Interview with documentary filmmaker Jenna Gartlan (MISSING PEACE)

MISSSING PEACE played at the November 2017 Short Film Festival to great reviews. It is by far one of the most unique films the FEEDBACK Festival showed in 2017.

 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I was really shocked to learn about Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), but I was instantly intrigued. I have always been interested in ‘fringe’ or unique aspects of people’s lives. When I read more about the condition and spoke to those who suffer from BIID, I realized that their stories weren’t being told properly. The media had been sensationalizing their plight and was more interested in criticizing than helping bring awareness and understanding. I also realized that people with BIID just want to be happy and accepted and I really relate to that and sympathize.

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

I came up with the idea in November of 2015 and we finished the film in the summer of 2016. So about 9 months.

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

Provoking acceptance.

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

The biggest obstacle was filming in two countries on a small budget for a short timeframe.

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

I liked hearing what people had to say, and at the end of the day, there are many things that I would have liked to have done differently but time, budget, and availability of our subjects were tough to navigate.

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

I came up with the idea after reading about BIID in an article.

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

Hot Fuzz (2007) or the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

8. 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 helps a lot of emerging artists by simplifying the submission process and clearly explaining what needs to be done.

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

I can Feel a Hot One by Manchester Orchestra

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

I have been working away in the industry while writing on the side. I hope to be working on a comedic web series in the next coming months.
 

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

MISSING PEACE, 17min., USA, Documentary/Drama 
Directed by Jenna Gartlan

Missing Peace follows Chloe Jennings-White and Jeremy as they struggle with Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Chloe wishes to be paraplegic, and Jeremy wants to cut off his hands.

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

 

Advertisements

Interview with Bartek Kmita, Kamil Krynski, Wojtek Szwed – (Directors/Screenwriters PARADIGME)

PARADIGME was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the December 2017 Sci-Fi Film Festival in Los Angeles. 

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Bartek: The main motivation to create this movie was actually pretty simple, to graduate the school. But instead of making an easy asset for the diploma, I began to think about creating something over the average. And then the idea of the movie came out, but it was almost impossible that day to make it alone. That’s how I decided to do this in cooperation with my friends.

Kami: At the beginning the main reason for creating this film was graduation project we had to make. However during the process of creation something has changed. We stopped care as much about graduation, and start thinking about this as an adventure and best possible way of learning. What is more, number of great ,kind people who helped us is really impressive. We couldn’t let them down.

Wojtek: I’ve heard about the project when it was just an idea, Kamil and Bartek wanted to do some short for graduation diploma. I’ve thought it was an interesting concept, and a way to level up my skills and trying to work as team with other creative people. So I’ve joined them.

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

B: From the first idea to the very end of the development process passed a bit over two years.

K: It took us over 2 years to make this from scratch to finished project. We spent one year on pre-production and another on post-production. It was only 3 days of shooting.

W: 2 Years. It was a lot of work for the three of us, but thanks to help of some amazing people We’ve encountered on the way We did it.

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

K: Save yourself

W: Save yourself

B: Worth creating

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

B: The biggest problem for us was definitely lack of the skill and experience. We had to learn and do almost everything from scratch. When we have been starting this project, we had almost no idea where to start, how to do certain effects, how to organize shooting and glue everything together. Despite the technical problems and lack of time, this was for sure the most difficult part.

K: The biggest obstacle was definitely time. It was pretty huge and time consuming project for us. Everyone of us had to quit the job just to finish a movie. We were already late 2 years with defense of thesis. It was a true race against time. W: Well, pretty much everything You can think of when creating project like this. Lack of time, lack of money and lack of skill/experience. It was pretty ambitious thing for a student graduation project, and sometimes We had really thought that We bit off more lettuce than We can chew.

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

B: Amazed, to be honest. 🙂 We were arguing for hours just to clarify the true story hidden in this movie, and some of the people from the audience who were talking about “Paradigme” actually hit the point perfectly! We left a big part of the film to be interpreted by yourself. Despite the initial story and the idea for the film, there is no clear path to follow in understanding it. So everyone can have a different point of view.

We are glad that there was so many interpretations. The audience’s ideas for the main character and his story are fantastic.

K: I’ve never been in the situation like this before. I was really amazed and little bit excited that someone is discussing and more important – interpreting our work.

W: It really felt amazing. Our project caused a discussion and every person interpreted the movie differently. I think it was pretty much our goal to leave certain things as a mystery and give a each viewer a chance to come up with his own unique conclusion.

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

W: It all started with a really simplified story – and after hours and hours of meetings and discussions We’ve developed a more complex one and decided to go with it. K: In the beginning we had only general idea, we wanted to create something intriguing, giving food for thought. Everyone of us put a little bit of himself into this. Then we started putting pieces together. When it comes to me, it was all about inside battle within me.

