Interview with Screenwriter Carol Hoffman (Tyler Hudson’s Christmas Eve Adventure)

1. What is your screenplay about?

When Santa’s sleigh is hijacked with a non-believer boy and his younger brother aboard, it might take a miracle to get them all home and keep Santa out of jail.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Family/Comedy/Action/Adventure

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

The new and fresh take on a simple, often told children’s story of a disbelieving kid meeting the real Santa can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike and gives everyone something to think about.

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

Lessons learned.

5. What is the movie you’ve seen the most times in your life?

North by Northwest

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

I have been working on it since 2004. I have typed THE END a number of times. The screenplay has won numerous awards and received great reader comments and feedback. But when someone gives me a great idea I overlooked, I click on Final Draft and find a way to use it.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written 14 feature screenplays, six shorts, and too many radio, newspaper and magazine stories to count.

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

Your Song by Elton John

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

I had to walk a fine line when I answered Tyler’s tough questions because parents have their own answers when their children ask questions, and they have to explain things their children see and hear.

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

Volunteering, painting, drawing, photography, songwriting and interior decorating.

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

It’s great and easy to use. They keep you updated on the results.

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

My screenplay The Black Heart Book, a book adaptation based on a true story, won Drama Best Scene in 2018. I was impressed with the quality of your work on the reading, and I really appreciate your efforts to promote the Drama/Action/Adventure story. This type of assistance is what I need most at this stage of my writing career.

There was high praise for Tyler Hudson’s Christmas Eve Adventure and the feedback was detailed and helpful. It’s always great to see someone share my excitement and passion for this screenplay.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

When Santa’s sleigh is hijacked with a non-believer boy and his younger brother aboard, it might take a Christmas miracle to get them all home and keep Santa out of jail.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Tyler: Allan Michael Brunet
Alvie: Andy Camp
Alice: Hannah Ehman
—–

Interview with Screenwriter Robert W. McKnight (CALLE OCHO)

1. What is your screenplay about?

1. The screenplay Calle Ocho is about yet another close U.S. Senate election in Florida intersecting with a once in a life time chance for freedom in Cuba, after Castro.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

The genres are political, thriller, and women themed.

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

It should be made into a movie to lay a foundation for serious talking again about public policy and America’s founding principles.

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

Absolute Integrity.

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

“A Few Good Men.”

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

10 Years.

7. How many stories have you written?

A dozen.

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

America by Neil Diamond.

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

Money.

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

My family.

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

I have had a very positive experience with Film Filmfreeway

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

I entered the festival to publicize Calle Ocho. The initial feedback from producers, studios, and investors has been poor.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

“A critical election in Florida intersects with the opportunity for real freedom in Cuba.”

Logline: When the smart and beautiful daughter of a wealthy Cuban refugee (the most powerful conservative voice in Florida) becomes a U.S. Senator, she works cleverly and clandestinely to defy both her father and accepted political precedent to abolish the U.S. Embargo.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Kyana Teresa
Aleja: Julie Sheppard
Senator Carreras: Geoff Mays
—–

Interview with Screenwriter Micharn Pollock (SIZWE)

1. What is your screenplay about?

This is the heartwarming story of Nosizwe (Sizwe), a young girl from the Transkei. Sizwe’s been raised by her gogo (grandmother), the kind of lady you just want to hug. We see Sizwe tackle difficult situations and grow from a young girl, very dependent on her gogo, to reversing the role and becoming her gogo’s caretaker.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama

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

Sizwe is a touching story of a child with a disability showing great strength and reliance in a particularly tough time. Audiences need to see MORE people with disabilities living independent and successful lives without being seen as just someone with a disability.

The relationship between a grandmother and her grandchildren, particularly when the parents have to work remotely is not unusual in rural areas, yet not a story often told.

There need to be more stories coming from the Eastern Cape. The Transkei is a beautiful, remote area in the Eastern Cape, rich with heritage. Nelson Mandela was born not too far from where the story is set.

The Xhosa culture has not been represented in many stories that come out of South Africa.

Due to wearing face marks that do not show the mouth, people who lip read can no longer do so. South Africa, a country of 57.5 million people has 4 million deaf or hard of hearing citizens. Wearing cloth face masks is now a prerequisite for any South African leaving their home. The silence in the deaf person’s world has just become more oppressing.

