Interview with Filmmaker Julian Friedrich (01)

01 was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2018 Animation FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Julian Friedrich: “01” is the first film out of the Shortfilm label “Second Truth” in which Artists, film makers, musicians and journalists from all over the world are grappling with the social and political issues of our time. The resulting music videos (Melts) do not include any words and are a mixture of music clips and short films.

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

Nearly 1,5 Years. When Katharina and I decided to make a film in 2015, the refugee crisis in Europe was at its peak. Katharina is an extraordinary illustrator. Her paintings are simple, have a child-like line. But each line is exactly where it should be. It was hard to find the technique to keep the elegiac, the calmness in them.

We spent half a year researching, interviewing and viewing material. The more we were immersed in the cosmos of refugees, we understood how naive and small we had initially thought. All our first ideas were far behind reality.

Stories I’ll never forget are f.e. about a woman who could no longer open doors because after relatives visit her the relatives were killed by a bomb in front of her house. After this incident she was afraid that if she closes a door, everything will be gone behind it. I will never forget the interview with an 18-year-old boy who was the only survivor of a refugee boat full of children of his age. He was with his brother. His voice was so fragile. People are shot dead by locals on a stage in the mountains. Just like that, someone next to you falls to the floor. Dead.

We wanted to show all of it with best intentions, but we understood if we really integrated everything, people would turn off. You can’ t stand it or even worse, think it is an exaggeration. That’s why we’ve focused on the emotional world. We, as audience, may not share the experiences, but we share their feelings. And we focused on them. With the music, with the fantastic pictures of Katharina.

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

very emotional

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

Our own point of view.

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

I bit my foot (not instantly). We were very touched by this. We are amazed and delighted that people on the other side of the globe are thinking about the same questions. We really are a global village and should work together as human beings.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

There are 68 million people on the run out there. Out of poverty or danger of death. We can’t build fences around everything, it’s physically impossible. If we send them away, we just move the problem to somewhere else. The causes do not disappear. Unless we, the Western world, its way of life and ignorance, which is the origin of this escape, do not change. We have either ignored these people or exploited them economically. Our standard of living is built on poverty. That’s how our world works. No one turns his back on his home country out of fun. We have to change, not them.

If a person cannot live a life worth living in the place, then it is his human right to seek an opportunity. We’ve been all refugees once and maybe we become again sooner than we think. Think about climate change.

68 Million! In 2018, more than 1000 people drowned in the Mediterranean. In view of these numbers, there is no point in continuing to rely on an inefficient, inhumane policy of isolation. Whether more wallets are stolen or not in Berlin, New York or Tokyo is irrelevant in comparison to accepting that people lose their lives. We need institutions that control these flight movements and give people chances. Everything else is political stupidity. If we do this wisely, we all benefit.

We still have too little understanding and empathy for these processes. Art must begin to address these problems.

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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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

good.

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

Horses don’t puke. (John Saber)

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

“Second Truth” is currently producing “02” with a wonderful Painter Alex Divisenko about the War in Ukraine and it’s fruits in the social medias. We cooperate with the national Puppet theatre of Kiev for “03” about hate. We work with a Syrian dance company “Sham” for “04” a dance through Rom. We work with a talented film maker Peter Drenzin on a half documentary about a homeless person in “05”.

The people who publish Melts (second truth Shortfilm) under “Second Truth” want to expand our horizons – to offer us an alternative. A second truth. Keep in touch about the latest news and listen or download the songs http://www.second-truth.com or support us with your friendship https://www.facebook.com/secondtruthinitiative/ . Thank you!

01
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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 Joseph Catte (STREAM OF DOUBTS)

STREAM OF DOUBTS played to rave reviews at the June 2018 European FEEDBACK Film Festival. It is by far the most trippy film that ever played at the festival – with a shocking twist that blows your mind!

