Interview with Filmmaker Isaac Elliott (A STATIC WIND)

A STATIC WIND was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the June 2018 Young Filmmaker’s FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Isaac Elliott: I had just finished uni and was left without a clear path to a career in film making. So the best way to get in is to make stuff, good or bad, just to make stuff. I turned inward and tried to find a story to tell and this came out of it.

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

It took a total of around 23 months from idea to completion. It was initially conceived in March 2014 and after a number of drafts we held a crowdfunding campaign and attempted to shoot it in January 2015. With much of the budget going to a weekend away – the rest would be in a studio – we were rained out and had countless issues without getting anything really in the can. With more than half the budget gone and no way to keep going, the film was called off.

I then started my honours year at Uni and began work on a another project but this was during a tumultuous personal time and I wasn’t able to crack the story. So i pulled A static Wind back out fo the drawer and got to work, cut it, tightened it and focussed it. The second shoot then was in November 2015 with a new crew, new cast and a uni deadline, we were able to get it done. It was then finished in February 2016.

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

Hello World

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

Weather was huge. The weather in Melbourne Australia is a fickle thing, one day it can be sunny and 35 degrees celsius and the next it can be 18, with black rain clouds. We had to gamble and go for it and fortunately it lucked out.

I would also say shooting in a pool, at night time, with daylight meant that we had around 2hrs with the youngest boys to shoot the pool and not much more with the others. It became a race to get it done and stay warm.

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

My initial reaction was ‘they get it’. I have always had mixed feeling about A Static Wind and its nice to see an audience responding so positively to it.

Although in saying that the one thing that wasn’t specifically mentioned in the script was that the other two children were foster children, which is why they are new every year. This rarely comes across, yet the tone and their effect on Silvy seems to conjure the intended response regardless. Which is nice.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea came through a series of lat night note writing in my phone while coming to terms with my inability to connect emotionally to people. Exploring these emotions and ideas and putting a character into that position where she is deflective of personal connection and its only through a turmoil that she can come out from behind her book, look out the window and appreciate both the people and the world around her.

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

Well i grew up in the country without television reception so during my formative years i would watch and a rewatched a series of pirated VHS tapes. And in this time i think the more i saw the most was Bowfinger with Eddie Murphy. Its a seriously underrated film and probably the best movie about making a movie ive seen.

However once deciding to become a film maker, the most influential and informative film I have seem would probably be Blue Valentine. Damn i love that movie. Hits me right the feels.

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

Film Freeway is the best out fo the numerous platforms. Its easy to use, easy to search and easy to submit.

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

I’ll list two

Eminem – Guilty Conscience when i wanted say ‘F&*k the world”

Billy Joel – You May Be right when i wanted to say ‘F&*k the world’ but quietly to myself in my room.

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

Im working on a new short at the moment, I will keep you posted how it goes.

However as a producer I have recently produced and stared in a Feature Documentary entitled FINKE:there and back about a motorcycle race in my home town of Alice Springs. It has recently had its world Premiere at the Sydney Film Festival and will be travelling through the Australian Festival circuit over the next 9 months or so before a cinema release likely early 2019 through Madman Entertainment. It was narrated by Eric Bana which was a huge boon and will hopefully allow it to open in the North American Market.

Further to this i also have a kids TV series in development which will hopefully move into pre-production early next year. This will be 15 x half hour episodes which will allow me to direct a number of episodes on a larger scale.

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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 Julian Friedrich (01)

01 was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2018 Animation FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Julian Friedrich: “01” is the first film out of the Shortfilm label “Second Truth” in which Artists, film makers, musicians and journalists from all over the world are grappling with the social and political issues of our time. The resulting music videos (Melts) do not include any words and are a mixture of music clips and short films.

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

Nearly 1,5 Years. When Katharina and I decided to make a film in 2015, the refugee crisis in Europe was at its peak. Katharina is an extraordinary illustrator. Her paintings are simple, have a child-like line. But each line is exactly where it should be. It was hard to find the technique to keep the elegiac, the calmness in them.

We spent half a year researching, interviewing and viewing material. The more we were immersed in the cosmos of refugees, we understood how naive and small we had initially thought. All our first ideas were far behind reality.

Stories I’ll never forget are f.e. about a woman who could no longer open doors because after relatives visit her the relatives were killed by a bomb in front of her house. After this incident she was afraid that if she closes a door, everything will be gone behind it. I will never forget the interview with an 18-year-old boy who was the only survivor of a refugee boat full of children of his age. He was with his brother. His voice was so fragile. People are shot dead by locals on a stage in the mountains. Just like that, someone next to you falls to the floor. Dead.

We wanted to show all of it with best intentions, but we understood if we really integrated everything, people would turn off. You can’ t stand it or even worse, think it is an exaggeration. That’s why we’ve focused on the emotional world. We, as audience, may not share the experiences, but we share their feelings. And we focused on them. With the music, with the fantastic pictures of Katharina.

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

very emotional

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

Our own point of view.

