Interview with Filmmaker Vasili Manikas (ANTICA)

Vasili’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival.

: Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Vasili Manikas: Me and my production team really wanted to work on a film where everything was stripped down to a very basic feeling. No real plot, no tremendous character development, no dialogue, just an attempt to create a sense of dread and anxiety in audience.

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

The idea had been floating around for about a year. But it was about three months between the script being written to the editing being done.

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

Spooky, Scary.

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

It was difficult trying to figure how much information to give the audience. We wanted the film to have structure and direction, while still communicating the same confusion that the character is experiencing.

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

It was very exciting. This was the first feedback that we’ve gotten from complete strangers, so it was great to see that people really enjoyed the film, and that film successfully communicated a state of anxiety.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It started off with the location. We knew we could shoot there for free, and we created a story to match the environment.

I suppose that’s sort of backwards, but it worked out quite well, and as young filmakers we have to always contend with the economic realities and try to stretch every dollar as much as we can.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I used to watch Space Jam religiously as a child.

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

Pretty great. Very inviting and easy to use.

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

I’ve been bumping to Mozart’s Serenade No 10 in B flat Major almost every week at the club.

What is next for you? A new film?

Working on a few projects for the summer. Me and my brother are still in school, so we only really get a chance to film in the summertime. We’re hoping to complete at least two projects in 2018.

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Interview with Filmmaker Jean-Claude Leblanc (STUDDED NIGHTMARE)

Jean-Claude’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival.

 What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve been working on films since I graduated from Trebas institute in 2006 in film production. I was trying to find a film idea but a good one is hard to find. I’m always writing scripts, but with this one it was a fast process. I was really into it so I started production when the script was done. I couldnt stop until the film was completed.

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

1 year.

1 month on the script, 1 month pre-prod. We shot 10 days between June and October,

And since I had hard time with the edit it took me three months to delegate and get it done.

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

Haunted Chair

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

The editing. At first I was editing the film but as a writer/director I had hard times cutting out scenes that I loved and took time to shoot. At some point I called Geoff Klein, an amazing editor and friend, and he cut the film as we know. He won best editor at Top Shorts film fest and was nominated at 2 other festivals.

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

I was delighted to hear what people had to say about the film. Questioning the intro sequence as I questioned it myself when it was put together. It was good feedback.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It’s based on true events. My friend was scared of a chair because of its gruesome past (the actual chair is used in the film ). I wanted to know the entire story but in the end it was just a chair. I pushed the story to make a horror film. The main idea of the film is: Would you keep something that that belonged to something you know he killed himself with it? Most people say no because it’s creepy. I thought it had a potential to scare.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Evil Dead

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

It makes it very simple to make contact with festival. I made most of the submissions myself and I enjoy the easy process.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life? Tough question?
Wow thats a hard one!

Probably a song by Iron Maiden

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m almost done with a short script and I hope to start production soon. It’s about life after death, a heroic horror film.

Interview with Filmmaker Jonathan Brooks (MILK MAN)

Jonathan’s short film was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival. MILK MAN is considered the best HORROR short film of the year 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jonathan Brooks: I wanted to direct a short film in a one day shoot that could potentially lead to making a low budget feature. The horror/comedy genre appealed to me and I was inspired by filmmakers such as Ben Weatley and the Duplas brothers.

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

About two or three months.

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

Pasturised gore

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

Making a film on a low to no budget you are relying on lots of people to give time and skills for little or no pay and its often difficult to get people to be available at the right time so theres a balancing act there.

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

It was nice, seemed very positive and was great to know what people thought.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea of a Milkman as a boogeyman came about because Id read somewhere that low budget British horror films do well in Asia and at the same time Id read another article about the fact that lots of people in Asia are lactose intolerant.I have no idea if any of these facts are actually true.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Ghostbusters

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

It seems pretty intuitive and easy to use.

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

Lawyers Guns and Money by Warren Zevon

What is next for you? A new film?

I have a script for a Milk Man feature which I’ve written with co-writer Adam Davidson and is at second draft stage. Hopefully if there’s more interest in this short we can make the feature at some stage.

 

Interview with Filmmaker Paul Scheufler (TASTE OF LOVE)

Paul’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival. “TASTE OF LOVE” was the winner of BEST Cinematography at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Paul Scheufler: To tell the story about the various forms love can take on, to tell the story about and invite forms of sexual passions and the importance of a colorful and diverse world.

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

Four months in total, but we were all in high school at this moment and just graduated. So we spent every second on our free time to producing the film. We even flew to Berlin in Germany to record the right voice. A lot of effort went into it.

