Interview with Filmmaker Alex Fynn (FORMS)

FORMS was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the November 2018 Experimental FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Alex Fynn: I was given the opportunity by Red Bull South Africa to create a piece that showcases dance in the most interesting way possible. From my early days in filmmaking, I have always loved dance music videos. Dance, Music and Film provide a medium for expression. I was keen to see what would happen if you gather three creatives from each of these disciplines and have them collaborate on a project. The film is about collaboration and the immense possibility created when working together.

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

It took about 3 months, from conception to post.

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

Audiovisual Explosion

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

Time! We choreographed and rehearsed in about 10 days, we only had one day to shoot this film and then we packed a lot of post VFX in there which took some time to create.

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

First of all I couldn’t believe that my film was screened to an audience in Toronto! I was beaming with excitement and happiness. You spend so much time as a creative thinking about all the little details and meaning behind every element in your film, and to see an audience from another country entirely watch your work and point out all those details and more is incredible. It has really motivated me to keep creating and keep telling stories!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The main message is about unity, unity through dance, unity through collaboration – so we created a world where unity is not allowed. As a young creative, you need to rise above the idea that some goals you set are not achievable. I believe anything is possible with the help of the right people. I wanted to showcase attitude and synchronicity within the performance, beautiful cinematography and realistic looking VFX to take the viewer into another world for a few minutes. The film is set in the future and is definitely inspired by my love for narratives created within games. By the end, the rebels escape and the riot police are left looking at the statement “We are one” which the rebels have set up. I leave it up to the viewer to decide what that means to them.

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

The 1st Matrix – I watched it so many times!

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

I think the FilmFreeway platform is absolutely fantastic. It is easy to use and has plenty of great works on there to check out. Everyone I have spoken to from FilmFreeway is so sweet and helpful with a genuine goal to assist filmmakers in getting there work seen and I think that is remarkable.

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

Samba Pa Ti – Carlos Santana (my mom had it on repeat in the car as we drove to school each morning for years)

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

I have just left my full time job to start a film production company which is very exciting. I’m currently working on a long form project at the moment, it’s a 52 minute documentary about a very popular marathon in South Africa, The Two Oceans Marathon. I’m planning to do some traveling as well and look into ways that I can work abroad for a while and gain some international experience.

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Interview with Screenwriter Tara C. Hall (WOMEN AND CHILDREN FIRST)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Tara C. Hall: Women & Children First is about a true crime writer who lives in constant fear after a random, brutal attack. Her worst fears are realized when three men break into her house intent on killing her and her children, then her thirteen year old daughter and ten year old son have to decide whether to use their survival instincts to escape or stay and save their mother.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Thriller, Horror, and Drama.

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

There are plenty of home invasion thrillers out there. What I want to do with this film is draw attention to the reality that victims of violent crime are disporportionately women and children.

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

Fierce motherhood.

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

Harold and Maude.

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

About 9 or 10 months.

7. How many stories have you written?

Upward of 30.

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

This Will Be Our Year by The Zombies.

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

Work, kids, a lack of money. The usual life stuff.

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

Filmmaking and sketch comedy.

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

I love FilmFreeway. It’s user friendly and I’ve found some great film festivals and screenplay competitions.

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

I’ve entered the Female Film Festival before and appreciate the detailed and thoughtful feedback.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

After surviving a brutal, attack, a single mother raises her two children to be hyper-vigilant at the cost of their childhood and her sanity. But when three armed men break into their home with violent intentions, the children use their training to save their mother.

CAST LIST:

Rand: Kirk Gordon

Charlie: Jarrod Terrill

Desmond: Rhys Harrison

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss

Aubrey: Rachel Salsberg

Nora: Nancy Kenny

Alana: Gauri Prasad

A Film Freeway Preferred Festival:

Interview with Screenwriter Michael Aliotti (JIMMY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Michael Aliotti: This screenplay is about the bad karma that gangster Al Capone carried with him through his later years in prison.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

– Gangster/ Psychological-Horror

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

– Because of how many times we have seen Al Capone on screen, I feel that this is an original approach for the sake of genre, yet this script, itself, follows the ideology of our youth mirroring false idols.

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

– Traditionally Trippy

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

– Young Frankenstein

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

– For about several weeks.

7. How many stories have you written?

– About 10 feature screenplays, and dozens of short scripts.

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

– House of the Rising Sun, by Eric Burden and The Animals

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

– Let’s just say I had several exes from the hood.

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

– Photographing Big Sur, along with Monterey, County, in general.
I also enjoy canvassing for local politics in Monterey, CA. If I am not
working on anything, I am at the movies, or Del Monte Beach.

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

– For about a year and a half, I have experienced nothing but solid concise feedback from professionals, all over! This has implemented a hustle on my part, as it also coincides within my progression of growth, by becoming an established screenwriter.

From obtaining notable accolades from many festivals in, and out of The States, I am truly grateful, due to the learning lessons of what it takes to become a writer, is just like what Bryan Adams said in his song, Summer of ’69:
“played until my fingers bled”.