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

I bit my foot (not instantly). We were very touched by this. We are amazed and delighted that people on the other side of the globe are thinking about the same questions. We really are a global village and should work together as human beings.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

There are 68 million people on the run out there. Out of poverty or danger of death. We can’t build fences around everything, it’s physically impossible. If we send them away, we just move the problem to somewhere else. The causes do not disappear. Unless we, the Western world, its way of life and ignorance, which is the origin of this escape, do not change. We have either ignored these people or exploited them economically. Our standard of living is built on poverty. That’s how our world works. No one turns his back on his home country out of fun. We have to change, not them.

If a person cannot live a life worth living in the place, then it is his human right to seek an opportunity. We’ve been all refugees once and maybe we become again sooner than we think. Think about climate change.

68 Million! In 2018, more than 1000 people drowned in the Mediterranean. In view of these numbers, there is no point in continuing to rely on an inefficient, inhumane policy of isolation. Whether more wallets are stolen or not in Berlin, New York or Tokyo is irrelevant in comparison to accepting that people lose their lives. We need institutions that control these flight movements and give people chances. Everything else is political stupidity. If we do this wisely, we all benefit.

We still have too little understanding and empathy for these processes. Art must begin to address these problems.

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

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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

good.

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

Horses don’t puke. (John Saber)

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

“Second Truth” is currently producing “02” with a wonderful Painter Alex Divisenko about the War in Ukraine and it’s fruits in the social medias. We cooperate with the national Puppet theatre of Kiev for “03” about hate. We work with a Syrian dance company “Sham” for “04” a dance through Rom. We work with a talented film maker Peter Drenzin on a half documentary about a homeless person in “05”.

The people who publish Melts (second truth Shortfilm) under “Second Truth” want to expand our horizons – to offer us an alternative. A second truth. Keep in touch about the latest news and listen or download the songs http://www.second-truth.com or support us with your friendship https://www.facebook.com/secondtruthinitiative/ . Thank you!

01
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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 Filmmakers Laura Commisso & Sarah Campbell (COOL GIRLS Web Series)

COOL GIRLS was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2018 Web Series FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

You can watch the show on its website: http://www.coolgirlswebseries.com

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this web series?

Laura & Sarah: As emerging artists, we were eager to create our own characters and write about content that we thought was funny and relevant to us. We wanted to make something, but we didn’t want to wait around for permission to do it. In the end, we’re so happy we decided to go ahead and create Cool Girls. We’ve learned so much along the way, and its only inspired us to delve further into the world of film.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make your first season?

In the span of a year and a half, we managed to write and produce two seasons of our show. Season one was four episodes, and season two was seven episodes. We spent about three days filming each, and a couple months in post production.

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

In the words of one of the FEEDBACK audience members “painfully real.”

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing the first season?

I think one of the biggest challenges as independent creators is getting people to see your content. Without a seasoned producer or network platform, it can be easy for your work to get lost in the algorithms of social media. Sometimes it can be discouraging when you put so much effort into creating something, only for a couple hundred people to see it. That said, this obstacle has definitely made us better producers. Because of it, we’re constantly approaching our work with a business perspective, focussing on our brand, and asking ourselves, “How can we stand out?”, or “What can we do better next time?”.

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

It’s always great to get feedback from someone who isn’t your aunt. It also felt good to know that our show resonated with people from all different generations. When we made Cool Girls, we wanted it to be for everyone, so it was reassuring to hear positive remarks from so many non-millennial audience members. And of course, we were so happy to know that our show made people laugh!! After all- that is the point!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

For us, the characters actually came first! Amber and Terri were originally created in a parody beauty vlog that we made a few years ago. We decided it would be fun to make light of the YouTube vloggers that were taking over our feeds, so we set up a camera and improvised the entire thing. From there, Amber and Terri were born, and the series came naturally afterwards.

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

Laura- Home Alone

Sarah- The Sound of Music

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

So far we’ve really enjoyed using FilmFreeway! We’ve found it’s given us a good insight into the nature of the festival circuit, and allowed us to get our content onto new platforms and in front of fresh eyes! As new filmmakers, the platform is extremely user friendly, and allows you to easily find festivals that may cater to the genre and style of your work.

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

This is a hard one.

Laura- Here Comes the Sun

Sarah- Anything Elton John

10. What is next for you? More episodes? Another series?

Over the past two seasons, we’ve only seen Amber and Terri’s characters grow. We are constantly laughing out loud while thinking up ridiculous scenarios that Amber and Terri can fall into. I think it’s safe to say we will continue creating Cool Girls. We just have so much fun doing it. As for our next steps, up until now, we’ve made our show with virtually zero budget and a team of three people. After wearing all the possible hats, our next goal would be to partner with a producer and start to really build up our team. We’ve recently worked with some other artists in Toronto and have another one-off episode of Cool Girls coming out this summer! Stay tuned.. We’re just getting started.

cool_girls
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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 Gabriel Galand (ABOVE THE MIST)

ABOVE THE MIST played to rave reviews at the June 2018 HORROR/THRILLER FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Gabriel Galand: After having lived in Korea for a year, the societal issue of suicide became evident and I felt the need to make a film about it. My wife, Laura Katz, and I thought of a way to tackle the issue in a genre film since I am more keen on Thriller/Horror than drama.

