Interview with Screenwriter Sina Sultani (BEACON)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Sina Sultani: Beacon follows two women who must fight to retain their memories against a kidnapper desperate to harvest them.

It’s a psychological thriller about gender identity and mental illness framed in a unique setting using a non-linear narrative. Co-created and inspired by Maxi Garcia, a prominent member of the Trans community in Vancouver, our hope is to challenge and inform our audience while showing that a minority, female-led story can be heart-pounding, poetic and deeply personal.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Beacon is a psychological thriller with a non-linear structure both narratively and physically. Our goal was to introduce allegorical imagery and hyper-realistic settings to discuss our characters’ personal challenges. Drawing in tone from films such as The Lighthouse and The Witch, we wanted to paint a world that was stark yet heartbreakingly beautiful.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Films involving gender-diverse, female-minority characters are few and far between, let alone projects merging multiple genres. Even though we’re marketing Beacon as a psychological thriller, it’s a deeply personal metaphor discussing a character’s journey through sexual identification and an immigrant upbringing. We believe in the importance of this project because we believe in the expansion of the conversation. Our goal is to show that conventional genres can be elevated based on diverse casting and subject matter.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Starkly enigmatic.

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

That’s a difficult question to answer but I’m leaning towards David Fincher’s Se7en. The complexities of the narrative, characters, and mix of drama with sardonic doses of humour demonstrates a depth of realism that I hope to achieve within my own projects. For example, the throwaway line from Kevin Spacey to Morgan Freeman’s character, “I know you,” opens a slew of questions that never get resolved. Moments like those are beautiful and surprising given how much emphasis is placed on informing/catering to the audience. Also, that ending… what more can you say?

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Concept to first version took 1 month with additional refinements ongoing. However, if I were to quantify everything together, I would say 1½ months have been spent developing and editing the script to-date. At the time, Beacon was the quickest feature I’d written but I successfully challenged myself to complete another project within a week. That expediency is not restricted to the mechanics of turning out pages but includes the creativity involved in navigating narrative roadblocks.

7. How many stories have you written?

That’s difficult to quantify and depends on your definition of a story. If we stick to screenplays, inclusive of shorts, features and pilots, I would say approximately 15 over 7 years. However, in the past year alone I’ve been focusing exclusively on features/pilots and since September 2019 I’ve pushed out 6 scripts, with a 7th on the horizon. In saying that, I was working/re-working on one project for an entire year (2018-2019), which I was never happy with. It was a hard to pill to swallow, especially given how much time I’d invested, but going through the motions was critical in helping me develop my concepting and writing process. It showed me, like any other craft, just how important it is to continue to write and hone your skills.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the
most times in your life?)

There’s no one song, but I’d say Dr. Dre’s 2001 is an album that I constantly return to. You can feel the upswing of those songs and how it captured a time and an energy that’s been difficult to replicate. However, while writing, I lean towards film or video game soundtracks that are contextualize to the narrative I’m assembling. I find it helps to mentally place me in the required environment and facilitates the creative process.

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The biggest challenge was finding the character’s voices, which still needs improvement. Post-Beacon I began to incorporate a new way of writing dialogue which makes the process easier and gives the characters more… character. That’s one aspect of the script that keeps me up at night.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

As with every indie filmmaker who’s short on time and money, I’ve written, directed, produced, edited, shot and composited nearly all of my past short films. The entire process has been eye-opening and the exposure to so many different disciplines really helped to inform my understanding of the overall process while introducing me to different aspects that I never knew I’d enjoy. For example, I’ve discovered a great love of sound design. The act of layering multiple sources to create new and dynamic audio is just as exciting as developing a new concept. I also enjoy videogames and experiencing the marriage of narrative with gameplay and camera selection, which has been deeply informative and highly influential.

11. You entered your screenplay via Coverfly. What has been your
experiences working with the submission platform site?

This is the first year I’ve ever used Coverfly and its experience/interface reminds me of Filmfreeway. That’s a huge compliment given that both platforms are crucial in connecting filmmakers to festivals/competitions. However, I’ve experienced a few issues with respect to multiple submissions and discount codes. It’s a combination of Coverfly’s checkout interface and most festivals offering single-use codes. That might be a separate conversation, however, the costs add up after submitting 3+ scripts across 5+ festivals. In saying that, it’d be ideal if those codes were either mutli-use or if the competitions themselves offered bulk-submissions discounts.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings
on the initial feedback you received?

