Interview with Filmmaker Joey Katches (SOCIAL)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Joey Katches: It was my own conviction that I was spending too much time on my phone and neglecting the relationships of those around me. There’s this app on my phone called “screen time” which tracks the amount of time I spend on the internet and social media. It amazed me how many hours (Even days) I spent on social media in a week! God has blessed me with a wonderful family and I don’t want to neglect time with them being absorbed in my phone. Life is too short, and time is precious. My goal in making the film was never to say smart phones are bad, or social media is bad, but rather how we can be so absorbed in our social media that we neglect the face to face relationships around us.

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

Roughly 4 months

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

Screen Time

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

The day of filming I still had not landed on the ending to the film. Originally I had scripted that there would be a montage sequence at the end of the day showing the opposite of what would happen if the main actor had not been absorbed in his phone. But to me it didn’t feel punchy enough. So mid way through the shoot day the idea hit me that the main actor is confronted with the reality that what he posts on facebook (a happy family picture) is not reality. And in that moment it hits him that he’s neglecting the relationships that bring most fulfillment and happiness.

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

I loved hearing both the positive feedback and the criticism. I thought the audience was incredibly intelligent and helpful. I learned a lot from them and appreciated very much their insights! They will help me to become a better filmmaker. Also loved hearing how the message impacted others! That was my goal in making this film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I heard a TED talk by Simon Sinek about the addiction of cell phone usage. This talk motivated me to make a short film addressing the issue.

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

It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart

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

Very user friendly process!

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

True Grit soundtrack

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

Working on 2 short films and a documentary. But currently in the process of shooting a local commercial = )

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Interview with Filmmaker Andre Sitolini (THE COOK AND THE CHEF)

THE COOK AND THE CHEF played to rave reviews at the March 2019 Comedy & Drama Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andre Sitolini : I wanted to make something very stylistic. I wanted clouds grounded to the horizon and the sky to never be blue.

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

About 5 months of intensive work. The intro alone was a month of work.

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

Sizzling Hot!

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

Having to decide which scenes to cut and which scenes to keep in.

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

Overjoyed! I’m glad everyone liked it!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I actually wanted to tell a different message. It was going to be about having more than just passion to be good at something.

Originally the Cook was suppose to lose and learn about not judging the Chef for his apathetic appearance.

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

It’s rare that I’ll watch a film more than once but anything incredibly stylistic and colorful is always something I keep coming back to.

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

It was really great having to make only one portfolio and submitting to multiple festivals. I’m not really the producer type so it help me get into more festivals then I would have bothered.

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

Andrew Bird – Armchair Apocrypha is my favorite album of all time, but for the entire production of my film I limited myself to only listen to songs with an accordion in it.

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

I became an animator to create an animated series about Superheroes, but now I want to adopt it into a comic format!

Interview with Filmmaker Filippo Michele Guarna (MISTER EGG)

MISTER EGG was the winner of BEST FILM at the March 2019 Comedy & Drama Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Filippo Michele Guarna: It was a period of intense philosophical ‘restlessness’ for me; self-inquisition, confusion and doubt – the kind of thoughts that start bugging you when you’re approaching your twenties, I guess. Such a ride can be heavy, so I decided to take it the light way, underlining through comedy the absurdity of existence. Humor really is a superpower, it can change one’s perspective in fascinating ways and peculiarly gifts human life with hale dignity.

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

It took about ten days: I had to deliver a short film to film school, and I was running out of time.

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

This sounds like looking for a title: ‘philosophical egg’.

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

Editing the face of Akuzike Mauluka (Mister Egg) onto the egg forced my to push the boundaries of my basic VFX skills a little further. But the hardest part was probably acknowledging the value of my work while it was coming to life in the final phase of editing; I am very critical of my works, especially when I just finished them. I seem to notice more their weaknesses than their strengths, and with ‘Mister Egg’ that was the case: only various precious external points of view helped me shedding a light on its virtues too. A process which furtherly unfolded through watching the audience feedback video.

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

Some kind of alienation, it seemed surreal to me that they were talking, from a theatre on the other side of the world, about my film on a talking egg. It was an enlightening experience somehow, it was the first time I heard about Mister Egg from someone I don’t personally know. My interior voice reacted something like this: ‘Who are you, ladies and gents? What do you want from me? Why are you saying nice things about my short film I made in my kitchen a couple of misty winters ago? Well, thank you kind strangers!’. I also had a laugh when Paolo Valenti (Paul) was compared to Jon Snow – this often happens with him.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

As I previously mentioned, I had to submit a short film to film school. I was lacking an idea which would satisfy me, and time was running short. I was standing in the kitchen, around midnight, scratching my beardless chin in pursuit of inspiration. Then I looked at the frying pan, love-heartedly thinking about how I ate an egg everyday for breakfast, and not-so-love-heartedly realising how this would have raised my cholesterol levels very quickly. Cholesterol apart, I imagined a philosophical conversation between an ordinary guy and his breakfast’s egg, and was fascinated by such egg’s hypothetical perspective. An interaction which offered me new dialogic ‘toys’ to play with.

