Interview with Filmmaker Barry Fahy (BOY RACER)

BOY RACER was the winner of BEST FILM at the May 2019 Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Barry Fahy: The world is so full of negative stories these days, I wanted to tell a real story that almost everyone can relate to that makes people smile. Even if it’s just a small break from the norm, to have that little bit of a change from reality and maybe think back to when we all were younger and hopefully bring some of that feeling with you for the rest of the day.

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

This was actually a pretty quickly turn around short. We came up with the idea in June, shot in July, and Post was completed in August! It was one that from concept everyone just got super excited about and everyone backed it from the get go! When you have a team, like Celtic Badger Media, that are as excited about the project as you, things can get done pretty quickly!

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

Playful Innocence

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

This whole film actually went really smoothly. The biggest worry in PreProduction was Finding the right child actor. We needed to find someone young enough to bring that pure imagination and happiness alive on screen, but old enough to be able to understand direction and be able to change his reactions and expressions based on what I asked him to do. We were super lucky to have found Sean Murphy (Who plays Evan) through Nigel Mercier at the Limerick School of Acting. Sean was fantastic, took direction really well, was fun to work with and was a trooper to hang out and film all day! It’s also been great for him as he’s won 2 best young actor awards and had several nominations too! Big thanks to Sean’s Parents, Paddy and Dervala, and his younger sister Grace, for being fantastic for the whole shoot!

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

I smiled…. I smiled the biggest goofiest smile I have. I was delighted to hear the audience felt that sense of wonder and playfulness that comes with innocence. I think people really got it and took something positive from the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

We were talking about shooting a short in a signal location and it was actually my Fiancé that came up with the initial concept about shooting in my Fathers garage and having an imaginary race in his Rally Car. I instantly got super excited about the concept and fleshed out the story over the next 2 days and had pretty much the final shooting script the following week!

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

Honestly, probably Team America – World Police. In College I loved that movie and could quote most of the movie. But in most recent memory, maybe Captain America – Winter Soldier or Fight Club.

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

I quite like filmfreeway as a platform. I think the search criteria when looking for festivals could be better, particularly non genre specific festivals. Boy Racer for example is a hard film to give a specific genre. It’s not really a Drama, or a comedy, a sci fi or fantasy…

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

Palahnuiks Laughter – Fightstar

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

Well as part of Celtic Badger Media we are currently in Post Production on our Second Independent feature, a horror film called “The Perished” directed by Paddy Murphy which I was DOP on. Aiming to have that completed and being submitted to festivals in June/July. As for Directing, I have been working on a few Music Videos, I have another short Written by Paddy Murphy I aim to Direct, we have a 48hr film competition coming up in June and I’m currently developing a feature script that I’d be planning to make in the next year or two. Good thing Badgers don’t sleep much!

You can keep up with Celtic Badger Media on Facebook here https://facebook.com/CelticBadgerMedia/

and Patreon (where Boy Racer is available to watch now) https://www.patreon.com/CelticBadgerMedia

Advertisements

Interview with Filmmaker Myriam Kamel (MY BROTHER)

MY BROTHER played to rave reviews at the April 2019 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Myriam Kamel: I definitely wanted to show diversity on the screen. Montreal is such a cultural city, and as beautiful as it is it also comes with its issues. I wanted to portray it on the screen.

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

I thought about this film for about 3 years before writing the first version. Then from writing to the first screening it took about 8 months.

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

Cultural film

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

Casting was the biggest challenge throughout this film. There are not a lot of arabic actors in Montreal and the few I met didn’t correspond much to the characters. Casting was a very long process and I was very lucky to find Hamza and Fayçal.

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

At first I was very very VERY nervous, but after I was relieved. It’s amazing to get that kind of feedback from strangers. I loved that people who had trouble relating to the story or who didn’t understand certain things had the guts to speak out and say it. Too often it feels like people are too scared to say what they think for fear of hurting your feelings, but I know that my work is not perfect and I had an idea of what didn’t come out right with this film. This feedback helped me confirm it and think of what I could have done differently. It was very constructive and I’m very grateful for it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I knew I wanted to make a film about culture differences. Growing up in Montreal I’ve always felt like I had to behave a certain way inside the house and another when I was out. My beliefs were often challenged and my parents didn’t always understand how it changed me. After discussing it with other people I realized that I wasn’t the only one going through this sort of dilemna where I felt I had to chose between my family and what I wanted, and so I wanted to write about it.

