Interview with Filmmaker Greg Tudéla (BREAKDOWN)

BREAKDOWN was the winner of BEST FILM at the January 2019 EUROPEAN Short Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to do this movie?

Greg Tudela: I wanted to do a dark comedy against a backdrop of crisis. There has been a social divide in France for years, people are more and more desperate, more and more violent, so I wanted to talk about this. But as I wanted to talk about it with a comedy, I decided to talk about a helpless unemployed person pointing the bar where he goes every day, because he does not know what to do in his life and that he lost his job.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did you have to do that?

This idea turned in my mind for 2-3 years, and then I showed the screenplay to Marc Ribaudo, who had a production company and with whom we made “corporate” films. He said he wanted to produce it right away. The next day, a mutual called us to make a film. We decided to make the film without being paid and we put this money in “BREAKDOWN”. We shot the film a month later, mid October. I edited the movie in the wake, Guillaume Farley composed the music in two afternoons, Philippe Demouy made a premix and we sent a work in progress version early november to the International film festival of l’Alpe d’Huez. We were selected among the 11 films in competition, over 250 and early January, we were at the Alpe d’Huez, the largest comedy festival in France. The career of Breakdown had begun.

How would you describe your short film in two words?

Breakdown is It’s a blaze of lead (not easy to find a really literal English translation anyway)

4. What is the main obstacle you encountered while producing this film?

The film was shot in two days, even if it would have been better for us to shoot it in three days. I can’t complain anyway. Actors and crew were fantastic.

5. What were your first reactions when you watched the audience talk about your movie in the rendering video?

I was very proud because they understood the spirit and style of the film. A genre film mastered and original. It is very rewarding to talk about his film on another continent.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you get the idea for this short film?

The social situation in France, due to the increase in unemployment, made the atmosphere tense, especially in my neighborhood. So I wanted to tell this story in a neighborhood bar.

7. Which movie did you see most in your life?

Probably “Once upon a time in America” by Sergio Leone.

8. You have submitted to the festival via Film Freeway, how do you feel about the submission platform from the point of view of a filmmaker?

Thanks to Film Freeway, one of the best submission plateform. We have been able to participate in more than 52 festivals, in the United States, Canada, England, China, Croatia, etc… and won 18 international awards. It was a real springboard for “Breakdown”.

Thank you Film Freeway!!!

9. Which song have you listened to most often in your life?

I think it’s a Nina Simone song “Is not got no, I got life”

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Interview with Filmmaker Tim Jockel (HYPRA)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Tim Jockel: To collaborate with another creative (the dancer). To express myself visually and try out new animation techniques.

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

about 6months.

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

visual storm

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

managing a personal project between regular jobs and family life.

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

I really loved the way they connected the films intention to bigger questions in general, like how technology influences art and the way around.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of your short film:

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

I wanted to connect dance with a interactive visual installation. That idea motivated me to do this film

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

Pulp Fiction

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

very good. It’s great to have everything at one place

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

puh. most played song 2018 was Superpoze – Opening

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

working on an projection animation for a light festival right now

Interview with Filmmaker Roisin Kearney (THE FAMILY WAY)

THE FAMILY WAY was the winner of BEST FILM at the January 2019 Female Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Roisin Kearney: I had produced two short films after having a break from film making. I had found it difficult to work in the industry after the birth of my 3 children. The impact of parenthood on your life is very dramatic and it is a subject not often looked at. I had been on a screenwriting course and one of our assignments was on the subject of an unplanned pregnancy and it went from there, I went on to develop the idea with Nuno Bernardo. Abortion was illegal at the time in Ireland and being hotly debated, a woman had died of sepsis during a miscarriage because a heart beat was detected and the 8th amendment to the constitution (equal right to life of mother and fetus) meant that doctors could not intervene until there was proof that the Mother would die if they did not intervene, unfortunately it was too late by the time they did.

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

It took about six months from the time the first draft was written.

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

Heart v Head

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

Money (of course) as we didn’t have any and locations. People were great and allowed us use their premises for free but it was a lot of work getting them all and keeping to a small budget and timeframe.

