experimental
Directed by Roman Rubert Bernat Beatrice is a young woman who leaves home to look for Requembarren. After listening to the sad man, to the profaner, and to the incestuous man, she reflects on what happens to her on the journey.

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

Interview with Director Magali Barbe (Award Winning Film STRANGE BEASTS)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

STRANGE BEASTS was awarded “Best Film” at the Festival. 

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Magali Barbe: I’m a visual artist in a first place but what I really want is to tell stories. I was in a place where I was probably creatively frustrated, and I felt it was about time I’d write my own project. When I got this idea, I knew I’d need a bit of help, so I presented it to a few friends, then friends of friends, etc… I started to gather a crew. The fact people were getting involved, knowing there was no pay (it’s a self funded project), it meant a lot to me. I was feeling responsible to really make it happen, and to make the best short film I could.

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

One year. But I was working full time, as a VFX animator, at the same time as working on my short. So I was limited to evenings and week-ends. At some point, as I couldnt handle everything, I’ve quit my job and spent about 2 months full time on it.

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

It has to be three! Because it’s three acts/emotions: Excitement. Doubt. Melancholia.

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

As it was a self-funded project, it was really hard to be demanding when you know you can’t afford to pay people. The shoot was only a day and a half, but the post-production was a long run. And people have a life, and a job… I was feeling guilty, but I still had to chase people and keep the project going. Anyway, it all ended well, but I really hope I don’t have to experience this again!

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

I thought: There’s people talking about my short film, in a cinema room, so far away from here (I live in London) but it felt they’re really close. It was great.

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

Technologies is one of those things I like to read about, think about, talk about… There’s a mix of fear and fascination for it… That’s what I’ve tried to express in my short.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I usually don’t watch a movie twice, but I’ve probably watched Porco Rosso (Miyazaki) three or four times. I just love it. It’s funny, and poetic, and melancholic… And pretty unique I think.

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

I’m not sure, it’s the first time I use it. I find it pretty handy, overal.

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

‘Cries and whispers’, Li Jee Soo, from the Old Boy soundtrack.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes. I am currently developping another short, with a production company/studio called QUAD. I am also writing a feature out of ‘Srange Beasts’. The short film has been seen by the right people, and I now have representation (UTA), who got me to meet with lots of producers and studios (Hollywood and London). And those people are waiting for a good script, so… let’s write something good! 😉

 

STRANGE BEASTS, 5min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Magali Barbe‘Strange Beasts’ is an augmented reality game. It allows you to create and grow your own ‘pet’. How far can it go?

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

Interview with director Frank Aron Gårdsø (O)

Frank Aron Gårdsø’s short film O was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2016 Horror/Thriller Film Festival.

It was a pleasure to interview him about his film and what’s next:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Frank Aron Gårdsø: I wanted to see if I was capable of making a scary film in broad daylight that did not have any monster, killer, villain or beast to scare you.

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

FAG: I would say that the process moved rather fast. I think we were talking about it in the middle of summer, and we were out filming by the beginning of autumn of the same year. So from when we started to think about making the movie until we had a finish product it took us half a year or so.

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

FAG: Oh, only two Words… ? What can I say…. Mysterious and Ominous

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

FAG: There were a few obstacles along the way for sure. First of all I learnt that making a non budget movie is very expensive. There are always things that are needed that one did not think about. And then we had the weather. Since the whole film is shot outside, we had big challenges with the elements. One day it was perfect sun. And perfect sun is what I wanted for the movie, cause I wanted to make a scary movie in broad daylight. The next day it was foggy like crazy and then came the rain. At the end it was starting to snow..To top that up, we had to reshoot most of the film due to a lead character shaved off his hair. We had to replace him and find another actor to play his part and start all over. So enough obstacles for sure.

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

FAG: I am very happy to hear and see that there are audiences that actually like and enjoy something you make.

To see people talk about it after watching it, well thats just fantastic.

Interesting to see how the audience was trying to figure out why they end up in the hole. What the hole is? Why they get drawn to it?

It was interesting to hear that some saw the comedic elements of the story and the different references to other movies.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

FAG: It was more of a talk with another friend of mine who also works in the film industry. We just wanted to make something so we chatted over the phone for a while and it suddenly popped out of my head. Why don’t we make a film about some friends who find a black hole in the ground in the forrest. So we went from there.

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

FAG: I think I have to say it’s not only one. After giving it a little bit of thought I end up with 3 movies. And it’s kinda funny cause one of them is totally different from the other two. The first one is The Exorcist. I remember watching this for the first time sitting on my mother’s lap. Intense childhood for sure. Growing up watching exorcism on tv. Loved it. Second one is A Nightmare On Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors. I am laughing just thinking about it. Freddy is fantastic in that one. Talking about it now make me want to see it again. The last one is Grease. It has this amazing good vibe. Great music and great cast which is fantastic to watch.

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

FAG: I am currently working for Fremantle Media on a new groundbreaking TV gameshow as a game developer.

But I am also in the middle of the editing my new short film. This time it’s not in the horror genre. It’s more of a drama with some dark comedic elements. Hopefully I will have it finished by the end of this year.

o_movie_poster.jpg

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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 tohttp://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

FilmFreeway Founder Zachary Jones – 2 Year Anniversary Interview

FilmFreeway has taken the film industry by storm since this indy startup launched 2 years ago. It is now the #1 platform in the world for filmmakers to submit their films and screenplays to festivals, trumping Withoutabox, which is owned and operated by the billion $ corporation Amazon. It’s quite an achievement. And they have succeeded by doing the right thing, and with integrity.

filmfreewaylogoI recently sat down again with the founder of FilmFreeway, Zachary Jones:

Matthew Toffolo: Last time we spoke was a little over 16 months ago in late November 2014. You were then at 1200 festivals signed up. How many festivals do you now have signed up today? How many filmmakers/screenwriters?

Zachary Jones: Wow, that’s incredible to think that less than a year and a half ago we had just crossed the 1,000 mark. Now here we are just after our 2 year anniversary and we’re approaching 3,700 film festivals and 250,000 filmmakers! The support and reception from the indie film community has been incredible. We would have never guessed we’d reach an audience like this in 2 years. We’re tremendously grateful to our users and to the community for all the support.

MT: You just passed the 2 year anniversary of the site. What has been your biggest learning experience so far?

ZJ: We’ve learned a great deal about what users, both filmmakers and festivals, are looking for in a submission platform. Many of the best features we’ve added have been the results of the feedback and ideas that have been submitted to us by the community. It’s great to have direct lines of communication with our users so we can learn what new features they need and then get to work building them.

MT: What has been your proudest achievement in the last 2 years?

ZJ: There’s definitely been quite a few noteworthy milestones to celebrate along the way. Some of our proudest achievements include:

– Reaching 200,000+ filmmaker users
– Serving 30+ Academy Award accredited festivals
– Becoming the exclusive submission platform for HBO, The Student Oscars, and the LA Film Festival
– Surpassing Withoutabox in global web traffic and becoming the #1 submission platform in the world

MT: Where do you see the site in 5 years?

ZJ: Our team comes to work every day eager to continue building and improving what is already the best submission platform in the world. We are planning on rolling out a few new features that are entirely outside the current scope of our business that we think will really shake things up. I can’t say too much about that now, but we’ll be offering some free services that other organizations are currently charging an arm and a leg for. Remember how Withoutabox used to charge $3 a pop for online submissions and charge festivals 18% commissions? Well, that went away almost immediately once we introduced our fairly priced business model. We’re planning on doing that again with another aspect of indie film that we feel is currently greatly overpriced.

MT: What are the advantages and disadvantages (if any) of being a Canadian based company?

ZJ: I can’t think of a better place in which to live and do business. We have it all: a beautiful, clean city with four seasons, the friendliest people, the best seafood, amazing architecture, access to the sea and the mountains, a thriving film community. You name it. We’re all very happy here.

MT: You created this site because there was a monopoly occurring over at Withoutabox that controlled the film festival online market. No competition generally leads to stagnant production – which many argued occurred at Withoutabox. Now you seem to be passing them in every single way (online traffic, film festival signups etc..). Are you a bit shocked that they haven’t made their site more user friendly and steal some of your ideas? Do you believe that competition is important in business? Coke needs Pepsi? Nike needs Reebok? FilmFreeway needs Withoutabox (or a future site)?

ZJ: Actually, we have seen them make several changes to their site and business model in direct response to our arrival. For example, they changed their commission from 18% to match ours right down to the decimal at 8.5%. They also stopped charging filmmakers $3 for every online submission. When this happened we literally received hundreds of emails from filmmakers and festivals thanking us profusely and saying that they never thought they would see this day. To hear that kind of feedback was especially gratifying because we knew we had changed festival submissions for the better, as now both filmmakers and festivals were benefitting in the form of lower prices and fees across the board. For this reason, competition is always good. When filmmakers and festivals have a choice, they win. The days of a monopoly controlling every aspect of festival submissions and price gouging filmmakers and festivals at every turn are over. Actually Withoutabox still charges filmmakers an outrageous $400 for “upgraded projects,” which we offer for free. In fact, every aspect of FilmFreeway is entirely free for submitters. We’re very proud to be the only festival submission platform that is truly 100% free for submitters.

IMAGE: Current online stats between FilmFreeway vs Withoutabox:

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MT: Are you ever able to attend any of the film festivals that receive their submissions through your site?

ZJ: We did have a chance to attend Slamdance last year, which was amazing. What an amazing festival they put together, truly one of the gems of the festival circuit. We also got chance to meet a bunch of great filmmakers and watch some killer films, even do a little skiing and snowboarding in Park City. But overall, the last two and half years have been filled with a lot of late nights coding and designing. We’re hoping to have the time to begin traveling more and attending the many of the festivals that we serve. We’ve made a lot of great friends with festival organizers and owe them some visits to thank them for their support.

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

ZJ: Anything Star Trek. I’ve seen them all countless times.

MT: What person, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?

ZJ: Vint Cerf, one of the “Fathers of the Internet.” Legend.

MT: What was your favourite television show growing up?

ZJ: “The Simpsons,” hands down.

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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.