Interview with Filmmakers Michael Boctor & Dylan Hancook (CHEATER)

CHEATER was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2018 Young Filmmakers FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Michael Boctor: I wanted to challenge myself creatively by making a bottle film—what I mean by that is a film that takes place entirely in one small location. Within this small space, I wanted to reveal intrigue amongst the mundane by manipulating a variety of cinematic tools such as pacing, performance, and perspective. The escalating beats intensified the pacing, our actors projected a tense performance, and our thoughtful cinematography controlled for a visceral perspective. And then… well… it turned into quite the wild scene.

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

MB: The film had a pretty quick turnaround. We had entered a 24-hour film competition, so all of production was done in less than 12 hours, and most of the post-production followed in the next 12 hours. Since the sleepless competition, Dylan Hancook has made more edits polishing it up to what it is now.

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

Unexpected Escalation

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

MB: Like I said earlier, at the start of production we only had 24 hours to complete the first version of the film. Along with battling technical issues, we had to cut a lot of shots from the storyboard due to our significant time crunch. Thankfully, we had an incredible producer/DP/editor in Dylan Hancook and an amazing crew which led us to persevere.

Dylan Hancook: Without a doubt gathering a classroom of students for free on very short notice and shooting around their schedules was the most difficult; people are busy. Also for a 24 hour film competition we were being very ambitious with shot quantity, our film has around 70 shots while the other finalists had only 3-5 long takes.

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

MB: There are few greater rewards than hearing from people who have genuinely enjoyed your hard work. I felt incredibly encouraged and loved listening to the specific things they drew from it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

MB: On the first day of a college film class, we were asked to fill out an icebreaker-questionnaire. Following that, we went over the syllabus which discussed the “cheating policy.” I thought how hilarious it would be if someone tried to cheat on our previous “assessment.” Then, I did what I always do and thought, “how can I turn this into a movie?”

DH: The original script actually didn’t include the 2nd half of the film, I encouraged Michael to really flip it the drama on its head and run with it– and he did.

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

I’ve honestly lost count between “I Am Legend,” “Ex Machina,” and “The Rugrats Movie”

8. What are your thoughts on FilmFreeway?

DH: Film Freeway makes it incredibly easy to search, submit, and forget. It’s actually pretty overwhelming how many festivals there are, so any guidance to find the right fit is definitely appreciated. I think this particular festival is ideal for young filmmakers because you can enjoy the audience experience remotely, especially when traveling to each festival is often impractical.

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

“When I Ripped My Pants” – Spongebob Squarepants

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

MB: I just graduated and I am taking a GAP year in between college and… wait for it… medical school. During my GAP year I plan to continue working on both commercial and narrative filmmaking. I have plenty more ideas in my notebook and I want to work with creative people to translate them to the film screen.

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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 Gabriel Galand (ABOVE THE MIST)

ABOVE THE MIST played to rave reviews at the June 2018 HORROR/THRILLER FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Gabriel Galand: After having lived in Korea for a year, the societal issue of suicide became evident and I felt the need to make a film about it. My wife, Laura Katz, and I thought of a way to tackle the issue in a genre film since I am more keen on Thriller/Horror than drama.

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

The film was shot in two days. We wrote after we found the location and it took six months to make it from scratch to finish, with a budget of $1000 USD, and with only five crew members. The reasons it was such a small crew were firstly that I wanted to make sure I could compensate each member for their time and also because my previous film Horla had a crew of 35 and I wanted to test my ability to make a bare-bone film. So we all shared responsibilities, I was the director, cinematographer and editor, my wife the producer, production designer and sound designer and finally our friend as assistant director and translator.

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

Dignified death?

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

The sound of the film was entirely made in post-production. You can imagine the challenge of doing ADR and using only pre-recorded and copyright free sound to make the mix but it came out beautifully!

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

I’m always worried that people will be offended since such a serious issue is tackled in a thriller/horror but every time I get the chance to see audience interacting about my film, they usually center the discussion about suicide and euthanasia which is all I’m hoping for.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

We were walking one day in Seoul, crossing a bridge on the Han River and we saw all these posts to “prevent” suicide. And it just made us realize how much suicide was anchored in the modern culture of Korea – perhaps like gun violence in the USA – with society accepting it as a fact.

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

One of my favorite films is Barry Lyndon by Kubrick. I love period movies and I think it’s one of the best ones out there!

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

It’s my favorite platform – I even wrote an article about all the existing platforms, having used a bunch of them in the past.

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

I love listening to Devendra Banhart – in particular to his song “Brindo”.

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

I’ve recently moved to Vancouver, BC and about to start graduate studies at UBC in film production. I’ve been working on a few commercials and looking forward to directing another short film around the end of the year and perhaps a few music videos.

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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 Marc Adamson (AFTER WE HAVE LEFT OUR HOMES)

AFTER WE HAVE LEFT OUR HOMES was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the May 2018 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Marc Adamson: I’ve been compelled to tell stories through a visual medium for as long as I can remember. The idea for this film had been knocking around in my head for a little while, I had been dabbling with live action film making after working in animation for a number of years & this idea seemed almost like a cross over between animation and live action with most of the backgrounds created in post production, it was something I felt confident in making at the time with my limited experience and not knowing many people within the world of live action film making, as well as very limited funds.

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

I think it took almost three years. The VFX work was time consuming- I did Much of it after hours on top of my VFX job at the time. In addition, it took me a while to find the right composer, and we went through many iteration which added time after the visuals were finished.

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

Biggest obstacle was keeping motivation levels up when faced with an insurmountable amount of VFX work to complete.