B: It is a difficult question and just like the story of this movie, there is no straight answer for this. It started as a very different and much simpler story and then it just developed over the hours of thinking and brainstorms. We were inspired by the Dante’s “Divine comedy” and the journey through the purgatory and hell, but also by movies like Alien, Matrix, etc. Mixing it all together created “Paradigme”.

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

B: I think that each one of us would point a different one, but I guess that for all of us Matrix will be in the tight top.

K: Probably Home Alone hahah

W: I think it’s definitely the first “Alien”. Not many movies made such an impression to me.

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

B: It is a great way to find an opportunity to show your work to broad audience. I think that in the near future, this will become the main way for the artists to share their work and submit to festivals.

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

B: Probably “Last Christmas” by Wham, as it is being played every single year, multiple times, in every media stream, since 1986.

K: Bon Jovi – Living on a prayer

W: Probably “Tool – Schism”, but I’m not really sure.

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

B: Something to amaze. For sure. I’m not done yet.

K: I think I’m not ready for another huge personal project yet. I need to learn a lot. Currently I’m focusing on improving my skills to become a better artist.

W: Perhaps, the time will show.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

PARADIGME, 6min, Poland, Sci-Fi/ExperimentalDirected by Kamil Krynski and Bartek Kmita

 

When you wake up in a cold and empty place. You don’t where you are and how you got here. You are paralized by fear and lonelinnes. The only way leads you to unknown direction. When you subject to curiosity and weakness. You can loose your mind…

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

Interview with the film team of the short film CHRISTINE (Jessica Adler, Kate Montgomery, Stephanie Serra)

CHRISTINE was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

We wanted to tell a story that highlighted the idea that you can be yourself, even if you don’t have words to describe it yet. We wanted to paint an image of a child trying different ways to conform to what they believe is the “right way” of being, so that we could reveal the persistence that may be involved throughout this form of exploration.

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

Draft one was finished February 20th, 2013. The project continued to grow and evolve until it was officially completed on Valentines Day 2016.

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

Be yourself.

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

Casting and rehearsing remotely. We found our Luke, Logan Reinhart, very easily. But for the role of Christine our director, Jessica Adler, ended up utilizing Skype to cast outside of Texas (where the film was shot). Through these Skype auditions we found Jordan Jones who played Christine. Throughout the months leading up to filming Jessica rehearsed with both Logan and Jordan remotely, it was not until the day before our shoot day that the director and the two leads met in person.

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

We found the feedback video to be a very nice gift and a wonderful tool.

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

Our Writer/DP, Kate Montgomery, drew on some of her personal experiences growing up. While Christine’s path diverges from the writer’s experience, the underlying themes of identity and strength are present in both the real life of the writer and in the personal narratives of her character.

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

What a wonderful tool! We found it extremely easy and useful to use. It’s a great way to learn about new and unique festivals.

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

One would have to be “Least of All young Caroline” by Frank Turner. Which, after a re-listen, also speaks to some of the messages in CHRISTINE!

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

Our team works in all parts of the film industry. Kate Montgomery is currently working in NYC as a freelance DP, the most recent project she has shot is a LGBT short called Window Shopping that will be making the festival rounds soon!

Jessica Adler is currently working on a feature script and is developing her next short film. She is living in LA and working on the miniseries One Day She’ll Darken, directed by Patty Jenkins.

Stephanie Serra heads Triserratops Productions an independent film company delivering cinema for and about children. Her short film TADPOLES, a subtitled, foreign film for children (shot in Norway), will be released in the 2018-2019 festival circuit.


CHRISTINE, 10min, USA, LGBT/Coming of Age
Directed by Jessica Adler

With the help of her best friend, Christine redefines her perception of strength and what it means to be herself.

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

christine_movie_poster

Interview with Animation Filmmaker Marleia A. Alfaro (BARRY THE BLOBFISH)

BARRY THE BLOBFISH played to rave reviews at the December 2017 ANIMATION FEEDBACK Film Festival.

 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Marleia A. Alfaro: It’s so difficult to come up with new characters that you’ve never seen in animation before. The story of Barry the Blobfish came about and motivated me to finish because it is a 100% original story, written be myself, of a character that no one else has seen before. I love animation and storytelling so in the hardest times of making the film, this thought, the idea and the story itself and what it represents kept motivating me to make it a reality.

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

I made the screenplay in sophomore year of college, back in 2011. I conceptualized it for a children’s book, but had the drive to major in animation, which it later became and finished as my thesis film for graduate school in May 2017.

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

Different, and quirky

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

Learning throughout the process was a challenge. In school my animation skill began to grow and develop so in some shots I’ve seen my improvement where in others, it feels very stiff to me now. Also as a director I had to focus not only on animation, but getting the textures, lighting, and environment to work in rendering, which I fortunately had the help from teachers and other more talented students.