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

Strength (in) Adversity

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

Empire Records

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

About 4 months

7. How many stories have you written?

Not many that I have shared, but too many to count!

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

Take it Easy – The Eagles

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

Deciding on which route to take for the ending. There were many alternative endings before I decided which worked best for the story.

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

I am passionate about acting and art.

Acting: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm6318901/?ref_=nv_sr_srsg_0

Art: https://www.instagram.com/micharnpollockart/

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

FilmFreeway is an extremely simple platform to use and to keep up to date on submissions.

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

The reviews of the festival were great and my experience so far has been wonderful. I found the feedback useful and the festival well organized.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

citizens. Wearing cloth face masks is now a prerequisite for any South African leaving their home. The silence in the deaf person’s world has just become more oppressing.

This is the story of Sizwe, a young, deaf girl from the rural Transkei in South Africa, and how an act of bravery takes her from being reliant on her Gogo (her grandmother) to being independent and capable in difficult times.South Africa, a country of 57.5 million people has 4 million deaf or hard of hearing citizens. Wearing cloth face masks is now a prerequisite for any South African leaving their home. The silence in the deaf person’s world has just become more oppressing.

This is the story of Sizwe, a young, deaf girl from the rural Transkei in South Africa, and how an act of bravery takes her from being reliant on her Gogo (her grandmother) to being independent and capable in difficult times.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Isaac/Pastor Joseph/Headman: Allan Michael Brunet
Ludwe/Old Man/Man/Male Nurse: Shawn Devlin
Principal/Policeman: Steve Rizzo
Thandi/Sizwe: Hannah Ehman
Qaqamba/Teacher/Old Woman: Kyana Teresa
Mary/Grandmothe/Middle Aged Woman/Female Nurse: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Nothemba:- Allison kampf
——

Interview with Screenwriter May Walker (Runaway Ruth)

1. What is your screenplay about?

It is set in the 70’s and centers around a runaway named Ruth and an alien named Peter. Together they travel across the mid-southwest to help Peter get back to his home. Meanwhile Ruth finds her own inner strength.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Sci-fi, adventure

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

I think it would be a great film to produce because it touches on so many little things about humanity, and the characters are very relatable.

I also think it is a good story to show young girls that their ideas have power. It would also be a great film because it depicts nerodivergence in a light that does not make the character seem feble or incapable of thought.
There is a deeper wisdom to it all that I feel would make audiences feel good, without ot being too campy.

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

Uniquely empowering

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

Road to Perdition

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

The idea has been around most of my life , but I drafted this story during the first lock down of the 2020 pandemic.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have done a lot of ground work for stories and I am proud to say I have some of the work finished. However, as with all work, many of my pieces are a work in progress.

I have drafted 4 seasons of a Urban fantasy tv series ( The World Takes)

Wrote and edited three shorts , ( Gun, Value of a Ring, and Spirit of the Rain,) but I have drafted out at least 6 others.

Aside from Runaway Ruth, I have drafted two and a half other features ( which I feel personally are still in development.)

Lastly, I am outlining a story about the mob.

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

For Runaway Ruth I listened to alot of the Killers album “Sam’s town,” and David Bowie.

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

This would be a story in itself.

Simply put this story came out of my need to express pent up feelings and occupy my time durring the pandemic.

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

Arts, filmmaking, helping people, walking and taking time to enjoy nature.

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

So far so good it is very easy to work with and read .

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

I enjoyed my feedback. It was very helpful and validating.

I was compelled to enter because it felt like the next best step to take with my writing. It isn’t written till it is read.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

It’s the 1970s and Ruth, an imaginative fifteen year old, has had enough of her mother’s abuse and decides to run away. She immediately finds trouble, but is rescued by an ultraterrestrial named Peter. After striking up a friendship, the two of them set off on the road to find the mysterious Engineer. Along the way, they dodge threats and escape sticky situations. Ruth pushes through it all and finds her inner strength.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Principal (M-45): Sean Ballantyne
Mrs. Marshal (F-35): Hannah Ehman
—–

Interview with Screenwriter Bradley M. Look (A Package Of Dreams)

1. What is your screenplay about?

A Package Of Dreams, a short animated script, is about a six-year-old boy, Andrew who dreams of becoming a horror host when he grows up. But, by the time he’s in his early twenties, that life long dream gets derailed. His father has arranged for Andrew to work at the same package delivery service as he does. So, on Andrew’s first solo outing as a delivery driver, he has many misadventures. But fate steps in to deliver a package of dreams for Andrew.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Generally it’s a fantasy- adventure story.