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

I found the Audience reactions touching and humorous. I’ve had lots of fantastic (and at times critical) feedback on the film up until now, but it’s not every day that you get such completely honest & thoughtful verbal feedback, or even written feedback for that matter, from a passionate audience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

I can’t remember exactly the moment I decided on the idea of a totalitarian dictatorship that has banned music, but I’ve certainly been influenced by the current situation in North Korea, classic literature such as 1984 & Fahrenheit 451 as well as the writings of Austrian economist Fredrich Hayek, specifically ‘The Road to Serfdom’. Listening to and playing music has always been a significant part of my life so the idea of it being banned was quite evocative.

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

Back to the Future!

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

I really like Filmfreeway. The interface is really well designed and intuitive, the ability to view feedback on festivals and leave comments is really important & it’s got more festivals on there than any other platforms. It’s my favorite festival platform & I only use other platforms if submission via Filmfreeway is not an option.

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

That’s hard to say.. Maybe something by Pat Metheny, or the Beach Boys..

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

I’m currently working an other short film & also a feature screenplay. The feature is within the realm of Sci Fi but the short is a bit of a departure. It has no VFX at all & lots of dialogue, kind of an antithesis to After We Have Left Our Homes.

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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 Lia Williamson (DAUGHTER)

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

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Young and Beautiful by Lana Del Rey

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

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

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Michele Haines (SAM THE HAM)

 SAM THE HAM played to rave reviews at the May 2018 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

It was a way of finding myself again after sinking into a low state after a series of horrible events, including my father’s death. Sam’s dad is designed after my dad, an Army Airborne Ranger, who enjoyed moonlighting as a farmer 🙂

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

Sam’s lines just came to me as I was improv’ing a character voiceover demo for a toy company in 2010. Fast forward to 2017 when I decided to make a short out of him. I found my animator accidentally while searching for my brother on LinkedIn – same name, but no relation. The composer is my close friend and favorite musician, and through him, I found my character designer. And by July 2017 – bada bing bada boom – done!

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

Dee licious

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

It was a really smooth process and I learned a lot along the way. Couldn’t have asked for a better team! The hardest part may have been trying to stay on top of things while relocating from the East to the West Coast.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Ohmygoodness, I was really touched and encouraged by the nice things that the audience members said. I’m so happy that they enjoyed it and didn’t think (or say) I was a moron hahaha…

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

The initial idea was a total improv accident that stuck. The idea to animate it was a way to bring me back to life and also to start bringing the character voices I’ve created to life.

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

Shallow Grave, Run Lola Run, The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb (claymation), The Fountain, Momento (had this playing on repeat in Brooklyn before I got the cable hooked up, ha)

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

So easy! Thank you!

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

Matthew Paul Surowiec – “Girl Like You”, Thirty Seconds to Mars – “Buddha for Mary”

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

Lots of voiceover work. There are a few more shorts in the works, and maybe another episode of Sam the Ham in the near future 🙂

 

 

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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 Robin De Cock (TRUMPETS IN THE SKY)

TRUMPETS IN THE SKY won BEST FILM at the May 2018 Fantasy/Sci-Fi FEEDBACK Film Festival in Torotno

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Robin De Cock: The idea of a sound that terrorized the world came to me in a weird moment while listening to dubstep (I know that’s pretty terrible motivation). But when I talked to my friends and peers about the idea, a muslim friend of mine said that in the Koran, the end of the world (or signs of the hour) was introduced by a worldwide horn sound. And that made me do more research in the more biblical narrative of my idea. As it turns out in the bible, koran and even in the Norse mythology (the gjallerhorn of ragnarok) the horn was something that was clearly stated and connected to the end of times. I thought that it was an interesting take and narrative direction to take the script to a new perspective. And with the character of a deaf child we can explore the difficulties and extrimities of the idea through an innocent view. Take the horns out of the equation and what we have left is a small family drama between mother, child and father. And I think it’s important in every story, sci-fi or otherwise, to tell a intimate story that people can relate to. The pressure is just on a higher level due to the higher power that is affecting the world.

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

It was a difficult 2 years from the initial idea to the final result. I was struggling with some personal problems wich made me procrastinate a lot and I ended up just never being sure if this is the story I want to tell. After some self reflection and an awful lot of rewriting I got the final draft and started the production. I got the privilege to get an awesome crew (very compact but awesome) and we just made it happen.

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

Post-apocalyptic drama

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

My biggest obstacle in completing this film is the obstacle i’ve been facing all my life. It’s myself. I tend to sabotage myself and end up not finishing my projects. I am pretty harsh on myself (and others) so i’m never really content with what i’m making or doing. But just pulling through on this project gave me the motivation and self respect to push further and harder on my goals.

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

Damn that shit amazing. I’m from Belgium and just starting to make films, and seeing people from across the world discussing your film is so exciting. I started making films to get an audience for my stories, and just seeing it happening gave me chills.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of your short film:

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

As I said, a little bit of dubstep and a whole lot of talking, learning and rewriting.

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

Children of men. Sci-fi with it’s feet on the ground. Where the scary thing are the people and the sci-fi is small, well executed and close to the way things are today.
+ dat sweet sweet camera work. Best oners in history!

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

I used it for the first time for this project and I like it. It’s a intuitive, filmmaker-friendly platform to showcase your projects. It also motivated me to make a trailer just to showcase my project some more. As it is a schoolproject (My second year in the film academy in Brussels) It’s nice to have the option to show your early projects to a large audience and maybe get some recognition along the way.

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

Damn, that’s a hard one. I guess, Eminem: Cleaning out my closet. It’s also my go-to karaoke song but I fail every time.

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

Next year I’m starting my Bacheloryear in Fiction Film in RITCS (Royal Institute of Television Cinema and Sound – Brussels) and I have an idea that keeps me up at night (in a good way) It’s going to be a psychological thriller. The rest i’ll keep a secret. 😊

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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.