And this line is what I follow as a huge rule of mine towards being a writer. To keep writing.

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

– I was excited to potentially have the unique perspective to see my words come alive off of the tongues of actual actors, and a Narrator.

After already submitting a script, prior to this current story, Jimmy, I missed the mark for developing a solid short script. So, I decided to find a new script to focus on each, and every detailed critique from my last script, and applied those notes to Jimmy. Voila! 

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Log Line: The story of Al Capone being haunted by a victim from the Saint Valentines Day Massacre, Jimmy, the ghost who torments the infamous gangster into insanity.

Writer: Michael Aliotti

Genres: BIOGRAPHICAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL-THRILLER

Type: Short Screenplay

CAST LIST:

Prisoner #3: Rhys Harrison
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Alphonse: Jarrod Terrill
Jimmy: Kirk Gordon

A FilmFreeway preferred festival:

Interview with Screenwriter Steve Feld (AND THEN, THIS HAPPENED)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Steve Feld: Finding love in the most unexpected places, with the most unexpected person and the most unexpected gender.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, Romance, RomCom

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

It’s a love story and a comedy. Who doesn’t love those kinds of movies.

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

Labor (of) love

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

Cast Away

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

1 year

7. How many stories have you written?

Started when I was 4. Too many to count.

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

Clair de Lune

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

My fingers couldn’t keep up with my brain.

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

My family and my dogs.

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

Nothing but positive.

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

Wanted to get feedback from professionals. Very happy with the feedback.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Hard-ass tabloid reporter Lacey Stevens has the scoop of the year when she finds a reclusive superstar diva who’s been in hiding for years. But before she can expose her, Lacey and the star fall in love, creating an even more sensational story. It’s a modern take on It Happened One Night for a new generation.

CAST LIST:

Anna: Rachel Salsberg
Kelly: Nancy Kenny
Harvey: Jarrod Terrill
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Security Guard: Kirk Gordon
Drunk Woman: Gauri Prasad
Max: Rhys Harrison

FilmFreeway exclusive Festival:

Interview with Screenwriter Jessi Thind (UP AND AWAY – Superman Script)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Jessi Thind: Up and Away is about identity, friendship, and parenthood. It follows Clark Kent as a runaway teenager on a journey of self-discovery with his parents desperately searching for him.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Coming of age/ Drama.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a TV series?

I’d say because it’s a fairly unique and relevant take on Superman. It’s less about Superman’s powers and more about his struggle to find himself as he travels across America with a bunch of friends in a Winnebago. In this way, it takes inspiration from the Green Lantern series “Hard-Traveling Heros” by Denis O’Neal and Neal Adams in which Lantern and Arrow travel across America dealing with real, grounded issues. Up and Away is about a teenage Clark Kent traveling from city to city with a journalist mentor and a war veteran as they confront real menaces–corruption, racism, poverty, drugs– and try to understand the shifting attitude toward immigration and minorities. Essentially, it’s about Clark Kent’s discovery of the American way

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

Inspiring. Entertaining.

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

Richard Doner’s Superman.

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

I wrote the first draft ten years ago. I revisited it last year. An earlier draft of this script actually helped me get into Warner Brothers where I was narrative director and writer on several highly successful projects.

7. How many stories have you written?

I write quite a bit being a scriptwriter and the narrative director on the recently announced Unknown 9 property. But in terms of fanfiction, I write a fan script whenever I feel inspired usually in the DCU. Keeps the creative juices flowing.

8. What book have you read the most times in your life?

Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath.

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

No real obstacles other than finding the time to write with two little kiddos who demand quite a bit of my time. If I had to define an obstacle I would say it’s more of the inner struggle of knowing there is no hope for a fan fiction script to be taken seriously or ever picked up. But at the end of the day, the passion wins out and you finish the script because you love the universe and characters. It’s really a case of the work being its own reward.

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

Toastmasters. It’s something I’ve recently begun as an on-going effort to mitigate the complications of dyspraxia. Toastmasters forces constant impromptu talks which helps train quick recovery when there’s a struggle with thought or perception while giving a talk. Individuals with dyspraxia often have learning and speaking challenges because of the unique way their brains work which has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s just a different way the brain is wired. In fact, our wiring is ideal for creative and chimeric thinking and less ideal for linear-sequential thinking which makes it more difficult to speak on the fly. Actually, one of the reasons I joined Toastmasters is because I recently had someone in my professional life imitate my condition behind my back because of a slight goof in a talk. It’s not something I dwell on, but I did want to find some potential solutions. I asked around and Toastmasters was at the top of the recommendation list, and I’ve definitely been enjoying my experience so far. It’s a great and supportive atmosphere for anyone who wants to improve their communication skills.

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

Quick. Easy. Accessible. No complaints. It’s a great platform for writers and filmmakers.

