Interview with Composer Jeff Russo (Emmy Winner FARGO TV series)

 Jeff Russo is one of the most talented musicians and composers working in the industry today. His list of credits in the last 9 years is loaded with successful TV series and movies. In the last 2 years alone his has composed for the series Bull, Legion, Counterpart, Star Trek: Discovery, Lucifer, and his Emmy winning work in Fargo. It was an honor chatting with him one afternoon in his office while he was taking a break.

Matthew Toffolo: Where were you born and raised? Was music something you always saw yourself doing as a career?

I was born and raised in New York City. As far as I can remember, I loved music and it became apparent to me that this was something I always wanted to do – to be a musician. From middle school on I was always playing in bands. It’s something I was better at than other things. I was better at music than math or science for example. And I loved it too! It was obvious very early on that this was what I was going to do.

Are you from a family of creative people and musicians?

My dad was in fashion. He died when I was very young so I’m not all that familiar with what exactly he did. My mom was a homemaker. Not a huge fan of music, but very supportive in my passion for it.

So you’re in high school – where did you think you were headed as a musician?

I always wanted to be in a Rock Band. Rock and Roll was my drive! I was in a band for 25 years. Only 9-10 years ago did I change careers and think about composing.

What was your first composing job? And how did you get the job?

In 2006, my band took a break from playing and I had to figure what I had to do with my life. A good friend of mine, Wendy Milette, was working on a couple of television shows and asked me to come by. I watched what they did for a bit, and then they asked me to come to work. Watching what they did got me intrigued and eventually they asked me to write music cues for them and from there I was hooked. I worked for them for about a year and a half and eventually I got hired as a composer for my first job which was a TV show called THE UNUSUALS. Then things took off from there.

Noah Hawley was the showrunner of that show, and also the showrunner/creator of the TV series FARGO. So you guys have a relationship?

Yes. Great one. He called me up in 2013 and said he’s doing a series based on the FARGO movie and told me I’m on board. Then we got to work.

How did you prepare for doing that show? Did you go back and watch the original film?

I didn’t see a need to. I just read the scripts and looked at the emotional places in the script. Saw that the same tone was involved.

You were nominated for an Emmy for best music composition for the first two years, and eventually won the Emmy last year for your work in season 3. What is the Emmy winning experience like?

It’s a feeling is disbelief. The Emmy sits on the shelf in my office and it’s a crazy reminder. The feeling going up there and accepting the award is hard to describe. That moment – incredible. People will now say to you, “You’re an Emmy winner”. People have that in their minds from now on. My peers acknowledged me. It’s an honor.

What are you currently working on right now as we speak?

Season #2 of LEGION. And a Mark Wahlberg films coming out this summer (MILE 22, directed by Peter Berg). It’s been a lot of fun working on that film.

Besides the films you’ve work on, watch move have you watched the most time in your life?

Empire Strikes Back. I’ve seen it over 40 times.

Is there a type of project that you would like to work on that you haven’t yet?

I’d like to work on a Western.

What advice do you have for people who would like to work as a composer some day in the industry?

Most important thing is for someone to create their own voice. We are all unique and original in our own way so we all have a voice. Find it. It’s the only way to move forward.

jeffrusso-emmy.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.

Advertisements

Interview with Composer Alexei Aigui (The Young Karl Marx, I am Not Your Negro)

Alexei Aigui.jpgIt was an honor chatting with the multi-talented musician and film composer Alexei Aigui and chat about his one and only passion in life: music!

Listen to his music on Soundcloud

Matthew Toffolo: Where were you born and raised? Was music something you always wanted to do as your career?

Alexei Aigui: I was born and raised in Moscow, as they say, in an artistic family. My father was a poet, and was representing the so-called unofficial art – meaning he was under control of the Soviet authorities, and his works couldn’t be published, so our life wasn’t exactly an easy ride. When I was six, mum took me to an ordinary music school near our place, to play violin. Learning to play the piano was more prestigious and cost about 15 times more, so we didn’t really have a choice in the matter. God bless, accordion didn’t cost less than violin. I don’t remember if I wanted to study music, I think I didn’t even ask myself that question – it just happened. So I studied there until I was about 15, not reflecting a lot on why I needed it. However, in my teenage years, I became a rock music fan – Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, then quite quickly became interested in more complicated stuff like King Crimson, Frank Zappa, etc. Maybe then, through rock music, I decided to become a musician, form my own band. Or maybe it was already late to think about doing something else, after all the years of exercise? Through avant-garde rock, having played in my first bands and already starting to study professionally at the conservatory, I became interested in academic avant-garde – [Anton] Webern, [Gyorgy] Ligeti, [Pierre] Boulez, [Karlheinz] Stockhausen, [Igor] Stravinsky, [Sergey] Prokofiev.