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

INTENSIVE COLORFUL

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

The melting and stinky fruits under the hot lighting equipment next to our actress…

No, the biggest obstacles was the camera department. We shot everything with a Macro lens so everything was really close, all lights, the actors, and the camera on a special, very heavy 3 axis tripod. That was new to us and it took us two days to improve the workflow.

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

Oh at this point I want to thank the audience for such a great feedback! – It’s absolutely fantastic and such a great full feeling when the audience feel with the story and take the main though out of the cinema!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Love and food are really important things in life or… (laughing). The thought at looking for the right sexual desires made me crazy. I did a lot of research on sexuality and “unusual” passions. After a talk with a good friend of mine, I knew I wanted to do a movie about polysexuality and tastes as a reverence where everybody can connect with.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Let me see… as a child a was obsessed with the TV show “Barbarbar’s” but thats a long time ago. Now I’m trying to watch a short film every day and see sometimes recommended features, but I do not really have a favorite film.

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

It’s super easy to reach festivals all over the world and present it to a real audience. Movies are made to be seen and these platforms helping new comers, filmmakers and the audience to see new and exciting films!

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

I really don’t have any favorite song. My mood decides if I hear classics, house, electronics or what ever combination of genres. But I wanna give a shout out to “Glass Animas” , “alt-j”, “Portugal The Man” and to “Gudrun von Laxenburg” (Austrian guys).

What is next for you? A new film?

At the moment I’m living in New York City, I’m working for the Austrian American Film Festival in New York and doing commercials and writing for next short movies. I’m planning to go back to Vienna, Austria in Summer 2018 and preparing for applications for Film Academies in Austria or Germany. But you know… everything can change so quickly. I’m not the guy who is planning my next 5 years. My passion of telling stories and connecting with people and issues is driving me, and I will see where this passion is going to take me.

Interview with Filmmaker Tamara Hansen (TWO)

Tamara’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival. “TWO” was the winner of BEST Musical Score at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Tamara Hansen: I was inspired by a friendship of mine.

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

From the minute I made the moodboard to shooting it – two weeks.

The editing process took another 2-3 weeks, so in total I would say 5 weeks.

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

Love & Hate

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

The Editing process. To describe the editor what I want and to figure out for myself how I want the film to be edited. Fortunately, I got help from my dad and my boss – I’m very grateful for that.

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

I thought: this is so cool! It’s an amazing idea and I appreciate all the effort and hard work to make this happen!!

I love hearing so many different reactions and opinions – it made my day 🙂

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Moods I liked, Pictures I saw, experiences I had. Basically: Inspiration combined with Imagination.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Pulp Fiction. I LOVE that movie.

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

I think FilmFreeway is great! It makes it so easy to submit and makes your submissions organized.

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

I guess „Sounds of Silence”.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes, a new experimental film- shooting november 18th.

Interview with Director Steve Hally (TWISTED SOBRIETY)

Steve Hally’s short film was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the September 2017 THRILLER FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Steve Hally: We wanted to make something thought provoking something that stirred. Something that pushed people into an uncomfortable environment and asked them, if the world continues in the way it’s going what will happen? People get poorer and poorer without concern and people get richer and richer to the point of futility. When will this break the human condition and the human spirit, will it? Capitalism is a great system it’s done beautiful, amazing things but it’s being devastatingly and needlessly abused.

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

We took around a year to get the final product. We went through several processes and as an indie short you need to be patient to get the quality you desire. We first cast talent and then searched for crew for around two months to get the right pros for the job. We then shot over a hectic eight days, over various locations in London. Because of the complexities of our future scape and VFX post-production was the most patient part of our film. Waiting for rotoscoping, matte designs and computer designs was totally rewarding but very time consuming however to get quality of this standard takes patience. Our editor is Rebecca Lloyd who was the first editor ever to win the Break Through Brit award at the 2016 BAFTA awards. To ensure we had this power talent of editing a great amount of respect and understanding needed to be placed. Editing is the most important part of post-production, for the emotion and the direction. This can never be, taken for granted or ignored for speed or lesser abilities. You must have an editor that understands film emotion and not just the technical learning. Editing is a post production pillar that should always be the strongest. We then went on to colour grading which was done at the world renowned and respected colour studio Molinare. Again favours and patience played its massive part in this success. Film making is tough but if it was easy no one or everyone would do it. Only the mad few continue on.

