Interview with Filmmaker Lia Williamson (DAUGHTER)

DAUGHTER was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the April 2018 Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lia Williamson: Daughter was made for my mom. I know that she would do anything for me, no matter what the circumstances. So the film is a little bit of a thank you, and recognition to her.

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

In the end, It really only took a few months to get this film made. I had a great crew, and everyone worked very hard to make my vision come alive quickly.

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

I had faced a casting obstacle the morning of our first shoot day. My lead actress had pulled out so I scrambled to find a replacement that day, and thank god I did.

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

I was so happy to see people other than friends, or family watching my film and commenting on it! I was so pleased to hear that even though some people didn’t interpret the film the way I had originally intended…the emotion was still there, and even though it might be a little bit unclear who the character’s were, the audience still felt something, and that’s what matters to me.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

Well I always want to make films that make audience’s feel something, as I said in my last answer. And I also knew that this film would be for my mom. I just finished a film that focused on the love between a brother and sister- that film is an ode to my siblings, and one day I’ll make one for my dad.

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

Probably Moulin Rouge, Step Brothers, and Hot Rod. Hahaha

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

I love the submission platform. It makes it easy for young aspiring filmmakers like me to have their films viewed, and talked about. That’s what any filmmaker wants. The notoriety is nice too, but a discussion about your film feels even more validating.

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

Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey

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

I just finished post production on my second film “Rosie”. And will hopefully shoot another one this fall!

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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 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.

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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 Christian Arnold (CHRICKE)

CHRICKE was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the April 2018 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival in April 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Christian Arnold: I was cut off by my father because of my sexual orientation. And the phone call in the film is the actual last phone call between me and my biological father. Being cut off is something that I’ve felt ashamed about my whole life, and felt responsible for. And I always wondered why he isn’t able to love his kid like every other parents naturally do. And I’ve come to a place in my life where I’ve realized that the problem doesn’t lie with me, and therefore I’m not ashamed anymore. So making this film is a way of owning my own situation, taking pride in who I am, making something beautiful out of something ugly and hopefully to inspire other to live their true life.

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

I wrote, shot and edited the film in a weekend. Then I kind of hit a wall. Making this film was a really therapeutic process, since it is so personal. And this was the first time I ever delt with my experience of being abandonned. So I paused from the film for a couple of months to gather focus and strength again and finalized it with sound and final touches. So physical work, not so long. Mental work, a lot longer.

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

Honest. Bare.

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

Processing my own experience. Daring to be totally honest. And then to show my film that is so personal, and being prepared to get response on something so personal.

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

I actually cried. I was the first time I saw a reaction from someone who is not personally connected or related to me. And it was quite overwhelming that people who don’t know me understands my film and my vision. And gets invested in my story.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I had this phone call with my father, that became our last one. And I felt that I wanted to do something with it, turn my shame into pride. One day I visited an art installation in Stockholm that had this “all white”-room. EVERYTHING was painted white. That resonated with me and how I felt throughout the years of trying to please my father. Washing out and cover up everything that I am, to suit his image of who he wants me to be. I talked to the owner, went home and called my DOP. The next day I was back and shooting my film.

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

Probably the “Breakfast Club”. I saw that once a day almost, growing up.

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 efficient and easy. I never stumbled upon any problems with the platform!

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

A legit guess would be “Dancing On My Own – Robyn”

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

I’m working on a new film, it’s being edited. I’m also involved in a tv-series project as an actor. And hopefully I’m going back to Stockholm University of Dramatic Arts to complete my mastes degree in ”Screen acting”

 

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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 Julia Campanelli (116)

 116 played to rave reviews at the February 2018 ROMANCE FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto on Valentine’s Day.
 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Julia Campanelli: I made my film, “116”, because of the dearth of interesting roles on screen for women over the age of 45 years. As an actress, generally the roles available to me are “grannie” roles. “116’ is not your grannie film. It features a powerful, sexually vibrant woman in a complicated relationship with a younger man. I see the reverse of this dynamic, an older man and a younger woman, all the time in film, the male gaze. As a filmmaker I am doing my part to change the narrative and represent complex female protagonists and intersectionality in my productions.

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

A very long time for a very short film! The process took two years due to circumstances beyond anyone’s control. After we established our location and shot a day of footage, in a boutique luxury hotel in midtown Manhattan, the hotel closed suddenly and indefinitely. It took a year to try and schedule more time in the hotel (NYC hotels operate at 98% capacity on any given day), but in the interim I lost my lead actor due to scheduling conflicts. It then took much longer to re-cast the role, as I was trying to match physical type to the original actor, so that I could use some of the original footage I shot (shots of the actor from behind, not revealing his face). It was quite challenging, but I ended up with a fantastic actor for completion.