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

The story has universal appeal with a core message to never giving up on your dreams – even when it’s not considered worthy by others.

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

Dream fulfilling.

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

That would probably be, The Wizard of Oz.

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

I would say that I’ve been tinkering on the script off and on for about a year now.

Initially, I started it back when the Covid pandemic first hit in March of 2020. My regular job as a Journeyman makeup artist on the Nickelodeon series, Danger Force, got shut down, along with every other Hollywood production.

So with lots of time on my hands, I started thinking about possible script ideas. It wasn’t long before inspiration struck. One day, while out jogging in my neighborhood, I witness an odd sight. A UPS truck pulled into the cemetery right across from my apartment complex. It was making a delivery. This started me thinking. “Who could possibly be expecting a package there?”

7. How many stories have you written?

Besides this script, I wrote a series pilot titled, Frank N’ Beanz. It’s a family-friendly story currently being looked at by a production company. There’s also been a forty-five-page treatment titled, More Than Skin Deep. That’s another family-friendly story about a young Japanese girl who is born in deep space to a biracial couple who are stellar cartographers. Interestingly, the treatment made it all the way to the desk of Peter Jackson’s assistant. But, because I didn’t have representation, it never got passed onto Peter. The story doesn’t stop there. Later, I received an email from a director, who happened to be visiting Jackson in New Zealand at the time. He saw my treatment on the assistant’s desk and asked if he could read it. The assistant said sure. So the director sat down and read it cover to cover. He was so moved by the story that he copied down my email address from the cover page. He sent me an email saying how much he loved the story and that next time he was in the United States, he wanted to meet me. Fast-forward to several months later, when I get a phone call, out of the blue, from the director wanting to have lunch together. During our meeting he told me what an incredible story I wrote and while he would love to direct it, the scope is so large it could easily be three features.

Currently, I’m writing another short animated script, The Séance. It’s more adult fare. Set in London at the turn of the century, it features a well-known science fiction writer who delves into the world of the supernatural while doing research to write a short magazine story.

8. What is your favorite song?

Usually when I’m writing, I will traditionally listen to a movie soundtrack. Depending on the scene I’m working on, it could be a John Williams score, a Jerry Goldsmith theme, or Danny Elfman. Harry Gregson-Williams is another favorite. I have an extensive library of soundtracks to pull from when establishing a mood for a given scene. The music helps my mind create images.

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

The biggest issue was finding the time away from my regular job (as a makeup artist) to do all the re-writes that were necessary. Usually, I find I’m most productive when writing late at night. The phone isn’t ringing, interrupting my thoughts and my husband has gone to bed. However, this practice isn’t always possible if I have to work early the next day on set. My normal workday can begin as early as one thirty in the morning to apply an extensive appliance makeup like for example: a Frost Giant from THOR or a Borg from STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT.

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

I really enjoy drawing and painting, but time and space in our apartment doesn’t really allow me to do that. So I will create artwork on the computer in Photoshop. As a kid, I drew all the time, did makeups for local school theatre productions, and wrote. My background is extremely varied.

On a side note — as a kid, I was always interested in animation. In my early twenties, I mailed out a letter to Hal Sutherland. He was the Production Director at Filmation Studios. He was so impressed with some sample drawing I included with my letter that he wanted me to test for the company. Ultimately, I did so on three separate occasions. I was offered a position in their new training program. But as luck would have it, the studio was sold to another company who, once they acquired Filmation, immediately disbanded it.

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

Being a newbie to the whole submission process, it was just happen stance that I stumbled across FilmFreeway’s web site after I had finished my second draft of my short script. It’s been a learning experience. That being said, I have found the people at FilmFreeway to be very helpful when I have questions.

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

Having never entered a festival before, I was a little reluctant at first.