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

In my whole life it would be La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz, but recently I’ve just watched Divines by Uda Benyamina and I’m in love with it. It’s a sad film, but it’s beautiful, very well-made. I love french cinema.

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

I like that there is such a platform, it definitely eases the submission process and it’s great to have access to so many festivals in one place, but sometimes it does feel like your film is only one in a million. It’s also hard to figure out which festivals are active on FilmFreeway.

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

Like Ships in the Night – Mat Kearney

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

Working on my next short 🙂

Interview with Filmmaker Annabelle Frost (G(R)O(W)ING UP)

G(R)O(W)ING UP was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the April 2019 Female Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Annabelle Frost: My boss at the time encouraged me to make a film as he knew I had professional directing aspirations.

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

I started seriously writing this version of the short (there were others!) in December of 2015. We shot it in June of 2016. I finally finished post, with music coming in last, in September of 2017. So a little less than 2 years total.

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

Romantic & visual

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

Probably money. We spent a lot more than I would’ve liked b/c we had to a have a fire safety officer with us all 3 days and yet there was no ‘short film’ break on that. We had to pay what a full budget Hollywood film would’ve paid. Our location wasn’t cheap either BUT I believe it was worth it because it looked so strong on film it gave the piece a rich, visual unity.

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

My initial reaction was: grateful. It’s so hard to get honest reviews of your work and because you are so close to it as the artist you can’t really ever get a good, objective perspective on it yourself. It’s invaluable to hear what someone, who’s just watching it in a theater without having read the script or participated in the shoot, has to say about their experience viewing it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I had been kicking around a split screen idea that would track a relationship from beginning to end. I needed to keep the story simple because the structure was going to be complex. Ultimately, the structure was TOO complex to work as a 10 minute short film so I ended up writing this version that tracks a relationship as it goes up and down with a bit of structural complexity but not as much as I was originally going for.

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

Young Sherlock Holmes.

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

Worked great! No issues at all.

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

It’s got to be a tie between Sting’s “Be Still My Beating Heart” and Peter Gabriel’s “Red Rain”.

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

I directed an episode of Gotham last season. Hoping to direct more episodes of television soon!

Interview with Filmmaker Samantha McDanel (PAGEANT PERFECT)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Samantha McDanel: This was my final collegiate project while in film school and I wanted to create something with my voice but different from everything I’ve created before.

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

Being a school project, this film was fairly rushed. From idea to script, pre-production, production, and post, this film took about 3 1/2 months.

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

Surreal Relationship

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

There were a few obstacles, the biggest being the time-frame to film and complete the film. We had a SAG-AFTRA actress, Michelle, as out main character, but casting her and getting paperwork in before our shooting dates was a big challenge. We had multiple young actresses on set, including our other lead actress Miriam, in which we had to really be on the ball with our shooting.

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

I loved the feedback video! It was very cool to see people who don’t know anything about me really take in the story and discuss their thoughts. People really understood the idea behind it all, the relationship between a mother and a daughter. I truly enjoyed listening to how each person interpreted the film.

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

This film originated from a separate idea circling around the concept of mothers criticizing their daughters. I think many children experience this, especially young girls because there are many expectations surrounding being a young woman. I was motivated to show this with an extreme approach. Putting this in the context of pageantry with an overly nitpicking mother actually replacing parts of her daughter, makes an audience look at how ridiculous and awful it is. But we as a society see young women change their appearances all the time, so it’s not really all that extreme…

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

This is a great question and my answer will sound funny… My most watched film is Scooby-Doo: The Movie (2002). I wrote multiple analysis papers on this film while in college and I truly enjoy watching this movie.

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

I love Film Freeway, it makes it easier to search for and find film festivals perfect for your film, as well as look at your submissions in one place. I hope festivals continue using film freeway.

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

Probably a Disney musical song, those are my jams.

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

Currently, I am working on a few projects. A new horror short that I’ve written is beginning pre-production and I am writing a feature based off of the Pageant Perfect short. Pageant Perfect is now a proof-of-concept to a much bigger story.

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 = )

social

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!