Interview with Filmmaker Vasili Manikas (ANTICA)

Vasili’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival.

: Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Vasili Manikas: Me and my production team really wanted to work on a film where everything was stripped down to a very basic feeling. No real plot, no tremendous character development, no dialogue, just an attempt to create a sense of dread and anxiety in audience.

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

The idea had been floating around for about a year. But it was about three months between the script being written to the editing being done.

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

Spooky, Scary.

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

It was difficult trying to figure how much information to give the audience. We wanted the film to have structure and direction, while still communicating the same confusion that the character is experiencing.

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

It was very exciting. This was the first feedback that we’ve gotten from complete strangers, so it was great to see that people really enjoyed the film, and that film successfully communicated a state of anxiety.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It started off with the location. We knew we could shoot there for free, and we created a story to match the environment.

I suppose that’s sort of backwards, but it worked out quite well, and as young filmakers we have to always contend with the economic realities and try to stretch every dollar as much as we can.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I used to watch Space Jam religiously as a child.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you
feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s
perspective?

Pretty great. Very inviting and easy to use.

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

I’ve been bumping to Mozart’s Serenade No 10 in B flat Major almost every week at the club.

What is next for you? A new film?

Working on a few projects for the summer. Me and my brother are still in school, so we only really get a chance to film in the summertime. We’re hoping to complete at least two projects in 2018.

Advertisements

Interview with Filmmaker Jean-Claude Leblanc (STUDDED NIGHTMARE)

Jean-Claude’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival.

 What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve been working on films since I graduated from Trebas institute in 2006 in film production. I was trying to find a film idea but a good one is hard to find. I’m always writing scripts, but with this one it was a fast process. I was really into it so I started production when the script was done. I couldnt stop until the film was completed.

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

1 year.

1 month on the script, 1 month pre-prod. We shot 10 days between June and October,

And since I had hard time with the edit it took me three months to delegate and get it done.

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

Haunted Chair

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

The editing. At first I was editing the film but as a writer/director I had hard times cutting out scenes that I loved and took time to shoot. At some point I called Geoff Klein, an amazing editor and friend, and he cut the film as we know. He won best editor at Top Shorts film fest and was nominated at 2 other festivals.

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

I was delighted to hear what people had to say about the film. Questioning the intro sequence as I questioned it myself when it was put together. It was good feedback.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It’s based on true events. My friend was scared of a chair because of its gruesome past (the actual chair is used in the film ). I wanted to know the entire story but in the end it was just a chair. I pushed the story to make a horror film. The main idea of the film is: Would you keep something that that belonged to something you know he killed himself with it? Most people say no because it’s creepy. I thought it had a potential to scare.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Evil Dead

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It makes it very simple to make contact with festival. I made most of the submissions myself and I enjoy the easy process.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life? Tough question?
Wow thats a hard one!

Probably a song by Iron Maiden

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m almost done with a short script and I hope to start production soon. It’s about life after death, a heroic horror film.

Interview with Filmmaker Paul Scheufler (TASTE OF LOVE)

Paul’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival. “TASTE OF LOVE” was the winner of BEST Cinematography at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Paul Scheufler: To tell the story about the various forms love can take on, to tell the story about and invite forms of sexual passions and the importance of a colorful and diverse world.

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

Four months in total, but we were all in high school at this moment and just graduated. So we spent every second on our free time to producing the film. We even flew to Berlin in Germany to record the right voice. A lot of effort went into it.

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

INTENSIVE COLORFUL

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

The melting and stinky fruits under the hot lighting equipment next to our actress…

No, the biggest obstacles was the camera department. We shot everything with a Macro lens so everything was really close, all lights, the actors, and the camera on a special, very heavy 3 axis tripod. That was new to us and it took us two days to improve the workflow.

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

Oh at this point I want to thank the audience for such a great feedback! – It’s absolutely fantastic and such a great full feeling when the audience feel with the story and take the main though out of the cinema!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Love and food are really important things in life or… (laughing). The thought at looking for the right sexual desires made me crazy. I did a lot of research on sexuality and “unusual” passions. After a talk with a good friend of mine, I knew I wanted to do a movie about polysexuality and tastes as a reverence where everybody can connect with.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Let me see… as a child a was obsessed with the TV show “Barbarbar’s” but thats a long time ago. Now I’m trying to watch a short film every day and see sometimes recommended features, but I do not really have a favorite film.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

It’s super easy to reach festivals all over the world and present it to a real audience. Movies are made to be seen and these platforms helping new comers, filmmakers and the audience to see new and exciting films!

