Interview with Filmmaker Davide Carlini (TRATAK 1 – ANTARS)

TRATAK 1 – ANTARS played to rave reviews at the October 2019 TV Web Series festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Davide Carlini: During the course of directing at a private school in my splendid Marche region, the Officine Mattolì Association in Tolentino, was proposed to us and offered as part of the course to make one of our short films.

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

I started to define a subject in October 2015 and then developed in the following months.

Instead, the production was only 4-5 intense days (stolen between weekends and bridges of the Easter holidays9 of April 2016.

Post-production is instead a labor that has not yet been completed. It began in June 2016 and partially ended in October 2016 with a privately projected version for the course of the school. After October 2016 I decided to take it further and divide the project into a mini series divided into 3 episodes, or rather call it phases of change of state of consciousness. So in May 2018 I completed Antars Tratak 1 and in September 2018 Reveil Tratak 2. Currently the last Tratak3 episode is still in post-production stage and I hope to be able to propose it from 2020.

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

Solicitation of doubts and questions about ourselves and others (which we are always ourselves, even if we do not recognize it in this time-space that is granted to us.)

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

The production time is limited to 4/5 days as there was no budget and the possibility of having the complete availability of help crews and cast of actors who were also trainees of the Officine Mattoli school.

The time available to prepare the actors’ parts was also very limited as they were also engaged in other work and commitments at the same time.
Then from the beginning of post-production I became aware of a real general ostracism of the Italian and regional cinema system that does not allow effective collaboration if there is not behind an economic and above all political support and the use of this media for the narration of the single dominant thought.

Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why even Italian cinema has been practically embalmed and moldy since the 1970s. Power logic and control of cultural narration that do not favor any real and effective independence of the authors, actors and artists who as they go they become instruments of mass manipulation.

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

I was very pleased to see him and listen to the criticisms and the questions and doubts raised and the considerations of all the public that I appreciated for the qualification and the real sincerity.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

At that time I was in a phase of experience in yoga practices, including the intense practice of Tratak (fixing a candle without closing my eyes, and accompanying this with particular breathing sequences) and studies of philosophies in different Western traditions and Eastern .
.
I was also fascinated and increasingly intrigued by esotericism and by Western mysticism that apparently seems less rich than the oriental one but in reality if you start looking for it you will find universes that you don’t even imagine. Unfortunately in the European Enlightenment period and first the witch hunt and the Catholic repressions against heretics (which today we would call conspiracy theorists, no?..) Gnostics and other researchers not aligned with the Zeitgeist have veiled and muddied millennia of history of the western world.

The idea of ​​this series of short films was born to unconventionally tell all this. The title can be misleading because it is not a tutorial or guide to esoteric practices, but instead it was within a set of practices, the activation focus of a whole personal experience of self-awareness and a general change of perspectives and world view, and with the related traumas and cognitive dissonances in realizing the previous state of dogmatic certainty and running programs that are behind the reality that manifests itself.

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

Like everyone here of the middle-bourgeoisie flattened under the oligarchic neoliberalism of this era, I am a child of television culture and the beginning of the multimedia era. I met the cinema with the comedies of the late 70s and early 80s, today it would be called the “trash” genre, yet it should not be so derided .. I was then fascinated by American productions of films like Blues Brothers of Landis, the insane comedies of Mel Brooks ..

In the 90s I followed a local cinema club in my city (which has not existed for 20 years now) and projected a film selected from those released during the year 1 day a week. The true love of cinema gave me Scorsese’s Raging Bull, it was love at first sight and you rekindled it for weeks and even now I see it again and again and find it always new and full of suggestions.

Surely among the films seen several times there is Doctor Strangelove by Kubrick, and Matrix saga by Wachowski (s) ..

Then the first films of Tarantino, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. David Lynch also with Dune, Eraserhead and Blue Velvet.

I have a love for two films by French director Coline Serreau, the Crisis! and La Belle Verte, and always on this mood I find many affinities with the Italian cinema of the 60s / 70s when it was still much more genuine and bold even in narrating different critical visions, for example films like “Io, io, io. and the others “by Alessandro Blasetti, or “L’ingorgo” by Luigi Comencini, or almost all films by the fantastic Luciano Salce (director of Fantozzi, Il Federale, Coup d’état, and others ..).

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

There are many possibilities and a good selection of both festivals and works. I find it a great channel to help new filmmakers and emerging authors.