Afterwards, I took to improvisational music and minimalism. In 1994, I set up Ensemble 4’33’’ in Moscow, and we performed pieces by John Cage, Earle Brown, La Monte Young, and others in that spirit. Gradually, mainly due to the fact that there wasn’t enough sheet music available [in Russia], I started to compose music, and turned out one’s own pieces were nicer and easier to play than others’. That’s how I became a composer. The band has existed for 24 years, we play 30 concerts a year, have released a lot of CDs, the band is my foundation for film work, with either the entire band taking part in soundtrack recording, or some of the Ensemble 4’33’’ members.

What has been your most proudest work of your career?

I’m proud of many works, when it comes to non-film-related music – the cantata ‘Salut to Singing’ to my father’s poems, almost everything I do with Ensemble 4’33’’. Of course, cinema works: my very first OST, for ‘Country of the Deaf’ by Valery Todorovsky, and for ‘Wild Field’ by Mikhail Kalatozishvili, ‘The Horde’ by Andrey Proshkin. Of my latest collaborations outside of Russia — ‘I Am Not Your Negro’ and ‘The Young Karl Marx’ by Raoul Peck.

Tell us about your working relationship with director Raoul Peck on “The Young Karl Marx”?

The work took quite a long time, the film was in all stages of production for almost 10 years, with the shooting taking part in 2 or 3 countries. The company’s office was in France, editing took place in Belgium, and mix in Germany. Raoul wanted the music to be, on the one hand, relevant to the demands of period drama, orchestral and melodic, on the other hand, to feel ‘uncomfortable’ and edgy. The first draft of music was far from what you hear in the film, there were a lot of corrections. There were some temporary tracks in the first cut, the scene of police chasing Marx had a Haitian folk piece that, surprisingly enough, worked very well, it wasn’t easy for me to compose new music for that bit, in ‘Irish style’. Raoul, along with the film’s editor Frederique Broos, came to Moscow for the orchestra recording, and made a few corrections during the recording itself. Our following project, ‘I Am Not Your Negro’, was recorded without him, because Raoul was working on the final mix of ‘Marx’ in Germany. For ‘I Am Not Your Negro’, we recorded completely different music, with my band – we recorded a few semi-improvisational takes, and Raoul chose the most suitable.

What are you generally looking for in a director in terms of guidance and tone for your music?

When I was starting to work in Russian cinema, almost no one used references (temporary tracks), and you were, so to say, on your own. Director was only able to use words while describing what he wanted in terms of music, which isn’t always translatable from the director’s language to, well, human. These days the use of references is quasi-total. It makes the composer’s job easier and quicker, but also sets up some borders and limits the composer in his or her work. I’ve seen all sorts of director-composer relations – from close friendship to composing music without knowing the director, and I believe that there should certainly be personal contact, a sort of mutual tuning is supposed to happen. Often, the editor plays an important role, offering his or her opinion.

What do you think a producer/director is looking for when they bring on their composer to score the film?

Often, when I see the result (not in the films, on which I had the chance to work), it seems to me that producers and directors wanted to save money. Perhaps the perfect option is to find the music that would create a unique sound for the picture, the music that would add a dimension to the film, another layer, and wouldn’t just underscore the tension or hint that we should feel sad. Music can be omnipotent, it’s like an undercurrent, sometimes we don’t even realize that it exists side-by-side with the action and tells the story, accentuating some points and adding depth to the movie.

What is your passion in life besides music?

I’m completely handicapped in that respect – only interested in music. Well, maybe also alcohol. I can’t even normally rest or travel – every time I’m at a bar and I see a stage, I go, ‘Why haven’t I played here before?’ and ask the owner is it’s possible to perform at their place.

Anyway, I’m not purely a film composer, concerts take a lot of time, and if I don’t perform for a few weeks, I get a bit crazy. I also used to paint when I was young, but now don’t have time to devote to that.

What movie have you watched the most times in your life?

Usually, I don’t want to re-watch the films that made the biggest impact on me, I kind of want that first impression to stay as it was. So it’s most likely that the films I saw most times are those you come across while watching TV, and just don’t turn off. I can’t say I’m a cinemaholic, I’m not too eager to see everything people talk about, and I skip many films. And this huge pile of ‘to-watch’ movies is growing. Thanks to my 13-year-old son, I finally saw all the Star Wars movies (never watched those before, sorry to say) and the Harry Potter series. We watched all the films in strict order, spending about a week on each series.