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

I was delighted they could identify with the characters, Mother Daughter relationships are universal, and although set in Ireland it was great to see the audience could empathize with the situation and enjoy the comedy as well as the drama.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

While doing a course with Mary Kate O Flanagan.

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

The Rocky Horror Show (I worked in a cinema where it played for years) and The Green Mile (on a lot and always worth a watch)

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

It is the only platform I use. Simple and easy to track what you are entering.

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

Kate Bush Withering Heights


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

I have 3 other films currently touring
Prodigy ( written and directed by Naomi Sheridan)
Algorithms ( Written and directed by me)
No Dogs ( Written and directed by me)

I am also looking at making my first feature film. 

 

 

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Interview with Filmmaker Mahée Merica (A SIGN)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Mahée Merica: It’s a pretty silly reason… It all happened during the exam period of my university, and I needed to get distracted. See, people at my uni were really competitive, and always stressed out during the exam period, so everyone is just studying, studying, studying and talking about the exams, creating a pretty worrisome atmosphere on campus. On the opposite, when I am under pressure, I like to do plenty different stuffs to get my mind fresh and relaxed on the actual day of the exam. So I thought it would be the perfect time for me to make a film with some of my friends. I decided to try to write a comedy, because until then I have been doing dramas and experimental, so I wanted to challenge my self and see how it would be to write and direct a comedy that would be both funny and thoughts-provoking.

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

It was very fast: I wrote this film in one afternoon, shot it the following day with my two friends Siham and Thomas who act in it, and then edited it overnight, while Siham was taking care of the music. So we basically made this film in literally two days.

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

Cheeky Fantasy.

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

I would say the cold. We shot it in December, in Montreal. So the temperature was very low, definetly hitting the two digit negative. We had to take lots of breaks during the day to be able to continue shooting in the cold. But the breaks had to be super short, because the sun sets very early in winter, and we had to finish the film before night. As we were only three, and I was simultaneously directing, DOP-ing and recording the sound, it asked a lot of reactivity and organisation from us, but we really had loads of fun!

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

I was so pleased! It’s incredible to see people process your film and debate about it. I put a lot of efforts in everything I do, and I really tried to make the best film possible with the means at my disposal at the time. But this short film was initially just meant to be a small and funny project I made with my friends to distract our selves during the exam period. So seing that people take so much interest in it, truly enjoyed it and even engage in deep discussions about it is just magical. I always aim to provoke thoughts amongst my audience, even with light films like “Un Signe”, and I am really happy to see the spectators understand and react to the themes I wanted to approach, and the questions I wanted to raise. It’s a great motivation boost, and just made me eager to make more films.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Kind of personal experience! I feel like comedy is the most efficient when it is something visual everyone can relate to. When I am a bit lost or stressed out, I tend to see signs everywhere. “If the light turns green in less than 5 seconds, he’ll call me before the end of the week”. I think a lot of people actually think this way. And I know that a lot of us create big fantasies out of small things. We all want to believe in fate. And I feel like we all tend to see our lives as more romanesque as it is, but to me it is not something sad, on the opposite, these believes bring color to our existence. So I thought it would be fun and interesting to make a film that plays with the border between reality and fantasy, and that makes the spectator think about fate and free will.

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

Hmmmm probably Pirates of the Caribbean, as it was my favorite film as a child, haha I know it by heart. But aside from that, I watch Fight Club every 6 months or so, and still discover new aspects of it each time I see it.

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

I think it is actually very user friendly. I really enjoy submitting my films through this platform. You can present your film the way you want to, and the festivals they suggest are all pretty nice.

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

Probably Numb from Linkin Park. I am a huge fan haha

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

I am currently studying at the London Film School, and should get my Masters in Filmmaking by 2021. Right now, I am editing a film I wrote, directed and produced that will be released next April. It is a drama about two friends who want to become actresses. One of them breaks through, while the other has to remain in her shadows. My film explores how the unsuccessful one is torn between her love for her friend, and the envy she resents towards her success, and how she feels guilty for being jealous. I am also writing a documentary that I hope to be able to shoot in May.