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

Goodbye Porkpie Hat by Charles Mingus

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

I’m busy solving various personal and professional issues and the time to write or edit my stuff and define new and old projects is very little. There are in some ideas on a series of short documentaries between philosophy and metapolitics and social psychology, then I am always working at the conclusion of the Tratak project the third episode of this filmic experiment. Thank you for your interest, and I always wish you good doubts! Thanks

Interview with Writer/Actor Ben Green (PAPER TRAIL)

PAPER TRAIL was the winner of BEST FILM at the 1 Minute Film Festival in September 2019 in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ben Green: A friend was trying out a new incentive where he asked a group of film makers to each make a minute long film shot and edited on their iphones. The word for that week was ‘Words’ and I jotted down a few ideas and the ‘follow the trail’ one seemed the strongest. I pitched it to Emily Brown (my wife who just happens to be a multi talented director) and she connected with it straight away and knew exactly how she would direct it.

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

I wrote the script a few days before we filmed it. The filming itself took about 2-3 hours and we edited it the same day. It was all quite hassle free as everything was done on the iphone.

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

Poor schmuck

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

We wanted to do the whole thing on the iphone so it was all relatively straight forward. I put the titles on (hadn’t done that before) but it all worked out ok.

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

We were so pleased when we watched the video. It’s such a great thing to do. We’d just woken up and I showed Emily at about 6AM. A lovely start to the day! It looked like it took a bit of time as well. You’d edited bits of our film into your video. Very much appreciated.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wanted to make a funny, film with a spiteful twist. It was important that the main character was enjoying himself only to have the real reason for the post-its come up and slap him in the face at the end.

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

I’m going to put a few down as I’m a big film fan Die Hard, Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Twelve Angry Men, Jaws, North by Northwest, The Longest Day

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

Great platform. Definitely going to submit to your festival again if we make something that comes up to scratch.

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

Possibly the Rumours album by Fleetwood Mac or Abbey Road by The Beatles

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

Hopefully making some more short films on the iphone and a web series (all with Emily Brown directing again). I’m also, hoping to finish writing a new sitcom and a film. I’m going to continue to make sketches for my youtube channel too.

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Interview with Filmmaker Scott Meyers (ENJOY?)

ENJOY? played to rave reviews at the first ever Chicago FEEDBACK Film Festival in September 2019.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Scott Meyers: My motivation for making this short was. I was in film school and
watching the youth be scammed from the American education system. Its
still bugs me that we have to put a price on education in the good old
US of A. Now I have a degree in film with a $50,000 cloud over my
head. I knew what I was getting into. I just saw 18-20 years olds,
blind to the ways of student finical. Including soldiers with PTSD
looking to get back into school. I added that part into the short
because, one of my friend who returned from Iran. All of these student
finical loans he applied for had crazy % rates. Thank God for his wife
reading over the paper work before he signed.

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

It took about a month of research before I wrote Enjoy?For the
filming part, it took about 4 hours to shoot. That’s about all the
time the school would let us film in that room.

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

Middle Finger

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

Well, the day of shooting my producer didn’t show nor my A.D. SoI
had to think of 30 different thing at once. I’m not kidding neither.
30 things. I had a couple of drinks after that shoot. The day of shoot
I was told that I lost the room.That made my heart skip a beat. But
this what you signed up for.

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

I thought the feedback was useful.


Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I came up with the idea while watching Pink Floyd’s The Wall and
Brazil. I also wanted to leave in the continuity errors in. I wanted
to have the viewer always coming back to the title. Do you really
enjoy this? Any film maker watching this is going to count the
mistakes. I wanted to mess with peoples heads on this short. It’s one
of those that you have to watch twice I feel.

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

Jaws

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

I see it as a Big casino.

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

Santana Soul Sacrifice from Woodstock.

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

We just rapped up Mic Check another comedy short. We’re in pre-
production for Death Weather and Sports which hopefully will be
shooting in Oct.

Interview with Filmmaker Christopher Mack (HOPE IS FRENCH)

HOPE IS FRENCH played to rave reviews at the Comedy Feedback Film Festival in September 2019.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Christopher Mack: Cat poop! 🙂 My cat had pooped in the hallway, and it gave me an idea.

And I wanted to have fun and make a film that explored both hope and despair in a kind of silly way.

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

I wrote it in September 2018. I got the production together and filmed it in May 2019. The edit was finished at the end of September 2019

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

Always hope

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

Time and money. And working with a cat! 🙂

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

Fascinated. It is rare and exciting to get a chance to hear what total strangers took from my film. I think it is very valuable to understand how my film is scene.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Same as answer to one: Cat poop! 🙂 My cat had pooped in the hallway, and it gave me an idea. And I think everyone has had bad days. How we react to the highs and lows is the stuff of high tragedy or great comedy.