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

Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

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

I can’t compare it to past tools of submission, since this was my first experience with festivals. However, I don’t think it can get simpler than that, and this is positive. Upload your work, look for festivals, send it through: it goes straight to the point.

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

Comfortably Numb by Pink Floyd.

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

Lately I’ve been writing quite a few short scripts. To be honest, quite a lot short scripts. Too many of them, indeed. By focusing on one of them, in the next months I will dedicate myself to making it come to life. Unfortunately, I lost the habit of eating eggs for breakfast. My cholesterol levels are OK, but I’ll have to seek inspiration elsewhere!

Interview with Filmmaker Siqi Xiao (FARTMAN)

FARTMAS was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the March 2019 Comedy & Drama Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Siqi Xiao: Too many people are so serious~~You know the students who learning filmmaking here, everybody wanna be a film master and win the oscar! I am not! I just wanna be an entertaimer to let people happy. But I do sent the massage—“don’t waste your talent”. So it’s not only a shity comedy.
I used to be a singer and I wasted my talent. So I want to let people know everybody has talent, don’t waste it!

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

It’s been one year. When I started my film school I got this idea. And a lots of people laugh at me. I started to write it and finish it from July-2017 to March-2018.

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

fart talent

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

A scene in downtown LA, there were too many homeless interrupted our shooting.

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

I finally heard something that people around me would not say.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I saw too many “man”, batman, superman, spiderman, why their superpower so cool?! why can’t be a fart? why can’t be an Asian guy?

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

1-7,LOL~ OK,Forrest Gump!

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

It’s hard to find the “Right One” you should submit.

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

A Chinese Song

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

yeah~of course! keep going!

Interview with Producer Rebecca Scotti (BUILD RAMPS NOT WALLS)

BUILD RAMPS NOT WALLS played to rave reviews at the March 2019 Documentary Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Rebecca Scotti: Our skate community, namely Nat and Emilio!

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

It took 18 months from idea to release.

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

Still Relevant!

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

We had so much footage, it was challenging to pull out the storyline while maintaining the spirit of DIY skate and the candid commentary of the skaters and their community.

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

At first we were nervous as you can imagine, but when we saw the smiles and heard the positive responses, we felt inspired to continue.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea came out of the kids and the skate community.

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

Very easy.

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

We continue to work with the community in Puerto Vallarta and are looking at projects in other skate communities impacted negatively by current politics.

Interview with Filmmaker Cynthia Hunt (ICE FLOW)

ICE FLOW played to rave reviews at the March 2019 Experimental Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Cynthia Hunt: I wanted to make this film for many reasons. I was extremely concerned about how much the weather had changed in the Yukon, where the film was made so I started to tune in the intense beauty of the changing season from fall to winter. I also wanted to project humans as only one life form along a river and let the river be the main character in the film. This proved to be a challenging exercise.

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

C It took a considerable time. The shooting ran through a fall for 2 months and the editing I did on an off for a year. I presented the film and then edited it more, several times.

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

C. River voices.

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

C. My computer is from 2011 and is only a 13” MacBook Pro. The film kept crashing the computer and later I found out that the 13” MacBook Pro does not have a designated graphics card. When I updated the computer this spring it no longer accepted my video .mts files from my camera. The sound was garbled. Eek!

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

C. I found watching the video of the audiences comments very touching. It was lovely to hear the what they said and to see that the viewers got my film. This meant a lot to me. I also loved seeing my family in attendance.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

C. I am a painter and I am completely absorbed by the colours on the water outside my cabin. I could film and paint this subject forever.

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

C. I love so many films, I am not sure which one I’ve watched the most.

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

C. Entering the festival circuit with a film made without any money and trying to figure out where to send it and also how to put together a package is overwhelming. FilmFreeway makes it as easy as possible but this is definitely an area I need to learn more about.

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

This changes depending on the time in my life and my emotions. Right now I love to listen to sounds in nature most of all, in particular bird songs like the American Dipper shown in my film.

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

C. I am painting and dreaming up films all the time. I have a film in my head set in an urban setting and 3 more films in the setting I made this film in. As well, I have some editing to do on other films I shot once I can upgrade to a new MacBook Pro.