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

I was nervous in the beginning, but it made me feel great that everything was so positive. I’ve always wondered what others thought about my film watching it while I wasn’t around. It’s not polished or at any professional high standard, but I spent 3 years making it work as an animated film, so of course I want people to like it.

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

I had seen an article on the world’s ugliest animals, and the Blobfish was one of them. When I saw it I had to write a story about him. It kind of came to me with some help with ideas from my sister. We decided he’d be sad and lonely, and have only one small, seemingly insignificant friend, and turned into a simple, fun adventure with a simple message of sometimes you can try your hardest and not reach your goals by yourself.

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

I can probably recite the entire Lilo and stitch film by heart, I’ve seen it so many times. It’s a childhood favorite.

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

It’s incredibly easy to find festivals and submit to festivals via film freeway. I never would’ve thought I could be a part of so many great festivals, and meet so many people who love animation and telling stories like I do.

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

I have a very eclectic collection of music. While working on animation I love listening to instrumentals or score; songs that don’t have words in them, just because it keeps me focused and in the proper mood. When working on Barry, I would always repeat Tabula Rasa by Calum Graham. It’s just guitar, but its very uplifting.

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

I have ideas for new short films and animations. I try to think of something every day. Most of them have been about animals or underwater animals.. but I’m hoping to come up with something simple first just to keep the flow going.

 

 

BARRY THE BLOBFISH, 2min., USA, Animation
Directed by Marleia A. AlfaroBarry is a fat ugly fish that can’t swim and lives at the bottom of the ocean. He longs to live on a beautiful coral reef at the top of a tall, tall cliff.

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

barry_the_blobfish_2

Interview with Filmmaker Stephen Riscica (IT GETS BETTER?)

 IT GETS BETTER? was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Stephen Riscica: I started writing this film almost years ago after learning about Jamey Rodemeyer, a young gay teenager from Buffalo, NY who made an It Gets Better video only to commit suicide only a few short months after. I then started reading other stories about youth who have made these testimonials of hope but weren’t able to battle their own inner demons. It was the juxtaposition of these messages of hope from our youth on YouTube mixed with their tragic fate that inspired me to write this piece.

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

I started writing this six years ago– much of that time it was just sitting on my laptop. I went to a film festival in May of 2016 and was really inspired by what I saw there and decided it’s time to finally get this film made. I started an indiegogo campaign a month later. We had approximately two months of pre-production, two shooting days, and 3 months of post production.

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

Oh that’s a tough one…

I’ve always described my film as an examination in loneliness and a desperate plea to hang on… so maybe “Loneliness Examination” or maybe just “Got Wine?”

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

There was an actor attached initially who I cast because his life story and where he is now reflected what the character is going through in the film. A week before production I was “ghosted.” We held a casting session a few days before shooting and thankfully Gys DeVilliers came in and blew me away– he had me in tears during his audition. It was as if I was hearing my words for the very first time. I knew there was no way I could have gotten such a powerful and haunting performance from the previous actor attached.

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

I appreciated the honesty and candor of the audience. This is the first time I was able to hear what people thought about the film without being physically present. I think the film effects people in different ways, and everyone I’ve shown it to responds differently. I disagree, however, with the gentleman who said the film felt cliche’. I see what he’s saying about how it feels like a play, which most likely has to do with my theater background, but I think it is a film that stands out because of its uniqueness.

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

As I mentioned earlier, the story of Jamey Rodemeyer was the main catalyst in writing this piece. His story made me re-examine my own issues of loneliness and depression. I was also very much inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, a one act play in which an older man is listening to a audio tape of himself from years back reminiscing about his youth. Instead of a tape recorder we use a laptop and YouTube.

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

The one film that really changed my worldview as a young gay teenager was Pink Flamingos directed by John Waters. As someone who didn’t identify with straight culture or gay culture, this film was really a celebration of individuality for me and taught me that it’s okay not to fit into any sort of category. I would invite friends over to watch double features of Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble and I’d love to watch my friends squirm, but we’d also be laughing our asses off and quoting lines from the film. I also used to be obsessed with Elvira: Mistress of the Dark as a child and Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation and Nowhere. Recent films I’ve been watching repeatedly lately: Ingmar Bergman’s Cries & Whispers, Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

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

I think it’s a great platform. I discovered a lot of festivals I never even knew existed. I like the up to date notifications of when a judging status has changed on your film.

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

Probably something by The Cure– maybe Pictures of You?

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

Still trying to figure that out! I recently helped out on the pilot episode of a new documentary series interviewing pioneering DJ’s and party promoters from the early days of gay nightlife. There is a short story written by a friend of mine I would love to adapt. I’m looking to collaborate with other LGBT screenwriters on future projects!

it_gets_better_5

IT GETS BETTER?, 11min., USA, LGBT/Experimental
Directed by Stephen RiscicaAn older gay man is inspired to record a testimonial after watching a bisexual teenager’s video, assuring him that ‘It Gets Better.’

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