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

That’s a hard one. The Sweet Hereafter by Atom Egoyan? Blue Velvet? Not sure. There are too many!

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

It is an expensive platform, and sometimes there is inconstancy between Filmfreeway and the various festivals, but it is great that it exists!

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

I would think it would be a Johnny Cash song

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

Working on several short films! Have a couple of feature film scripts I wrote and I’d love to explore, but I am no good at getting financing!
I am trying to film on a smartphone with an anamorphic lens. Fingers crossed it works.

hope_is_french

Interview with Filmmaker Martin Sofiedal (SIRI WITH A VENGEANCE)

SIRI WITH A VENGEANCE played to rave reviews at the Comedy Feedback Film Festival in September 2019.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Martin Sofiedal: I had done simpler sketches for a long while, and I really wanted to do something really cinematic, and up my game visually. But I knew I still needed a simple setting to make it more doable and affordable, I didn’t want to bit over more than I could chew. I suddenly remembered a sketch I did many years ago, it was also called “Siri with a vengeance” and had the same premise: Siri taking the protagonist hostage with a bomb while referencing the bad guy from Die Hard 3. So I got an added motivation: Can I remake my own short film? Making it better visually and story-wise? The stage was set.

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

As this really a remake the main idea was already there when I started this production, but I did a new draft, adding the whole Android vs Iphone theme which wasn’t in the original, and also beefed up and fit the dialogue to fit my actor, Samuel David, who I knew was going to act in it before I even started writing. We had a couple of days of pre-production, one long production day, and a longer post-production period. As this whole film was made on the side, myself and my crew also had paid jobs we had to do, it’s hard to say exactly how many days we spent on the film. But from the day I wrote the new draft till we had a finished film it took roughly two and a half month, but actual production time was maybe one third of that.

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

Timely absurd.

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

I would say finding the perfect location, because that was the biggest outlier, we had everything else ready, crew and equipment. And we knew we needed a location that had a unique look, had lots of room, and felt more international, since we were basically making an american film. At the same time it is kind of not entirely true that it was the biggest challenge, because we got the tip about this house pretty fast after we started asking around, and it was the first place we scouted. So with a big stroke of luck we found the perfect place very quickly, so maybe it’s more correct to say we thought it would be our biggest obstacle. Apart from that it was the usual challenges, running out of time and stuff like that, but nothing that we couldn’t handle or foresee.

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

Just smiling, I’ve never seen something like that before, and as I mentioned above it was so fun hearing thoughts around the film I hadn’t thought about myself.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wish I could remember, but I believe I had recently watched Die Hard 3, and in that movie the bad guy, Simon, plays a sinister game of “Simon Says” with John McClane through the phone, and at some point I made a connection where I thought “what if Siri did the same thing to a person?”. And I just spun onward from there. As I mentioned earlier, in the original sketch it was only Siri and no Google Assistant (which didn’t exist yet at the time), and the whole thing was that Siri was just tired of all the verbal abuse from the protagonist. I believe the idea to implement Google Assistant in the remake came after talking with my producer Marius (who is a tech-head) who mentioned that there is a big ongoing smart phone “war” between Android and iphone loyalists. And with that I felt the film had more to say than just Siri being angry, now she had a bigger reason to be angry.

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

Probably “Shaun of the dead”. That film has shaped me as a filmmaker. I saw it when I had just started film school, and it just opened my eyes to how much style and unique humor you can have in films.

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

Great! It is so easy use and submit films, so yeah, just great!

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

Wow, impossible question! I have periods where I hear one song more than others, hear is a random small collection (out of many many more obviously):
Childish Gambino – Heartbeat
Maroon 5 – Moves Like Jagger
Timilon – Samma det (norwegian hiphop song made by a friend of mine)
Dean Martin – Heaven can wait
Henry Jackman – The Twelve Towers (Yes, that is from the Uncharted 4 soundtrack, I’m a nerd :-P)

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

I am releasing my first feature film here in Norway on November the 11th, a treasure hunt adventure film called “Benjamin Falck and the ghost dagger”. I am also prepping a new action sktech called “Gumslingers” which we’ll shoot in October, an absurd action short heavily inspired by “Kingsman” that includes lethal bubblegum, I’ll say no more 😉

Siri with a vengeance is online and can be found here:

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