Interview with Poet Denise Dowdell-Stent (Filigree Angels: A Miracle Awakens)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

The theme of my poem is not a construct that I like to impose on my reader. To me, poetry is an art form: fluid, ever changing, transforming… My poetry has no absolutes, no fixed tenets. That’s not to say that I don’t always have a theme in mind when I put pen to paper, but that what I write is personal and meaningful to me, and I want my readers to experience that same sense of significance and for my words to resonate with them; in order for that to occur, a poem must be open to individual interpretation and not become a theme that is imposed. So, my answer to your question is to urge the reader to ask of themselves: what does this poem mean to you?

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

All my poems are motivated by my emotional state – a need for self-expression, as a receptacle in which I can pour out my thoughts and feelings in a productive and cathartic way – creating an artistic and energetic flow. In this particular instance Filigree Angels carries a message of hope and rebirth – of new beginnings and burgeoning potential.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Most of my life! I learnt to read and write at the age of two, and stories and poetry were a natural manifestation of my wild and limitless imagination. However, my poetry writing became much more of a conscious and deliberate practice at around sixteen years of age, as a way of navigating the turbulent seas of teenaged emotions!

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

Only one person?! I think I would choose Mary Magdalene, as she was a powerful and erudite woman, but her true story was – quite literally – buried for millennia. During this time, she was much maligned by the Church, who greatly feared that Jesus thought so highly of her, giving her an equal place amongst his male disciples. For a woman to hold such a position of power – and worse – outshine and usurp the qualities of certain men – was unacceptable to those who wished to preserve and perpetuate, the patriarchal system within the Church. An apology was issued by the Church, millennia later, admitting that they had hidden the truth about Mary Magdalene – that her contributions to the gospel had been torn and buried within a wall – and that her tarnished reputation as a prostitute and one possessed by a demon, was a complete fallacy; one they had created to erase this fascinating woman from history, so far as they could. I would love to hear about her life and times with Jesus, what it was like being an educated, intelligent woman in a fiercely patriarchal society!

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

First and foremost, I wanted to hear my poem, spoken by someone who has oratorical experience – but more specifically – would be able to interpret and convey the emotional currents within my poem. As I mentioned earlier, my poems are open to interpretation, so I was curious to see how a professional actor would interpret such material. I have to say, I am incredibly impressed with the end result!

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

Yes! I write Young Adult Fantasy Fiction. I am currently working on the final installment of my Eternal Trilogy. Do check out http://www.eternaluk.com for more information! I do also write scripts, short stories, and narrate too.

7) What is your passion in life?

My babies (human and furry!); my family and friends; communing with nature, reading and creating: in the form of words, artwork, cooking, sculpting – but particularly using my words to create new realities and a chance to escape this current reality, albeit for just a short time each day!

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Performed by Val Cole

Interview with Filmmaker Beau Garner (THE ADVENTURES OF THE GRAY HAT HACKER)

THE ADVENTURES OF THE GRAY HAT HACKER was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the June 2021 SCI-FI/FANTASY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This movie was a labor of love due to the fact it was a movie that I made for and with my brother, Liam Dow (Gray Hat Hacker). He started writing the comics as a kid and during that process, he also became an actor. It had potential so him and I overhauled the story and that’s what you see today. I also think that people enjoy the dynamic of Gray and Petri because it has so much of him and I in those characters.

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

The idea for this short from script to screen was about an 18 month process. Being a first time director, I really wanted to put something together that would be really interesting and cool. Being the editor as well, made me have complete freedom to try different ideas, which resulted in the comic book opening, soundtrack changes and constant reworking of the story and beats.

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

Sci-Fi Epic

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

The biggest hurdle was finding the correct person to do the VFX and we truly are fortunate to have Badhon in this production. He took all my crazy ideas that I added to almost daily and made them a reality.

