Interview with Director Igor Gavva (SUITCASE)

Igor Gavva’s short film “SUITCASE” was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the COMEDY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles in September 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Igor Gavva: The motivation was to try myself in a new art.

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

The most of time I have spent to write the script. After, everything was fast. How I remember, from the beginning till the end product was about 4 month.

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

Lets say: The art unites

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

Misunderstanding and conflict between me and the director of picture. Two different perceptions and opinions for one story.

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

The reaction was ambiguous. When audience talk about the film, it’s like they talk about me, but at the same time, it’s like it’s not your movie anymore, this film these people, who are watching and discussing it. It lives his own life.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

As I am a circus artist and most of my life I have spent at the stage, I had many times the same dream: Before performance I have to go to stage, but I am not ready. No make up, no costume, no props. It is terrible dream. So, it was idea for the film, what is the personage will do, if he is not ready for the perfomance.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I am trying to watch everyday a new film. So, I can’t remember, if I watch same film, what I really like more than 3 times.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

My opinion it’s very comfortable and easy platform to send the film to the festivals. I always recommend to my friends.

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

One time I was listen one song more than 6 month. But I am not going to tell which one, it is my little secret 🙂

What is next for you? A new film?

Soon will be ready my second short comedy film and I am going to send it to the Comedy Film & Screenplay Festival.

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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 twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with Director Andrea Behring (BAGGAGE)

Andrea Behring’s short film “BAGGAGE” played at the COMEDY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles in September 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andrea Behring: I really wanted to have fun and tell an atypical comedy that poked fun at the norm and also pushed people’s boundaries a bit. Anything I could do in order to direct my own films, I was willing to try, including writing! My dad is also a director, and I’ve always been so inspired by him. I’ve also been challenged to make a name, style, and career to myself, separately from him, on my own merit. I needed to really challenge myself, and this was a challenging short film to make.

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

I first wrote the script in college at Sacramento State it in 2010, then rewrote it in 2013, fundraised through 2015, and then filmed and completed post production in the fall of 2016. So six years in total.

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

BLIND SIDED

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

We had two giant green screens outside a train car we had rented to shoot the subway sequences, and a very small single window of time one day to do it. Our train battery died over 30 times that day and made all kinds of noises, so a 6 hour filming day turned into a 13 hour day. Luckily my actors were total pros about it and managed to jump in and out and keep their composure as needed, and thankfully we did not have to reshoot the day.

Also learning how to produce, it is incredibly demanding!

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

I really felt pride in the fact that people at least wanted to take time to discuss it. Too often at film festivals they hold a 3 minute sugar coated Q&A session that doesn’t really get much discussion going. I sincerely enjoyed the different reactions people had at your festival; it reminded me of my class discussions back in film school.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

It was a bit of an urban legend to start, as I knew several people who claimed they had a “friend of a friend” who had really had this horrible crazy day in NYC. I would tell the story at gatherings and people would always laugh and feel slightly guilty about it. So I started building on her story and the backstory behind it, and wanted to make sure to give it a complete story arch.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Clueless (it inspired Baggage!)

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I liked it and preferred it over without a box, it’s very user friendly. I wish I could search for event more specific festivals, or festivals by region.

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

To Live and Die in LA by Tupac

What is next for you? A new film?

I have written a 30 min comedy pilot script with my partner Andrew Nicholson called “Picture’s Up” that just won an award in the Hollywood screenplay awards, and am looking forward to building on that and hopefully getting it shot sometime in the next year. I have formed my own production company called &D Productions and will hopefully continue to build that up as well!

In the meantime I am currently also a location manager in Atlanta on the TV show “Dynasty”. This job has allowed me unique access to work with each episode’ directors one on one and study their various techniques. It has also allowed me to have creative input in the extravagant design of the show by helping find and select the locations where we film in Georgia.

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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 twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Dan Pal (COUNTING)

Dan Pal’s short film COUNTING played at the ROMANCE FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles in September 2017. It was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Dan Pal: I am a company member of a non-for-profit organization in Chicago called Pride Films and Plays. We were looking for a short script that took place in our city and that featured an LGBT theme. The screenwriter, Kari Morris, is part of our writers network. Her script for Counting was the most beautiful and heart-wrenching I had read. It really reflected the idea that no matter how far we go with equal rights in the U.S., we must always remember those that came before that were not so fortunate. I was thrilled to be able to bring this story to life!

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

We chose the script in the winter of 2016. There were about four months of pre-production soon after that. Shooting was completed in two days at the end of July 2016. Post-production was fairly brief. We had a couple of rough cuts in August but after a few tweaks, we premiered the film at a Pride Films and Plays film festival in early November.

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

Marriage Inequality!

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

About two weeks before production, our Director of Photography dropped out of the project to work on a feature film. Fortunately, he had a replacement ready to go! Then our outdoor location fell through and we had to quickly find another spot to shoot the very key opening scene! After combing a few neighborhoods in Chicago we found a lovely park bench in front an older couple’s house. I knocked on the door and, after a little bit of negotiation, they agreed to let us film on their property!

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

I was definitely grateful for the variety of responses and perspectives! All of the feedback was very constructive and useful. I can’t wait to share this with our screenwriter and music composer!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

As I mentioned earlier, the story was the brainchild of our screenwriter Kari Morris who was inspired by an older gay man who told her he had been with the same partner for decades. Sadly that person died before they could legally wed in the 2010s. Kari adapted his story to reflect a female couple.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. It inspired me when I was young and suggested that film doesn’t have to follow a specific structure and style.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I love it! It’s a great way to get your work out into the world and seen by programmers, film fans, and other filmmakers.

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

Wow! That’s a tough one! Music is a BIG part of my life! I can’t come up with just one…but maybe a Top Ten if I really think about it!

What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently working on a short script and have outlined a feature I may want to develop. Pride Films & Plays is also currently reviewing screenplays for our next short so it could be one written by someone else again.
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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 twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director Katie Maguire (THE SESSION)

Katie Maguire’s THE SESSION was the winner of “BEST PERFORMANCES” at the August 2017 Female Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Katie Maguire: My sister and I wanted to make a film together. We wanted the film to be funny yet have a dark side much like our own sense of humors. We also felt that there was a lack of short films showcasing females as funny. We wanted to make a film that was driven by females both in front and behind the camera.

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

6 months

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

“Therapeutically” funny

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

The biggest obstacle we faced was losing our location the day before our shoot! The location was a doctors/therapists office. Thankfully Molly, our director, is also an amazing production designer. We ended up turning my bedroom into a doctors office the night before the shoot!

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

It was great to hear and watch what people took away from the film. How different people digested the film. All of them were spot on when talking about the films message. I was lovely to see people understand what Molly and I were trying to convey.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the short film: 

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

My sister and I had taken a producing course together. We decided that we wanted to make a film that was simple and funny. We started talking about one of our favorite films “House Of Yes”. It’s a great indy film originally a play. It’s hilarious but very dark and twisted. We wanted to make a film along the same lines. We started writing dialogue between two characters and came up with the idea for The Session.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

A tie between “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “House of Yes”

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

I love FilmFreeway! I was using without a box before joining filmfreeway. I find filmfreeway to be much easier to navigate and have had much more success submitting my films and finding the appropriate festivals for my work.

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

“Just Like Heaven” by The Cure

What is next for you? A new film

I’m currently wrapping up Season 2 of my Webseries LI Divas http://www.lidivas.com
and writing my first feature film.

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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 twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Director Liv Mari Ulla Mortensen (65.5)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Liv Mari Ulla Mortensen: Women in sexual situations are often objectified in film, and therefore I was fascinated by statistics. Like in the film, I could easily have been reduced into only being «the girl with the father who loved Bob Dylan», like I and my friends also have reduced guys into different nicknames and characteristics. I wanted the girls to take ownership of their statistics and challenge the guy who wrote it. They didn´t want to be remembered as mere statistics.

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

About 2 years. It was written over a couple of months, then it sat for a while before we shot it in two days, with over 30 girls in one small room. The editing process was quite long and challenging.

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

Confronting and calculated

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

I decided to make the film without a score, only depending on the ambience. With many different short clips jumping in time it turned out to be quite challenging to make dynamic ambience that «sows» the film together.

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

It is amazing to be invited into the room of the viewers even though I am in Norway on the other side of the world. A lot of the comments were quite close to my intentions for the film, so seeing the video was both interesting and very motivational.