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

Power struggle is primary, and role play is backstory.

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

For indie filmmakers, budget is always a huge obstacle. And as a first-time filmmaker losing my location was heart-stopping experience! It was so unexpected, like an act of god. There was no way to foresee it.

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

What a wonderfully engaged and astute audience! I’m so sorry I couldn’t be there for the Q&A. I intentionally left the film’s ending ambiguous. I feel on the subject of intimate relationships, people bring their own experiences, prejudices and judgements when viewing it on screen. It was my intention to make the audience voyeurs into this couple’s relationship. If I made the audience a little uncomfortable or a little unsure, then I feel I succeeded in raising the question of perceptions and role reversals. If I made the audience question their own perceptions, I did my job.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

This piece was originally intended to be an immersive theatre piece. I also have a theatre company, Shelter Theatre Group, in NYC. I was approached by a producer and asked to choose a Shakespeare sonnet and a location to mount it. I immediately wanted to use 116, as it’s my favorite sonnet. I also knew right away it had to be placed in an hotel room. Hotel rooms fascinate me. They give the appearance of privacy, that hotel guests adopt readily, which is a type of role play, when in fact, hotel rooms have very little privacy. Housekeepers, bell hops, waiters, and the couple in the next room are all very present, yet a guest will ignore them for a false sense of privacy.

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

The Wizard of Oz. Complex female protagonist.

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

I think FilmFreeway is great, very user–friendly and very convenient.

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

I listen to such a variety of music, I can’t say there’s one song I listen to the most. I listen to movie soundtracks a lot. Sophia Coppola’s film soundtracks are a favorite. The music in her film is like an additional character.

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

I’m currently developing a feature, an historical drama, about a witch hunt in the 17th century. My source materials are transcripts from the trial, clergy sermons, and eye witness accounts of the bewitching, the trial, and the executions. The film has an innate horror aspect to it, given the subject matter, and will feature a female-centric cast. I plan to use a female-majority crew as well through my film production company Shelter Film NY.
 

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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 directors Natalie Neagle & Sally Samad (TOO SOON?)

TOO SOON? played to rave reviews at the January 2018 COMEDY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?/ 6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Natalie Neagle & Sally Samad: We’re big fans of satirical comedy and after discussing various ridiculous predicaments, the idea of political correctness in this situation felt worth exploring from a comic perspective.

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

It took very little time to write the script itself. Filming took a couple of hours, but editing took longer as we wanted to make sure the timing was right, and we had to email the cameraman back and forth regarding the frames we wanted to use and the cuts we wanted made. We also needed to schedule times which worked for both of us individually and the cameraman, so it it took about 6 weeks.

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

Imperialistic satire.

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

The cameraman’s availability and the editing process being via email.

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

We were really grateful to be included in the line-up and delighted that the feedback was so generous. We were really pleased that the audience seemed very much to interpret the film from the perspective from which it was written.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Sally’s answer: The Little Mermaid, because I was obsessed with is as a child and apparently watched it every day for about a year. Bet my parents LOVED that.

Natalie is unable to answer because she is too busy laughing at Sally’s answer to be able to respond.

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

We released our first filmed sketch at the end of 2016, so we felt pretty spoilt to be able to instantly use this platform. It’s a fast and easy way to enter international film festivals and we only have positive feedback for, and experiences with, FilmFreeway.

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

Sally’s answer: Don’t Play That Song by Aretha Franklin, because firstly she is the queen, and secondly, I needed to learn it so it was on constant autoplay in my house.

Natalie’s answer: Any song that isn’t, Don’t Play That Song after hearing it on constant autoplay…

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

We have 4/5 sketches which we will be filming over the next 6 months, and then the plan is to focus on developing a sitcom pilot.

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Interview with Filmmaker Tamara Hansen (TWO)

Tamara’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival. “TWO” was the winner of BEST Musical Score at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Tamara Hansen: I was inspired by a friendship of mine.

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

From the minute I made the moodboard to shooting it – two weeks.

The editing process took another 2-3 weeks, so in total I would say 5 weeks.

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

Love & Hate

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

The Editing process. To describe the editor what I want and to figure out for myself how I want the film to be edited. Fortunately, I got help from my dad and my boss – I’m very grateful for that.

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

I thought: this is so cool! It’s an amazing idea and I appreciate all the effort and hard work to make this happen!!

I love hearing so many different reactions and opinions – it made my day 🙂

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Moods I liked, Pictures I saw, experiences I had. Basically: Inspiration combined with Imagination.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Pulp Fiction. I LOVE that movie.

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

I think FilmFreeway is great! It makes it so easy to submit and makes your submissions organized.

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

I guess „Sounds of Silence”.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes, a new experimental film- shooting november 18th.