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

It felt great to know that people were enjoying the film and really enjoying the story. I love that people want to see more! It’ll come, hopefully!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I started out as a musician and actor and never thought I would direct but my brother had created such a cool story that we had to make something out of it. This short made me want to continue making films. I really loved the process and will make films as long as possible.

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

That’s a tough question, probably “The Departed” by Martin Scorsese.

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

It’s great! Very filmmaker friendly.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Can’t go wrong with a good steak!

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

Yes, I’m in the process of completing a horror feature right now and I’m sitting on 4 scripts. The goal is to release 5 projects this year.

Interview with Filmmaker Gwen Isaac (TOKYO WOMAN)

TOKYO WOMAN was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the June 2021 DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

I was inspired to make this film because I could see Japanese women were caught in the cross hairs of history with regards to having agency over their lives. I wanted to give them the chance to tell their stories, their way.

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

This short took one year to make.

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

Confronting, intimate.

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

Post production funding.

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

I cried, I found it extremely flattering and emboldening. I am having a hard time getting a feature off the ground at the moment and all these intelligent, engaging people with their really insightful remarks and feedback were just what I needed to hear.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I watched “Fame” the TV series, aged ten, in my little seaside hometown in New Zealand.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

“Ghostbusters”, “Breakfast Club” and everything Kim Longinotto (documentary filmmaker) makes.

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 extremely professional, streamlined and an easy interface to navigate.

What is your favorite meal?

Pasta of any variety.

What is next for you? A new film?

My new film is about a pink-haired scientist who doesn’t play by the rules and is the reason why New Zealand is the covid-success story of the world.

Interview with Filmmaker Dmitriy Hanuka (LIFE CYCLE)

LIFE CYCLE played to rave reviews at the June 2021 ROMANCE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

While suffering from insomnia, I began listening to a song that captured my emotions. The harmonious alternations of the guitar strings penetrated my heart and inspired my soul. I Thought to myself, “it would be a fantastic idea to produce a short film to this beautiful composition…” Since I was so inspired, I decided to experiment and see if I can make a short film entirely from stock footage (this was my only means to making a film in the moment of my inspiration).

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

5-6 hours

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

Exactly as I titled it, “Life Cycle”.

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

As I started the project, I quickly realized how immensely challenging it is to make a story out of stock footage, as the people in stock footage almost never match up nor can I find the perfect scene that I desire.

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

Overjoyed and humbled that everyone loved it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

When I was 11, I used up all of the money that I ever received from birthday presents and other gifts, and bought myself an old school Sony tape camcorder. With no ability to edit the footage, it was a huge challenge to make cool stories, but I did anyways and had a lot of fun. However, as I grew older, I pursued a different path in life and chose to go into advertising. Now days I use passion for creative films toward making commercial videos for our clients. However, in the near future, I would like to explore the possibly of making a movie from ground up (I even have a very cool script that I wrote for it).

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

Groundhog Day, probably, one of my all time favorites.

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

Very easy to use, great platform.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Sushi with hot sake, kanpai!

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

Yes, a new film… As long as I get some financial support for it or volunteer manpower, it will be pretty epic. The story that I wrote is nothing like you’ve seen before, about afterlife… maybe I’ll need to publish it as a book first.

Interview with Filmmaker Joseph Fletcher (MOVING MEDITATION)

MOVING MEDITATION played to rave reviews at the June 2021 DOCUMENTARY SPORTS Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have always been passionate about the benefits of sports and recreation. Eric had the ability to articulate these benefits in a really unique and inspiring way. When Eric shared the story of his experience with police brutality, I felt like it was really important to examine both the benefits of recreation and the barriers faced by people of color in America when it comes to accessing these benefits.

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

Eric and I began filming together in 2018, but the idea for this film didn’t come about until late 2019. From it’s conception to completion it was around 18 months.

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

Moving Meditation! Eric used this phrase to describe skateboarding and I think it’s the most concise description of what this film is about.

