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.

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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 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..

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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 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.

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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 Kaitlin Creadon (FOR THE LOVE OF THE CHILD)

FOR THE LOVE OF THE CHILD played to rave reviews at the March 2018 DOCUMENTARY FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kaitlin Creadon: With the wonderful opportunity to make any type of film I desired through my schooling, I had the chance to turn this once-in-a-lifetime event into a documentary. Creating this personal documentary was definitely out of my comfort zone, but I knew it was a story I truly wanted to share with the world. A big motivation for completing this film was the hope that someone else
going through this will see it, and that the film will help them through their own journey.

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

I started working on the concept in August of 2016 and it took about a year and a half to produce and edit. Even today, I am still working on BTS as I just have a wonderful goldmine of footage still to share.

How would you describe your short film in two words?

True love.

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

The biggest obstacle I personally faced was overcoming my own fear of being on camera. It is a very personal story, so I knew right from the beginning that I would have to be on camera and talk about my experiences. It was difficult for me at the time, yet I am so glad I put that aside to become an integral part of my own documentary.

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

Excitement, yet surprisingly defensive. Nonetheless, the was extremely interesting to hear the audience’s take on the documentary!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Like I mentioned, through the MFA thesis process I had the chance to work on a film of my choosing. Ultimately, I landed on documenting this experience. Meeting my birth mother in person was something I knew I wanted to do, and this was a great way to do it. I reached out to the adoption agency The Cradle, then Tabitha (my birth mother) Collette (birth aunt), and Robbie (half-brother) and his family, to see if they would be interested in being a part of this as well. I received overwhelming support. It all started to come together, and we began filming!

Even if I hadn’t used this footage for a documentary, I feel so blessed the entire process was caught on camera as it is hard to remember everything that happened in person!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I think it has to be Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl. I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen it on DVD, but the thirteen-year-old me saw it a record seven times in theaters!

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

The submission process for this film festival was quite easy! The Documentary Feedback Film Festival made me feel very comfortable right from the get-go.

What is next for you? A new film?

Currently no films on the docket, however I am a new Adjunct Professor at DePaul University, where I received my MFA in Directing! I am looking forward to seeing what this new journey has in store for me.
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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 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!

 

Interview with Filmmaker Mike Johnson (OCEANIC ALIENS)

 OCEANIC ALIENS was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the November 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Mike Johnson: A few years ago I fell in love with scuba diving and the underwater world. Being a filmmaker, my goal quickly became making underwater video a staple of my business, so I invested in dive training and underwater camera equipment. Now, I rarely dive without my camera. In the dive world Kona, Hawaii is known for the pelagic blackwater dives and this was very high on my “list”, as divers often refer to their bucket list of dive sites. In mid 2016, I booked a shoot on the big island of Hawaii and decided to stick around after the work was over to dive. Having no experience with pelagic blackwater diving I really did not know what to expect from the footage, so I went into the whole thing with no goal other than to have a good time. The experience itself, and later the research, are what ultimately inspired me to create the film.

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

Due to the logistics of pelagic blackwater diving, I did two dives while in Kona – each about an hour long. After that I spent about three months doing research on the species I had captured. This is not a topic one can simple “google” and expect to find results. It took a lot of digging and fact checking to be certain the information I had compiled was accurate. From there I spent two weeks writing and editing the film.

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

Life Changing. The information I learned during the research and discovery phase of this project absolutely changed my life, or more specifically my way of thinking. Oceanic Aliens contains a minuscule amount of information on the topic of plankton. I found it absolutely amazing how important plankton are to the entire planet, and even more so how little the public, and even science, knows about these creatures, and more importantly, the ocean.

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

With the ease of access to the internet and underwater cameras, there is a lot of misinformation to sift through online. Divers and snorkelers often encounter various species of zooplankton, posting pictures and video online to various outlets. More often than not, I found these to be mis-identified. Scientific resources often listed species by name, but included no reference images. With the goal of creating a traditional nature documentary, I knew my information had to be spot on, so I spent a lot of time cross referencing and fact checking my research.