When I decided to give it a try, my early version of my script didn’t do well at all. It was rejected almost immediately. And the reader’s feedback was all over the place.

The biggest issue I have with reader’s comments is that they’ll mention something that they don’t like, but not always offer a suggestion on how to improve the work. And depending on what the reader’s taste is, your work can be easily rejected outright. Understandably, writing, just like all other art forms, is wildly personal. And depending on the personal interests of the reader – your story will either resonate or not with them. Those festival whose readers took the time to really read my script, came back having been moved by it. A few even quoted passages from the script and mentioned that it felt like a Pixar film.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A young man is pushed into working for a delivery service by his father and finds himself connecting with a hero from his youth in a supernatural way.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Uncle Icky (M-50s): Steve Rizzo
ARCHAELOGIST #1 (M-30s): Geoff Mays
ARCHAELOGIST #2 (F-30s): Hannah
—-

Interview with Screenwriter Ivana Strajin (THE TAKEOVER)

1. What is your screenplay about?

A newly appointed CEO of an occupational health company gets catfished… by her job. What she hopes will be her legacy gets bungled by fraud, coverups, and the death of an offshore oil rig worker.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

It’s a dark comedy.

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

The series centers on occupational health and oil rigs, both of which are settings that are largely untapped yet intriguing. I got familiar with these industries when I was working at a company with an occupational health division. For the record, neither the story nor the characters are based on anything or anyone real. I think that’s important to state since the pilot starts with a death which is a result of medical fraud; it would have made the news if this was a real story. Okay, the legal disclaimer is out of the way.

In the pilot, the moral dilemma of accidental medical fraud conflicts with ego. The elephant in the room on top of this dilemma is the international conversation about climate change. I think audiences would enjoy seeing these characters grapple with this issue given their industry.

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

Dry & sardonic.

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

If Parasite had come out when I was a kid, this would be my answer. I’ve rewatched countless times and it’s only been a couple of years. I love the twists and turns in the film. It’s entertaining and smart.

If we’re going to include the span of my life so far, then my answer is probably either Office Space or Miss Congeniality. I think the theme is that I like films that feature outcasts because I always felt like one throughout my angsty childhood / teenage / early adulthood years.

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

I wrote the first draft of the pilot script in January. I sent it around to a few writers in my circle, gathered feedback, and made changes. I work on multiple scripts at a time but I’ve continued to come back to this script and make improvements. The scene recording helped me identify more opportunities for changes! All my scripts are always live documents until they’re filmed or killed.

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens.

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

I have no idea. No one song comes to mind. If I pull up my Spotify Unwrapped from 2020, I’ve got everyone from Sigrid to Toto Cutugno to Lizzo to Taylor Swift to Prljavo Kazalište in there.

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

There are a lot of characters in this script. Some of them have similar, competing motivations, but a different angle or reason for the motivation. The greatest obstacle was trying to find a way to distinguish each of the characters.

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

Is it cheating to say I’m also passionate about directing? It’s film-related, but I love directing because it’s so collaborative. It’s also fun to see my vision come to life.

Outside of the film/TV world, I love cooking. It’s an activity that requires you to be in the present if you want to keep your fingers intact and not light your home on fire.

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

I submitted it via ISA. It was a seamless process!

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

I loved that the festival offered full feedback regardless of your placement. It’s always helpful to get notes from someone who has no context on what you’re trying to achieve. They simply comment on what they received from reading the material cold. And I figured it would be a bonus if I had the chance to have my work featured. Thank you for the opportunity!

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

A newly appointed CEO of an occupational health company gets catfished… by her job. What she hopes will be her legacy gets bungled by fraud, coverups, and the death of an offshore oil rig worker.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Larry: Allan Michael Brunet
Isabel: Kyana Teresa
————-

Interview with Filmmaker Kiran Gordon (WUHAN EXPRESS)

WUHAN EXPRESS was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the September 2021 COMEDY Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I was motivated to make this film because I read an article saying Chinese restaurants were being hurt by the pandemic. People were targeting Chinese restaurants to boycott because of the anger they felt about the pandemic. I thought that was ridiculous and I wanted to tell a story to highlight that struggle for the restaurant owners, but do it in a comedic way because the pandemic was sad enough on its own.