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

I really don’t have any favorite song. My mood decides if I hear classics, house, electronics or what ever combination of genres. But I wanna give a shout out to “Glass Animas” , “alt-j”, “Portugal The Man” and to “Gudrun von Laxenburg” (Austrian guys).

What is next for you? A new film?

At the moment I’m living in New York City, I’m working for the Austrian American Film Festival in New York and doing commercials and writing for next short movies. I’m planning to go back to Vienna, Austria in Summer 2018 and preparing for applications for Film Academies in Austria or Germany. But you know… everything can change so quickly. I’m not the guy who is planning my next 5 years. My passion of telling stories and connecting with people and issues is driving me, and I will see where this passion is going to take me.

Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Amr Kamel (PROMETHEUS INDUSTRIES)

Amr’ short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo:. What motivated you to make this film?

Amr Kamel: We wanted to emulate a small 3D studio environment to get a feel for how things might work for us later on after graduation. Our group was called Project: Animate! and our mission was to go from concept to finished film, and to see what it was like to work with a team on a project of this scale. We were all also interested in the learn by doing approach, and for us, the opportunity to learn and experiment with both story telling and the technical aspects of 3D animation is what drove us the most.

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

It took us about 8-9 months from our very first meeting till we put out the final cut.

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

Delightfully Dark.

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

The biggest problem was working over the summer break, after the semester was done and everyone wanted to go on vacation, and no one was around, it was hard to stay motivated and keep the ball rolling. Making the switch between in-person and online collaboration meant that it was much more difficult to keep the communication lines open and people motivated to pull through, but we were somehow able to manage.

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

I felt elated and relieved, it’s easy when working on a project to be hyper aware of all the flaws and all the things that could’ve gone better. It somehow always surprises me to get positive reactions, because as artists we have these perfectionist tendencies.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

At the very beginning of our project, we wanted to make a 3D short, and we had everyone in our group come up with an idea and present it to the rest of us, we picked the best 3 and developed them a little more, then we pitched them again, and we stuck with what we all liked the best.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is alright and convenient. But I guess it’s always nice to have alternatives and competition.

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

Probably Fairies Wear Boots by Black Sabbath

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently working with a couple of my teammates from this film on a new project. 3D animated teaser trailers for a post apocalyptic sci-fi webseries I wrote as my bachelor project, which we then hope to use to pitch the concept and crowdfund the first season.

Interview with Filmmaker Navid Tavakolnia (BEAUTIFUL)

Navid’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Navid Tavakolnia: The idea and message of the film itself was the biggest motivation for me to make this film happen.

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

From the idea to the finished product, it took about 4 months to make this short.

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

Reality isn’t Beautiful

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

Not having a budget and financial issues has always been the biggest obstacle for filmmakers but in the process of making Beautiful, I confronted with another obstacle which now seems fun to me. We planned everything to shoot in a school with the students in the classroom and a teacher. As we got close to the shooting day, the school canceled the promises and we had to find another location in couple days before the shoot with no students other than our character. So Literally, we asked all friends and families we knew that they have kids and asked if they were willing to have their kids to be in the film. Our kid character’s mom had a little teaching classroom and also she accepted to play the role of the teacher and all of a sudden we even had more students than we expected to have before! It was an amazing experience and I was really grateful to have all those people around me.

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

It feels wonderful to see the audience understand your message and they give their opinion about the piece you created. I feel really proud and I am really thankful to have all these opinions to make my next film better than this.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

At the beginning, the story was not supposed to be about war. It was just about a burned face kid and the blind guy and the “humanity”. After I talked to one of my friend’s who was in an army before and hearing his stories, also all the bad and sad news of the world, discrimination, war, refugees, etc. I taught that it would be a really good idea to relate the story to war and show that we are all victims, no matter what color or race we are. We are just people and war is an absolute loss for everybody except the warmongers!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Saving Private Ryan is the film I have seen the most.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Filmfreeway and its platform of submission make the path really easier for filmmakers to have their films seen in festivals and promoting them. It is a great opportunity with doors open to filmmakers.

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

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

What is next for you? A new film?

I am working on a new script and pretty soon I am planning to make my new short film with the help of the same amazing crew.

