Interview with Filmmaker Jia Li (THE CALL)

THE CALL played to rave reviews at the July 2018 FEMALE Feedback Film Festival in July 2018 in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jia Li: I was planning to do a collection of horror films that only happened in one location and one night.

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

I came up with the story in a cafe at a nice warm afternoon in San Francisco. And I finished the rough draft of the script the next day. The whole preproduction took 3 weeks, 17 hours on set production. And one month for post production.

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

Colorful, intense.

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

We only had 17 hours for production including preset the studio. It was very tight schedule. It was a big challenge for everybody in the crew, so we need to act fast on set. But we had so much fun during the production.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was excited to hear all different opinions from the crowd. It gave me confidence for my next project.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

We only have one living room studio we can use, and 17 hours for production, so I needed to come up with a story under these circumstance.

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

The shinning

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

I think film freeway makes the process convince for filmmaker to manage their submissions.

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

Recently I am listening film soundtrack for a goodnight sleep, but during daytime I am listening to the Chinese hip hop songs recently.

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

My next film is a zombie post apocalyptic short film, around 30 mins. Hopefully finish the whole production by the end of this year, then catch the film festivals for 2019.

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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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Interview with Filmmaker Mehmet Tigli (HIGH CALORIE)

 HIGH CALORIE was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the July 2018 FAMILY FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Prejudices about different people, internet addiction in virtual world and paradoxal behaviors of parents are the basic motives to make me shoot this film.

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

It lasted for 5 months

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

Funny and emotional.

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

Budgeting problems and the bureaucracy of public institutions during shooting were the main obstacles of this film.

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

I felt very very happy. Thanks a lot for most valuable feedback from the audience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

This film is based on a short story which I wrote it 10 years ago.

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

Life is Beautiful-La Vita e Bella

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

I am so grateful to Filmfreeway, I met this amazing festival and other precious events by means of it.

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

Michael Jackson-Billie Jean

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

I shot a short film named “A Ferry Tale” on February 2018. This film is based on a emotional true story I observed two years ago. It is about a dad with two autistic children in a ferry trip. It was officially selected 35 festivals and won 10 awards until July.

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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.

Interview with Filmmaker Michael Lane (HANDS)

 HANDS was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the May 2018 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

My film is about diversity. I live in a city,Leicester uk, where there are a range of people from all over the world. We do mix peacefully: it can be done. I thought it right to celebrate that and send a wish that the world may move towards that. Also, I wanted something thoughtful and meditative. Short films give that opportunity in a way features cannot.

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

The film only took a day to make but about six weeks in the edit.

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

Meditative Dance.

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

Keeping my own faith that it would be as I imagined. Especially as much of the movement choices were left to the participants.

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

I was delighted that people were able to interpret its poetic drive. I was puzzled that someone thought it a parody. But I thought I should have helped an audience by credits- ” Meditation, A Dance, A Hope’ clearer at the beginning of the film.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I wanted to experiment as most of my films are dramas , even recorded stage work. This fulfilled a different need.

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

‘Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid.’

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

It’s been fine for myself. I have felt free to report to them and trusted that there would be an understandable reply.  

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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.

Interview with filmmaker Linnea Ritland (VIOLET AND JUNE)

VIOLET AND JUNE was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the February 2018 ROMANCE FEEDBACK Film Festival on Valentine’s Day.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Linnea Ritland: Whenever I look up at the stars I’m flat out terrified. The idea that we’re tiny in comparison to the universe (and that we’re all gonna die one day) doesn’t bring me any comfort (yet)—so I thought I’d harness this terror to try to make people laugh. Plus, I’m extremely bisexual so I’m always interested in exploring and celebrating queer narratives, and just wanted to make a film about lesbians where they don’t die at the end.

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

From the idea, 3 years, but from the first serious draft, about 1.

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

Quirky romcom!

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

We had to re-shoot the entire last two scenes in pickups, which was not only logistically tough but hard to deal with on a personal psychological level—when you need to do pickups it usually feels like you failed, since you didn’t get it right the first time.

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

I was so glad that people seemed to really like quirkiness of it! And proud of the work my collaborators did on the film—especially the music (Patrick Fiore) and production design (Courtney Verwold)!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It started from the visual of a girl having an existential crisis about a chocolate bar (i.e., realizing that it would rot just like everyone she’d ever known and loved), who then goes to take a bus, and a girl sits next to her and starts sobbing. I wanted to explore the idea of someone very analytical and books-based dealing with a crisis colliding with someone emotion-based also mid-crisis.

