Interview with Screenwriter Zach Paul Brown (CAIROS)

 
Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Zach Paul Brown: Cairos focuses on physicist Lee, and the solitary life she leads after the death of her wife. When a rogue planet brushes past the solar system, Lee somehow comes face to face with the woman she thought she would never see again, but must also deal with the emotions, questions, and doubts that resurface along with her past love.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Sci-fi Drama

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

I think Cairos should be made into a movie because I feel like people still aren’t seeing the diversity that the genre of Sci-Fi can support. It’s such an epic genre with so many opportunities and avenue for questions and discussion and I think our piece goes down a few of the roads in a new, more diverse fashion. At the same time though our piece isn’t too heady. We take the large and go small with it, focusing on two people and their relationship, something that is palatable and an easy entry point for anyone.

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

Dreamy and Bittersweet

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

I think I’ve watched Chicago, the Rob Marshall version, close to twenty times, which is weird because I’m not necessarily the biggest fan of musicals. I think it has to do with how naughty every character is in their own way. And before that film I hadn’t really seen any story like that. I just love it!

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

I started Cairos over the Spring, back in May I believe. I’m new at this and trying to build my portfolio and I had never written anything in the genre before. I’m still retooling and rewriting it so about 8 months or so now.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written 3 shorts, 3 features, 2 pilots, and a webseries. I’m working on an additional 3 features at the moment as well. I like to stay busy!

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

Midnight City by M83.

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

Getting the scientific terms out in a way that wasn’t trying to be too astute. I realized eventually though that since the science in the story apart from a few facts is completely made up and that I didn’t have to sweat it to much I just had to write the relationship. I’m cutting back on the jargon even more in the rewrite I’m doing now too. I love a good slash and burn!

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

Apart from writing I love painting. I never go in with a plan though, it’s just pure relaxation for me. Hiking and nutrition are very important to me as well. So is going out on the town. I was really introverted for a long time and I didn’t realize how important social interaction was and how much I needed and enjoyed it. So I definitely try to get a tequila in with friends once or twice every few weeks.

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

Film Freeway was so simple to use. The interface, the set up of it all is wonderful. I had no idea there were so many film festivals all over the world and the fact that they are connected to all of them is really astounding. It’s my new favorite tool and I can’t wait to use it more as I continue to beef up my portfolio.

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

 
You guys were actually the first festival that I ever submitted too. I’ve been writing for about two years now and I only recently got to a point where I felt comfortable sending out my stuff for feedback. I wanted to send it to a festival that also catered to LGBT content as well because I love specificity and I believe that if it’s an LGBT story it deserves to be seen and critiqued by that audience. The feedback has been great as well. The taped reading was so great! So incredibly helpful to hear things out loud!
 

Watch the Winning Screenplay Reading: 

During a rare celestial event, two women reunite.

CAST LIST:

Woman 1 – 1 – PAOLA SCATTOLON
Student (f) – 3 – KATELYN VARAD
Narration – PETER NELSONI
Lee (F, 29 black) – KYANA TERESA
Zach (20s Caucasian) – NICK DOLAN

Submit exclusively via FilmFreeway:

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Interview with Filmmaker Lina Schmeink (Löffel)

Löffel was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the Female Director’s December 2018 Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lina Schmeink: It was my grandma who spent her last ten years in an old people´s home. It was dirty and the nurses had no time for the residents. That wa formative for me. So I tought: what if old people just break the rules, break out and just do what they like – no matter how old they are or hor realistic it is to win.

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

– I had the idea for the script in summer 2014. It was a long long time to shoot, edit and finish it. I had to reedit LÖFFEL many times because everytime I tought it would be finished now I had a new idea.

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

– donkey adventure

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

– Shooting with the donkey was a challenge. We shot the last scene – when the two guys ans Löffel walk down that path – 2 kilometers away from the barn where the donkeys lived. We had two donkeys who were inseparable. So we had to take them both to our set. We wanted to shoot while sunrise and the donkeys didn´t want to walk onto our trailer. So we walked the 2 kilometers trough Belium in the dark with the donkeys who didn´t want to walk. And when we arrived at the set and the sun position was perfect the donkeys didn´t move anymore. It took half an hour for the donkeys to move again and the sunrise was over when we shot. So the whole preparation was in vain.

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

– I was so touched, moved, happy and grateful that people I had no chance to talk to completely understood the movie and could laugh and cry while watching it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

– As I already wrote it was the situation my grandmy lived in and it was also my father who always wanted to have donkeys at home.

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

– Life of Brian

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

– It´s a great platform. Gives a good overview, many informations and makes the submissions very easy. I will use it again.

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

– James – Getting away with it

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

– Yes, in 2018 i wrote my first long term script and I´m gonna shoot it in 2019.

Interview with Producer Lester Greene (I GOT A CALLBACK)

I GOT A CALLBACK played to rave reviews at the December 2018 COMEDY Feedback Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Lester Greene: The whole Me Too movement sparked this film, especially the Terry Crews story of him being sexually assaulted by that high powered agent.