What advice do you have for young musicians who would eventually like to compose movies for a living?

Forget about it. Okay, if we’re being serious (although ‘forget about it’ is also me being serious), it’s best if you’re primarily a musician, and then a businessman. However, I’ve always wanted to earn my living with music. A lot of people try to become film or TV composers, having failed at performing their music on stage. This phenomenon stems from how easily available the music-making programs are. Certainly, new talents can emerge, but these programs standardize musicians, unique and interesting sound in cinema has become a rare sight, irony intended. Everybody tries to copy copies, and you wonder where the search for something new is? Last but not least, entering the tricky and rocky path of a musician, be ready to die homeless and poor, how did the best of us composers.

 Alexei Aigui2.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 Gonzaga Manso (EDEN HOSTEL)

EDEN HOSTEL was the winner of BEST FILM at the January 2018 Comedy FEEDBACK Film Festival. 

Get to know the director of the film: 

  What motivated you to make this film?

I suppose it was loneliness . When I was 18 I wasn’t very sure about who I really was and often felt like I didn’t belong. In fact everything was OK, it was actually going better than what most teenagers could expect… and, nevertheless, I often felt lonely. Unconnected. Based on that feeling and on a conversation I had about the subject with my then-girlfriend, I wrote this short film.

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

It took us approximately one year. I spent the first three months writing on my own and developing the idea, then we spent about two months preproducing it, 4 days shooting it and about 7 months post-producing it. The postproduction took us way too long because we didn’t have a proper budget and we had to ask for many favors… it was not the best workflow ever.

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

I would do it badly. Just kidding, maybe: holy loneliness? I don’t know

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

Actually it was a financial obstacle: finding the way to produce it with very little money.

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

My initial reaction was to smile like a child. I enjoyed so much watching the different points of view about the short film and its characters. It was an amazing experience to see all those people talking and reflecting about our shortfilm. I loved it. Thank you so much. I always learn a lot about my own film when I talk to the audience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Fight club

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

Actually, Ismael Martin and his team handle the distribution of our short film, so we didn’t get to do this ourselves.

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

No idea, I’m always switching between different genres.
I played on a rock band for 10 years, so probably one of our earliest songs… we were rehearsing them nonstop for years.

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m a photographer too, and right now we are developing a new series of photographies. We also have a second short-film, Fortune-teller, which I hope Ismael has submitted to your festival, or will do so when you open for submissions. We are also starting to write the script of a feature length film, that project really excites me.

 

eden_hostel

 

Interview with director Hank Isaac (LILAC)

LILAC played to rave reviews at the January 2018 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Hank Isaac: Lilac started out as a pretty mellow Disney-esque concept which I felt was too “light.” So I rewrote it as a somewhat grittier version, overlaid with the Robin Hood theme. This particular version was my response to the increasing number of children who were committing violent acts on one another.

My idea was to create a character who certainly could hurt of kill but makes a conscious choice not to. The underlying theme is: It’s not always necessary to annihilate one’s enemy to win the war.

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

Well, the “idea” percolated for nearly two years. I wrote two drafts of the screenplay over about a month or two. The actual filming took four very long days.

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

Tough love.

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

Always financing. Always. Editing was easy since we filmed with two cameras. There’s only one mistake that I spotted. CG and compositing were difficult. We did not have the best tools and had to create a ton of workarounds.

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

I was kind of sorry that one person was confused toward the last half (or third) and another felt the dialogue was childish and the acting unprofessional.

Elora, who plays the title character, has already won six international awards and has been nominated for five more. The screenplay alone has won awards. I do love that one audience member actually “got” the adult/child reversal of rolls.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wanted to create a role model who is a true super hero but not a super hero with mythological powers. Lilac’s “super power” is her uncanny marksmanship. Her “weakness” is her blindness over the fact she’s getting in way over her head. I also wanted to create a story which could appeal to a broad family audience without being too simplistic or cutesy. One that could deal with real issues.

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

The original “Time Machine.”

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

FilmFreeway is fabulous. As well, their staff is responsive and open to suggestions.

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

April Love by Pat Boone. Has a special significance for this old guy here.

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

I’m constantly working on new projects. We’ve actually created detailed outlines for the remaining 12 episodes of Lilac. All we need is someone with full deep pockets who loves the concept as much as we do.