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

Its great to see people learning something new, that they never thought existed. From a filmmaking standpoint, I had a few goals in mind with this film. I wanted to create a traditional wildlife/nature documentary, and knowing I had limited resources and footage to work with I wanted to leave the audience wanting to know more – to whet their appetite and hopefully inspire a few to learn more. Hearing this feedback from the audience helps me to know those goals were accomplished.

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

Growing up I always wanted to be an astronaut. Scuba diving is as close to space exploration as one can get on this planet. In fact, NASA trains astronauts to work in microgravity by submerging them in a giant pool. Being just three miles off-shore and 30 feet deep, I really felt I was on another planet while filming Oceanic Aliens. After the dives when I would show people photos of the creatures I captured, few people believed they were real until I showed them the video. Nearly everyone’s reaction was related to alien life.

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

Wow, hard to narrow this down to one. There are three film series that stick out – Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, and Star Wars. I watched each many times growing up, and now that I have kids of my own have introduced them to these films as well. The adventure into the unknown I think is what really draws me in. More recently, I discovered The Lost World of Z.

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

I like FilmFreeway. Its easy to use and provides access to a massive volume of festivals. Definitely a platform I will come back to with future films.

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

Another hard question! I don’t know about one specific song, but the most listened to artist would probably be Fleetwood Mac. My parents often listened to Fleetwood Mac on cassette tape when I was growing up, and there are a lot of good memories tied to those songs.

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

There was a discussion in the audience feedback about how the film left viewers wanting more. It has left me wanting more as well. My goal for 2018 is to begin production for a feature length version that will highlight zooplankton and explore their importance to the planet.

 

OCEANIC ALIENS, 6min., USA, Documentary/Wildlife
Directed by Mike Johnson

Oceanic Aliens is an internationally award winning short documentary that explores one aspect of how little we truly know about planet earth. More is known about outer space than our very own oceans. This short documentary illustrates just one example of a little known class of marine species and their amazing attributes.

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

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Interview with Filmmaker Hendricksen Armand (COSPLAY: BEHIND THE MASK)

COSPLAY: BEHIND THE MASK played to rave reviews at the November 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Hendricksen Armand: I was always aware of cosplay as a subculture from an outsiders perspective but it wasn’t until I was fully immersed in it that I began to understand the full scope of what cosplay was. It was vibrant, it was creative, it was technical, and I thought it was a story that needed to be told.

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

From conception to completion it took about 9 months to complete. Though I have footage in the film from 2014 of the first convention I ever attended. Which was Supercon in Miami.

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

Fun, Unexpected

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

I think trying to coordinate with all the different subjects on the film to tell their stories. Logistically it was a bit challenging because we all had full time jobs including myself. So we had to find a time when we were all available to shoot.

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

I was very happy to see how many people appreciated the topics that were covered in the film. I assume some these people have cosplayed or know cosplayers. That really brings me a lot of joy when cosplayers enjoy the film because essentially, I made this for them.

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

I didnt have to come up with anyting really. I discoverd an artistic, vibrant, community and wanted to share it with the world.

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

I’ve seen a lot over the years, but what always comes to mind is The Dark Knight. I could watch that all day.

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

I’m a relatively new filmmaker in terms of the submission process so I can’t really comment on how things used to be, but I do find it very convenient to submit films on platforms like FilmFreeway. It allows filmmakers to get their work out there without mailing postage and searching thousands of websites to find festivals.

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

Wow. I can’t say I’ve been keeping track. The song I’ve been listening to the most right now is “Stay” by Hans Zimmer from the Interstellar soundtrack.

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

I am currently working on a film at the moment. It’s a project I am very excited about and could perhaps screen at this festival again next year!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film: 

COSPLAY: BEHIND THE MASK, 20min., USA, Documentary/Sci-Fi 
Directed by Hendricksen Armand

A look into the life of cosplayers who try to shatter the boundaries of reality by transforming themselves into characters from comic books, TV shows, and movies.

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