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

Time and resources. As an independent filmmaker I didn’t have the budget to hire a crew, so I ended up shooting and editing the majority of the project myself.

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

It was amazing to hear the reactions and critiques in the feedback video. I was touched to see that the film resonates with so many people.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I started watching ski movies obsessively when I was like 12 or 13. The marriage of beautiful music and imagery in those films felt like the holy grail of creative expression. I began documenting my own recreational pursuits and quickly discovered my passion for visual storytelling.

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

Probably the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I’m obsessed with sci-fi/fantasy.

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

I think it’s a great way to get your film out there and get as many eyes on it as possible. This is my first time using the platform and it has helped in distributing this film tremendously.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Chicken Parmesan made by my incredible mother. I’d eat it every day if I could!

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

I plan to continue to make documentaries that examine the psychological and sociological reasons for “play.” I grew up on action sports films, but back then they were more like montages that lacked a deeper purpose, so I’m hoping to contribute to that genre by making socially and culturally impactful action sports documentaries.

Interview with Filmmaker Jamiel Laurence (COLLECTIVE STASIS)

COLLECTIVE STASIS was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the June 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

COLLECTIVE STASIS is really an expression of the anxiety and fear of the unknown that myself and my friends/family and colleagues were feeling in response to the initial severe lockdown across the UK at the time.

I decided to make the film as a way to keep going, continue my practice and create a way for me to see my friends at a safe distance and communicating our feelings through dance.

It had a pseudo nature documentary at a result as I really wanted to capture a moment in time – A dancers routine during isolation.

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

I shot over 10 hours of footage across the 9 locations, which in this case were peoples house windows. I then spent over 3 weeks curating the shots for the final film as I wanted to keep that feeling of unease going until the last moment.

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

Collective Stasis!

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

I had to introduce learning online through recorded tutorials, and create the material for the film in the lockdown setting, which at the time was very new. I had 2x2m of dance floor to work with, but I knew that if the narrative message was strong enough then even a very extracted version of my idea would work.

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

This is the first time that I have witnessed someone I have not met take the time to breakdown one of my works in detail, outside of anonymous YouTube commentators or 1 word responses.

This film is quite hard to swallow for my immediate circle of movement heavy choreographers and dance artists, and the feedback confirmed for me what the public reception for work like this might be going forwards.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I was capturing my danced work in the studio in a way that led to a friend telling me that things were looking very cinematic. I think that growing up with an eye for cinema and TV, I have naturally evolved my choreographic practice to include filmmaking as a way to speak my artistic voice traditional stage settings.

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

Star Wars. The good ones!!

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

FilmFreeway has become an ideal way to make submissions easy to make, especially for those of us self producing.

9. What is your favorite meal?

One made with care and attention to detail.

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

I have just retired from a 12 year career as a soloist of Scottish Ballet, and right now I’m taking this opportunity to say yes to everything! Check out JamielLaurence.com for regular updates on all that i’m up to.

Interview with Filmmaker JC Little (2020)

2020 played to rave reviews at the June 2021 ANIMATION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Obviously 2020 was bad for everyone right? Raging pandemic, people divided, planet on fire. One of my friends was dying of cancer and in the online support group of friends, and one day we were commiserating because one has a teenage daughter who is a kidney transplant survivor and she was having some trouble. I personally was facing breast surgery and living with mono, plus there was the pandemic, but when I heard about my friend’s daughter it was all just too much. The idea for the film just popped into my head. Probably a coping mechanism for The Overwhemption! The thought of this teenager seeing the film and maybe laughing motivated me at the start. It was like we all need to laugh at this terrible year and put it in its place. And then when I found the song “Literal Shit” by Apache Tomcat, I was like dangit NOW I HAVE TO DO THIS FILM.

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

My films in this style don’t take me long; usually a few days to a week, as it’s limited animation. But I was pretty sick at the time so I think it was about three weeks of work over a three month period. I also embellished the animation, made some scenes fuller.

