Interview with Filmmaker Paula C. Frías (CHICKEN)

CHICKEN played to rave reviews at the July 2020 Female Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Paula C. Frías: My friends and I were stuck in a very tedious job that felt very “groundhog day” type. And i wanted to reflect that idea.

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

Not long since we were a very small crew (just 3), so maybe a few weeks to find the places where we wanted to shoot and edit.

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

funny and sad.

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

We had so much footage it was difficult to decide what to keep and what to let go.

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

They got the concept. And that´s a great feeling.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When you want to live off of film you have to do random jobs and that was the start.

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

That´s such a tough question, but probably any from Spielberg or Scorsese.

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

It`s such a helpful platform for a filmmaker. At the beginning you don’t know where to start, and this platform gives you a guide to follow.

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

Oughta know (Alanis Morrisette), without any doubt in my mind

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

I’ve just finished my first feature. It`s a documentary about two cloistered nuns, one being a slave from the xviith century and the other entering the convent freely from today. Quite the change of subject from “Chicken”, uh?

Interview with Filmmaker Zhang Xinwen (NEW YEARS EVE DINNER)

NEW YEARS EVE DINNER played to rave reviews at the July 2020 Female Directors Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

:逢年过节人类对于动物的肆无忌惮的杀戮用于庆祝,根本不会顾及动物的想法和感受,人类不会一直是地球的主人,如果用人类对待动物的方法,让动物对待人类一次,看看会是什么样子。

Humans always kill animals for celebrations in customs without considering what they think and feel. However, humans can’t always be the host of the world, let’s imagine what if our roles swapped and the animals could use the same way to treat with humans?

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

这个想法是我一直想拍的,拍摄实际上在一个要拆的老家具工厂拍摄的,只能在一天内拍完,我们拍了27个小时。

This is the idea that I always want to film, in fact we took place in an old furniture shop where was about to dismantle, it could only offer us one day to film and we made it 27 hours finally.

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

反思与觉醒

Reflect and be conscious

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

时间太短,很害怕拍不完。

Time is very limited that I was worried I couldn’t complete the filming

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

我很感动

I was touched

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

我觉得人类对动物的态度很糟。

I think the attitudes of humans to treat with the animals are really terrible

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

海上钢琴师

The legend of 1900

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

挺好的

Good??

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

国歌

National anthem

Interview with Filmmaker Emily DeBackere (LAUNDRY)

LAUNDRY played to rave reviews at the July 2020 FEMALE Directors Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What Motivated you to make this film?

Emily DeBackere: I made this the summer after my second year of school at Ryerson. The motivation behind it was purely to make a film with no budget in my parents backyard with a group of friends. And that’s what we did. It was my first project I felt like I had total creative freedom over without the worry of strict guidelines from school.

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

The pre-production/filming stages took only about a month. In post, the edit took about two months of off and on revisiting the project in order to sculpt the desired narrative.

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

Artistically Introspective.

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

Probably the toughest obstacle in this project was being able to make the vision achievable with such a limited crew and budget. I am extremely thankful for the hard work that each crew member contributed to this project. Since it was only a small group of us, most of us had to take on multiple roles. This film would not have been possible without the dedication and commitment of each member.

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

It felt really good to have people reiterate the message I intended for the film without having to blatantly explain its reasoning in the actual film itself. This is the first festival to give me an outsider opinion on Laundry and I was relieved to hear such positive feedback on the symbolism and imagery I implied throughout the short.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I’m very much an image based type of person and that’s usually how I conceptualize most of my ideas. The very first thing I did was drew a picture of the opening shot which was of the laundry line in the middle of the field. From there I was able to conceptualize a story that justified the reasoning of why linen was hung out in the middle of no where and more importantly what purpose it served.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I don’t think there is a specific film that I’ve ever really worshipped religiously. Despite being a filmmaker/film student I’m not that huge of a film buff. However, as of lately I’ve been enjoying the works of Terrence Malick. Specifically A Hidden Life and Tree of Life have definitely been on repeat for me.

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

I feel like, especially as a young amateur film maker, I’m not too aware of the variety of festivals out there. FilmFreeway really made it simple to research and send out my short to the festivals I felt would best fit my project. If anything I feel like it allows access to a wider bandwidth of filmmakers to easily put there film out there for other people to see.

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

Clair de Lune by Debussy. I’m sort of an old soul and when it comes to classical music I find it evokes the most emotion out of me. Of course this is not the type of music I listen to in the car or with friends but definitely when I’m writing or brainstorming. I’ve played this song on repeat probably one too many times when trying to get the creative juices flowing.

What is next for you? A new film?

Next year I will be going into my fourth year at Ryerson for film. In which, we are expected to create our thesis short film. As of right now, I’m in the midst of writing a script that I’m hoping to direct if it gets green lit by the school.

