Interview with Filmmaker Liz Lachman (PIN-UP)

PIN-UP played at the October 2018 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival to rave reviews.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Liz Lachman: This film was motivated by my own experiences and artist friends experiences of feeling never good enough and emotionally “empty,” always searching for perfection in our work, ourselves, everything outside of ourselves. On closer examination I realized that the feeling of being loved was actually the thing we were all in search of.

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

The short was actually taken from my feature film script- so not including the writing of that, I would say from writing to final mix was probably a year.

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

Psychological, haunting

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

The biggest obstacle was not enough money to shoot for more days. We had to cram probably too much into the 4 days we could afford and that meant some artistry suffered. We couldn’t take the time to set up the shots we had planned so all of a sudden lots more handheld camera… stuff like that. It still works, but I would have liked to see what we actually had planned to shoot!

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

Initially, when the MC asked what people thought about my film – there was dead silence. My stomach and heart sank. But then she shared her own feelings and it seemed to open everyone up and then they started talking about their reactions. And it was SO OVERWHELMINGLY POSITIVE that I was thrilled!

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

The idea for the short was based on my feature script- but instrumental in the idea for that was that I became physically attracted to a painting of a pin-up calendar girl. I was so blown away over what triggered that in me- how that could happen, that I began to examine what was behind it all. And then … down the rabbit hole!

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

If you’re asking which film I’ve seen the most times- the answer- no question- is GROUNDHOG DAY. In the guise of comedy, that film examines some very deep and wonderful themes! And it’s hilarious.

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

FilmFreeway is SO EASY! They keep track of things, remind you if you’ve already submitted, let you know what festivals are upcoming- it’s easy to see what you’ve submitted to with results, it’s a user friendly platform. Really like it.

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

As a former singer/songwriter- I’ve probably listened the most to MY OWN songs- RUMBLE is probably my favorite (you can hear it on my website http://www.lizlachman.com). When I couldn’t get the rights to the song I wanted for Pin-Up I decided to put one of my own songs, RELENTLESS, in there and it worked great! BUT barring my own work- my all-time favorite that I never get tired of hearing- and a brilliant song, probably a perfect song: “WHY” by Annie Lennox. OMG -sheer poetry.

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

Next for me is working on getting the feature version of PIN-UP made. As I mentioned, the script is written and I’ve had a budget put together on how much it will cost to make- that turns out to be 2.8 million. (Not a huge sum but more than I have in my pocket!) Now I need either the money- OR to attract an actress or executive producer who loves the material and can help draw that money. I also have 2 screenplays under option being shopped to major directors and talent, so my fingers are crossed on those as well. So that’s what’s next!

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Interview with Filmmaker Jessica Chung (SUSHI MAN)

SUSHI MAN played to rave reviews at the September 2018 Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jessica Chung: This was my thesis to get my animation bachelors diploma.

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

It took me about 10 months.

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

Unexpected and playful.

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

Because I wanted to work on the story so much, I didn’t have much time to focus on the animation. So for me, the biggest obstacle was to move on from animation to start the rendering process.

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

I love how there were so many different opinions ans views about the story. Thank you so much you guys!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

I wanted the story to be very interesting and to have two main opposite characters that would somehow work together out in the end. I went through a couple of different options until I thought about a man that cuts fish for a living. At this point, I thought: “Oh, ok. Let me do a fish vs. man type of story” But, I ended up thinking of evolving the fish into a mermaid to add a romantic element.

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

I think it is between “Lilo and Stitch” by Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois, or “Modern Times” by Charlie Chaplin. xD

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 very convenient and easy to use.

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

Phew! This one is a hard one.. I would say it is “Let’s Groove” by Earth Wind and Fire. It was my alarm for probably two whole years in High School.

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

Working on a couple of exciting new projects that include music videos and animation in a feature film.

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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.

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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.

 

 
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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.