Interview with Filmmaker Isaac Elliott (A STATIC WIND)

A STATIC WIND was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the June 2018 Young Filmmaker’s FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Isaac Elliott: I had just finished uni and was left without a clear path to a career in film making. So the best way to get in is to make stuff, good or bad, just to make stuff. I turned inward and tried to find a story to tell and this came out of it.

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

It took a total of around 23 months from idea to completion. It was initially conceived in March 2014 and after a number of drafts we held a crowdfunding campaign and attempted to shoot it in January 2015. With much of the budget going to a weekend away – the rest would be in a studio – we were rained out and had countless issues without getting anything really in the can. With more than half the budget gone and no way to keep going, the film was called off.

I then started my honours year at Uni and began work on a another project but this was during a tumultuous personal time and I wasn’t able to crack the story. So i pulled A static Wind back out fo the drawer and got to work, cut it, tightened it and focussed it. The second shoot then was in November 2015 with a new crew, new cast and a uni deadline, we were able to get it done. It was then finished in February 2016.

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

Hello World

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

Weather was huge. The weather in Melbourne Australia is a fickle thing, one day it can be sunny and 35 degrees celsius and the next it can be 18, with black rain clouds. We had to gamble and go for it and fortunately it lucked out.

I would also say shooting in a pool, at night time, with daylight meant that we had around 2hrs with the youngest boys to shoot the pool and not much more with the others. It became a race to get it done and stay warm.

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

My initial reaction was ‘they get it’. I have always had mixed feeling about A Static Wind and its nice to see an audience responding so positively to it.

Although in saying that the one thing that wasn’t specifically mentioned in the script was that the other two children were foster children, which is why they are new every year. This rarely comes across, yet the tone and their effect on Silvy seems to conjure the intended response regardless. Which is nice.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea came through a series of lat night note writing in my phone while coming to terms with my inability to connect emotionally to people. Exploring these emotions and ideas and putting a character into that position where she is deflective of personal connection and its only through a turmoil that she can come out from behind her book, look out the window and appreciate both the people and the world around her.

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

Well i grew up in the country without television reception so during my formative years i would watch and a rewatched a series of pirated VHS tapes. And in this time i think the more i saw the most was Bowfinger with Eddie Murphy. Its a seriously underrated film and probably the best movie about making a movie ive seen.

However once deciding to become a film maker, the most influential and informative film I have seem would probably be Blue Valentine. Damn i love that movie. Hits me right the feels.

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

Film Freeway is the best out fo the numerous platforms. Its easy to use, easy to search and easy to submit.

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

I’ll list two

Eminem – Guilty Conscience when i wanted say ‘F&*k the world”

Billy Joel – You May Be right when i wanted to say ‘F&*k the world’ but quietly to myself in my room.

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

Im working on a new short at the moment, I will keep you posted how it goes.

However as a producer I have recently produced and stared in a Feature Documentary entitled FINKE:there and back about a motorcycle race in my home town of Alice Springs. It has recently had its world Premiere at the Sydney Film Festival and will be travelling through the Australian Festival circuit over the next 9 months or so before a cinema release likely early 2019 through Madman Entertainment. It was narrated by Eric Bana which was a huge boon and will hopefully allow it to open in the North American Market.

Further to this i also have a kids TV series in development which will hopefully move into pre-production early next year. This will be 15 x half hour episodes which will allow me to direct a number of episodes on a larger scale.

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

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Interview with Filmmaker 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 Ross Godwin (9 SECONDS)

9 SECONDS played to rave reviews and was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the May 2018 ACTION/ADVENTURE FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ross Godwin: After my friend Lindsey Sitz had written it, she almost immediately wrote it off as too complicated/expensive/difficult to produce. We were both in film school at the time, and both considering thesis films, and were always on the hunt for a good project, I asked if I could buy the rights from her, and she agreed. At the time I had begun writing another project that was family drama and all took place in roughly one house, super simple production and whatnot, but then a friend brought me onto his thesis film. His project was a hugely ambitious sci fi film that made use of all kinds of effects and production techniques that you wouldn’t expect from a student film, and all on a shoestring budget. I guess the experience made me feel more ambitious and eager to take risks, so I set out to tackle ‘9 Seconds,’ which had gun battles, animals, children, dystopian locations (basically a laundry-list of DO NOTS for film school projects). Ultimately I’m glad we took it on, as it was a fun challenge and I learned a lot from it.

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

The process took roughly two years from when Lindsey first wrote it to wrapping post production.

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

Blue Square.

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

The biggest production challenge was definitely finding locations. We needed to find multiple spaces that could feasibly look like bombed-out warzones, which it turns out are hard to find in a place that has never been a bombed out warzone. Luckily, Baltimore wasn’t far away.

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

I am always very grateful to hear feedback from anyone willing to offer it, especially from people who don’t have a personal stake in it or me. As a young filmmaker, I always want to improve and get better, and I find that the honesty of critique to be the ultimate took in achieving that goal.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

My friend Lindsey Sitz (screenwriter) and I have a mutual friend who grew up in Palestine. She has many stories from her childhood, and the premise for ‘9 Seconds’ is based on one such true story.

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

Not counting the original Star Wars trilogy, probably ‘The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou’.

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

I think its wonderful to have a streamlined means for filmmakers of all stripes to be able to submit to a broad range of festivals, and similarly for festivals of all stripes to be connected to those filmmakers. Its a beautiful thing.

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

I really couldn’t tell you.

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

Coming up next will be a feature film called ‘Red Oil,’ a dark comedy crime/heist movie that takes place in 1970s Nepal. As you can see, I haven’t been dissuaded from pursuing projects that are way too complicated. Stay tuned!

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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.