Interview with director Anthony Bennett (MY LITTLE BROTHER)

Anthony’s short film MY LITTLE BROTHER was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2017 FAMILY FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Anthony Bennett: The film was originally made for Tropfest NZ and the theme for 2017 was ‘flame’ – I interpreted this through merging two ideas; the danger of fire to children and cyberthreats spreading like fire around the world. I decided to have my eldest son narrate the film as he’s a greater reader and tell the story of his little brother, who also had the easiest role in the film with no acting required!

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

About two months

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

Today’s generation

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

Time to polish the narration soundtrack – we were away on holiday with another family in a large shared house and for several days leading up to the submission deadline, the only way I could work on it was to get up at 3am to finish the audio mix (when I was guaranteed total silence)

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

Really surprised and delighted! To hear the detailed comments was very inspiring and it means a lot more knowing how knowledgable your audiences are. It was very humbling indeed and also helped be more outspoken when reviewing other films

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s close call between Star Wars (the original) and Jaws….probably seen them at least 7 or 8 times over the years through childhood

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I discovered it by chance as my last film used Withoutabox…..I really like FilmFreeway and so definitely was a great discovery!

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

Probably anything by Boards of Canada…..they have an incredible talent of putting together tracks that are timeless which you can play a hundred times, have a break then go back to it with the same joy of a new track and never grow tired of…….I edited a special video to their track SixtyTen as a personal tribute to the World Trade Center so that track I’ve probably played back over 100 times

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m working on writing a short film and also the outline for a feature film

Interview with Animation Director Peter Zhaoyu Zhou (KARMA)

Peter’s short film KARMA played to rave reviews at the September 2017 Animation & Family FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
 
Peter Zhaoyu Zhou: I always want to be a storyteller that can deliver meaningful messages to my audience through my works. Back to 2013, I read some news and articles about environmental pollution in one of my classes, “air smog pollution” came into my eyes and became my research project. The issue has become very serious which is significantly affecting people’s health especially in China (I am originally from China). Other than that, environmental pollution and climate change have been affecting this world day by day and the consequences are serious. I was thinking the reason and cause of those issues. One major cause is the abuse use of industrial production, which has brought certain cost to use nowadays. A research subject dramatically became the initial idea of this story, and I thought it is such a great idea to make an short animation about environmental pollution to tell people the cost of it and the importance of environmental protection. What motivated me to jump into filmmaking is that I really want to express my thought and get it to be known. This film is a perfect start point. 
 
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
 
I had the story back to early 2013, while I was in school busy on other projects, the actual production started on 2014. KARMA is actually my first year film but it took two years to make. 
 
 
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
 
Oh My…
 
 
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
 
Time. Time is the biggest obstacle I faced in making this film. We had a deadline for the 1st version. However, by that time I couldn’t finish the film because the render took so long. Therefore I submitted a previs version with all animation blocked out and shots layout. After that, in summer 2016, I resumed the production by consolidating the character animation and the look of the film with designing stylized forest and water simulation, which were another hard parts. Water is very hard to make and look good so I collaborated with another artist to use Houdini to create real simulation. 
 
Mentality is another aspect, making animation, especially with large amount of vfx works is hard. Making a good story is the start the point, after having the storyboard, character design, and even blocked animation with shots layout are just a setup for the next step, when we jumped into vfx, lighting, rendering, and compositing, everything became unpredictable. Especially for rendering, we had a lot of shots that have water, and because of the refraction and reflection, it took 2 hours to render a single frame. It was very time consuming and we had to use the whole summer to render the film, by not giving up and keeping focus with strong mentality in those sleepless nights. 
 
 
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
 
Couldn’t be happier. I am very glad to see the audience got my message and thinking deeply into my subject. That’s also my initial vision to make this film. 

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video: 

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

 
I love watching all kinds of films, as long as they inspire me. If I have to choose one film or director that would be James Cameron’s Avatar. Other than his top films Titanic and Avatar, I like him as a director because he is so innovative and ambitious. An ambitious director with strong spirit to keep creating works to another level. I feel these invaluable characteristics are crucial to me when I grow and create. 
 
 
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
 
FilmFreeway opens a big door for us. It’s such a convenient platform to submit films without searching online for those festivals all around the world. 
 
 
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
 
All songs from Coldplay. 
 
 
10. What is next for you? A new film?
 
I just finished my thesis film LAST DANCE, it is an experimental motion visualization film about a romance from ancient China – Farewell My Concubine 霸王別姬, in a way of Peking Opera – a traditional Chinese performing arts. The film has been nominated for the best Alternative film in this year’s Student Academy Awards and doing well in festival-running. Right now I am working as a designer at Imaginary Forces and thinking about a new story for short animation.