Interview with Filmmaker Michael Lane (HANDS)

 HANDS was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the May 2018 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

My film is about diversity. I live in a city,Leicester uk, where there are a range of people from all over the world. We do mix peacefully: it can be done. I thought it right to celebrate that and send a wish that the world may move towards that. Also, I wanted something thoughtful and meditative. Short films give that opportunity in a way features cannot.

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

The film only took a day to make but about six weeks in the edit.

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

Meditative Dance.

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

Keeping my own faith that it would be as I imagined. Especially as much of the movement choices were left to the participants.

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

I was delighted that people were able to interpret its poetic drive. I was puzzled that someone thought it a parody. But I thought I should have helped an audience by credits- ” Meditation, A Dance, A Hope’ clearer at the beginning of the film.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wanted to experiment as most of my films are dramas , even recorded stage work. This fulfilled a different need.

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

‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.’

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

It’s been fine for myself. I have felt free to report to them and trusted that there would be an understandable reply.  

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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 David Maire (CHATEAU SAUVIGNON: TERROIR)

CHATEAU SAUVIGNON: TERROIR played to rave reviews at the 2016 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

“Chateau Sauvignon: terroir’ was my thesis film for the School of Visual Arts’s Masters in Directing program, which requires their students to complete and screen their shorts at the end of the year in order to graduate. Yet, I was motivated to complete this program because it offered me the opportunity to explore the murderous motivations of a vintner family, characters I had imagined years prior, through the creation of a strong film that could double as a prequel and video pitch for a feature film to audiences and investors, respectively.

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

The initial concept was for a feature film, and that congealed in my mind about 8 years before the completion of this short film. The short film however took about 3 years from conception to completion (production lasted about a week).

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

Savage terror!

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

Despite some stressful hiccups and kerfuflles during production, the biggest obstacle was in the writing. Getting my ideas onto the page can be an elaborate, time consuming challenge for me, but the real hurdle came from having to choose which story elements from the feature to focus on and which not to, while simultaneously down playing the violence to a justifiable and affordable level of gore. Too often did I use the feature concept as a model for the short rather than treat this project as its own entity; for a good number of drafts, the narrative was convoluted because I was trying to condense all the information from the feature into a significantly shorter script, which themselves called for scenes of unrealistic production value – for example, school buses full of senior citizens, dozens of bodies hanging upside down being eviscerated one after the next, creepy twins who lose limbs during fight sequences in industrial wine making machinery, demonic opiate addicted babies, and so forth. It was difficult to strike an acceptable level of ambiguity wherein I could leave behind enough bread crumbs for the audience to work out the answers and create their own interpretations rather than have every detail spoon fed to them. Which leads us perfectly into your next question!

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

Watching the Toronto audience feedback video was exhilarating. My initial reaction was extremely positive! It was so gratifying to hear from the audience, which is rarely the case at most film festivals even when I’m in attendance, flattery notwithstanding. The crowd picked up on so many small cues relating to the character’s motivations and back stories that I couldn’t help but feel a sense of relief. For example, they correctly picked up that the film is a teaser to a much larger project, that it felt like ‘Hostel’ and ‘Chainsaw Massacre’ which were both predominantly referenced in our visual treatments of the short, and that this is indeed a family business. I was pleased that people appreciated the story being told from the killer’s perspective rather than that of the victim, and acknowledged one’s arc as a viewer shifting from rooting for our protagonist to “want[ing] him to die too.” A conflicted audience is engaged, I like to think, so its great to create this character who you root for because you like him and feel sorry for his situation, and then reveal he’s a killer amongst killers, and a convincing one! It’s generates a nice twisty roller coaster of emotions that it seemed the WILDSound viewers jived with. I’ve consistently been told not to spoon feed the audience the way Nicolas’ mother is, and this perfectly exemplified to me how successful this short was in doing so. This unique perspective of observing audience members debate their interpretations of the story and discuss their emotional reactions to the film gifted me with a profound sense of pride, validating the notion that filmmakers should always treat their audience intelligently.Thank you for this.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Hailing from French wine country, I was always innately going to shoot a movie in this setting. I don’t recall exactly how the idea formed, but I remember having a very vivid image in my head of deep red blood splattering on green grapes. The concept was most likely cemented in high school around the time I first watched Eli Roth’s ‘Hostel’, and was penned my final undergraduate semester at NYU as part of a feature writing class. As I mentioned briefly, the feature script never fully formed, and when I enrolled at SVA a couple of years later, I decided to use the opportunity to explore the characters’ motivations and background story from the feature – why the vintners kill people, how they do it, et cetera – focusing on the point of view of the killers as opposed to that of the victims. Understanding their back story and motivations for killing was somewhat of a grey area in the feature’s outline that I absolutely wanted to flesh out more. This short film acts as a prequel to the feature, detailing the protagonist’s first kill, and shedding light on their medically reliant cannibalistic tendencies. We weren’t able to include the image of the blood on grapes because we shot in Spring (before the grapes grow), but it’ll most definitely be included in the feature!

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

Hands down Michael Haneke’s “Funny Games” (the American version specifically, but I’ve seen the German one many times as well).

