Interview with the Filmmaking Team of the Award Winning Short Film “HOTTER WITH THE WINDOWS OPEN”

Director Julie Haberstick. Writer John Houston. Winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the August 2018 Romance Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

John: I wanted to tell a story that wasn’t the usual romantic story but would somehow bind these two people together no matter how badly they needed to be torn apart. Or maybe vice versa. Also, this is Footprint Productions’ first film, so we wanted to showcase the talents of our team. We didn’t have a huge budget, so we were trying to make something compelling within the confines of our apartment.

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

John: I wrote the script pretty quickly, Julie and I did some re-writes and planning. We shot within a month or so, plus some reshoots. Then, because our budget was so small, we really relied on favors. So I think it took us the better part of two years to get the film finalized and ready to be seen by the world.

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

Heartbreaking Growth.

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

Julie: Halfway through filming the most emotional scene in the film, our production was shut down due to a location dispute. We had to pack up immediately, and we weren’t sure how to move forward. We chose to have an impromptu wrap party at a bar down the street (complete with karaoke), and picked up shooting a few months later. Thankfully, that pause allowed us to sink our teeth into the scene in a whole new way.

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

Julie: To see Hotter affect the audience, for the creative choices to elicit emotions in ways we intended—and even in ways we didn’t—is incredibly gratifying.

John: It felt good to hear people talking about the film, reacting to it. Sympathizing with our characters, enjoying the heightened language of love.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:


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

John: I started thinking about what sort of love is forbidden and impossible… truly impossible, when the two must remain in each other’s lives, tethered. I also wanted to love and hate both characters, to feel for them, root for and against them. I especially wanted to make the leading man appealing, flawed, heartbreaking, and heartbroken.

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

John: Remember the Titans. I think I could quote the whole thing pretty accurately.

Julie: I have to admit 10 Things I Hate About You is my guilty pleasure…

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

Submission platforms are really convenient. They could be a little more user-friendly, but I’m sure in time they will make it easier and easier for people to get their films seen.

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

John: I listened to a lot of Tina Turner as a kid. And the Beatles and Elvis. But the individual song? There were a few angsty years where a couple Coldplay songs or Johnny Cash were on repeat.

Julie: The Big Chill soundtrack, and California Dreamin’ by the Mamas and the Papas are my most listened-to albums. But “More Than a Feeling” by Boston is my number one song.

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

Footprint’s next film is almost ready for a festival run. Don’t forget the name Footprint Productions because we have some awesome things in the works.

hotter_with_the_windows_open

Advertisements

Interview with Writer/Actor Catherine Haun (MRS MURPHY’S CONFESSION)

MRS MURPHY’S CONFESSION was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the August 2018 Female Film Festival in Toronto.

http://www.mrsmurphysconfession.com
Facebook: @playfulshortfilm.com

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I became obsessed. That’s the best way to describe it. Totally off the
rails. I just thought I would die if I didn’t make this film.

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

Two years.

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

Awkward Journey

OMG I just thought of something so inappropriate! Painful discharge
is what popped into my head. Never mind… go with awkward journey.

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

My own ignorance of how to make a film—in particular the technical
aspects. Post production was an especially challenging time. Once
the excitement of production is over it’s a job to keep the
momentum going. From the producing point of view the challenge is
to figure out what the story needs, and then figure out who can help
you get it. You can always spend more money, but figuring out if you
really NEED something is important in a low-budget context. And in
my case I had to beg people to work for free or reduce their rates
dramatically. It’s not that easy to talk people into working for free
when you have no track record. I had a friend, Rebekah Wiggins,
who produced with me and was instrumental in pulling in many
people.

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

Awkwardness. I saw their indecision, and uncertainty about what to
say. I know there was a time frame, but I wanted to sit in the silence
for a minute to see what they would come up with. It was
suspenseful.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was taking a 6 week short-film screenwriting class with Ashley
Serrao. On the first night of the class I took home a spring-loaded
image. A spring-loaded image is meant to be something that
catapults a narrative. The one I took home was ‘vibrator in a church
pew.’ Then I had to figure out whose life would be changed by
finding a vibrator in a church pew…

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

Maybe this won’t surprise you, but I LOVE the movie version of
Doubt. I rarely see a film more than once because there are so many
I haven’t seen yet, but I love everything about that film. Story,
performances, directorial choices. I only have to think of Viola Davis
in that one scene and I’m a f…ing mess!

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

I like Film Freeway the best because it is easiest to use. I like the
way you can see your submissions on one page and keep track of
them.

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

I take ballet classes, and it would really have to be this one CD that
a lot of the teachers use. I don’t know the name of it, and it might
not be my favorite, but that’s definitely the music I have heard the
most. It’s what runs in my head when I’m trying to concentrate!

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

Yes. I have a first draft of a TV pilot that I wrote with my partner
Eleanor Smith, and there’s a feature-length film that I’m just starting
to work on. I would like to do a web series as well.

Interview with Filmmaker Catherine L. Allard (THE CORD)

THE CORD played to rave reviews at the August 2018 Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Catherine L. Allard: I had this short script written for a while and I wanted to improve technical settings and crew for my next long script. So I asked everyone if they would do this film first and they did!

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

I would precise that the script was already in place. I just rewrite some quotes, shoot and edit in 2 months.

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

Social Schizophrenia

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

To make believe that the 6 friends were real and the Man unreal or awkward.

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

I was pleased and impressed to see how easily they understood the idea. Also glad to see the young age of the crowd.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was talking with my partner about Schizophrenia and joking about what would be the most troubled situation and we made a link that social media and cellphones obsession become some kind of disease and social illusion, as schizophrenia can affect brain reality. It’s was a long process but I just tried to put it down in a critic and a suspense with a punch but not too serious!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Top 3

La belle verte, Coline Serreau

Starwars (original trilogy)

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

Great platform , very usefull and interactive.