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

It took about a week for the writer to put it together on paper, and then about a month to rehearse and then we begin filming a month after that.

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

Hilariously, thought-provoking

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

We had to battle a car alarm going off non-stop during the film shoot. Luckily, the editor was able to remove it in post production.

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

It was a proud moment. I felt like a true professional having his work reviewed and dissected. It was nice to see that many of the viewers understood our point of view. I create art so that people can gain something from it, and I can tell that your audience appreciated our film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

We wanted to create something in the vein of the Me Too Movement with a slight twist.

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

Above the Rim, Friday, Love & Basketball

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

Dear Mama – by Tupac

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

I just wrapped on two new films, “The Last Fishing Trip” and “33rd Road” both filmed by the same cinematographer who shot “I Got a Callback,” Chris Fox. And I’m getting ready to write a new comedy series.

Interview with Filmmaker Kristy Linderholm (Murder in the Cat House)

MURDER IN THE CAT HOUSE played to rave reviews at the December 2018 COMEDY Feedback Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kristy Linderholm: It was practice to get ready for the next one which is much bigger. I learned a ton.

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

A year. There were long stretches in between.

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

Dark surprises

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

Two things. Not asking for help. And I was suffering with extreme depression. Not a good combo.

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

Thank you!!! Thank you so so so so much. It turned me around on the outlook of my career. I knew the short was severely flawed – even though its doing well in fests – but no one would tell me. So I felt blocked up and ashamed. Since the audience didn’t know I was there, they totally ripped into it and it was the most freeing experience I’ve had – and I’ve made 5 shorts, so it’s been a minute.

Once I left I felt soooo relieved. And a George Clooney quote kept coming up. Much earlier in his career someone was giving him shit about being in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes. He shrugged and said “Its all part of a career.” I was free to just let it be bad. It was just part of a career.

AND I saw a lot of ways to fix it and the audience really cleared the problems up.

Seriously a career watershed.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

Long story. But it was set living room. Since that’s the setting of 93% of short films I was having none of that. I’m an editor by trade and had recently cut a pilot that took place in a cat sanctuary. I thought, that’s a new and fun location. So that’s what I did.

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

Probably John Wick. I am an intense re-watcher of films, scenes, and line deliveries, so it’s really impossible to tell.

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

Loved it. Poop on Without a Box. They are kind of a pain.

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

Sleep Alone by Two Door Cinema Club. All my devices roll their eyes when I put it on. They are sick of it.

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

Two new shorts and shadowing on TV shows. I’m really, really looking forward to both.

It’s all part of a career.

Interview with Filmmaker Julia Trofimova (EULOGY FOR DENIS K)

EULOGY FOR DENIS K was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the December 2018 Female Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Julia Trofimova: I’m very intrigued by the question of the truth – how would it look like if everyone knew everything? Would this world still exist? Or a lie is a protection tool invented by God. The film is my attempt to talk about it.

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

I’ve been looking for an idea for quite a long time, but once I found the script and decided to produce and direct it, it took me 4 months.

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

Accept reality

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

It was actually pretty hard to find the fine line between comedy and drama. It’s very subtle, when you are talking about serious things like death, loss, lie, betrayal, but I needed to find the comedy edge to it. So casting and performances were the biggest challenge.

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

I was very pleased. I realized it does not even matter if the feedback is positive (though it was) but it’s just so precious and surprising to hear people talk about your own film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was looking for a dramedy with particular themes and I came across a wonderful script by C.J.Wells. We worked at the script a bit more together and then I was ready to direct it. Cassie is a real goddess of dramedy, I think she feels this genre very well.

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

There is a Russian film that we watch every year on Christmas Eve. It’s called “The Irony of Fate”, and it’s a dramedy as well. It was shot in 70s but it’s still somehow very modern and subtle.

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

It’s the most convenient platform I know.

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

“Smells like teen spirit” by Nirvana.
One of my kids plays this song now, so I’m sure I’ll listen to it even more:)

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

— Yes, I shot two more short films and will send them to festivals soon.

Interview with Filmmaker George A. Velez (MR. E, P I)

MR. E, P I played to rave reviews at the December 2018 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

George A. Velez: I wanted to make a film in a very fun genre that everyone is

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

From idea to finished product, I would say the project took around 10 months.

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

I would say the short is fun and heartfelt.

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

The biggest obstacle was trying to film the whole short in a day. We succeeded but what a challenge.

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

It was surreal to hear people talking about my short because the only feedback I’ve gotten was from my peers. It was great to hear the audience and their interpretations because it’s interesting to hear what people get out of the experience.

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

The short was originally part of a larger piece and I really wanted to see this world and these characters in a physical space.

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

There’s so many but possibly “Jaws”

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

Applying to FilmFreeway has been a positive influence for the most part. It’s easy to navigate and very in-depth.

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

“Purple Rain” by Prince

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

I’m currently finishing two feature film scripts and in pre-production for my next short, Eavesdroppng.