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

I wanted other Superman fans to have access to my take on the universe and see what they thought. I’ve been writing Superman scripts every since I learned the craft of screenwriting. It’s actually the first Superman fanfiction script that won best script. It’s thrilling because it gives me the sense that fans would definitely be open to something that is a little less about the powers and the spectacle and more about the characters and the inner struggle of being the most powerful kid on earth. Not to mention, the struggle of the parents who have to raise the most powerful kid on Earth. One of the things my dad used to say, and I only fully understood when I had my first child, was that the real heroes in the Superman universe are his parents. The ones who cared for him, loved him, taught him, instilled within him his sense of right and wrong. Superman is about the responsibility of being a protector and guardian of an entire world. When you become a parent you instantly become a guardian and protector of an entire world. It can definitely be said that you become a hero when you become a parent. This is one of the reasons the original creators actually wanted Superman’s name to embody both mother and father. Martha Clark. Johnathan Kent. Clark Kent.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Jonathan Kent desperately searches for his runaway eleven-year-old son throughout the United States before he hurts someone with newfound powers he is just beginning to understand.

CAST LIST:

Police Officer: Brian Carlton
Jonathan: Brandon Knox
Narrator: Val Cole
Linda: Alex Simpson
Clark: Randy Baumer
Douglas: Harry Judge

You can also submit via FilmFreeway:

Interview with Screenwriter P.J. Palmer (NORTH STAR)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

P.J. Palmer: This story is ultimately about the families we are born into and the families we choose. While on the surface, the story is about a couple who has fallen on hard times and must downsize their life. But the struggle is with one part of their extended family that feels it has the best solutions for the couple, while the couple themselves have a different idea of what is best for themselves. Part of the issue is that the couple in the story is queer – and the rest of the family doesn’t fully accept or grasp that the couple is their own legitimate family unit. Put another way: if the queer couple was not married – if the story happened just a few years ago, before marriage equality – then the blood family would have been able to successfully be imposed their will on them.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

This is a drama.

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

This is an important conversation to have. It has been written to be gentle and subtle in its assertions, but the characters are strong and un-moveable in their commitment to each other, their commitment to stay together at all costs – even when the rest of their world is finding ways to split them apart.

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

This is hard……
True Loyalty

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

LOL. Probably JAWS. Maybe Back to the Future. Harold and Maude. The Shining. I have seen all of these many times.

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

I wrote the first draft a couple years ago – then shelved it. This past year I re-wrote it and added a lot of my personal story into it –

7. How many stories have you written?

So many. Long and short. About a dozen so far.

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

U2 Joshua Tree – the entire album, in order, is like one great song to me. (

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

I had to really be honest about my own life and struggles and be willing to express myself and my story – to be vulnerable. It’s a scary thing to do – but is also the most satisfying. And it’s the best way to connect with an audience.

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

Directing. Telling a good story is my passion – either writing it, directing it or both. Also – I am pretty passionate about getting good sleep!

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

FilmFreeway is fantastic – I find it very easy to use and to navigate – I like all the options it provides writers to build up their projects and submit to festivals.

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

When I first read about this festival, my initial reaction was “why have I not heard of this before?!” I felt happy that there was a festival dedicated to Diversity – and that the festival also did table readings. Which is something I really love. The feedback was very encouraging. Which, as a writer who spends most of the time writing alone, was very much appreciated.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

While struggling to keep his marriage intact, a rural rancher makes hard sacrifices to survive an ongoing crisis.

CAST LIST:

News Anchor: Jarrod Terrill
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
James: Kirk Gordon
Erin: Gauri Prasad

Submit your Film & Screenplay via FilmFreeway:

Interview with Screenwriter Helen Marsh (Alice Through the Microscope)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Helen Marsh: Alice Through the Microscope follows an insect obsessed girl trying to win the science fair amidst an absentee mother and a fungal monstrosity of a foster mother.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Dark Fantasy/ Sci-fi

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

Alice Through the Microscope should be made into a movie because although it’s set in a dark, uncanny universe (like The series of Unfortunate Events) it tackles real issues in mother-daughter relationships and follows a girl who is looking for parental love.

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

Eerie yet heartfelt

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

Juno

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

six months

7. How many stories have you written?

3 screenplays but an uncountable amount of stories.

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

Other People by LP

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

Countless Friday and Saturday nights at home with Final Draft instead of out with friends.

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

Painting, animals, watching movies, hiking

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

As a girl, it is not always easy to find representation in the film industry. Female Film Festival was the first festival to promote my work to the public. The feedback was extremely helpful and encouraged me to write consecutive drafts.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Horror, Science Fiction, Fantasy

An insect-obsessed preteen girl struggles to create a great science fair project amidst an absentee mother, a relentless bully, and a fungal monstrosity of a foster mother.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Jarrod Terrill
Mikey: Rhys Harrison
Frankie: Gauri Prasad
Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Alice: Rachel Salsberg
Claudia: Nancy Kenny

A Film Freeway Preferred Festival: