Interview with director Dave Lojek (PROVERBIAL LUCK)

Dave Lojek’s film from Austria (via Germany) “PROVERBIAL LUCK” played to rave reviews at the November 2016 Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Dave Lojek: Language and film can have nice effects on audiences. But less talk and more deeds are preferrable in most films. This one needs the voice-over. As a filmmaker and linguist I know that idioms are quite hard to translate. That was a good challenge for the subtitles. The “Amelie” tinge is intended.

The writer and co-director Steffi asked me to read the script, because she had seen some of my award-winning previous movies. I liked the idea but warned her that live animals are a risk factor in shorts. She told me that she had bought all the animals and also created all props, found locations. So we looked around in the film workshop Kino Cuntra in Graz (Austria) that night after a cinema screening and found cast, crew, and equipment. Next morning the shot list was ready and we began filming. So I had about 15 minutes to really decide about making this film. I said yes, seeing the potential for wider audiences, quirky entertainment, language lessons for refugees, and some awards. Over 73 film festivals screened it so far, so my feeling was confirmed. We won the German National Film Festival with this comedy in 2016 and 13 other awards by November.

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

DL: The brainstorming and writing took Steffi Sixdorf and Peter Lutz about two weeks. Preproduction and funding was a month for Steffi. At this moment I joined the crew as director. The filming itself took two days, the edit one day and the color grading 3 days. Waiting for sound mix and music: 6 months without much progress. My composer friend Mirko in Berlin just spent 2 weeks to create soundtrack and final audio mix last summer.
Worldwide distribution is ongoing and has taken now 14 months already. I count this time also. Can we reach the 80 or even 100 festivals mark?

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

DL: Oddball idioms-romcom.

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

DL: Waiting 6 months for the promised soundtrack which never arrived. The guy was in a crisis and had forgotten the project. So I had to ask my main composer in Berlin to help us. A good choice, in the end. Mirko Rizzello won a BEST SOUNDTRACK AWARD in a festival for his work this spring.

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

DL: It’s always nice to hear opinions from culturally so remote places. (We live in central Europe.) The audience spoke about the tone, the feeling, the oddities and compared our comedy to a masterpiece. So sweet. To be the favourite film of the night also encourages further endeavours. Maybe they would enjoy some of our other works: http://vimeo.com/apeiron

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO:

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

DL: Steffi Sixdorf had the idea of untranslateable idioms after a conversation with a foreigner. She listed a lot of idioms in German that would be fun to see in a film. She created the characters and love-story-parody, to wrap the idioms in a narrative curve. Steffi knew there would be an opportunity to get crew, cast, equipment for free ( http://www.kinokabaret.org – our filmmaking community), so she planned the project well with minimal resources. I was given the film in a ready-to-shoot-situation like a gift, so I brought my experience and did all the post-production and distribution.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

DL: ALIEN by Ridley Scott / BRAZIL by Terry Gilliam – It’s a bit difficult to count the re-runs, as I breathe film. I basically live in cinemas. If I don’t make a film, I watch short and long films all the time on all devices, preferrably in film festivals. Must have seen over 50.000 films in my life.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

DL: I make between 10 and 20 films per year, but I must reduce the quantity to raise the quality. Many people urge me to make longer films. So I am constantly looking for good screenplays with my contest: http://j.mp/SCRIPTZ

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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 month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with director Sébastien Vanicek (MAYDAY)

Sébastien Vanicek’s short film MAYDAY played to rave reviews at the October 2016 Horror/Thriller Film Festival.

It was a pleasure to interview him about his film and what’s next:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sébastien Vanicek: I have a tremendous phobia of airplanes. So I started to write a movie about a guy who drinks too much to forget that he´s frightened. It started like that and I must confess that at the time I had no idea that the film would become the story of a psychopath / rapist / crazy bold guy who has sexual and degusting visions and will enjoy to see the plane crash!

I wrote the first version in two days, and we re-worked it with Mathieu Abes and Etienne Ement. From there, the film became an ode to the dark passenger we all have in ourselves, an ode to voyeurism, with an anti-hero who, instead of saving lives during a plane crash makes them… do things!!

That’s kind of motivating!

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

SV: Etienne (the Producer) and I were working on a big sci-fi project for about a year and half when we decided that the film was too big for our small production company which only was an association of friends at this time. A team of about twenty members was already involved in the project and we had about 1500€ in our pockets.

So I took two days off and wrote the first version of Mayday.

When I gave it to Etienne, we thought we had to do it really fast to keep the energy we had.

Etienne succesfully found a plane two weeks after, and after the re-writing process we immediatly started to shoot. The whole process took about 2 months.

We had one year of post-production. All of our friends who worked on the film were volunteers and worked in their free time. That’s why it took us so long.

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

SV: It’s an ode to voyeurism.

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

SV: I think it was to make the audience believe in our plane, and its crash. We had a small budget (1500€), and nothing more than a fake plane made and a few crazy people inside it. So we only had cameras and lights tricks, friends moving their bodies like possesed people, a bit of vfx and the sound to made you believe in this crash!

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

SV: It was kind of strange! We’re so far away here in France, and we made this film basically with nothing more than a strong friendship and fun! We are so honored to see it travel like this. And when I saw people I never met talking about it, have reactions, and REALLY PRECISE comments (which were all true and very pertinent), I think the first emotion, which traveled inside me was pride!

For a young director, to see people react to yout little baby made with nothing is strange, exciting, and powerful at the same time!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

SV: I think I already answered this question in the first one. My strong phobia of the plane, the energy surrounding us at this time to make a fun and powerful film. I think that deep inside of us, there was also the will of making people trust in us by making a believable film with nothing and have their confidence for the future, for bigger projets…

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

SV: I think it’s Darren Aronifsky’s Pi.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

SV: Yes, we are working on a movie about dogs fights. Stay tuned.

mayday_movie_poster.jpg

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go tohttp://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Actor/Screenwriter Jovanna Burke (THE TRAP)

Jovanna Burke’s THE TRAP played to rave reviews at the October 2016 ACTION/CRIME Short Film Festival. It was the winner of “Best Overall Performances” at the festival.

It was a pleasure sitting down and chatting with her about the film and what’s next for the very talented actor turned writer turned upcoming director!

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jovanna Burke: Adam (director of the film) and I wanted to collaborate on a project together. Adam wanted to make a cool neo-noir but needed an idea. I said I could come up with something cool, so I wrote the story. He wrote the screenplay. I played the actress. He directed. It was a great collaboration.

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

JB: It took us about a year, when all was said and done.

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

JB: Noir thriller.

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

JB: To be honest, it was the final colour correction. The colour of the film was a really important element in giving it that true NEO-NOIR style. We unfortunately, had to scrap the entire first go, which set our timeline back by a lot. But once we found the right people to do it, it was smooth sailing!

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

JB: We were all so happy and proud! It was so awesome to hear everyone’s reactions and to see that the twists really affected everyone like we wanted them to. Our team (our fabulous producers: Lawra Robertson, Phillip Nee Nee and Andrew Burke… and of course Adam and I) spent a lot of time really carving out all the moments and working with the script to make sure everything would work. We poked holes in every single scenario to make sure it was bullet proof. It is truly superb to see the reactions after putting the puzzle pieces together.

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

JB: I’ve always loved the film noir movement. I had an obsession with the genre and have seen most of the films and broken them down, studied them and I even hosted an evening of “Noir” where I wrote monologues and other actors performed scenes from famous films. So when Adam said neo-noir…all my creative juices just started flowing. I wrote the story in a few days, it essentially wrote itself with all the info I had stored in my brain from my noir obsession.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

JB: Oh gosh…I have kids so likely a whole lot of Disney these days. Lol. But the ones that are always on repeat are my classic favorites: Double Indemnity, Amelie, The Princess Bride, The Royal Tenenbaums, North by Northwest, Dirty Dancing and Charade.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

JB: Yes, I am just in re-writes on a new film, one that I plan on directing this time. (I’m excited and terrified all at once) So hopefully when it gets made, I will be able to screen it for you and the audiences in Toronto again!!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of THE TRAP:

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Brooke Goldfinch (RED ROVER)

  MOVIE POSTERBrooke Goldfinch’s short film RED ROVER played at the Sci-Fi Short Film Festival in September 2016 to amazing success.

