Canadian Director John Silverberg’s short film played at the January 2016 FEEDBACK Film Festival.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Jon Silverberg: Growing up in the 1980s, my dad had a collection of hundreds of older films and television series. I loved the science fiction stories – particularly “The Twilight Zone”. While creating Disappeared the series was on my mind – not only for its wonderfully bizarre stories, but also for its rich and often everyday characters. Sometimes it was comedy, sometimes it was drama, sometimes it was romance – but it was always science fiction. These are the stories that I love to tell!
MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
JS: I wrote the film in one night, but it took 6-8 months before we had the window of opportunity to film it. Budget was very tight, and so post-production took an additional 8-9 months of tinkering – mostly with the VFX and Sound Design.
MT: How would you describe your short film in two words!?
JS: Accidental Magic
MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
JS: Definitely budget was the biggest obstacle. It’s a small film with big ideas, and we were creating it with basically zero budget. The entire film was shot in just over 4 hours – in the morning before another production.
MT: What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
JS: I was very pleased to hear people really understand the twists and turns of film, the conflict of the lead character, and the desire to see what was on ‘the other side’. As a filmmaker, you make lots of little decisions based on your instinct, and it was wonderful to hear people really connecting with the material.
MT: You made some great cinematic choice in this film with tone and style. Was this film always in your head in black & white? What about the main performance – he has a bit of a sweet edge to him?
JS: Thanks! My mantra was: “What if Billy Wilder had directed an episode of “The Twilight Zone” in the early 60s?”. I wanted to create something that felt vintage (no cell phones to the rescue), and had the eerie/sci-fi elements, but also had charming comedic and romantic elements. It was definitely an homage to “Twilight Zone”, but lead actor Mackenzie Gray really dove into the Billy Wilder-esque madcap lead character. Mackenzie often plays villains (General Zod’s right-hand-man in “Man Of Steel”), and I thought he did a lovely job of playing a gentler, more eccentric everyman in this film.
MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?
JS: Either “Jurassic Park”, “Back to the Future”, or Tim Burton’s “Batman”.
MT: What is next for you? A new film?
JS: I have just finished producing a new sci-fi/mockumentary funded by Telus’ Storyhive campaign, titled “Unit Bryan”. It will be on Telus Optik and YouTube on Feb 29th. I have also just finished writing my first feature film, which I am aiming to direct by the end of the year.
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 on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.