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

Unrelenting disaster.

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

I was siiiiiick.

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

I felt gratified and validated. The reactions seemed to be authentic and the feedback was well thought-out and concisely articulated. It was cool to see that these people understood what I was going for with the film, the got the nuance of how I went about my storytelling with tried and true animation devices, and even connected with who I am as an artist. It felt really good.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve been working in the animation industry since 1982-ish, so about 40 years. I’ve done everything from painting cels to cleanup artist to producer to director. I went independent as a filmmaker around 2010 doing little animated shorts for my blog The Animated Woman.

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

Probably The Wizard of Oz. But it could be Grease. Or even Pineapple Express. Lol.

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

It changed everything for me. It’s so useful. It puts the festival target within reach, it makes it accessible. But filmmakers should know what they want from a festival selection and really research the best festivals for them.

9. What is your favorite meal?

My favourite meal is …soup. No, wait …corn on the cob. Actually it might be dim sum. I’m gonna go with dim sum.

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

As The Animated Woman, I do have another film on the back burner, but I’m planning on finishing my graphic novel “Ball” first. It could be a while. I actually put it on hold to do 2020. To pay the rent, I’m doing a lot of watercolour dog portraits, some as Marvel superheroes. I love my job. But if a film idea strikes me in the meanwhile, I may have to drop everything again just to animate again.

Interview with Filmmaker Holly Schroeder (SHOWDOWN)

SHOWDOWN was the winner of BEST ANIMATION Film at the June 2021 ANIMATION Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Several things motivated me to make Showdown. I watched Westerns as a kid, and of course fell in love with the majestic landscapes and the black and white cowboy outfits. I thought it would be funny to make a Western trying to include every possible Western stereotype. I also thought making a short little practice animation would be a great way to learn 3D animation (that was 4 years ago!).

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

Because I was learning animation as I was working on this video, it took me about 4 years from concept to finished product. Of course I did other things in that 4 years as well, but there were very few times where some segment of my brain was trying to figure out a problem with how to build or animate something.

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

Have fun! Enjoy life! Something like that…

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

I faced several hurdles in the completion of Showdown. One was technical, for example I was having a hard time making water look like water, and I was using an old version of the program, which was very slow to render, so I didn’t get results for sometimes 12 hours. It was very frustrating, because I couldn’t change a setting and see the result, even in the same day.

Another obstacle was that I don’t have any friends that work in animation, so when I got feedback from them, I knew they were limited by their knowledge of the possibilities within the 3D world, and of course no one wants to give a friend negative feedback. So you can imagine how excited I was to be accepted into this festival!

Maybe the most interesting and least expected obstacle was when trying to figure out what the guns should shoot, and how the movie should end, I started getting really worried about being seen as promoting gun violence, and even had several nightmares where I was in a live shooter situation. I knew the guns had to shoot something funny and peaceful, but what? I tried the little flags that say “Pow”, I thought about flowers (the iconic photo of the young woman in one of the Vietnam protests putting flowers in the barrels of the guns of the police), in the end the water just made the most sense to me, being in the desert afterall, and I finally came up with a water that was not perfect but acceptable.

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

I was relieved and overjoyed that they “got it”! I was not sure how much of the story involved knowing me and my sense of humor. At least one of the friends that I had watch “Showdown” early on said something like “that is so you”, which at first I took as a good thing, but slowly over time it started to worry me.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I didn’t realize I wanted to make films until maybe about 15 years ago (I am 55 now). Missoula has a community access cable channel with amazing resources including free camera use and editing suites, so it is easy to get started. My partner at the time and I made a 50 minute film following “An Inconvenient Truth” using climate data from Montana. Shortly after I started making videos I got really interested in adding the 3D animation element to them, but it has taken me years of self teaching to get to where I am.

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

One of the first movies I remember was Logan’s Run, in more modern times I loved The Matrix.