It was an honor to interview her and talk about her experiences making the film and what’s next for her:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Brooke Goldfinch: The first scene of Red Rover was an idea I’d had for a very long time. Essentially we’re seeing people doing something very normal – having a dinner party- but there’s something sinister in the way they do it and the audience can’t shake the feeling they’re not understanding something. It wasn’t until years later that I had a disturbing dream about the end of the world and I felt compelled to put that scene on paper. I think the end of the world genre is fascinating because it allows filmmakers to address really big, universal themes and I saw an opportunity to tell this oft told story in a different way.

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

BG: From script to shoot was really fast, probably around eight weeks. Then we had no money for post-production so the project stalled for a while. Screen Australia came to the rescue and then everything happened quickly. I’d say it probably took a year all up.

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

BG: Oh God!

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

BG: At times it felt like the shoot was cursed. On day one our picture vehicle exploded, we lost our location and then we got lost trying to find the new location. When we finally arrived, we had to film the most climactic scene of the movie while people were doing their laundry. We even had a typhoon, which I think is fairly rare in upstate New York. There were times I thought we wouldn’t get the film made but my cast and crew rallied together and stood by me and I will always be grateful to them for their courage in the face of really terrible luck. We also had a lot of amazing locals come to the rescue, including the waiters at Dos Amigos, Wurtsboro, who lent us their truck for a week with no charge.

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

BG: I was really scared to watch the feedback but found the experience very rewarding and elucidating. It’s rare that an emerging filmmaker gets to hear back from an audience in such a raw way. It was interesting to hear people’s perspectives on the film, which seemed quite varied. I loved the woman who said it made her think about whether it might be better to live 80 minutes rather than 80 years if you were happy. I also laughed when one audience member said they thought the central characters were cousins. Maybe I compromised clarity for the sake of suspense a little too much.

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

BG: It’s hard to say where ideas come from. Growing up in a religious community and losing my faith as a teenager had a big impact on me and has influenced my work. I envisioned the opening scene of Red Rover many years ago but when I saw Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia, the idea came back to me. I loved that film but wanted desperately to know what was happening in the town. What were ordinary people in that world doing? I guess this film is an answer to that question in a way.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

BG: Probably ‘Goodfellas’. I’m a big Scorsese fan.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

BG: I’m currently writing my first feature, Splitters, which we’re planning on shooting sometime next year. If you’re interested, please follow us on facebook at facebook.com/splittersthemovie. We’re going to be taking our followers from preproduction to the red carpet, with insights and tidbits about the process.

Also, Red Rover will be available on Short of the Week on October 20th so if you liked it, please share it!

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO:

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Marc-Andre Morissette (20:15)

  MOVIE POSTER20:15, the award winning short film directed by Marc-Andre Morissette at the WILDsound Best of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Short Film Festival in September 2016.

It was a pleasure sitting down to chat about his film and career.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

From the beginning I knew that I wanted to make my own way into the film industry. I didn’t want to have to go through being a PA for a couple years and then 3rd AD and then slowly making it up to director by the time I’m ready to retire. I wanted to go the indie route, and I’m still going that route. This short film was a test for me, as a director and as a writer. I had a few scripts written out but this one was the most complex one, to shoot but also on a storytelling aspect (no dialogue, multiple universes…) . So I really wanted to make 20:15 to prove to myself that I can make it and that I will make it!

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

I had first started working on the script in November of 2013, but at the time it was just outlines and I had a feature length film in mind. A few months later, we were tasked to write a 5 minute script for school. And so I took the idea I had already started working on and wrote it out into 4 and a half pages and got an A-. A year passed and I finally decided to make the film, a couple rewrites and then we were good to start pre-production. That lasted about 2-3 months, shooting was 2 days in June of 2015. Took the summer off, and then we began editing which ended in October. So grand total from idea to finished product : almost 2 years.