As a Canadian I always want to support fellow creatives/festivals. It’s important to bolstering our artistic community through direct investment/interaction. Additionally, the cost-to-feedback ratio was well-positioned as many festivals providing feedback can be prohibitively expensive, especially when accounting for multiple submissions. The added benefit of earning a scene-specific table read simply added to the overall experience.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

After awakening in an abandoned shelter, two women must fight to retain their memories against a kidnapper desperate to harvest them.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Allison Kampf
ZAKARIA (F): Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Interview with Filmmaker Julia Fullerton-Batten (1814 FROST FAIR)

1814 FROST FAIR played to rave reviews at the July 2020 FEMALE Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

Julia Fullerton-Batten: I am a fine art photographer shooting story-telling projects on a wide variety of themes. As part of a major project narrating the history, traditions and customs along the Thames River (‘Old Father Thames’) I decided to recreate the 1814 Frost Fair on the Thames in London. This was an occasion when the river froze over completely and Londoners used the opportunity to celebrate on the ice. Over the years, there had been a number of Frost Fairs in the shadow of the Old London Bridge. What was not known at the time was that the 1814 Frost Fair would be the last after a new bridge was built to replace the old structure. Historically, therefore this fair is of particular significance to The River Thames’ and London history. Although brief it was reported as being celebrated exuberantly even to the extent that an elephant was led across the frozen ice.

I was excited with the thought of the project and felt a curious urge to experience the fair for myself. I always endeavour to make the settings, costumes, props, etc for my photoshoots as authentic as possible and always do a lot of research beforehand. The work for this was on an even larger scale than usual. The 1814 Frost Fair occurred prior to the invention of photography so I had to rely on paintings, sketches and newspaper reports.

The cast increased to over forty and included circus performers. I had to research for entertainment tents, costumes and props relevant to the time. Sets were constructed in a large studio in London. Attention to detail was absolutely paramount for me.

I was halfway through planning this already massive, complex stills production when I realised that I just had to film it as well. It was truly the only way to give an audience a real-life experience of the electric atmosphere of what the 1814 Frost Fair must have been like. I embarked on this filming venture with no prior experience of having directed a film of any kind.

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

It took me quite a few months to plan the entire project, both stills and film. There was a lot of additional planning needed for the film. I shot everything in a large drive-in studio and required a day for setting up and preparing the lighting, a second day for shooting the stills and a third for the filming.

On the shoot and filming days over ninety people were involved – actors, circus performers, crew, etc. On our last day we were obliged to clear the studio of all props and lighting. We started very early and didn’t finish until after midnight – all in all it was a super long day of hard but rewarding work.

A fiddle player provides the background music, the tone of the music changes from more or less serious to playful depending on the scene. Everything had to be coordinated to make sense. Although there is a minimum of dialogue there are many different characters involved in shouting, exclaiming, exertions of arm wrestling, selling, gambling, etc. I introduced interactions at all levels – to the different circus performers (sword swallower, fire breather, contortionist, stilt walker, etc.), street events (stealing, prostitution, gambling, etc). I really wanted to bring the Frost Fair atmosphere alive, illustrating also the differences pervading at that time between the wealthy and the poor, beggars and street urchins.

3. How would you describe your short film!?

Fantastical.
Sensational.
Step in time incapsulation
Fun period piece

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

Never directed a short film of any kind before it was a huge learning curve from beginning to end. I am used to working with large crews but not one of nearly 100 people. However, the biggest concerns were the significant financial implications and having enough time on the day itself. I wished that I had at least two days for filming, it would have been less stressful. However, considering all those factors I’m delighted with the end result that I achieved and the resonance that the film has received worldwide since.

I was lucky to have an amazing DOP who brought a super talented crew onboard with him, as well as the support of Big Buoy in London and Eight VFX in LA for the post-production. These factors helped make a huge difference to the final result.

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

The feedback was incredible. The commentators found the settings and costumes to be convincingly authentic. Those comments made my long hours of research and months of searching and hiring activities worthwhile. In all, it seemed as though my efforts to create a vibrant, joyful atmosphere had succeeded.

There were comments that it would be a great setting for a feature film and I was flattered to be compared with the structure and composition of my film with the style of Tim Burton, a director whom I have long admired! There was also a comparison with the film ‘Orlando’, based on a novel by Virginia Woolf, directed by Sally Potter and starring Tilda Swinton and Quentin Crip, in which scenes were also set on ice. Another film that I have enjoyed for its settings and lighting.

I was surprised to learn that all admitted to not knowing about the Frost Fairs on the River Thames and that I was able to make them aware of an exciting part of London history and that even an elephant once paraded the ice from bank to bank.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

In the Mood for Love, by the Hong Kong Chinese film director Kar-Wai Wong

This is such a simple story, filmed beautifully. Each frame is atmospheric, mostly filmed at night. I get inspiration from films and especially this one. I could spend hours studying each scene, frame by frame, to enjoy the impeccable lighting.