Interview with Filmmaker Loïc Andrieu (AGORIA – CALL OF THE WILD)

AGORIA – CALL OF THE WILD was awarded BEST MUSIC VIDEO at the July 2020 Experimental Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Loïc Andrieu: As a screenwriter I am working on my next feature film script LIFE LINE. This film introduces a new female hero high-concept. Jane, an enigmatic LAPD rookie, trapped into a scary police hazing ritual and forced to face her secret power to dive into death. The concept of this project has inspired the music video AGORIA – CALL OF THE WILD. In fact you should experience this music video as a proof of concept for the full length movie.

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

My producer Pierre Cazenave triggered it all by introducing me to the amazing electronic music artist and producer Agoria aka Sebastien Devaud. I pitched him the concept…

From there, Agoria agreed and offered me one of the most iconic tracks of his forthcoming album Drift.

The supernatural-thriller tone of the script fits perfectly the mood of the track Call Of The Wild. The fast-paced menacing vocals of Philadelphia rapper STS complements the cold and uneasy mood created by Agoria’s industrial-tinged beats.

It was an exciting experience to collaborate with Agoria as he re-worked his track through the editing process of the video by adding powerful instrumental parts. Agoria’s inputs were priceless in terms of balance between the music video and the narrative.

The whole project took us one 18 months.

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

FEMALE ORPHEUS

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

Los Angeles is not an easy area to shoot an ambitious project with a low budget. You must pay dozens of expensive permits. A single gunshot will cost you 200$ to rent the gun. 900$ to pay the weapon supervisor plus 3000$ to pay the permit to shoot by night in a suburb area. So you are not as free as you are in Europe to shoot with a small crew. Unions, casting, scouting, wardrobe, every aspect of a low budget movie production are a battle in LA. I guess all these rules are made to prevent the city from being overwhelmed by movie shootings. But even if you can’t be as picky as you would be in Europe, you will always find better props, a better car, or better locations than the one you had in mind because the volume of choice is way larger in every department.

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

My producer Pierre Cazenave from Soldats Films and I are very proud to be part of this amazing event. We never take anything for granted and we are honoured that CALL OF THE WILD will be screened this year in front of such an authentic audience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Call Of The Wild is a female Orpheus myth. Death is the ultimate Pandora’s box. Dealing with it calls us to face inherent fears over the unknown. Jane breaks these boundaries and unveils the mysteries of the antechamber of death. Not dead yet, but no longer alive.

The concept of a female character blessed and cursed with an Orphic power came to me through personal mythological research. I created the concept of Jane as a real-life Fury. Furies are the snake-haired goddesses of vengeance, that under earth take vengeance on men, whosoever hath sworn a false oath.

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

THE DEER HUNTER

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

This is the best platform ever to expose the creations of talented directors from all over the world.

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

“What’s going on?” by Marvin Gaye

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

I Am currently focused on writing my feature film screenplay. “LIFE LINE” inspired from the concept of the short film “Agoria – CALL OF THE WILD ».

Interview with Filmmaker Cameron Currin (INFINITUS)

INFINITUS played to rave reviews at the July 2020 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Cameron Currin: The first ever image of a black hole. There was just something so captivating and amazing about seeing something in an image that wasn’t really ever thought to exist in any other way except mathematically. That, combined with my favorite scifi films like Alien, Event Horizon, and Sunshine. I wanted to see if I could use practical FX similar to those films in a low budget attempt.

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

The idea to do a SciFi film came around December 2019, after I completed my first film “Kushtaka”. I knew I wanted to do SciFi, and I was playing around with ideas. So December 2019 to about August was getting everything ready and building the suit. August through October was preparing the cast/crew building the set. We finished filming around the end of October I believe, and then post production took until March of 2020.

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

Artistically ambitious.

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

Getting the effects to blend well. I had no prior green screen knowledge. I knew what I wanted to achieve, but this was my first time ever shooting a miniature model with a green screen backdrop, and I was lucky to work with Josh Hughes who had some prior experience. He was able to pull it off, and I am glad I was able to use mostly paint effects for the space scenes.

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

I thought it was going to get massacred to be honest. But when each person said they enjoyed it, and appreciated what we tried to accomplish as a short film. A sense of happiness and relief.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Black holes, practical FX from my favorite old school Science Fiction films, and the desire to play with scale miniature spaceship models.

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

Jurassic Park…. But that’s mostly because of my 7 year old son who is addicted to it like I was when I was his age.

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

Filmfreeway is awesome, but I do feel like it is hard to find really great festivals with so many to choose from. Also, the ratings are always off the charts for pretty much every festival, since I believe most filmmakers don’t want to ruin their chances of getting selected in the future. I like festivals that give reviews, feedback, and IMDB connections, like WILDsound for the feedback videos, because that is something us filmmakers can actually use to further our progress and goals.