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

It took me about 10 months from initial conception to final edit.

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

Restaurant Shenanigans

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

Biggest obstacle was Covid, I was the first show to shoot during the Covid protocols and it affected everything from sound to casting.

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

My initial reaction was just overwhelming happiness. It is just nice to hear strangers talk about my film and I was excited when they were picking up on jokes or themes that I wanted to be prevelant.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was a little kid who always messed with a camera, but it wasn’t until junior year of high school did I realize I wanted to make movies when people just kind of assumed I would because I talked about movies so much and I realized…”Hey, I could actually do this!”

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

Back to the Future hands down!

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

I like FilmFreeway, very easy and user friendly, for me at least.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I love food so this is hard, but I could always go for some buffalo wings.

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

I have moved to New York and am working on film sets, but I am writing shorts and trying to get more involved in standup comedy!

Interview with Filmmaker Shaun Bartlett (ROOTS AND VEINS)

ROOTS AND VEINS was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2021 MUSIC Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Each album I’ve released means something special to me, but “Roots and Veins” has an extra personal vibe and I really wanted to create something as personal visually to go with it. I’ve always had a great love for Norway’s mountain scenery and whenever I go on a trek it ends up being healing in some way or another. With each song on the album representing a certain turning point in my life I felt motivated to make a mountain trek film to visualise lifes obstacles, goals and seeing things through. The route for this trek also determined the order of the songs on the tracklist. Or trek-list, if you like.

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

I first got the idea about 4-5 summers ago when I was hiking in the area and put together a spontaneous test snippet that I filmed with my phone. No stand or anything, so everything was shot from a ground angle. When all my live shows were cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic, I saw a loophole to actually put this idea to life. Planning the route and logistics took about a month plus those couple of years of occasionally picturing shots beforehand. Filming took about one month including a lot of down time because of stormy weather. I edited some of the film along the way but spent the better half of autumn/winter2020 editing the film at home and finalising the actual album.

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

“Available catharsis”

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

I’m tempted to play it cool here, but I’ll be honest instead. There were days when I was absolutely knackered from walking for miles and carrying quite a few kilos of essentials, so the biggest obstacle was convincing myself each and every day that I could do this. Hence the last words in the film “I did it, I did it, I did it!”

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

It felt like a little celebration in my living room and for once when getting feedback I hugged each word and let myself feel inspired from the get-go. Thank you very much!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I’ve always played around with smaller film projects that I now feel have been leading up to see one as big as this project through. I guess my interest for such cropped up a long time ago but since music has always been my number one project in life I’ve had to remind myself now and then about my love for film. Finishing this project, and even winning “best film” has definitely triggered an even bigger urge to make more films.

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

Good Will Hunting.

(“How do you like them apples?”)

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

From a first time filmmaker/submitter’s point of view, with no other reference point, this was a good way to do things.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Butter chicken with a garlic nan on the side. Ok. Now I must have this today..

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

I’ve spent the last few years touring solo with my music and have for the longest time wodered if I should try and make a live concert film of some kind. I also would quite like to make a short documentary about my father, who was head hunted to Bahrain in the 70’s to ride race horses for the amir. He’s been living there since.

Interview with Filmmaker Aaron Steinberg (KAOTIC DRUMLINE: DRUMMING WITH A DIFFERENCE)

KAOTIC DRUMLINE: DRUMMING WITH A DIFFERENCE played to rave reviews at the September 2021 MUSIC Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Another project led directly into this one! (I had been the music composer, and ultimately, became one of the co-producers on a new Chicago-based feature documentary “Tomorrow’s Hope,” which had a different focus – exploring Early Education against a backdrop of deep systemic inequality.) But in that film, live drumline music had been a memorable and important element, both onscreen and offscreen. As a result of that process and in developing a relationship with drummers Jamie and Jamal Poindexter (the father and son also featured in “Kaotic Drumline: Drumming With A Difference”), some of us were getting the feeling that a piece specifically about the drumline could resonate, inspire and likely even surprise people.

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

From greenlight to finish, it was a month for this short. And from past experiences, I’ve learned that having a “hard deadline” as we did with this one – although sometimes pain-inducing – is often the way projects truly happen.

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

Tough Question!

