Interview with Filmmaker Barbara van Rijn (THE CURE)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Barbara van Rijn: As a daughter of a Pharmacist I am brought up with the belief that herbal and traditional medicine is not to be trusted. After living in Ghana for a while, I realized that people in Ghana look at this very differently. I wanted to know more, the reasoning of people using herbal medicine vs orthodox medicine and how this affects their life.

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

I was planning to only film a short TV item, finishing in 2 weeks. I ended up taking 5 years to finish.


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

Emotional and impressive

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

It was difficult to find the right balance in making this a story about ‘the people using traditional medicine’ and all facts and figures that are known about this topic. I could have gone on an on doing more research, more filming and make it more of an investigative documentary. However it was always meant as a small story about people using traditional medicine. So sometimes it was hard to hold on to that initial goal but still find the right balance of giving information to satisfy the viewer.


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

I often agreed with them and their feelings after seeing the film. It was great to have people giving feedback on the film, it gave me a lot of positive energy!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was working at a local TV station in Ghana as an advisor where the doctor of ‘The Cure’ was advertising this drug live on air. That stirred a discussion between me and my Ghanaian boss by then, he believed the drug was a real cure, and I was very doubtful. Once I started following the doctor and his patients it became such an emotional journey that wouldn’t let me go.

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

Documentary: Google baby

Film: Blackbook (Dutch film)

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

It makes it very easy to apply and gives a good overview of the possibilities. Perfect.

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

Meadowlands – The African Mama’s

No one – Alicia keys


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

Hopefully yes. I have a topic in mind, also coming from West Africa. I started the research. First I have to make a firm decision to really continue documentary making and make the switch from fulltime corporate film maker to making documentaries. This festival actually gave me some confidence boost to focus more on documentaries.

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Interview with Filmmaker Jeremy Abrams (FIGHTING CHILDHOOD CANCER)

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jeremy Abram: The Vanderslice family were friends of my wife, and when I saw a social media post that included a photo of Louie looking out of the window from his hospital room at Children’s Hospital of the Kings Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia at a crowd of people who gathered for a candle light vigil with a poster that said “Hope”, it peaked my interest to start following his story, and I fell in love with the family and their love for their son.

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

Their father (Joshua) reached out to me and told me the Roc Solid foundation was going to be constructing a playground in their back yard in honor of Louie and to bring joy to their family. He had seen some of my video work and asked if I would ever consider documenting this event for them. Not only did I agree and feel privileged that he even asked – I assembled a team of videographers/photographers to volunteer their time to help cover the event. We started filming at 6:30am until 3pm, and it required around 70 hours of filming, photographing, archiving and editing.

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

Always hope

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

Having to take breaks in editing to gather my emotions.

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

I was bracing for impact on technical critiques, only to be relieved that everyone absorbed the overall story and that it resonated with an authentic human experience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea was there, the challenge was to strip it down to the bare bones to make it a potent story without unecessary clutter.

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

Braveheart

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

I have submitted previous films to various platforms – but FilmFreeway was the simplest that actually delivered valuable critique and feedback. It was well organized and proactive.

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

Woman with the tatooed hands, Atmosphere

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

I currently work full time in IT, and do freelance video production projects for pleasure as they arise.

Interview with Producer Rebecca Scotti (BUILD RAMPS NOT WALLS)

BUILD RAMPS NOT WALLS played to rave reviews at the March 2019 Documentary Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Rebecca Scotti: Our skate community, namely Nat and Emilio!

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

It took 18 months from idea to release.

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

Still Relevant!

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

We had so much footage, it was challenging to pull out the storyline while maintaining the spirit of DIY skate and the candid commentary of the skaters and their community.

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

At first we were nervous as you can imagine, but when we saw the smiles and heard the positive responses, we felt inspired to continue.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea came out of the kids and the skate community.

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

Very easy.

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

We continue to work with the community in Puerto Vallarta and are looking at projects in other skate communities impacted negatively by current politics.

Interview with Filmmaker Cynthia Hunt (ICE FLOW)

ICE FLOW played to rave reviews at the March 2019 Experimental Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Cynthia Hunt: I wanted to make this film for many reasons. I was extremely concerned about how much the weather had changed in the Yukon, where the film was made so I started to tune in the intense beauty of the changing season from fall to winter. I also wanted to project humans as only one life form along a river and let the river be the main character in the film. This proved to be a challenging exercise.

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

C It took a considerable time. The shooting ran through a fall for 2 months and the editing I did on an off for a year. I presented the film and then edited it more, several times.

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

C. River voices.

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

C. My computer is from 2011 and is only a 13” MacBook Pro. The film kept crashing the computer and later I found out that the 13” MacBook Pro does not have a designated graphics card. When I updated the computer this spring it no longer accepted my video .mts files from my camera. The sound was garbled. Eek!

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

C. I found watching the video of the audiences comments very touching. It was lovely to hear the what they said and to see that the viewers got my film. This meant a lot to me. I also loved seeing my family in attendance.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

C. I am a painter and I am completely absorbed by the colours on the water outside my cabin. I could film and paint this subject forever.