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

When I was a toddler I used to compulsively watch A Bug’s Life multiple times a day, to the point where my siblings memorized the entire film. I must have seen it more than a thousand times—I don’t even remember the plot or the characters’ names now.

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

It’s so easy and simple! Would recommend to any first-time filmmakers looking to submit to festivals.

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

You know how the old nokia ringtone is based on a Bach song? Probably that one. Or Happy Birthday.

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

I’m currently working on a comedy-drama about a young woman dealing with her father’s alcoholism, who bounces between her unstable home life and a very unstable relationship and eventually finds stability within herself. It’s called “Everything’s Great!” and should be making its festival rounds within the next year. For updates visit linnearitland.wordpress.com!

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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.

Interview with Filmmaker Robert Guthrie (EASY, A 3 MINUTE LOVE STORY)

EASY, A 3 MINUTE LOVE STORY played to rave reviews at the February 2018 ROMANCE FEEDBACK Film Festival on Valentine’s Day.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Robert Guthrie: So many LGBTQ films, especially coming-of-age films, focus on difficulties. Violence, unrequited love, isolation… etc. Yes, it can be difficult. But, also, yes, it can work. Some families are supportive. Some kids are strong. The folks who made the film do believe in happily-ever-after. Years ago, after a tumultuous, clandestine relationship with a fraternity brother, I started dating the guy I would marry. That was senior year of college, and we’ve been together ever since. It can be easy.

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

The first plan for EASY – a 3-minute romance was to film it north of Seattle where my partner and I lived for four years. He ended getting a job back in Boston, so we moved back home a few years earlier than we had planned. So we moved the location from a farm and small town in Washington State and relocated to an urban environment. From conception to filming was about three years.

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

Happy together

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

Adjusting my expectations – this would no longer be a small-town, rural film. I had to let go of my dreams of specific scenes we had scouted out and arranged for. The best thing I did was decide not to push it, to let it go, and accept that we wouldn’t film on the West coast before the move. I love what EASY grew into, but it took initial disappointment to get there.

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

How thrilling to watch a roomful of people paying attention to something I’d created! The characters Jonathan and David have been living in my mind for several year; it was almost overwhelming to sense that they have lives that don’t involve me.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

I had a favorite cafe in Edison, Washington, where I wanted to set a film. And I was intrigued by a small-town guy unabashedly himself. I believe in happily-ever-after, have been living happily-ever-after and want to share happily-ever-after.

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

In college during an internship in London, the film adaptation of E.M. Forster’s Maurice came out. I saw it every Wednesday night for three months until I flew back to that states.

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

Enormously helpful.

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

Tchaikovsky’s 4th Symphony is my go-to.

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

Publishing a novel. Feature film is ambitious. We’ll see how it goes.

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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.

Interview with director Gonzalo Cotelo (MAMMA)

MAMMA was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the January 2018 Under 5min. Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Gonzalo Cotelo: I think almost every filmmaker is lured at a certain point with the idea of making a one shot film, and so was I. I also wanted to tell a simple and yet powerful story and play with the audience almost exclusively with visual narrative and camera work.

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

It was exactly one week during a stay in a summer film campus and traveling festival in Italy.

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

unsettlingly gripping!

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

The blocking with the actors and timing of the events, as I wanted it to be intense and yet have a filmic pace.

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

It was amazing to see how people felt about the film exactly as I had planned it! the lack of subtitles, the camera work, the final reveal… it is a confirmation that all those crazy ideas weren’t that crazy after all.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I love a film called “Nine Lives” by Rodrigo García, nine short stories about female characters shot in 9 continuous long shots. And the first one features a pregnant woman, played by Robin Wright, in a supermarket. That was the first inspiration for the story, the first primordial image that I later developed into a different path when I decided that my character will be in a close up during the whole film, and the camera would never abandon her until the very last moment revealing the main piece of information that I decided to withhold from the audience. I also love an Ukranian film called “The Tribe”, acted entirely on sign language and without any subtitles, which I thought was simple and brilliant, it really forces the audience to pay attention. And I knew it would also help the public to connect with the main character and feel as lost as she feels not understanding what is going on between the two hitmen.

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

Definitely one of the original Star Wars trilogy films, I couldn’t tell you which one though (probably Return of the Jedi)

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

It is indeed very useful, particularly now with the number of films being made and film festivals being held everywhere across the world. The structure and layout of the website simplifies the whole process.

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

A Beatles song for sure, I’d go for “Lucy in the sky with Diamonds”.

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

Yeah, a new one, a bit longer than five minutes hopefully. I live and work in Kuwait at the moment but I´d like to go back to Spain in summer to write and start producing again, I miss it!
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