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

I found it great. With one upload of the film it is super easy process to read about the festivals in one place and decide to submit to those most relevant and appealing to the film and the target audience. I was able to do it when travelling and it only takes a few seconds.

The 1814 Frost Fair film already gained many awards internationally. It is so exciting for me to read the messages when they appear in my inbox!

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

Hallelujah by Rufus Wainwright. What a classic, beautiful rendition of this wonderful song!

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

I am hooked! I would love to direct more and already have some ideas. Following on to my contact with one of the cast of the 1814 Frost Fair I will soon be shooting a project on young female contortionists and am thinking how I can again combine moving imagery with stills.

It has suddenly become an exciting new world for me. One that I’m going to enjoy exploring!

Interview with Filmmaker Imelda O’Reilly (TUMBLING TOWARDS HOME)

TUMBLING TOWARDS HOME was the winner of BEST DOC CHARACTERS at the July 2020 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Imelda O’Reilly: I have a dear friend Malcolm Adams who is an Irish actor and we wanted to create a project together. I wasn’t sure what film we would make, and I didn’t have a huge budget. The process began by interviewing him but eventually a story within the story began to unfold as we chatted about his decision to move to New York in 1989 to pursue his dream of becoming an actor.

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

The whole process probably took a year and a half as I decided to work with an animator Damarrius Thompson to fill in Malcolm’s backstory in New York in 1989. The animator was working on many different jobs and so it took a while to create this aesthetic element within the film.

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

Escaping dreams!

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

I would say lack of funding. You need three things to make a film, time, money and imagination. Often you don’t have all three of these elements so in the process the lack of funding can delay finishing the film. Often you spend more on postproduction than on production so each stage in the filmmaking process can be costly. We also shot in Ireland and New York so that delayed the process of filming during the production stage.

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

I absolutely love that WildSOUND takes the time to film the audience’s responses to the film. WilldSound FEEDBACK is the only festival who takes the time to visually record the audience feedback and then provide it to the filmmakers.

This is a very personal story for Malcolm Adams and not an easy one to tell so having the opportunity especially during a global pandemic to hear responses to the film is amazing. It gives you the impetus to keep going, telling impactful stories and making films.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I myself am an Irish immigrant and I wanted to explore the relationship one has to leaving and returning home. In Ireland when Malcolm immigrated a lot of Irish people immigrated because there was a lack of employment for the younger generation.

As Malcolm Adams mentions he leaves home because he felt he couldn’t pursue acting in Ireland at that time because it wasn’t a place, he felt he could experiment without failing.

He had to leave in order to embrace failing in the pursuit of his dreams. The reasons one leaves a homeland are complex, a part of me wanted to explore this contradiction.

Every time you make a choice in life you lose something, and you gain something it was the contradiction of these two opposing forces that drew me to exploring this subject matter. That combined with chasing the ghosts of one’s past is always compelling to me to explore as a filmmaker.

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

My choices in film changes and I return to films for different reasons. Most recently I watched a German film titled Toni Erdman. It was about a relationship between a father and his daughter.

I’m attracted to films with interesting characters. At first this film moved slow for me but after inhabiting the lives of the characters, I kept mulling them over in my head. That is a true sign the film resonates on a deeper level.

The director was female Maren Ade. In terms of a film I’ve returned to most in my life, there is more than one. I like Sprit of the Beehive, Taxi Driver, Metropolis, Naked, The Mirror, Post Tenebras Lux because those films capture a cinema of loneliness and isolation.

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

I like Film Freeway, it is an excellent platform to submit your film as you post everything on the site and it makes the work of submitting your film much easier.

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

I have one album that I love listening to in the morning, and it’s Something Else by Cannonball Adderley. Often music reminds me of certain times in my life, and playing those songs takes me back in time.

I had three albums that I listened to while living on 8th street and Avenue B in the East Village in the late nineties. The albums were, Cat Power, The covers record, Nirvana Unplugged and Cannonball Adderley. It was a very creative time in my life, so it reminds me of all the amazing memories I had when I lived downtown in NYC. I also loved listening to The Jam, Style Council and The Cure at a different time in life.

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

I have a feature film titled We’re the Kids in America that the screenplay was an official selection for L’Atélier Cinéfondation Cannes International Film Festival in 2018. I have a US and an Irish co-producer and hopefully we will have the opportunity to shoot it at some point in the future. In addition, I am working on a short narrative film titled Love at White Rabbit.

tumbling_towards_home_5

Interview with Filmmaker Cate Celso (KING OF THE ROAD)

KING OF THE ROAD played to rave reviews at the July 2020 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Cate Celso: After seeing Rick perform I was impressed by his energy and how he lit up his audiences. Getting to know him and all his layers I found his personal journey inspiring and wanted to share that with others.

