Interview with Filmmaker Isaac Elliott (A STATIC WIND)

A STATIC WIND was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the June 2018 Young Filmmaker’s FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Isaac Elliott: I had just finished uni and was left without a clear path to a career in film making. So the best way to get in is to make stuff, good or bad, just to make stuff. I turned inward and tried to find a story to tell and this came out of it.

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

It took a total of around 23 months from idea to completion. It was initially conceived in March 2014 and after a number of drafts we held a crowdfunding campaign and attempted to shoot it in January 2015. With much of the budget going to a weekend away – the rest would be in a studio – we were rained out and had countless issues without getting anything really in the can. With more than half the budget gone and no way to keep going, the film was called off.

I then started my honours year at Uni and began work on a another project but this was during a tumultuous personal time and I wasn’t able to crack the story. So i pulled A static Wind back out fo the drawer and got to work, cut it, tightened it and focussed it. The second shoot then was in November 2015 with a new crew, new cast and a uni deadline, we were able to get it done. It was then finished in February 2016.

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

Hello World

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

Weather was huge. The weather in Melbourne Australia is a fickle thing, one day it can be sunny and 35 degrees celsius and the next it can be 18, with black rain clouds. We had to gamble and go for it and fortunately it lucked out.

I would also say shooting in a pool, at night time, with daylight meant that we had around 2hrs with the youngest boys to shoot the pool and not much more with the others. It became a race to get it done and stay warm.

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

My initial reaction was ‘they get it’. I have always had mixed feeling about A Static Wind and its nice to see an audience responding so positively to it.

Although in saying that the one thing that wasn’t specifically mentioned in the script was that the other two children were foster children, which is why they are new every year. This rarely comes across, yet the tone and their effect on Silvy seems to conjure the intended response regardless. Which is nice.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea came through a series of lat night note writing in my phone while coming to terms with my inability to connect emotionally to people. Exploring these emotions and ideas and putting a character into that position where she is deflective of personal connection and its only through a turmoil that she can come out from behind her book, look out the window and appreciate both the people and the world around her.

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

Well i grew up in the country without television reception so during my formative years i would watch and a rewatched a series of pirated VHS tapes. And in this time i think the more i saw the most was Bowfinger with Eddie Murphy. Its a seriously underrated film and probably the best movie about making a movie ive seen.

However once deciding to become a film maker, the most influential and informative film I have seem would probably be Blue Valentine. Damn i love that movie. Hits me right the feels.

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

Film Freeway is the best out fo the numerous platforms. Its easy to use, easy to search and easy to submit.

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

I’ll list two

Eminem – Guilty Conscience when i wanted say ‘F&*k the world”

Billy Joel – You May Be right when i wanted to say ‘F&*k the world’ but quietly to myself in my room.

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

Im working on a new short at the moment, I will keep you posted how it goes.

However as a producer I have recently produced and stared in a Feature Documentary entitled FINKE:there and back about a motorcycle race in my home town of Alice Springs. It has recently had its world Premiere at the Sydney Film Festival and will be travelling through the Australian Festival circuit over the next 9 months or so before a cinema release likely early 2019 through Madman Entertainment. It was narrated by Eric Bana which was a huge boon and will hopefully allow it to open in the North American Market.

Further to this i also have a kids TV series in development which will hopefully move into pre-production early next year. This will be 15 x half hour episodes which will allow me to direct a number of episodes on a larger scale.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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