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Interview with Filmmaker Natacha Thomas (BLOSSOM)

 BLOSSOM played to rave reviews at the February 2019 ROMANCE Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Natacha Thomas: The motivation to continue to tell stories, to test pictures and especially the big desire to redo projects with a genius team that we started to create on the first film (Red Tale)

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

More or less 6 months from the idea to the finished movie (the time available to make independent film clearly dependent on the availability between personal life and “food work” )

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

toxic temptation

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

The chance to work with a creative and attentive team is that the main challenge is always to let other people really understand your vision, your idea and transcribe it into the reality of a shoot, a post-production process, and this challenge was not an obstacle thanks to them.

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

It’s really cool to hear people talking about your movie! To bring personal theories about what they saw, a film is also made to tell you about your personal ideas, your experiences, so it’s a real chance to hear people speak about one of your stories.

It’s always great to know that people have taken personal time to see your work, to talk about it.

Thank you at the festival team for this idea, especially for the directors that could not be there during the screening!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea for a film (short or feature) is a strange process, it is made up of many stages, sometimes unconscious and really personal…
For Blossom, most obviously, the film speaks of a sacrifice in the name of a vain and futile desire, it speaks about the temptation to metamorphose to please the other.

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

Seven probably but this is clearly not one of the movies that I used as a reference for Blossom.

For Blossom you could find “movies wink” with for example likes the mirrors scene of “The Lady from Shanghai” (https://youtu.be/F-BqDWG72iM) or the scene of the car in Titanic (https://youtu.be/wlDp2aqFhR0) or again the scene of the curse of Aurora in Sleeping Beauty (https://youtu.be/N6UYITSXjfc ),
and I will let you find the other references… 😉

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

It’s really a chance to have this kind of platform, it really simplifies festival submissions. It also allows you to discover opportunities to show your work.

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

During the process of creation of Blossom I listened mainly: Toxic (Britney Spears), the soundtrack of Lost River (especially Chromatics), the soundtrack of Neon Demon or the works of The Goblin and the soundtrack of the videogame The path (Kris Force, Jarboe)

At the moment for another project I listen mostly Loosing my religion (REM)

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

Yes I work now on a 3rd short film that will be a prequel of Blossom and Red Tale (my first two movie) SAUDADE and on other projects  

 

 

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Interview with Filmmaker Erika Kramer (SHE’S MARRYING STEVE)

SHE’S MARRYING STEVE was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES & MUSIC at the February 2019 LGBT Film Festival in February.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erika Kramer: I’ve always wanted to make films that shine light on lesbian characters and on the lesbian experience – I feel that visibility in film/tv is one of the most important methods for progress and acceptance. For this film specifically, I was processing a breakup and trying to understand if I could remain friends with my ex or not. I wanted to explore the larger question of if you can stay friends after a breakup and if being queer adds any complexity to that.

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

I wrote the script very quickly. Then spent a good amount of time cleaning it up and getting smart editors to take a look at it for me. The pre-production was a few weeks then we shot over 5 days – 4 in Connecticut and 1 half day in New York City. I started editing right away and finished that within a few weeks. It was a quick rush to get it out into the world!

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

It’s about love and relationships and how we earn closure on relationships. It’s also about understanding that the world isn’t black and white – there’s a lot that’s gray!

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

Filmmaking is a constant challenge – there’s never enough time, money, people, etc. I think the hardest thing for me, as a first-time director, was remaining confident and in control. I think I did a great job of this, but it was a new experience and it takes a special level of faith in yourself to run a crew. I’m eager to do it again though, so it can’t have been all that tough! 🙂

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

It’s terrifying and humbling and exciting. I just want as many people to see the film as possible. To hear that people not only watched it but were invested in the story and had smart and enthusiastic responses was sooo rewarding. I’m very grateful.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I broke up with my first serious girlfriend and it felt like everyone i knew was settling down and getting married. I really just wanted to explore those feelings and that specific time in life.

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

Such a tough question! There are soooo many. I love Sarah Polley’s work – Take this Waltz is an incredible film. As is Stories We Tell. I might have to say Clueless. Amy Heckerling is a genius and that was such a formative film. That’s a nearly perfect film!

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

FilmFreeway is wonderful!

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

I think Sound & Color by the Alabama Shakes – It’s a perfect album and the song’s beautiful.

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

Working on a feature film! In the writing phase now. Hope to be back at the festival soon 😀 

 

 

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