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

Soundgarden – Spoonman

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

I am writing the finishing touches on another short film titled “The Stained”. It’s a dark drama about an artist trying to repay his past sins by working on the side as an after death cleaner. It explores how some of us pass away without ever getting to feel that sense of companionship or the feeling of being loved… And I believe that is one of the worst things a person can feel in their entire life time. The goal of the film is to make the audience think about maybe calling that relative or friend they’ve grown out of touch with… Because you never know if you might be the voice they need to hear to make them feel whole.

infinitus_movie_poster

Interview with Filmmaker Tara Tusher (INNER-CRITIC)

INNER-CRITIC played to rave reviews at the July 2020 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Tara Tusher: It was a personal challenge. I wanted to explore all the areas of filmmaking – lighting, sound design, cinematography, set design, editing and even acting. There were hundreds of times I nearly talked myself out of it but in the end, I did it!

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

It took about two months. The shooting took two days, but there was a break in between shooting and post production, so the editing didn’t begin right away. I actually think that ended up really helping the film. It forced me to step away for a few weeks which gave a me a fresh perspective that I wouldn’t have otherwise had.

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

Dark and quirky.

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

Well, I was on screen. That was definitely the hardest part because I’m terrified of being in front of the camera.

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

Watching that video was one of the most rewarding parts of making this film. Seriously. We as filmmakers make films to connect with others, to provoke thought and even emotion. Hearing the audience feedback was so incredible because I could see that the film was working, it was connecting with people and that in itself makes it all worth it!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It’s funny because the entire process was a little backwards. I knew I wanted to make a film about a potion maker. It was a visual that I was stuck with but I had no idea what the story was going to be about. I started shopping at thrift stores for props and built the set before I even started writing. I was basically ready to start shooting with no story, so I built a fort in my living room and tucked away until I had it written. Battling my inner-critic is something that I’m constantly doing so the premise came easy to me.

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

Oh that’s easy, and maybe slightly embarrassing. Wait, no, it’s not embarrassing…The Goonies!!!

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

I’ve had a wonderful experience on FilmFreeway. It’s a great platform for filmmakers to learn about festivals that they may have not otherwise known about, and it’s amazing for keeping submissions organized all in one place.

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

Probably, Ordinary World by Duran Duran. I wasn’t huge into the band but that particular song helped me through a hard time in my life, I mean I literally listened to it non-stop for like a year.

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

Yes! A new short film! I have several features that I’ve written but I’m really enjoying the short form right now and want to explore it. The one thing I will say is that my next short will be longer, I promise!

inner_critic_1

Interview with Filmmaker Borja Escribano (EXPLORERS)

EXPLORERS was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the July 2020 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Borja Escribano: The desire to tell a story that talks about how many times, no matter how hard we try things, is to fight against destiny when really wants something

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

3 years

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

Visual and intricate.

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

VFX

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

I felt really really excited, I think that the audience feedback is a confidence boost to keep writing scripts and telling stories.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

In a moment that I was thinking leave the cine / audiovisual world

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

Interstellar, Man Of Steel, Closer

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

I think that the platform works very well.

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

Killing me softly (Fugees) / Desafío (Malú)

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

A TV series about Explorers / A short film about the homosexuality in the Spanish post civil war (Franquismo).

explorers_1

Interview with Filmmaker Johan Stavsjö (SAY YES)

SAY YES played to rave reviews at the June 2020 ROMANCE Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Johan Stavsjö: I wanted to tell a modern love story and drew influences from my past. The film is a combination of three love stories from my personal life. The goal was to make an authentic but also relatable film.

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

About six months from deciding about what to write about to finished product. But the actual shooting was only two weeks.

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

Love hurts.

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

The hardest part was when the film was finished and we wasn’t 100% sure what to do with it. This is the final thesis project from out last year at Stockholm Film School. So when the film was done we had also graduated and therefore we were on our own. We wanted to share it with the world but didn’t exactly know how.

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

It was surreal and wonderful. When making a film, at least I, give it my everything. Therefore to hear people from the other side of the world (it’s a Swedish production) is a thrill. I think I watched the clip about ten times in a row when I got it, and wish I could have been there. The film has screened at about 20 festivals around the world, but as it all is payed from our own pocket we haven’t had the chance to go to any screening. Therefore to be able to experience it from home was amazing.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Again, the ideas for the film comes from my own experience as a prepubescent trying to find his was in this crazy world. Also greatly influenced by past generation filmmakers.

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

I don’t even know, but while writing the script I only watched romantic film and the ones I watched the most then was “(500) Days of Summer”, “The Graduate” and “When Harry Met Sally”.

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

It’s a great way to easily submit to a large quantity of festival and having it all in one place.

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

Here again, hard to say. Probably a The Beatles song. But like question 7 I answer with by saying what a listened to in repeat while writing the film “Say Yes” which was Elliott Smith. The title of the film was actually a reference from his song “Say Yes”.

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

I have since then been working in Sweden on various production. Until two days ago I worked on Sweden’s second Netflix show while I’ve been writing on two different short screenplays. One of which will be done by September 2020.