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Joseph Catte: Writing and directing are my two main passions, which take an important place in my life. I don’t need any specific motivation to start a movie. I just had a good story in my head and a time slot in my agenda! It’s not so much that I had a burning need to tell this story in particular. Above all, it’s a matter of momentum and desire to create. I just needed to get my hands dirty again!

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

I started writing the script in November 2014, I shot it in March 2015 and finished it in October 2015. The project was almost spread over a full year, knowing that I was working as a VFX artist on the side and that I couldn’t fully devote myself to it.

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

Stream of Doubts is a metaphysical drama with fantasy elements. It explores our relationship with reality and thus with our free will.

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

My main challenge was to treat my subject with great sincerity, even if it seems pretentious to some people. I always injected a lot of humor in my short films and I was afraid to look ridiculous by avoiding this big layer of irony. Whether you find the result touching or simplistic, it was a new goal that I’m proud to have achieved.

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

Initially, I was very afraid of the audience’s reaction to my film on the other side of the world, without me being present. But I was very pleasantly surprised by the kindness of the spectators and their relevant analysis, going sometimes beyond my own reflection on my work.

I have been filled with great gratitude, watching the video. Seeing people seduced by my short-movie and talking about it with passion is a source of huge motivation for the rest of my career!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Regarding the concept, the story was inspired by a theatrical adaptation of ‘The Little White Bird’ by JM Barrie, a Peter Pan prequel, in which the author discusses with his creation, a being of paper. The creation says he’s afraid to disappear if his master forgets him. I then realized that some fictional characters (written by others or by myself) seemed more real to me than people I meet on the surface. I knew of them more deeply, because they existed FOR ME.
A universal character like Superman has more importance in our lives that many anonymous in the world and, yet, he’s fictional. So what does ‘being real’ mean ? Why wouldn’t we be be fictional characters? Then came to me the following idea: if a character only exists in a film, one can imagine that he only exists when he’s shown on the screen. Yet he is presented with a personality and memories while the opening scene corresponds to his birth! What if this character realized it? What if those memories seemed to him just blurred, implanted?

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

It must be either ‘The Fifth Element’ or ‘Multiplicity’, two films that I discovered as a child and have been with me all my life.

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

Besides filming, I work mostly alone on my projects, without funding or production assistants. Therefore, I’m looking for three things from a submission platform : I need it to be complete, user-friendly and as cheap as possible. That’s why, FilmFreeway is by far my favorite.

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

Something very original I guess, like ‘Let It Be’ by The Beatles !

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

I’m currently working on the post-production of my next short film, a fantasy thriller in the world of karaoke! In parallel, I write several scenarios, ambitious short films and feature films that I hope to be able to direct one day.

stream_of_doubts
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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 Animator/Filmmaker Tim Ballard (OH MY…)

 OH MY… played to rave reviews at the June 2018 Animation FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Tim Ballard: My friend Michael is a San Francisco area musician who asked me to make an animated music video for one of his songs. The song made me think of a sort of dream journey, and I wanted to depict themes and images that had been in my mind for awhile – environmental apocalypse, indigenous cultures, the desert toad.

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

I worked on this in pieces over the course of a year – much longer than I anticipated. It was a sort of learn as you go process with the technical aspects of the various adobe software platforms.

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

Imaginative resurrection.

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

Mostly as I said above, the technical aspects of getting the watercolor effect to coloring, learning the ins and outs of a larger scale project than I was used to in the past. Also – time and money were tight, of course.

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

I felt disappointed that it seemed to have only elicited a bad acid flashback for most people and didn’t resonate or make sense in a dream logic sort of way as I had hoped. Many of the images were from sort of personal imagery, but I’d hoped it would make some symbolic sense to some people. If not, I hoped people enjoyed the combination of image and mousic.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Believe it or not there were no drugs involved in the conception or execution of this animation (besides coffee and whiskey).

I’ll do my best to answer below, forgive me if it is a little long!