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

No words

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

Sound. Pretty much all the sound we took while filming was unusable. We had to rerecord everything in post, synchronize every new sound. It was torture. Fortunately there was no dialogue!

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

I was all gitty! I thought they had some really interesting things to say. I was amazed at how much they were able to pick up on in just one viewing. I can’t say this enough, I really love the concept of getting video feedback from the audience.

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

I had just watched Looper and I knew right away I wanted to make a time travel movie! I wanted to make a film where we would see both the past and the futur and then make the timelines meet.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably The Lion King, or maybe Star Wars IV, not my favorite Star Wars but every Star Wars marathon starts with episode IV. Either those two or National Treasure (I don’t care what you say this is my guilty pleasure)

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

Yes! New films! As they say on Film Riot : Write, Shoot, Edit, Repeat! I’m currently writing a feature script that we are planning on submitting to Telefilm’s micro budget program. That film will be a police/gangster thriller. I’ve also got another short film coming up. This one is horror and we’ll be shooting this November in Iceland. Really hyped I can’t wait!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of 20:15

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Kirill Proskura (A SHADOW OF DARA)

  MOVIE POSTERA SHADOW OF DARA, the award winning short film directed by Kirill Proskura played at the WILDsound Best of Sci-Fi/Fantasy Short Film Festival in September 2016.

It was a pleasure sitting down to chat about his film and career.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kirill Proskura: It was the drive to make my own story and a lack of good scripts around.

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

KP: Around 5 years.

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

KP: Science Fiction 😉

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

KP: It was lack of finances.

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

KP: “I’m glad they liked the film:)”

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

KP: It was because of the depression from the routine work I was doing at the time.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

KP: There’s massive amount of films I’m constantly re-watching. Hard to narrow it down.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

KP: Next stop would be a feature film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of A SHADOW OF DARA


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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmaker Veronique Vanblaere (BOTTOMLESS)

Veronique Vanblaere’s short film “Bottomless” played at the August 2016 Animation FEEDBACK FIlm Festival. It’s a documentary meets comedy meets animated work that both funny and heart warming. Terrific film.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Veronique Vanblaere: My good friend and filmmaker Jen West and I have really fast conversations. We do not see each other as often as we’d like to as we live in different towns, but when we do, we cover a lot of ground in just a few hours, ideas burst out! Sometimes, we meet in different cities: while she was doing a screenwriter residency in North Carolina, the idea of collaborating her talent and knowledge as a filmmaker with my artwork was born over in the tiny town of Wilmington. We met again in Miami a year later and decided to make the project a reality.

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

VV: 2 years.

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

VV: Cultural clash.

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

VV: Funding. I spent quite a bit of money on festival applications and traveling to the festivals. I sold all the originals drawings of the films and many prints to finance the Cannes trip. It takes creativity and time. The film itself however was mostly put together by trading artwork in return for services.

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

VV: I got to be a fly on the wall. Seeing and hearing people talking about my film while I could not be there was not only a “voyeuristic” treat, but provided fantastic constructive feedback on my work. I do not know of a festival that provides this type of experience for their filmmakers.

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

VV: I actually had a completely different story in mind at first, but once I started writing it , it took its own life and changed into Bottomless.
At that time I was planing to tell a story about my experience of moving from one culture to another, with all its misunderstandings and miscommunications at a “Moth” type of event, but the event did not happen, then, when I started drawing the storyboard, came the idea of turning that story into my film.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

VV: My dad had a TV and VCR repair shop in Belgium in the seventies, we were the first on the block to get a VCR. We never went to the cinema. But had an extensive collection of video tapes, which I watched over and over and could recite along. My favorite were the De Funès like La folie des grandeur and La grande vadrouille.

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

VV: I am never out of ideas, and I have several for more films, but I am also very busy between my visual art, running an art gallery, being a cycling activist, a world traveler and having a very social life, so making another film happen will all depend of having a producer that is as determined as Jen West was for Bottomless.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of BOTTOMLESS:

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Fesival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.