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

I have not had much experience with other platforms, but FilmFreeway is painless.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I love Indian food, unfortunately I live in a place with a real lack of Indian restaurants.

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

I think it will be a while before I have a new story, but I have a friend who is a musician, and we have talked about maybe collaborating on something, possibly more on the experimental side. In the meantime, I am learning the animation program Blender at a deeper level, and etching glass as a hobby, and taking time to see my family who all live on the other side of the country.

There is also a part of me that wants to start some kind of animation club here in Missoula, to help others through some of the initial learning curve, but it is too early to say if that will happen.

Interview with Filmmaker Robert Steven Mack (CHISEL)

CHISEL played to rave reviews at the June 2021 BLACK & WHITE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Chisel is the fourth of five dance or dance-related films I’ve produced as an undergrad at Indiana University, from where I just graduated with a degree in Ballet (with a double major in History and a minor in Classics to keep myself busy!). My first film, Shift, won “Best Film” at your festival last year! However, Chisel is the first film I directed solo. The genesis for the idea was that I wanted to make a film version of the Arabian pas de deux from “The Nutcracker” set in an industrial setting. I also knew from early on that I wanted to shoot on black and white film. I had begun setting the wheels in motion with some collaborators at The Media School when COVID struck and everything got derailed. Even as I was home from school and uncertain of the future, I was intent on still bringing the idea to life. Since I predicted social distancing restrictions, I wanted to do a pas de deux without touching. That’s when the film slowly became darker and more topical, a meditation on the loneliness and fear many of us felt during the pandemic.

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

Roughly a year. I wrote a treatment last summer and set the wheels in motion for pre-production in the beginning of the Fall, when I returned to IU. Finding a collaborator in Caleb Allison, the cinematographer and editor, was very fortunate. He loves shooting on film and had an eye for what I was going for. We shot it in late November over two days. It was a very cold day for the dancers! Once Caleb and I settled on a picture lock, I worked with Isaak Liu and Luke Chernchenko to finish the score and sound design. They both worked quickly so we were able to get it done in February.

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

Contemplative and melancholy.

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

Everyone who worked on the film is either a student or faculty. We all have busy lives so scheduling is always tricky. Apart from that, I wasn’t even sure we’d be able to make it because of COVID restrictions. But we worked safely and everyone was accommodating.

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

I’m thrilled. It’s the first time that I’ve seen the artistic choices I made as a director recognized by an audience. Especially as a novice director, that’s important to hear. I was also happy that everyone’s work, from Alex and Anderson to Caleb, Isaak and Michael Vernon, the choreographer, was recognized, because it deserves to be. Everyone worked for free and put their time and energy into this.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Probably when I was 5 or 6. I’ve always loved movies. The first movie I recall seeing in a theatre was The Polar Express by Robert Zemeckis. There’s an amazing shot early in the film where the camera appears to go through a book the main character has pulled out. You see the letters backwards in the foreground, as if you’re staring from the flip side of a mirror. That image has always stayed with me, for whatever reason.

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

That’s a tough question! Maybe Back to the Future or Top Hat.

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

It makes the whole submission process so much easier. It’s amazing to have all these festivals at your fingertips.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I love a good steak or meatloaf. Those who know me, know that I’m a stickler for a good dessert – cheesecake or a souffle. Not very dancer-like perhaps but there you have it!

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

More dancing and more films, hopefully. I think I’ll always be making films one way or another. I go bananas if I’m just sitting around without a project to keep my mind occupied. I really want to do a musical on 16 mm or Super 8. This idea will keep me up at night until I find a way to do it.

Interview with Filmmaker Jordan Ellis (CROSSING OVER THE DARK)

CROSSING OVER THE DARK played to rave reviews at the June 2021 BLACK & WHITE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The film was an idea that was on the shelf for years after I had graduated from college. It was loosely inspired by personal family events that had experienced death. This was during an uneasy time of self-recovering in my life. That is vaguely a common theme in my film work, a kind of grim outlook on tough subjects in life and how to overcome them. When I first started film school, I produced two shorts that bore some similarities to it, involving themes of love and death and the technical aspect in switching from black-and-white to color.