Seriously, though, I have several TV series and features in the works

Interview with Bartek Kmita, Kamil Krynski, Wojtek Szwed – (Directors/Screenwriters PARADIGME)

PARADIGME was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the December 2017 Sci-Fi Film Festival in Los Angeles. 

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Bartek: The main motivation to create this movie was actually pretty simple, to graduate the school. But instead of making an easy asset for the diploma, I began to think about creating something over the average. And then the idea of the movie came out, but it was almost impossible that day to make it alone. That’s how I decided to do this in cooperation with my friends.

Kami: At the beginning the main reason for creating this film was graduation project we had to make. However during the process of creation something has changed. We stopped care as much about graduation, and start thinking about this as an adventure and best possible way of learning. What is more, number of great ,kind people who helped us is really impressive. We couldn’t let them down.

Wojtek: I’ve heard about the project when it was just an idea, Kamil and Bartek wanted to do some short for graduation diploma. I’ve thought it was an interesting concept, and a way to level up my skills and trying to work as team with other creative people. So I’ve joined them.

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

B: From the first idea to the very end of the development process passed a bit over two years.

K: It took us over 2 years to make this from scratch to finished project. We spent one year on pre-production and another on post-production. It was only 3 days of shooting.

W: 2 Years. It was a lot of work for the three of us, but thanks to help of some amazing people We’ve encountered on the way We did it.

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

K: Save yourself

W: Save yourself

B: Worth creating

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

B: The biggest problem for us was definitely lack of the skill and experience. We had to learn and do almost everything from scratch. When we have been starting this project, we had almost no idea where to start, how to do certain effects, how to organize shooting and glue everything together. Despite the technical problems and lack of time, this was for sure the most difficult part.

K: The biggest obstacle was definitely time. It was pretty huge and time consuming project for us. Everyone of us had to quit the job just to finish a movie. We were already late 2 years with defense of thesis. It was a true race against time. W: Well, pretty much everything You can think of when creating project like this. Lack of time, lack of money and lack of skill/experience. It was pretty ambitious thing for a student graduation project, and sometimes We had really thought that We bit off more lettuce than We can chew.

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

B: Amazed, to be honest. 🙂 We were arguing for hours just to clarify the true story hidden in this movie, and some of the people from the audience who were talking about “Paradigme” actually hit the point perfectly! We left a big part of the film to be interpreted by yourself. Despite the initial story and the idea for the film, there is no clear path to follow in understanding it. So everyone can have a different point of view.

We are glad that there was so many interpretations. The audience’s ideas for the main character and his story are fantastic.

K: I’ve never been in the situation like this before. I was really amazed and little bit excited that someone is discussing and more important – interpreting our work.

W: It really felt amazing. Our project caused a discussion and every person interpreted the movie differently. I think it was pretty much our goal to leave certain things as a mystery and give a each viewer a chance to come up with his own unique conclusion.

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

W: It all started with a really simplified story – and after hours and hours of meetings and discussions We’ve developed a more complex one and decided to go with it. K: In the beginning we had only general idea, we wanted to create something intriguing, giving food for thought. Everyone of us put a little bit of himself into this. Then we started putting pieces together. When it comes to me, it was all about inside battle within me.

B: It is a difficult question and just like the story of this movie, there is no straight answer for this. It started as a very different and much simpler story and then it just developed over the hours of thinking and brainstorms. We were inspired by the Dante’s “Divine comedy” and the journey through the purgatory and hell, but also by movies like Alien, Matrix, etc. Mixing it all together created “Paradigme”.

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

B: I think that each one of us would point a different one, but I guess that for all of us Matrix will be in the tight top.

K: Probably Home Alone hahah

W: I think it’s definitely the first “Alien”. Not many movies made such an impression to me.

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

B: It is a great way to find an opportunity to show your work to broad audience. I think that in the near future, this will become the main way for the artists to share their work and submit to festivals.

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

B: Probably “Last Christmas” by Wham, as it is being played every single year, multiple times, in every media stream, since 1986.

K: Bon Jovi – Living on a prayer

W: Probably “Tool – Schism”, but I’m not really sure.

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

B: Something to amaze. For sure. I’m not done yet.

K: I think I’m not ready for another huge personal project yet. I need to learn a lot. Currently I’m focusing on improving my skills to become a better artist.