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

I really have no idea, funny question though.

What is next for you? A new film?

Writing a long motion picture, 2 actually, trying to go in prod next year. working on different projects also.

 

 
the_cord.jpg
******

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 Randy Kerr (BROTHERS)

BROTHERS was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the August Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Randy Kerr: While my background has been in landscape / travel still photography, I’ve been shifting more into nature documentary film work since it touches on my love of music and story as well. Any time I can embed myself in a story with people pursuing their passion, I’m always eager to capture the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of what they do. As I got to know Tim Burke (narrator, co-producer), I suspected a compelling story might come from spending time with him.

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

Nine months, though we let it simmer at times for much of that.

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

Perseverance rewarded.

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

Beyond the technical hassle of shooting in wet windy conditions, the biggest obstacle creatively was abandoning my own preconceptions of shooting a sunny, beautiful, easy day of fishing on the river. Nature delivered us just the opposite conditions, and finally we realized the backdrop was the perfect metaphor for the brothers’ struggle and perseverance story in their lives.

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

Delighted and gratified our universal message of family bonds, perseverance through adversity, and passion for the wild and a sport came through. Flattered that the footage effectively communicated the beauty and awe we feel on the river to the audience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Tim Burke (narrator, co-producer) initially approached me to create some footage of him guiding his fishing clients, but as we became closer friends and he revealed more the backstory of what fishing has meant to him and his brothers, we realized we had a narrative possibility for a short film.

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

Lawrence of Arabia.

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

As a first-time festival-submitter, I can’t imagine doing it any other way than online through Filmfreeway. It has been quite a friction-free process of bulk-submitting to festivals I think would appreciate our film.

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

In a previous life I was a classical pianist, so it’d have to be Ballade #1 in G minor by Chopin.

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

A grizzly bear wildlife documentary in British Columbia, a thriller (narrative) shot I’m toying with, and who knows what other outdoor documentary I might bump into.

my_little_brother_3.jpg

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 Farman Abdalrahman Karim (ISIS WAS HERE)

 ISIS WAS HERE was the winner of BEST FILM at the August 2018 Documentary Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Farman Abdalrahman Karim: My motivation was focus the human rights and I wanted to document the ISIS crimes.

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

I needed about three months.

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

Tragedy is continuous.

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

The big challenges for me was threats from ISIS because ISIS in the beginning until now…..they want to kill me. Now I left my country.

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

This was a big for me. I feel that I’m on my way to became a global documentary filmmaker.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I visited the city and I saw they destroyed it. So I decided to document that story.

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

The Pianist and the documentary Fahrenheit 9/11.

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

Filmfreeway is easy, great and an amazing website to help filmmakers participate and find good festival for their films.

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

Bezhan Kamgar. He is a Kurdish signer.

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

My new project is documentary film about the Ezidy girls who were raped from ISIS.

 

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 Stuart Everitt (BURIED)

BURIED was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the European FEEDBACK Film Festival in June 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Stuart Everitt: As I was growing up my Dad introduced me to collecting. He’s a big collector of militaria. He was born right at the end of the World War Two and the beginning of his life would have been very influenced by its aftermath. By the time I was born thirty years later war felt like an exciting thing that once happened, due to the Hollywood films that glorified heroism and war. That generational perspective shift really interested me. Now of course we’re much more aware of the effects of war and the threat of conflict looms over us. The innocence of youth has gone.

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

I started writing in October and I submitted it the following October, so a year.

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

Unwelcome reminder

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

Casting Grandad. There are not a fantastic number of older male actors willing to work on budget films.

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

Really lovely to hear strangers views. Of course the film has been shown to cast and crew on a private screening, but it was great to hear what people made of the script and took from the film. There were some surprising comments.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I’ve had this idea knocking around in my head for a while, but I wrote it over a number of sessions over about five weeks.

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

Possibly Jaws.

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

It’s good. It simplifies the process, but it does illustrate to me just how many festivals there are. If I submitted to all the festivals I wanted to i’d be broke!

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

Foreigner – I Wanna Know What Love Is

buried.jpg

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 Jamie Shannon (THE LEGEND OF RASPUTIN)

THE LEGEND OF RASPUTIN was the winner of BEST FILM at the July 2018 Family FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jamie Shannon: I have always found Rasputin fascinating character, being the first tabloid character in History. Around the time i wrote this we had our own Rasputin … “Rob Ford” Who became infamous the world round. I think it is very interesting the way people make these people out to be bigger than life examples of there worst fears, or they become huge fans. I read a book about Rasputin where there was a sign on the door saying “no talking about Rasputin!” But of course they did, like we can’t stop talking about Trump at the moment or whoever captures our projections. It is an enigmatic quality, that sort of mix of disgust and fascination and amazement that captures people imagination in times of trouble, and mine!

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

It took quite a whole just because i had my whole career going on at the same time – so between 3-4 years.

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

persnickety enterprise

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

Post sound! i will always have a greater respect for the art of sound, it is truly the other half of film making. It is the secret part of the film where all of the feeling lies and all the oversights will be paid for!!

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

I feel so proud any time anyone laughs, so that was lovely to see and feel that.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I read just five of the dozens of books, watched two of the many films and ate Raspoutine while I wrote.

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

Fantastic Mr. Fox 🙂 2. Ghostbusters

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How was your experience?

It’s good. Sure is an expensive part one should budget for in the beginning. My producers suggestion was to pay $2000 for film festival submissions.

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

Couldn’t get bored of.

the_legend_of_rasputin_1
_____

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.