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

«65,5 women» is based on a poem by Alexander Fallo. When I heard him reading at an event I immediately though «this is a short film!». We have written the script in collaboration, and the film is my free interpretation of his text.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably «The Never-ending Story»!

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

A simple and informative way of navigating through the jungle of film festivals.

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

“Tears in heaven». Broke my heart when I was 6!

What is next for you? A new film?

I am looking forward to premiering my new short film «Flightmode” in festivals this fall, and I am also writing a new short and a feature film.
 

65.5 WOMEN, 6min, Norway, Experimental
Directed by Liv Mari Mortensen

To understand a recent failure, a young man writes a statistic of all the women he ever slept with. As he tries to simplify all of his affairs into simple characteristics the memories start to take over, leaving him to face the only one he truly wanted.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Interview with Director Roman Rubert Bernat (REQUEMBARREN)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

REQUEMBARREN was awarded “BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY” at the festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Roman Rubert Bernat: The stories of JL Borges

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

8 months

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

Black atmosphere

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

The numerous natural decorations

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

I was pleasantly surprised

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

Filling the book Pedro Paramo

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Viridiana

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the new(ish) submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Very happy

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

Marieta, of Tarrega

What is next for you? A new film?

A film based on the aphorism of Gustav Mahler ‘Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.’

REQUEMBARREN, 16min, Spain, Experimental
Directed by Roman Rubert Bernat Beatrice is a young woman who leaves home to look for Requembarren. After listening to the sad man, to the profaner, and to the incestuous man, she reflects on what happens to her on the journey.

CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Interview with Filmmakers Ellen Babeliowsky & Kris Geens (MOTEL MOTEL)

Played at the October 2016 CRIME/MYSTERY Festival – Winner of Best Cinematography at the Festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ellen Babeliowsky & Kris Geens: Everything! My whole life I wanted to make films and so I feel very happy to make this first one! There’s no dramatic story that really needs to be told, I’m not trying to move people or to bring a particular subject to peoples attention. I just wanted to take you on a visual trip and play with your mind. In a surrealistic way.

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

It took me 2 years. I took my time to create the story and to find out how to realize it. Also the post production took a lot of time. I was lucky to work together with an awesome post production team and I wanted everything to be perfect. There are also a lot of complicated special effects but we took our time and that turned out for the best.

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

Fucked up!! 😉

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

Getting the film funded was not that easy. I was very sure about what I wanted and I wasn’t going to compromise. So we had to be very creative to realize this movie. But I had an awesome producer and a fantastic crew! Without them I never would have been able to finish this film the way I wanted to.

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

I really enjoy watching this feedback video!! I think it’s wonderful that your audience liked my film that much, so THANK YOU TORONTO!! I watched it over and over and I really was surprised that one person compared me to Wes Anderson (but really dark). Earlier, my D.O.P. also told me that. I take it as a beautiful compliment. I really love to see the audience responding. It helps me to find my place as a film maker.

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

I have no idea!! It really came piece by piece. It started with an image in my head that I kept thinking about, then a second shot that kept me fascinated, and so on. I created scenes and characters around these shots and later on I brought them together like a puzzle, looking for a story and a plot. That, and also I find inspiration in other films and directors I really like. This way ‘Motel Motel’ became also a little bit an homage to the surrealistic cinema.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

There are a lot of films I keep watching over and over. My favorite is still ‘Only God Forgives’ (Nicolas Winding Refn). I think I’ve seen that film a dozens of times. Sometimes I just watch my favorite scenes, or I play the film in the background while I’m working. It’s a surrealistic masterpiece, a cinematographic piece of art. I can’t get enough of it.

What is next for you? A new film?

At the moment I’m writing. I want the next project to be a feature film and I have a bunch of ideas for a series on TV or Netflix. So now and then I direct music videos. Anyway, for any of my future projects I want to get to peoples imagination. There’s nothing more beautiful to do than that!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

  MOVIE POSTERMOTEL MOTEL, 20min., Belgium, Crime/Mystery
Directed by Ellen J. Babeliowsky

When Hjalmar inspects his room in an old, worn-out motel, he discovers a severed ear in the deep-pile carpet. During his search for the origin of the ear, he stumbles from one strange ocurrence into the next. The mystery of the ear ultimately gets him into a surreal situation, of which he is both the victim and the spectator.