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

We shot the film for only two days…just two days of production. Preproduction essentially took longer than the shoot itself, mainly trying to assemble the right cast and crew together, saving up on money, and collecting the insurance to manage a real hospital. We filmed a 4K Sony A7S Mark II with only two lenses, an 85mm and 50mm. But all together, the film, including post-production, took about a year-and-a-half to make. The general budget for the short was about $1,000.00.

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

I would say, “experimental” is one word to describe it because my crew and I utilized many unconventional methods in developing the film. You can tell, I’m not the so-called atypical Hollywood director. And if I had to include a second word, I would use a phrase instead, “quickening of the heart,” or to make it easier to follow, allow the audience to undergo some kind of “experience,” some kind of human emotion that speaks to them. I think the audience reaction that I received proves that as it evokes some kind of experience they presumably had themselves, involving love or death.

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

Trying not to make this look like a pretentious turkey. I think if you want to produce a good film that speaks to the heart, you constantly run into the challenge of what people react to the most or finding your target audience. It’s seeing what festivals would actually take it and gaining some kind of critical reaction out of it. It’s always a fear if people will like your work or not.

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

I believe what surprised me the most is that every one of the commentators understood what film literacy actually is. I was flattered by most of the comments too. It was enjoyable. Everyone had a different opinion of what the film meant for them, emotionally. That is the tremendous thing about art, and it should be subjective to those who can cling to a diverse view of what this is about.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

Movies have enthralled me since I was a little kid, watching Disney films constantly on VHS, like Fantasia (1940), Aladdin (1992), Mary Poppins (1964), the Pixar films, and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) that are nonetheless my favorites. When I transitioned into my teenage years, my immense love for the cinema only matured when I was exposed to foreign-language films (Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Krzysztof Kieslowski, Jan Svankmajer, Akira Kurosawa, and Hayao Miyazaki) and the works of Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. This became a revelation for me, understanding that film itself can be something more than just mainstream. It was that and being exposed to the arts, especially photography, when I lived in Phoenix and Richmond. That’s when I decided to become a filmmaker. Even now I was the kid that loved playing Playstation, binge-watched Adult Swim (ATHF and Boondocks are my favs), and enjoyed reading the Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings series. I’m that much of a geek.

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

Wow. This is an extremely thorny question for a filmmaker to barely answer. As a kid, I was always hooked on the Star Wars films. But the films that speak the most to me, involving the human condition: Seven Samurai (1954), Stalker (1979), Winter Light (1963) Wings of Desire (1987), or even 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968). And if I had picked the most underappreciated pictures, William Friedkin’s Sorcerer (1977) or Martin McDonagh’s In Bruges (2008), nihilism at its finest. But that doesn’t halt me from watching bad movies, including ones that are so poorly made that they are masterpieces, like The Room (2003)…I blame Mystery Science Theater 3000 for that, especially being a fan of that show.

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

So far my short is doing extremely well at festivals and gaining some kind of recognition for my efforts. I heartily recommend any filmmaker, especially who is more talented than I am, to submit their film on this platform. But as a word of caution, I would explore what festivals are the most reliable and not falling for guidelines that can be somewhat biased in what kind of films they genuinely want…also save up your money for submission.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I would say Asian food. I love sushi or Thai noodles…yum.

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

I have two projects in the works. The biggest one will be rock opera, my producer and I are still in the pre-production stages and most likely will not shoot until next year or the year after. But as of now, I’m working as a grip for two films I’ll be helping out for next month. I’m also writing a script for a horror film. As far as personal projects, my goal is to get another short done by the end of this year or the start of 2022. We’ll see how it goes.