Interview with Director Margaret Costa (MY NAME IS JOAN)

Margaret Costa’s short film was the winner of BEST FILM at the August 2017 DOCUMENTARY FEEDBACK Short Film Festival

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Margaret Costa: I thought the topic was compelling and the story needed to be told. The fact that the Catholic Church and the Irish Government profited and abused unwed mothers and their children is unimaginable, yet it happened.

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

From start to finish, it took 5 years.

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

What the?

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

Money.

What were your initial reactions sitting in the cinema and watching the audience talking about your film?

Wow. I was right, this is a disturbing topic and the film is compelling.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

I met Susan, she told me about her adoption and I started doing research.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably, the Wizard of Oz.

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 fabulous.

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

That’s tough. My favorite group is Queen, but if I had to pick one song, it would probably be “Rocks Off” by the Stones.

What is next for you? A new film?

I do have a lot of ideas for a new film, but right now I’m negotiating with a distributor to sell this film world wide and will most likely create a longer version for distribution.
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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Director’s Blair Bomar & Olivia Applegate (GRACE & GRIT)

Blair & Olivia’s short film “GRACE & GRIT” played to rave reviews at the August 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Blair & Olivia: We wanted to experiment with the parts of ourselves that are in and out of alignment with the concepts of grace and grit and gain a deeper understanding of the personal impact that arises from marriage of these two ideals. We were also interested in co-directing a project.

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

One month — that was our goal.

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

Experiential discovery

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

Finding clarity in the story

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

Moved by how opinionated/invested the audience was and how our original intention for the message of the story did actually come through/translate/prevail– which was rewarding to see..

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film: 

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

We were both reared in the South and have had interesting journeys, to say the least, in regard to exploring the expectations we grew up trying to fulfill both consciously and unconsciously.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

First Wives Club

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

I’m a fan.

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

The Cranberries- Linger
Run baby run – Sheryl Crow No More I love yous- Annie Lennox Hush Hush – ‘Til Tuesday Aimee Mann

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Jeremy Garcia (STAR WARS: TRIALS)

Played at the Fantasy/Sci-Fi FEEDBACK Film Festival – July 2017

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erlend Bjelland: I’ve always been a huge Star Wars fan and it’s probably the films that originally got me into film making. I had recently gotten my girlfriend the lightsaber prop and thought, “I bet I could light an entire film with this lightsaber”. From there I began brainstorming and that eventually led to ‘Star Wars: Trials’.

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

I was doing nothing but working on this film for probably a solid two months. Doing several camera tests with the saber to make sure we could in fact light this whole thing with the prop. All together I spent about 40 hours rotoscoping the lightsaber effect in each shot frame by frame.

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

Dark, Lonely

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

For this project it was definitely the music. Trying to find something that wasn’t specifically Star Wars but could get you general mood of the film and the setting was tough. I went though several different versions and at one point had just a slowed down version of the Imperial March.

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

Elated! I loved being able to see everyone’s feedback and thoughts. It’s great to see people understand and figure things out about the film that I wanted them too.

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

Part of the lore of Star Wars has always been the Trials that the Padawans must do before becoming a Jedi Knight and we’ve never been able to see that. And at one point our main character was a Jedi. Then I thought that it would be a lot more interesting if the audience (because of the name and the color of the lightsaber) only thought they were seeing a Jedi but who turned out to be not only a darkside user but Vader’s new apprentice. I thought it would be a really cool reveal if we could pull it off.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a tough one! Probably Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back or one of the Indiana Jones films. (Not Crystal Skull

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

So far I have nothing but good things to say about Film Freeway. They make the process super easy and convenient.

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

Another tough one. The songs I listen too most are normally tied to a good music video. Probably Hurt by Johnny Cash.

What is next for you? A new film?

I currently do a lot of work and help out with a production company called Wages of Cine. I’m about to start production as Cinematographer on one of their short films and then later in the year will be Directing a short horror film for them as well.

STAR WARS: TRIALS, 5min, USA, Action/Adventure
Directed by Jeremy Garcia

Rowan awakes in the dark depths of a cave with nothing but her lightsaber. As she navigates the dark environment she learns she may not be alone.

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

Interview with Director Liv Mari Ulla Mortensen (65.5)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Liv Mari Ulla Mortensen: Women in sexual situations are often objectified in film, and therefore I was fascinated by statistics. Like in the film, I could easily have been reduced into only being «the girl with the father who loved Bob Dylan», like I and my friends also have reduced guys into different nicknames and characteristics. I wanted the girls to take ownership of their statistics and challenge the guy who wrote it. They didn´t want to be remembered as mere statistics.

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

About 2 years. It was written over a couple of months, then it sat for a while before we shot it in two days, with over 30 girls in one small room. The editing process was quite long and challenging.

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

Confronting and calculated

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

I decided to make the film without a score, only depending on the ambience. With many different short clips jumping in time it turned out to be quite challenging to make dynamic ambience that «sows» the film together.

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

It is amazing to be invited into the room of the viewers even though I am in Norway on the other side of the world. A lot of the comments were quite close to my intentions for the film, so seeing the video was both interesting and very motivational.

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

«65,5 women» is based on a poem by Alexander Fallo. When I heard him reading at an event I immediately though «this is a short film!». We have written the script in collaboration, and the film is my free interpretation of his text.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably «The Never-ending Story»!

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

A simple and informative way of navigating through the jungle of film festivals.

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

“Tears in heaven». Broke my heart when I was 6!

What is next for you? A new film?