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

It was about 9 months from start to finish. Seven in pre and production, two in post.

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

heartfelt journey

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

We definitely wanted to capture as much of Rick’s performances as we could so I would say sorting through 24 hours of footage/interviews to tell Rick’s story in 25 minutes was definitely a challenge to completing the film.

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

Smiles and gratitude. The fact that film lovers took the time to watch and comment on King of the Road was humbling. Very pleased that the film inspired the same sentiment I felt watching Rick and making the film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I’ve always been interested in hearing people’s stories. After meeting Rick and being inspired by his resilience, his ability to juggle a day job and a passion career while overcoming such personal obstacles… living your passion as a creative while having to be in a day job that may not be creative. The balance, the strength, the focus, the inspiration to just move on through and do it – share your unique talent, your gifts- I wanted to share that inspiration with others.

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

As a filmmaker I am always watching films over and over again- one of my favorites is After the Wedding directed by Susanne Bier.

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

I find the platform easy to use as a filmmaker. You are one step removed from the festivals itself but for convenience sake it’s easy to follow and submit.

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

Too many to tally which one I’ve listened to the most- currently consistently listening to Eminence Front by The Who.

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

Yes! We are currently in a modified production schedule of A Bold Journey, my next short documentary film. Hoping to be ready by summer 2021 for the festival circuit. Following the journey of Tom Bold, a 77 year old hiker, maverick and adventurer from Sonoma, CA.

king_of_the_road_movie_poster

Interview with Filmmaker Derek Osinski JR. (PERFECT MATTRESS: A LOVE STORY)

PERFECT MATTRESS: A LOVE STORY played to rave reviews at the February 2020 ROMANCE Feedback Film Festival.

Q: What motivated you to make this film?

A: This particular film draws many parallels to my formidable years of romance – including the actual act of “mattress store hopping”. On a similar note, this was me closing that chapter of adolescence and previous relationships in which I fell deeply but knew they could never be. The film is hopeful albeit a tad dry – a love letter to a time that I still hold fondly.

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

A: I never thought of it as a film until I reached my second year of Film School – I just so happen to be a spontaneous fellow at times. Once there, it took approximately six months from script to edit.

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

A: Perfect, Mattress.

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

A: My roommate. I had to move out the night before the first morning of principle photography.

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

A: Inspired.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

A: The whole idea stemmed from a juvenile charade with “some” of my former relationships in that we would pretend we were settling down and needed to compromise a type of mattress. Of course, all things were considered – price, size, firmness, warranty, etc. Inevitably we would decide on one and just as the salesperson would fetch the paperwork from the back, we would take off with mischievous laughter as fast as we could. Seems a touch crude but I did it with good intensions, mostly.

Q: What film have you seen the most in your life?

A: For some reason, ‘Cast Away’ is relentlessly attached to every channel.

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

A: Intuitive.

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

A: “Use Ta Be My Girl” by The O’Jays – there’s something inherently classic to the heart in that one.

Q: What is next for you? A new film?

A: I was working diligently on a fifteen-minute short entitled ‘Chicken or Fish?’ before the pandemic hit, but alas I may never get the pleasure to bring it to life. It was a Twilight Zone inspired romance, drama that had many talented people going for it, but it abruptly stopped like much of the world. However, I keep persistent with the pen and one day I am hopeful it will touch a great deal of folks – and that is why we do it.

perfect_mattress_a_love_story_movie_poster

Interview with Poet Franco D’Alessandro (LEOPARD CLUB LOVE)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

That transformative power of -what the Greeks called- Storge/Philia love, especially when found in an unlikely place and between unlikely people.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

My relationship with a student who has become a son to me. A rather tricky thing as I am a gay man and many people would find the relationship, which, of course, says so much more about their prejudice and homophobia than my capacity to love another human being as my own child.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Since age 17; 35 years

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

Tennessee Williams

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

I work with actors all the time; I am a playwright. I love actors!
It is always nice to see how someone else reads a poem.

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

I am a professional playwright for 26 years; I also, occasionally, write screenplays.

7) What is your passion in life?

Writing and teaching and traveling; in my world -all three happen together!

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

 

Interview with Poet Janelle Barker (9/11 ATTACKS)

1) What is the theme of your poem?

the theme of my poem is finding your strength to stay strong

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

this event changed the world and affected all of us deep into our heart, whether we were there or not.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been writing for several years but really got into it more in the last 2 years, its my biggest passion.

