Interview with Filmmaker Andres Passoni (3:32)

3:32 played to rave reviews at the October 2018 DRAMA Feedback Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andres Passoni: My work is mainly focused in documentaries and I had never worked with actors. I wanted to work with Calu Rivero, an argentinean actress, and I had an idea of a character I thought she would feel related.

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

It took me almost a year to have the final script and then a year for the shooting and post-production.

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

Intimate and delicate.

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

A lot! but I think the biggest was to tell everything I wanted in 3 minutes 32 seconds.

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

That feedback is so important to inspire yourself and grow as a filmmaker.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Once I read an interview to a music producer stating that 3 minutes 32 seconds is the perfect length for a pop song. I’m a huge consumer of pop music, especially from female performers and thought it was a very interesting concept to develop a conflicted character and a short story with the same length.

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

The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock and La Mujer sin Cabeza by Lucrecia Martel, everytime I see them I discover something new about filmmaking and human nature.

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

It helps you to learn about distribution, find a lot of festivals in one place and it’s very friendly to use.

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

Ray of Light by Madonna, every time I listen to it makes me feel very creative.

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

I’m writing and developing different ideas but I still haven’t decided my next project. I’m curious what the future holds for me.

Interview with Filmmaker Aaron Rudelson (NORMAN PINSKI COME HOME)

NORMAN PINSKI COME HOME played to rave reviews and was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the August 2018 Comedy Festival in Toronto.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

A lot of things, but one of the most prominent things I’m interested in is human nature. As rational beings, we are not always guided by rational thought and sometimes, our behavior is motivated by instinct instead. There are two powerful human instincts at work in Norman Pinski Come Home that I find particularly interesting. One is our ability to repeat mistakes even as we try to avoid them. Sometimes, habitual behavior can escape the detection of the conscious mind. In this case, two parents who resolve to allow their son to determine his own character but find themselves unavoidably imposing their own expectations on him. The second instinct I’m referring to is that of motherhood. The deeply rooted instinct to nurture and to connect with one’s child (whether he looks like Frankenstein’s monster or not). There is a feature version of this story currently in development which explores these themes in more detail.

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

An eternity. I first started by writing a feature length version which we have partially cast and funded. I decided that condensing it into a short version would be a good way to pitch the feature version. So the concept has been around for a while, then I had to write the short version. Then I had to raise the money (which was done through crowd funding: an effort almost as challenging and time-consuming as actually making the movie); then a few months of pre-production, followed by three days of shooting and then eight months of post-production. Everything moves slowly when you’re relying on favors and discounts.

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

I don’t like characterizing my own work (that’s for an audience to do). But since you asked, I would hope the audience might find that the words, “funny” & “heartfelt” apply.

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

By far the biggest obstacle was raising the money. But that’s probably true of any large short film production (unless you’re already rich). But unique to the project was the task of finding a suburban house in New York City whose owners would allow us to completely take it over for three whole days and not charge us $10,000. Oh also, preferably one that was occupied by an elderly Jewish couple (so as to minimize the production design expenses). In the end, we would not have been able to make this film at all without the immense generosity of an old friend from college who happened to live in the Ditmas Park area of Brooklyn (not an elderly Jewish friend, so we did have to do some considerable art decorating: kudos to production designer Monica Mayorga).

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

It’s rare that you get this kind of opportunity for remote festivals that you can’t travel to. Ultimately, this is why we make films: to connect with other people. So this is a great feature that WILDsound provides to filmmakers. And fortunately, either WILDsound edited out all the negative comments or generally people seemed to enjoy the film. So that was rewarding.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I’ve always been a fan of Gene Wilder and Mel Brooks. Young Frankenstein was one of my favorite movies growing up. It just struck me one day that, in all the many manifestations of this story that exist, both comedic and dramatic, nobody has ever asked the question “who was that individual before he died, was exhumed and reanimated as Frankenstein’s monster?” Wouldn’t his mother recognize him walking around scaring the bejeezus out of people? I thought there was a lot of unexplored potential there which could fit any genre. I chose comedy because that’s just the way my brain works.

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

Well, that’s hard to answer. I mentioned Young Frankenstein already. That’s definitely high on the list. But now that I have kids, and they are Star Wars fanatics, the original trilogy may have taken the lead. But here are some other great ones: Brazil; After Hours; High Anxiety, any Marx Brothers movie; Saving Private Ryan; La Dolce Vita; The Sacrifice, to name a few.

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

Now that the digital upload servers screen better quality, submitting to film festivals is a cinch. No more packaging and shipping DVDs. And FilmFreeway’s user interface is excellent. I prefer it to Withoutabox. But with Withoutabox, you get the automatic IMDB listing.

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

Possibly Brimful of Asha by Cornershop. I like it because it’s got a really nice rhythm, the lyrics are weird and it has some obscure cultural references that a westerner would have to look up to understand.

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

Finish raising money for the feature version of Norman Pinski Come Home; write a B-horror script, shoot a couple more short films and finish writing my short story about an odd mail carrier. When I get the time.