W: Perhaps, the time will show.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

PARADIGME, 6min, Poland, Sci-Fi/ExperimentalDirected by Kamil Krynski and Bartek Kmita

 

When you wake up in a cold and empty place. You don’t where you are and how you got here. You are paralized by fear and lonelinnes. The only way leads you to unknown direction. When you subject to curiosity and weakness. You can loose your mind…

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

Interview with Filmmaker Stephen Riscica (IT GETS BETTER?)

 IT GETS BETTER? was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Stephen Riscica: I started writing this film almost years ago after learning about Jamey Rodemeyer, a young gay teenager from Buffalo, NY who made an It Gets Better video only to commit suicide only a few short months after. I then started reading other stories about youth who have made these testimonials of hope but weren’t able to battle their own inner demons. It was the juxtaposition of these messages of hope from our youth on YouTube mixed with their tragic fate that inspired me to write this piece.

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

I started writing this six years ago– much of that time it was just sitting on my laptop. I went to a film festival in May of 2016 and was really inspired by what I saw there and decided it’s time to finally get this film made. I started an indiegogo campaign a month later. We had approximately two months of pre-production, two shooting days, and 3 months of post production.

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

Oh that’s a tough one…

I’ve always described my film as an examination in loneliness and a desperate plea to hang on… so maybe “Loneliness Examination” or maybe just “Got Wine?”

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

There was an actor attached initially who I cast because his life story and where he is now reflected what the character is going through in the film. A week before production I was “ghosted.” We held a casting session a few days before shooting and thankfully Gys DeVilliers came in and blew me away– he had me in tears during his audition. It was as if I was hearing my words for the very first time. I knew there was no way I could have gotten such a powerful and haunting performance from the previous actor attached.

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

I appreciated the honesty and candor of the audience. This is the first time I was able to hear what people thought about the film without being physically present. I think the film effects people in different ways, and everyone I’ve shown it to responds differently. I disagree, however, with the gentleman who said the film felt cliche’. I see what he’s saying about how it feels like a play, which most likely has to do with my theater background, but I think it is a film that stands out because of its uniqueness.

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

As I mentioned earlier, the story of Jamey Rodemeyer was the main catalyst in writing this piece. His story made me re-examine my own issues of loneliness and depression. I was also very much inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, a one act play in which an older man is listening to a audio tape of himself from years back reminiscing about his youth. Instead of a tape recorder we use a laptop and YouTube.

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

The one film that really changed my worldview as a young gay teenager was Pink Flamingos directed by John Waters. As someone who didn’t identify with straight culture or gay culture, this film was really a celebration of individuality for me and taught me that it’s okay not to fit into any sort of category. I would invite friends over to watch double features of Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble and I’d love to watch my friends squirm, but we’d also be laughing our asses off and quoting lines from the film. I also used to be obsessed with Elvira: Mistress of the Dark as a child and Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation and Nowhere. Recent films I’ve been watching repeatedly lately: Ingmar Bergman’s Cries & Whispers, Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

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

I think it’s a great platform. I discovered a lot of festivals I never even knew existed. I like the up to date notifications of when a judging status has changed on your film.

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

Probably something by The Cure– maybe Pictures of You?

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

Still trying to figure that out! I recently helped out on the pilot episode of a new documentary series interviewing pioneering DJ’s and party promoters from the early days of gay nightlife. There is a short story written by a friend of mine I would love to adapt. I’m looking to collaborate with other LGBT screenwriters on future projects!

it_gets_better_5

IT GETS BETTER?, 11min., USA, LGBT/Experimental
Directed by Stephen RiscicaAn older gay man is inspired to record a testimonial after watching a bisexual teenager’s video, assuring him that ‘It Gets Better.’

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

Interview with Filmmaker Parry Majmudar (LOSING CLAIRE)

LOSING CLAIRE played to rave reviews at the Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival in December 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Parry Majmudar: I’ve observed and read certain incidents regarding still born child and also have closely witnessed where there was a high possibility that a girl child couldn’t have survived… SHE was kept on LIFE SUPPORT and after a couple of days, She was removed from it and everyone present there were hoping and praying that she could survive the deadline given by the doctors. FORTUNATELY, God’s grace, SHE DID SURVIVE and SHE IS DOING QUIET WELL NOW. Few months back her family celebrated her fifth birthday. Hence, I got the motivation to make this film this year as a part of final project at the film school . I was present there with the family while all of this was occurring and it somehow got stamped into my heart as I had seen it firsthand and all I could do was to give them hope and observe their emotions and reactions towards the same. I was 22 then.