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

C. I love so many films, I am not sure which one I’ve watched the most.

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

C. Entering the festival circuit with a film made without any money and trying to figure out where to send it and also how to put together a package is overwhelming. FilmFreeway makes it as easy as possible but this is definitely an area I need to learn more about.

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

This changes depending on the time in my life and my emotions. Right now I love to listen to sounds in nature most of all, in particular bird songs like the American Dipper shown in my film.

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

C. I am painting and dreaming up films all the time. I have a film in my head set in an urban setting and 3 more films in the setting I made this film in. As well, I have some editing to do on other films I shot once I can upgrade to a new MacBook Pro.

Interview with Filmmaker Jonathan Harris (WEEKEND WARRIOR)

 WEEKEND WARRIOR played to rave reviews at the August 2018 DOCUMENTARY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jonathan Harris: I like to make films about activities that people don’t normally get the chance to be involved in. Adventure and action sports have always enthralled me so I want to get a viewpoint from someone who puts in the time and effort to build the skills necessary to do these amazing stunts.

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

It took about a year to complete although it could have been done much faster. I was just working on weekends and in my free time. It took about 3 trips to the course to film the stunts, plus 1 interview session.

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

Umm, Adventurous/Exciting

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

Managing all of the logistics and technical aspects was a bit of a challenge as I was working solo for most of the project.

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

I was excited to see the audience’s enthusiasm about the film. I felt like I got a lot of the reaction that I was hoping for. When I create a project such as this, the last thing I want is for people to be bored because they feel like it’s something they’ve already seen a hundred times.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I always keep my eye out for interesting and adventurous projects so when I met Trey and saw his setup I immediately knew that I had to turn that into a film.

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

That’s a hard one since there is so much new content coming out these days. It would probably be one of the LOTR films.

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

Submission was very easy and strait forward. I had no problems at all.

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

Can’t Stop by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

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

I’m always looking for interesting people and activities to make documentary short films about. I don’t have anything specific planned at the moment but have a few ideas for a free-diving and spearfishing film.

 weekend_warrior.jpg

 

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 Jim Wilmer (WATER)

 WATER was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the August 2018 Documentary Short Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jim Wilmer: In our travels across the planet, shooting commercial video for travel and tourism, we realized that there are a several ‘constants’ in our global environments, the most obvious is water, which takes form in some of most spectacular natural forms- waterfalls, ocean waves, rivers and streams, etc- each of which is accompanied by its own unique auditory imprint of sounds- a natural composition of sights and sounds. We wanted to share these ‘mini symphonies’ and without words to transcend language and culture barriers to share our message.

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

The filming of WATER occurred over a span of 3-1/2 years, however, once we had the content that we were satisfied with the editing and finished film was completed in 30 days.

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

Beautiful-engaging

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

Weather is always a factor when shooting on location, for example we were filing in Iceland for 8 days, but only had 2 days of clear weather. We have had many shooting locations that had to be revisited for clear weather.

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

Every time we experience audience reaction – either in person or on video as you have provided- we are amazed at how engaged the audiences are, and how almost all viewers seem to have a connection to our film. We are so pleased that we have accomplished out goal of engaging our audience and getting them to think about this most precious resource.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

This is part of trio of eco-films that we believe will bring awareness to our fragile planet, without words to connect at a base root level.

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

Bladerunner (Ridley Scott 1982)

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

FilmFreeway is a great platform to submit to festivals around the world with a minimum of redundancy or hassle. We love the platform and try to use it exclusively for our film submissions.

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

“White Bird” from It’s A Beautiful Day (1968)

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

We released “Shinrin-Yoku (forest bathing)” In January to great response from Festivals (55 screenings and 12 award wins), We are now re-shooitng this in VR for release next January..

 water.jpg

 

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 Shaun Wright (A GOOD BLINDER)

Co-Director Shaun Wright’s short film A GOOD BLINDER played at the April 2018 Documentary FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles. It was the overwhelming winner of BEST FILM at the festival.
 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Shaun Wright: After having a conversation with Dan, we knew he would be be a really unique subject for a documentary. Plus, he seemed really excited to to tell his story.

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

It took about 2 years total.

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

Poetic, Funny

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

Finding the right story, because there was so much rich material.

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

It was really rewarding to see how the audience reacted to Dan’s story and his relationship with his wife. In particular, when the one woman said the that film touched her heart, honestly it doesn’t get any better then that as a filmmaker.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

We heard about Dan through a friend (who’s in the film) who had their piano tuned by him for over 15 years. She thought he would be a great topic for a documentary and she was right!

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

Probably this documentary! Raising Arizona.

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

Really like the platform a lot, easy and quick to use.

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

The Clash-London Calling

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

Continue teaching film production and I’m currently working on a documentary about the attempt to unionize a poultry processing plant in the university town where I live.

 a_good_blinder_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.