FilmFreeway Founder Zachary Jones – 2 Year Anniversary Interview

FilmFreeway has taken the film industry by storm since this indy startup launched 2 years ago. It is now the #1 platform in the world for filmmakers to submit their films and screenplays to festivals, trumping Withoutabox, which is owned and operated by the billion $ corporation Amazon. It’s quite an achievement. And they have succeeded by doing the right thing, and with integrity.

filmfreewaylogoI recently sat down again with the founder of FilmFreeway, Zachary Jones:

Matthew Toffolo: Last time we spoke was a little over 16 months ago in late November 2014. You were then at 1200 festivals signed up. How many festivals do you now have signed up today? How many filmmakers/screenwriters?

Zachary Jones: Wow, that’s incredible to think that less than a year and a half ago we had just crossed the 1,000 mark. Now here we are just after our 2 year anniversary and we’re approaching 3,700 film festivals and 250,000 filmmakers! The support and reception from the indie film community has been incredible. We would have never guessed we’d reach an audience like this in 2 years. We’re tremendously grateful to our users and to the community for all the support.

MT: You just passed the 2 year anniversary of the site. What has been your biggest learning experience so far?

ZJ: We’ve learned a great deal about what users, both filmmakers and festivals, are looking for in a submission platform. Many of the best features we’ve added have been the results of the feedback and ideas that have been submitted to us by the community. It’s great to have direct lines of communication with our users so we can learn what new features they need and then get to work building them.

MT: What has been your proudest achievement in the last 2 years?

ZJ: There’s definitely been quite a few noteworthy milestones to celebrate along the way. Some of our proudest achievements include:

– Reaching 200,000+ filmmaker users
– Serving 30+ Academy Award accredited festivals
– Becoming the exclusive submission platform for HBO, The Student Oscars, and the LA Film Festival
– Surpassing Withoutabox in global web traffic and becoming the #1 submission platform in the world

MT: Where do you see the site in 5 years?

ZJ: Our team comes to work every day eager to continue building and improving what is already the best submission platform in the world. We are planning on rolling out a few new features that are entirely outside the current scope of our business that we think will really shake things up. I can’t say too much about that now, but we’ll be offering some free services that other organizations are currently charging an arm and a leg for. Remember how Withoutabox used to charge $3 a pop for online submissions and charge festivals 18% commissions? Well, that went away almost immediately once we introduced our fairly priced business model. We’re planning on doing that again with another aspect of indie film that we feel is currently greatly overpriced.

MT: What are the advantages and disadvantages (if any) of being a Canadian based company?

ZJ: I can’t think of a better place in which to live and do business. We have it all: a beautiful, clean city with four seasons, the friendliest people, the best seafood, amazing architecture, access to the sea and the mountains, a thriving film community. You name it. We’re all very happy here.

MT: You created this site because there was a monopoly occurring over at Withoutabox that controlled the film festival online market. No competition generally leads to stagnant production – which many argued occurred at Withoutabox. Now you seem to be passing them in every single way (online traffic, film festival signups etc..). Are you a bit shocked that they haven’t made their site more user friendly and steal some of your ideas? Do you believe that competition is important in business? Coke needs Pepsi? Nike needs Reebok? FilmFreeway needs Withoutabox (or a future site)?

ZJ: Actually, we have seen them make several changes to their site and business model in direct response to our arrival. For example, they changed their commission from 18% to match ours right down to the decimal at 8.5%. They also stopped charging filmmakers $3 for every online submission. When this happened we literally received hundreds of emails from filmmakers and festivals thanking us profusely and saying that they never thought they would see this day. To hear that kind of feedback was especially gratifying because we knew we had changed festival submissions for the better, as now both filmmakers and festivals were benefitting in the form of lower prices and fees across the board. For this reason, competition is always good. When filmmakers and festivals have a choice, they win. The days of a monopoly controlling every aspect of festival submissions and price gouging filmmakers and festivals at every turn are over. Actually Withoutabox still charges filmmakers an outrageous $400 for “upgraded projects,” which we offer for free. In fact, every aspect of FilmFreeway is entirely free for submitters. We’re very proud to be the only festival submission platform that is truly 100% free for submitters.

IMAGE: Current online stats between FilmFreeway vs Withoutabox:


MT: Are you ever able to attend any of the film festivals that receive their submissions through your site?

ZJ: We did have a chance to attend Slamdance last year, which was amazing. What an amazing festival they put together, truly one of the gems of the festival circuit. We also got chance to meet a bunch of great filmmakers and watch some killer films, even do a little skiing and snowboarding in Park City. But overall, the last two and half years have been filled with a lot of late nights coding and designing. We’re hoping to have the time to begin traveling more and attending the many of the festivals that we serve. We’ve made a lot of great friends with festival organizers and owe them some visits to thank them for their support.

MT: What film have you watched the most times in your life?

ZJ: Anything Star Trek. I’ve seen them all countless times.

MT: What person, dead or alive, would you love to have dinner with?

ZJ: Vint Cerf, one of the “Fathers of the Internet.” Legend.

MT: What was your favourite television show growing up?

ZJ: “The Simpsons,” hands down.



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 for more information and to submit your work to the festival.