It was a combination of the feel I got from the song itself and vignettes or motifs I’d had swirling in my mind for a long time before.
The song, for me, conjured up a sense of flying and floating and a sort of journey that climaxes in awe, but also speaks of some sadness or difficulties being transcended. I added to that the themes I’ve mentioned above: apocalypse, wastelands, the writings of Zhuangzi, an interest in indigenous cultures and ethnobotany, an interest in what I guess I’ll call “the ontology of imagination” and, (as someone in the audience correctly pointed out) the Sonoran desert toad.

Because it seemed to not translate well to the audience, I’ll summarize the narrative here: basically, the main character starts off in a post-apocalyptic desert wasteland, looking exhausted and alone. Then he finds a cave entrance with mysterious petroglyphs that leads to a subterranean lake where there is water and spirit guides in the form of three animal headed beings waiting to greet him. An elixir is given and he sinks into a dream journey/ sinks into the lake. He’s brought up from the depth to the lake surface which becomes the same wasteland desert surface. He awakens after passing over the dormant, dreaming frog in the soil. He rises and flies towards a distant city that is populated with creatures having a ceremony of some sort. I turns out it was a ceremony to coax water and life from the dead dry land. Raindrops begin to fall. Then he awakens on the lake’s edge at the same time the frog awakens under the earth. The story is bookended by the moment the water hits the soil, awakening life from the dead land.

The Sonoran desert toad fascinated me when I heard them in the desert after a rain and someone told me they are hibernating under the dry desert soil most of the year and suddenly arise when the rain comes to mate and sing in the rainwater ponds. Also in this time of year, flowers and plants you never assumed were there, burst through dry, cracked soil with a vigor that is as inspiring as it is beautiful. Obviously it seems like a sort of Lazarus-esque resurrection. In my imagination I liked to think that the toads spend more of their life in a dreaming state down under the soil than in a waking state and that the dream state was more real for them than the waking state. Then a few years later I heard that they have a hallucinogenic mucus which only added to their mystique for me. So, in my mind, the world represented in the animation is like a manifestation of the toad’s dream, and the completion of the ceremony reawakens life in the dead land in the way imagination can reawaken vitality in our personal lives.

So there are a few layers of dreams – I was inspired by Zhuangzi’s story of the butterfly dream on this part – and for better or worse I wanted it to be a little ambiguous.

Anyhow, the basic theme is in the hope that even in desperate times we can still find life and potential beneath the surface with which we might be able to manifest a rebirth or resurrection of sorts.

So, yeah, basically an acid trip.

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

Hmmm. Probably Milo and Otis or The Road Warrior.

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

It certainly makes it a lot easier and very streamlined. I appreciate it.

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

I’d like to choose one of my favorite songs but in reality it is probably the “Happy Birthday Song” or a Christmas carol like “Santa Claus is Coming to Town”

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

I am hoping to start a series of short, 3min or less, animated documentaries about food and cultural history – how a single ingredient or dish can tell the history of a culture.

oh_my_2

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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 Terez Koncz (THE LETTERS)

THE LETTERS was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the June 2018 Thriller/Horror FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Terez Koncz: I wanted to give voice to those who are not heard due to their age, social situation or any other reason.

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

It took about two years, including all rounds to get sufficient funds, and a 6 month break (caused by an unrelated issue).

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

Teen opera.

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

I would say: time, and I mean the time we had available for shooting. We had to reduce our days with one, and we weren’t allowed any overtime, so at some points we really had to be creative on set.

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

I was very thankful and touched. It is such a great feeling to see that people on the other side of the globe were interested in the film and understood it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

I sat down to my desk every day to write a story. For six days nothing special happened. On the seventh day I started to write and this story came out in one go, in about three hours. I didn’t expect this idea to happen, it somehow made itself happen.

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

It was probably ‘Megáll az idő’ (Time Stands Still) by director Peter Gothár and writer Géza Bereményi. Fun fact is that years after I first saw the film Mr Bereményi became my teacher in screenwriting, and Mr Gothár became my tutor in directing at the Uni.