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

Currently I’m busy on both ends of the production spectrum. On the one side, I’ve started developing several short video projects concepts and and forced myself to begin fleshing out (pun intended) and writing my features. Otherwise, I’ve been heavily focused on attending film festivals and networking – “Chateau Sauvignon: terroir” is about two thirds of the way through its festival run.

Otherwise, I’ve produced two other short films recently, one just wrapped a few weeks ago and is being edited, titled ‘My Daughter Yoshiko’, this story follows a Japanese mother coming to terms with her daughter’s Autism diagnosis – here is a link to our post production fundraising page. It isn’t a horror film though, any neither is the second super short “Mariposas”, a 3min story that lives in magical realism and is about a boastful father prattling on superficially about his daughter to another parent in the school pick up line. I can’t wait to share these projects with you, and look toward to what the audience has to say about ‘The Hobbyist’ with eager anticipation! Per chance, do you offer waivers or discounts to returning filmmakers?

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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 Screenwriter Bo Liebman ((A) UTOMATED (I)IRRITATION)

 (A) UTOMATED (I)IRRITATION played to great reviews at the May 2018 Comedy Feedbaack Film Festival in Los Angeles.

 1. What motivated you to make this film?

A friend had asked me to contribute a short for an anthology series he wanted to do about artificial intelligence. Knowing that most people take a dark, dramatic approach to AI, looking at the world-changing ramifications it could have (ie: Terminator), I wanted to take a different approach and see how it would effect smaller, mundane aspects of life in a comedic setting. The script I wrote was a little too far off from my friend’s vision for his series, so I decided to move forward with the script and get it made myself.

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

Overall the film took around a year to complete – 1 day for filming, and then the rest of the year for editing, voice overs and VFX.

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

Satirical Sci-Fi

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

Getting it edited – we didn’t have a lot of money for post, and our original editor took forever and eventually had an accident with his equipment, so we needed to start over with a new editor.

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

It was exciting to hear such positive responses from people who I had never met. It showed me that the film really spoke to people and that the themes came across (and that some people found nuances in it that I didn’t notice myself).

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

As mentioned above in question 1, I had wanted to take a completely alternative look at what kind of future artificial intelligence may bring us, and see how it could complicate even the simplest of daily tasks (like making breakfast). I’m sure I had the animated film The Brave Little Toaster in the back of my mind as well!

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

The Truman Show. My all-time favorite.

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

FilmFreeway is very user-friendly, and does a great job of making the submission process quick and easy. I love that it has a laurel generator, and makes it simple to keep track of the festivals you’ve entered (since we entered a lot).

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

Probably The Mighty Mighty Bosstone’s “The Impression That I Get”. I’m unashamed to say I am a big fan the 90’s ska-punk music.

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

With the director of (A)UTOMATED (I)RRITATION, we will be developing an anthology-style series in the same world as this short. For the web at first, but eventually a broadcast version. I’m also editing a second collection of short stories I hope to have out this year.

 

 

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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 Fortenbacher (ORNAMENT OF BEAUTY)

 ORNAMENT OF BEAUTY played to rave reviews at the Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival in April 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andy Fortenbacher: My producing partner, Stephanie, and I were interested in extracting a fantasy/horror from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #70, which is ultimately about slander. It seemed like a challenging opportunity to tell a story very different from my other work.

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

On and off, it took us about 2 months to complete this project.

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

Overcoming oppressors

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

A single day shoot that was consumed by a tropical storm.

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

It was a rare pleasure to receive video feedback from a film festival. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve received in a while. Nobody else does this! As a filmmaker, it’s always good to hear what the audience thinks about the work, especially when you’re not able to attend the festival and hear firsthand. My hat is off to you!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Many elements of the sonnet were used as inspiration, but I took ample artistic liberty when working through the surreal visual approach, story and characters.

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

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

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

I’ve been pretty happy with Filmfreeway. When withoutabox was years outdated, Filmfreeway came in with a fresh, cheap, and simple approach to getting my films to festivals.

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

Grateful Dead: China Cat Sunflower

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

I’m currently developing three feature films and always writing.
 

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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 Declan Quinlan (BOY)

 BOY was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival in April 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Declan Quinlan: I wanted to tell a gay story that highlighted how being gay and repressed because of your environment can really alter a person’s state of self and treatment of other gay people.

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

November until December was writing. Production was January 19 and 20. Editing was until May.

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

Bleak, honest.

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

Time constraint and so many locations on short time! Too much moving about. Filming in the apartment was the easiest because it was one space all day.

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

Very proud to have a reaction and understanding like this. I was too nervous to watch immediately. I love the responses. It gives me confidence to pursue unique stories in the future and also makes me happy that the story was understood the way I wanted it to be.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

After multiple failed attempts to try write something that wasn’t me. This idea came to me one night and I finished it over three nights. It felt like a secret that cracked out of me. Not autobiographical, but metaphorical.

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

Titanic.

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

A great tool and social media network.

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

Probably Toxic by Britney Spears. Listened a million times when I was very young.

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

Yes writing a feature, taking my time.

 

 

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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.