I am looking forward to premiering my new short film «Flightmode” in festivals this fall, and I am also writing a new short and a feature film.
 

65.5 WOMEN, 6min, Norway, Experimental
Directed by Liv Mari Mortensen

To understand a recent failure, a young man writes a statistic of all the women he ever slept with. As he tries to simplify all of his affairs into simple characteristics the memories start to take over, leaving him to face the only one he truly wanted.

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

Interview with Director Roman Rubert Bernat (REQUEMBARREN)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

REQUEMBARREN was awarded “BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY” at the festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Roman Rubert Bernat: The stories of JL Borges

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

8 months

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

Black atmosphere

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

The numerous natural decorations

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

I was pleasantly surprised

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

Filling the book Pedro Paramo

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Viridiana

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

Very happy

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

Marieta, of Tarrega

What is next for you? A new film?

A film based on the aphorism of Gustav Mahler ‘Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.’

REQUEMBARREN, 16min, Spain, Experimental
Directed by Roman Rubert Bernat Beatrice is a young woman who leaves home to look for Requembarren. After listening to the sad man, to the profaner, and to the incestuous man, she reflects on what happens to her on the journey.

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

Interview with Director Michelle Bailey (DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Michelle Bailey: I really struggle with my mental health and my own perspective of myself. After I made my first film “Dad” which was so honest and emotionally draining for me, I promised I wouldn’t do that to myself again. But when I made Dad I made it for myself and no- one else and after going through so many script ideas i had written I kept asking myself who am i making this film for? Am i connected to this story? When I decided that I needed to make a film for myself again it gave me that freedom just to do it. I had been through a bad relationship where these horrible things were said to me and they were forming my idea of myself and I wanted to manifest it from my head into film so I could hopefully break the cycle. My films are my therapy and I say I make them for myself but I also make them so if anyone else has been through what I’ve been through they can relate and not feel as alone and for me that is important.

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

When I finally made a decision to go with this idea it took a couple of months pre-production. I did a lot of work with Ellie and Karl Herbert before the shoot. Karl is the wonderful choreographer and used to be my dancing teacher when I was Ellie’s age and the two together made such a beautiful passionate dance. The shoot took two days but the post production was where the struggle began. Mostly in sound design as it was really hard to have re live the things being said to me. I actually couldn’t be in the room when it was recorded by Mason Le Long who did the sound design and whose band Batsch was the soundtrack. I gave him a script and left him to it and then would give him notes after listening to it. This emotional struggle i was facing meant that it wasn’t ready for about 8 months after the last shoot day.

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

This has strangely been the hardest question. The two words that come to mind is building resilience. For me them two words are about the film itself, the film making process and my own personal journey as well.

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

Myself, definitely myself . I struggle with my self worth and confidence a lot not just in day to day life but mostly in my film making. It took me 5 years to make a second film and it was because I kept talking myself out of it or that I didn’t think I was good enough. I had to fight myself and if i’m honest I’m still in that battle especially trying to make my third film. There would be days when I couldn’t face editing it because I couldn’t listen to the abuse and relive it so i would avoid it but thankfully I had Mason and the camera crew Brian Harley and Ben Cook to tell me to get on with it. This is why I made the film, to remind myself that i can do it and not that let the bastards grind me down. That and the annoyingly unhelpful security guard of the high rise car park that said we couldn’t film there and refused to give me and the producer, Rachel Carter, contact details to ask someone more higher up. We thankfully got to film there because of Rachel not giving up. We didn’t let that bastard grind us down either.

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

It was surreal. I actually had a bit of a cry because to hear people understanding the film and to truly see what I’m doing means the world to me. I loved that the woman in the audience got the Handmaid’s Tale reference too. I read that book in school and ever since “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum” became my manta of life and as a feminist film maker too.

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

I actually used to do what Ellie, the amazing dancer does in the film. When I was in a bad time in my life and would find myself sobbing uncontrollably and i thought about giving up on life, I would pick myself up and dance. It wouldn’t be on top of a car park but in my living room and it would usually be to The Black Keys Lonely Boy video. That dancing dude in the video got me through a lot. Thanks dancing dude!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I’m probably supposed to say some fancy Italian film here but actually its probably “Mean Girls”. It came out during that flood of terrible American teen films where the “nerdy” girl was actually beautiful and popular if you take her glasses off and can get the jock. Mean girls took that formula and put a good strong feminist message in there which was so needed at its time or what I needed at the time at least. I also loved “Return to Oz” since I was a little girl, its dystopian 80’s take on Oz was fascinating to me and I could listen to the sound of Tick Tock walking for hours.

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

I think its great and give filmmakers easy access to the film festivals. I wouldn’t have found out about this festival if it wasn’t for it and I’m very grateful for that.

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

Tough one. Like everyone different songs get me through different times in my life. I love Billie Holiday. She puts everything into her songs, you can hear her pain and her joy. “Lady sings the blues” and “Summertime” are two of my favorites. And if i’m honest probably anything by Spice Girls (I listened to them on repeat when I was 10 – 12 to the annoyance of my neighbours)

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently writing a feature script which looks at similar themes of “Don’t Let The Bastards Grind you Down” and I’m in the middle of shooting a horror short film about depression which I’m having a love/hate relationship with. Hopefully I won’t talk myself out finishing it!

DON’T LET THE BASTARDS GRIND YOU DOWN, 4min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Michelle Bailey

A young girl girl searches for a safe haven in an urban landscape and finds solace in her own creative expression.

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