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

Dinner. Haha. WOW! Oprah Winfrey, I have a poem that I dedicated to her. I would love for her to read it.

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

I did not know this could be done. It was nice to hear some else read what I wrote. I would love to know if the reader connected to my writing?

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

Yes! Thriller Novels, pitch it to become a Movie, Ghost Stories Novel , Biographies, 4 poetry books, the hits just keep on coming. LOL.

7) What is your passion in life?

My passion is obviously writing, and being with my family & friends in the great outdoors.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Allison Kampf

9/11 Attacks, by Janelle Barker

The day began like any other r
The sun rose, scattering to work,
Settling into their day, with a smirk.
8.46am thousands of lives, would change,
North Twin Tower was hit by a plane,
People thought, NO, that’s insane.
News came to those, yes it was true,
Some knew and others didn’t have a clue.
Terror attacks was announced
Disbelief from civilians, on the ground.
9.03am, no, not again
The South Tower was hit, oh Amen.
Survivors running for their lives,
Passing the dead, that, they did dread.
Parts of bodies everywhere,
We had no time, to stop to care.
We had to get out, as fast as we could,
Everyone knew, that was understood.

People jumping from the towers,
Things happened in minutes,
Which seem liked hours.
Flights hijacked, 93,77 and 175
All the passengers, tried their best
To stay alive.
Life that day, was out of control,
When the buildings were demolished
It left, a great big hole.
90 countries, lost loved ones,
Firefighters, military
And police,
are many of the rescue Workers,
that now rest in peace.
Estimated up to 19,000
In the towers upon attack,
So hard to believe
That this maybe fact.
Years later, people still dying,
To the families, related this
Is terrifying.
Exposed toxins from ground zero,
Pregnancy losses, cancers
No one can find answers.
A memorial was made
For all to see,
A reminder of life,
No one would disagree.
Pay your respect, for those we lost,
And say a prayer,
For no extra cost.
This moment in history,
the world will remember,
Let’s come together,
United we stand,
Hand in hand,
Let’s show the world what we can withstand

Interview with Poet James Morgan-Jones (Demoiselle)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

James Morgan-Jones: The beauty of the natural world, of difference and of the individual.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

A visitation by the demoiselle as I sat in the garden on a beautiful spring day.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

15 years.

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

D H Lawrence.

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

It’s great to have one’s work showcased on such a platform.

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

Yes, I write novels (The Glasswater Quintet) and short stories and have recently written a one-act play.

Home

7) What is your passion in life?

The power of language. The many beautiful things that we imperil each day.
 

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Allison Kampf

Demoiselle, by James Morgan-Jones

Let’s be direct: Beautiful Demoiselle.
What naming could be apter? In noon-light
a sliver of midnight blue comes spinning
from Hades’ palette, frailly fluttering,
a butterfly blue from the underworld.
Yet not quite: no sheer lepidopteran
makes this skittery, whirligig descent,
achieves in repose such sleek elegance.

He rests like a svelte blue pin, superbly
singular, wings deep-dipped in indigo:
pure concept lodged brilliant in spinel.
Such exquisite difference brings profound
gratification, a joy extinguished
in the homogenised world we fashion.

When I dream I’ll drink some of his lustre,
bask in the resplendence of my colours –
what flagrant beauty then in dynamism,
such glory mirrored in heaven’s dark glass.

Interview with Poet Paul O’Donnell (PASSING)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Paul O’Donnell: Despair, frustration, poor decisions and their consequences, hope

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

All my poetry is prompted by what I feel or see. It’s my way of thinking about social change and doing something about it with the power of poetry.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

50 years

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

The poet Rainer Maria Rilke

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

To really enjoy poetry it has to be heard. It can’t just be in your head.

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

Short stories and I’m currently collaborating on a book on Entrepreneurship called “Humble Crumbles”

7) What is your passion in life?

Making my imagination happen.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Allison Kampf

Passing, by Paul O’Donnell

So much is broken
I despair
he says passing out from lack of air
It was no more than a passing dream to think
the passing of a law could mean passing through the past
The inciting incident, the protagonist’s resolve to repair
ignorance fear and anger living side by side in liminal space stretched.
Searching for the prophylactic fountain to wash away despair
Farfetched
But passing laws passed through the fragile membrane made of the
dreams of gilded fossils giving
no more than a passing glance
with few words passing between them.
How could it not be broken?
Only the words Black Lives Matter, matter
No forgiveness can be asked. Forgiving is an act of power bestowed
granted by the weak with feelings of remorse
Atone is at and one
there the difference lies.