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

I was doing a research on the mothers who lost their child during the birth and also after that. (We’re told at the film school from the very beginning that we’ll have to make a short film at the end of the course as our graduation project, but like most of the student I was enjoying the course and London city. We had a Christmas break after attending 45 odd days of school and before parting for the break we’re reminded by our mentors to start working on the final project. As it was Christmas time and everyone’s on a festive mood so, I couldn’t think of any idea then – throughout the break.)
It had also to do with me being completely new to this field therefore I wasn’t able focus or reflect on the ideas for the final project. I started working on the idea in the end of January 2017. We were given a deadline that everyone must be ready with their scripts by the first week of March 2017. So, for me It was like do or die… and to be honest I took up the challenge and in-fact, I was happy that I have a deadline set and a target to achieve. I did submit my script in time and also requested my course leader to shift my date of production to the very top. We began shooting on the 21st of March 2017. It was a two days shoot. The post production activities took couple of months as I took a bit of time while editing the film and completing the other activities.

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

A silent despair.

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

When I was streaming through various ideas and when I finally decided to make a film on the aforementioned subject, I was deeply concerned about my confidence, because for a first timer like me plus preparing to make a short on such a sensitive subject was a real test for me. Also, when there is money involved, one has to carefully take each step a time. I don’t know how, during the pre-production, inspite of all the questions hovering in my mind about making this film, there was no negativity around me and that thing took me all ahead with this film. Slowly, I gathered confidence and since then there’s no turning back. Being this my debut film, the whole journey was fantastic. On the set or during the post production activities there wasn’t such obstacle with completing the film. Only that my visa my getting over on the last day of my course and I had fly back to India where I did my post activities which was a bit tedious.

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

I was thrilled…. Absolutely thrilled. I did not at all expect such feedback from the audience. I literally feel delighted for my cast and crew who worked hard for the film and made my dream come true. Cheers to the audiences who were kind enough to give the feedback and all the others for watching the film.

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

While in London, I got to meet the family in January 2017 and I was really happy to see them with the little one and there we’re sitting on the dinner table talking about the child with all that she had been through and the emotional journey of her parents at the time of her birth. So there I got the potential idea of creating it into a short film. Than I started my research.
The reason, I thought of making it from a male’s perspective was that The impact of pregnancy loss on male partners has been largely overlooked. When a baby dies before birth the loss can be devastating for fathers yet, very often, the world that surrounds them tends to discount their loss and emotional support. Whereas grief is assumed to be a predominantly maternal domain.

It is the perception that men have only a supportive role in pregnancy loss is unjustified, as it ignores the actual life experiences of the men, and the meanings they attach to their loss, in what may be a very personal emotional tragedy for them where they have limited support available. There is consideration of the need for the wider community to acknowledge the male partner’s grief as being a valid response to the bereavement suffered.
When men do express their grief, they tend to do so in culturally prescribed ‘masculine’ ways. As they are more reluctant to express their grief openly and hide it in order not to overburden their partner. Men exert more control over their emotional expressiveness and intellectualize their grief, whereas women are more expressive in their grief.

Men have few opportunities to express their emotions cathartically because they respond in a manner they feel that culture demands. It is important to ensure, therefore, that failure to identify the particular nature of the father’s grieving process, does not generate conclusions regarding the intellectualisation of feeling on the basis of stereotypical concepts of emotional expression.

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

Revolutionary Road (2008) and Kabhi Kabhie (Hindi Film, 1976

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

It is an indeed a great platform which helps the filmmakers in showcasing their films to various esteemed festivals around the globe. An interesting and easy submission platform where filmmakers get an array of choosing the festivals and also can apply to many of the free festivals in the world. The website is simple to understand and it caters to the need of an individual filmmaker. It is an emerging submission platform with all the the necessary changes and innovations film freeway does time to time.

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

Well, to be honest it all depends on my mood. But I do like listening to soft songs like You’re beautiful by James Blunt and Perfect Duet by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce.

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

Next for me is getting a job here in India or abroad as an assistant to the director. Like the 3rd or the 4th A.D as you know one has start from the grass root and climb the ladder. But its really difficult to get an entry into the industry because of cut throat competition. Also, I’m developing an idea for a short.
 

LOSING CLAIRE, 6min, India, Drama/Relationship
Directed by Parry Majmudar 

A story about psychological anguish from a male’s perspective on having a stillborn child. The main characters are Emily and Perry who are finding it difficult to cope with the devastating loss of their stillborn daughter – Claire and this is having a detrimental impact on their relationship which is becoming strained.

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

losing_claire