Ha. Okay. How about “Transformation Rhythms.”

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

Maybe it was hitting that hard deadline we had? But somehow we got it across the finish line in time, despite all the moving parts – and in the end, just as we’d hoped to somehow when the dust cleared. In terms of obstacles, a close second would be probably producing the film within necessary covid protocols. (That, along with other daunting problems solved, are thanks only to the wizardry of our producer Tamra Raven!)

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

What a treat! Thank you all so much. It was just a joy to hear how the film moved and intrigued people, and also it was very encouraging to hear the ways in which the positive, socially-conscious aspects of what this particular musical group is trying to do clearly resonated. Cool to see that the section exploring the individual instruments – bringing the audience “behind the curtain” – seemed to bring the performances closer! Separately – just from a strictly filmmaking perspective – compliments on the pacing and quality of the work are always great to hear. (You never really know if they’re gonna see what you see, right?) Glad also to hear appreciation for our cinematographer Doug Clevenger’s approach. In a broader sense, it’s so rewarding when an audience’s experience seems to connect you right back to your original intentions – when it feels like maybe you actually achieved what you set out to do.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When I was a small kid! My mom had some Super 8 film cameras and I used to try all kinds of nutty, ill-advised things with those, and luckily I had some friends that were game to do it with me. Honestly, it was so fun. Then my dad had gotten himself a video camera, and before long, we also soon absconded with that.

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

I have no idea at all so I’ll throw out a few, and hopefully you won’t get mad at me for it: Wizard of Oz, Apocalypse Now, Purple Rain, Casablanca, Star Wars, Get Out, Vertigo, Do The Right Thing, Harold and Maude, Singin’ In The Rain, Deep Cover, Young Frankenstein, Dr. Strangelove, Murder My Sweet, Blade Runner, They Live, Office Space, Planet Of The Apes (original).

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

Oh, it works well. Easy to navigate and also has an impressive variety of festivals from all over the world, which we find exciting and fun.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Today – Mexican? Tomorrow – Indian? Day after – Texas BBQ? And what about Korean BBQ? Getting a bit hungry right about now, come to think of it.

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

At present we are working on a new music video for my band, Captain Danger! Previously we’d worked with genius cinematographer Dane Lawing on our oddball Sci-Fi music video for the Captain Danger song “Holly.” And now that seems to have gotten all our juices flowing again for this next adventure together. Stay tuned!

Interview with Filmmaker Michelle Danner (THE RUNNER)

THE RUNNER was the winner of BEST FEATURE FILM at the September 2021 THRILLER/SUSPENSE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It was a story in the news that caught my eye and I have become aware that it always has to do with children falling through the cracks. This particular story about how police will force teens to wear a wire and go undercover to bring down drug lords without the knowledge of their parents brought me to tears because horrible things can happen when adults don’t take care of children.

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

It took me about 2 years to make this film. I probably would have been 18 months except for the fact that the pandemic helped me to relax and gave me more time to edit than I am normally accustomed to.

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

Intense ride!

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

For this film tha biggest obstacle was that parts of Post-Production, color correction and sound design happened remotely due to the pandemic and the lockdown. In the very end stages we were able to go into the screening rooms. I realized I didn’t like doing those processes online, it’s much easier to be in the room with the editors.

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

It felt very rewarding, I think it was a great thing to do because as a filmmaker it really felt like the people that weighed in understood what it was meant to be about. Thank you so much!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I think when I started teaching acting it reinforced in me the power of storytelling and making a film and getting people to see it. There is a big reach there. You get to play in the biggest classroom in the world. At a very young age I realized that I wanted to tell stories in whatever capacity and medium that I could because whether you’re in a theater or a cinema the same story has the power to move so many people from different walks of life, there is a beautiful universality to humanity.

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

Many! But the two that come to mind are “Gone with the Wind” and “Heat”. At first you think they’re complete opposites, or are they? They are both about divide and survival.

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

I love FilmFreeway, it’s very streamlined and easy to navigate.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I love Italian food, Spaghetti Vongole, Clam Sauce 🙂

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

Yes, always. I just produced a short film “Death May Die”, directed by my son Nicholas Danner, and I’m working on a comedy that we’re hoping to shoot in November.