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

Bold provocateur

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

Time, you always want things to move as fast as possible but as indie film makers patience and waiting can be a difficult game, you must learn this game. You’re on your own and things are never handed to you. You have to work hard and fight for it and be willing to wait.

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

I loved that people had something to say. Positive or negative, critical or complimentary an opinion was being made. That is a truly beautiful thing. Everyone has the right to an opinion and it should be embraced at all times. The worst thing would be no opinion at all, from anyone. As that means nothing has effected, nothing has played a part, nothing can grow or progress. I love positive and negative opinions as it means it has made an impact. I love at the end of an auditorium performance having the whole theatre chatting, that buzz of communication that used to fill the end of every film performance, that’s missing in places. People that chat about film in great praise or bad criticism is what drives film and makes film last and improves it. No one has the answers to film but everyone has an opinion, they are all most welcomed, everyone.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video: 

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

There is a cumbrous unbalance of wealth in this world. It’s becoming very hollow.

I wanted to show that in general we treat the homeless, the poor, the down trodden, the less wealthy, the less financially fortunate with such nothingness, with such an obtuse view that I started to think, what if they fought back. What if enough was enough and they were no longer sitting back taking the disregarded, blind-eye, blinkered abuse.

What if the very people the world dismisses and forgets turned and stole the very thing the world doesn’t allow them to have.

We wouldn’t see it coming.

 What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a big question, what genre? Lol

I watch a lot of films. I don’t repeat watch that much anymore as there are too many titles that I have not seen to fit into my life time.

12 Angry men is the best film I have ever seen. I could watch it on repeat.

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

It’s actually the best one. I have never missed a notification or been left hanging. I promote it highly.

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

Another big question. I go through phases of genres then jump around music. The last song on my iPod was Victor Ganna – Mibanga but I’m heavily pulling on my classic Aphex Twin and Richie Hawtin tapes. But usually I push shuffle and see what pops up.

  What is next for you? A new film?

We are in discussion about either another short or perhaps a feature. But I’m still waiting for that gut reaction to kick in, so I can follow it.
twisted_sobriety_4

Interview with Directed Eric Shahinian (FOREIGN SOUNDS)

Eric Shahinian’s short film played to rave reviews at the September 2017 CRIME FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto. It definitely stirred a great conversation. This was one of those films that was made for the FEEDBACK Film Festival format.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

The film was motivated by a real situation I experienced when I was with a friend and we heard distressing sounds coming from a neighbor’s apartment. My inclination was to separate myself from it, while my friend took a very different stance and immediately wanted to help.

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

Since this was a student film made with a minimal budget, post-production took a long time, especially the sound design, because it’s such a crucial element of the story. From script to completion the film took nearly a year because I had some other projects that came up during post-production.

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

Foreign Sounds. (I wish this was better, sorry).

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

The biggest obstacle faced during the film was the sound design because it was such a crucial element of the story and I did not get all of the sound on set, so I had to set up multiple ADR sessions and really refine the details of the offscreen dispute.

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

It’s not easy to judge how well an idea is going to translate, so having the audience feedback is very grounding even if they aren’t singing your praises. It was great to see people respond to it and in some cases to see that my intentions came through. It’s always interesting to hear people having such different reactions and bringing their individual subjective viewing experiences.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Video of the short film:

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

The idea came from a real situation very similar to the characters except that I was with a friend. We took very different responses to hearing the sounds of our neighbor’s fighting and I thought that instinctual opposition was interesting. It was also never clear to us exactly what happened, which further complicated the question of how much we needed to involve ourselves in strangers lives. I really recreated the film very closely to how the situation unfolded in a way of processing it and exploring the conflicts that we both experienced in that moment.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s a toss up between Punch Drunk Love and Ghost World.

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, it’s so much easier to navigate than withoutabox in terms of the layout and the search functions. I love being able to include a vimeo link as an online screener. I’m a fan.

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

I’m not sure, I go through periods where I obsessively listen to certain songs until I can’t stand it anymore and then find a new obsession. Recently I’ve been listening to the Silversun Pickups, they have a song called “The Go Inbetweens” that feels tonally similar to a feature I’m writing so that ones been on loop.

What is next for you? A new film?

I made two more shorts after Foreign Sounds. The first was a dark comedy about an emotionally codependent sister who breaks down when her younger sister gets the chance to move out. It’s a weird movie and hasn’t been accepted to many festivals but it was fun to try something new. My thesis short film is currently on the festival circuit and has been screening globally. It was influenced by the relationship between my grandparents and is about a caretaker who is forced to confront his limitations. I am currently torn between two feature scripts that I’m trying to decide to move forward with as a first feature.