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

Does it sound cheesy if I say that FilmFreeway was a life changer for me? But it’s true. Via FilmFreeway the world kind of opened up, which means that our wonderful crew had the chance to show their work to people from all over the world. Isn’t it the best what a filmmaker can ask for? The platform is so modern and easy to use, and it makes a filmmaker feel safe, understood and supported.

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

What a lovely question! I think it was ‘Fényes utakon’ (On shiny roads) by a Hungarian band called Republik. It’s a song about a soul who wants to ‘walk freely on bright roads’. When I was a child I really resonated with the message of this song, and I didn’t have many cassettes to play with my walkman, so I kept rewinding and listening again and again :). I still listen to this song every now and then, as I feel that it reconnects my soul with my family, especially my parents who are sadly not with us anymore.

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

I’m developing a feature right now, hoping for the best! 🙂

the_letters
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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 Robin De Cock (TRUMPETS IN THE SKY)

TRUMPETS IN THE SKY won BEST FILM at the May 2018 Fantasy/Sci-Fi FEEDBACK Film Festival in Torotno

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Robin De Cock: The idea of a sound that terrorized the world came to me in a weird moment while listening to dubstep (I know that’s pretty terrible motivation). But when I talked to my friends and peers about the idea, a muslim friend of mine said that in the Koran, the end of the world (or signs of the hour) was introduced by a worldwide horn sound. And that made me do more research in the more biblical narrative of my idea. As it turns out in the bible, koran and even in the Norse mythology (the gjallerhorn of ragnarok) the horn was something that was clearly stated and connected to the end of times. I thought that it was an interesting take and narrative direction to take the script to a new perspective. And with the character of a deaf child we can explore the difficulties and extrimities of the idea through an innocent view. Take the horns out of the equation and what we have left is a small family drama between mother, child and father. And I think it’s important in every story, sci-fi or otherwise, to tell a intimate story that people can relate to. The pressure is just on a higher level due to the higher power that is affecting the world.

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

It was a difficult 2 years from the initial idea to the final result. I was struggling with some personal problems wich made me procrastinate a lot and I ended up just never being sure if this is the story I want to tell. After some self reflection and an awful lot of rewriting I got the final draft and started the production. I got the privilege to get an awesome crew (very compact but awesome) and we just made it happen.

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

Post-apocalyptic drama

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

My biggest obstacle in completing this film is the obstacle i’ve been facing all my life. It’s myself. I tend to sabotage myself and end up not finishing my projects. I am pretty harsh on myself (and others) so i’m never really content with what i’m making or doing. But just pulling through on this project gave me the motivation and self respect to push further and harder on my goals.

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

Damn that shit amazing. I’m from Belgium and just starting to make films, and seeing people from across the world discussing your film is so exciting. I started making films to get an audience for my stories, and just seeing it happening gave me chills.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of your short film:

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

As I said, a little bit of dubstep and a whole lot of talking, learning and rewriting.

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

Children of men. Sci-fi with it’s feet on the ground. Where the scary thing are the people and the sci-fi is small, well executed and close to the way things are today.
+ dat sweet sweet camera work. Best oners in history!

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

I used it for the first time for this project and I like it. It’s a intuitive, filmmaker-friendly platform to showcase your projects. It also motivated me to make a trailer just to showcase my project some more. As it is a schoolproject (My second year in the film academy in Brussels) It’s nice to have the option to show your early projects to a large audience and maybe get some recognition along the way.

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

Damn, that’s a hard one. I guess, Eminem: Cleaning out my closet. It’s also my go-to karaoke song but I fail every time.

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

Next year I’m starting my Bacheloryear in Fiction Film in RITCS (Royal Institute of Television Cinema and Sound – Brussels) and I have an idea that keeps me up at night (in a good way) It’s going to be a psychological thriller. The rest i’ll keep a secret. 😊

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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.