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

The film was shot in two days. We wrote after we found the location and it took six months to make it from scratch to finish, with a budget of $1000 USD, and with only five crew members. The reasons it was such a small crew were firstly that I wanted to make sure I could compensate each member for their time and also because my previous film Horla had a crew of 35 and I wanted to test my ability to make a bare-bone film. So we all shared responsibilities, I was the director, cinematographer and editor, my wife the producer, production designer and sound designer and finally our friend as assistant director and translator.

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

Dignified death?

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

The sound of the film was entirely made in post-production. You can imagine the challenge of doing ADR and using only pre-recorded and copyright free sound to make the mix but it came out beautifully!

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

I’m always worried that people will be offended since such a serious issue is tackled in a thriller/horror but every time I get the chance to see audience interacting about my film, they usually center the discussion about suicide and euthanasia which is all I’m hoping for.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

We were walking one day in Seoul, crossing a bridge on the Han River and we saw all these posts to “prevent” suicide. And it just made us realize how much suicide was anchored in the modern culture of Korea – perhaps like gun violence in the USA – with society accepting it as a fact.

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

One of my favorite films is Barry Lyndon by Kubrick. I love period movies and I think it’s one of the best ones out there!

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

It’s my favorite platform – I even wrote an article about all the existing platforms, having used a bunch of them in the past.

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

I love listening to Devendra Banhart – in particular to his song “Brindo”.

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

I’ve recently moved to Vancouver, BC and about to start graduate studies at UBC in film production. I’ve been working on a few commercials and looking forward to directing another short film around the end of the year and perhaps a few music videos.

above_the_mist.jpg

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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 Marc Adamson (AFTER WE HAVE LEFT OUR HOMES)

AFTER WE HAVE LEFT OUR HOMES was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the May 2018 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Marc Adamson: I’ve been compelled to tell stories through a visual medium for as long as I can remember. The idea for this film had been knocking around in my head for a little while, I had been dabbling with live action film making after working in animation for a number of years & this idea seemed almost like a cross over between animation and live action with most of the backgrounds created in post production, it was something I felt confident in making at the time with my limited experience and not knowing many people within the world of live action film making, as well as very limited funds.

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

I think it took almost three years. The VFX work was time consuming- I did Much of it after hours on top of my VFX job at the time. In addition, it took me a while to find the right composer, and we went through many iteration which added time after the visuals were finished.

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

Biggest obstacle was keeping motivation levels up when faced with an insurmountable amount of VFX work to complete.

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

I found the Audience reactions touching and humorous. I’ve had lots of fantastic (and at times critical) feedback on the film up until now, but it’s not every day that you get such completely honest & thoughtful verbal feedback, or even written feedback for that matter, from a passionate audience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

I can’t remember exactly the moment I decided on the idea of a totalitarian dictatorship that has banned music, but I’ve certainly been influenced by the current situation in North Korea, classic literature such as 1984 & Fahrenheit 451 as well as the writings of Austrian economist Fredrich Hayek, specifically ‘The Road to Serfdom’. Listening to and playing music has always been a significant part of my life so the idea of it being banned was quite evocative.

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

Back to the Future!

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

I really like Filmfreeway. The interface is really well designed and intuitive, the ability to view feedback on festivals and leave comments is really important & it’s got more festivals on there than any other platforms. It’s my favorite festival platform & I only use other platforms if submission via Filmfreeway is not an option.

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

That’s hard to say.. Maybe something by Pat Metheny, or the Beach Boys..

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

I’m currently working an other short film & also a feature screenplay. The feature is within the realm of Sci Fi but the short is a bit of a departure. It has no VFX at all & lots of dialogue, kind of an antithesis to After We Have Left Our Homes.

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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 Sertac Bozkurt (WINE & EGGS)

WINE & EGGS played to rave reviews at the April 2018 Under 5 Minute Film Festival in Toronto.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

– It’s a filmmaking and directing workshop project at Istanbul Film Academy.

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

– 5 months.

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

– Wine and Eggs : )

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

– The rain effect : )

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

– I was with my friend when I got the feedback video. I was very happy and shared with my friend.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Videos of the Short Film:

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

– The idea belongs to my brother’s wife. I told her I needed a script to make a short film. A few days later she called me and told me the story. I was very impressed at the first time I listened. Then we worked on the script together.

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

– It may not be the film I seen the most but my favorite and touching film is Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s “Cloud of May”.

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

– Filmfreeway is my favorite festival platform. I submitted to many festivals through this platform. Making it much easier for filmmakers.

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

– Pink Floyd’s “High Hopes” is my favorite song and video clip.

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

– It’s been 2 years since my film. I really want to make a new film. I’m working on a superhero film that’s in the idea stage.

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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 Kristin Gorell (THE FLOWER GATE)

THE FLOWER GATE played to rave reviews at the May 2018 Sci-Fi/Fantasy FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kristin Gorell: I set out originally to make a puppet play to participate in a local theater program for fun- but as I started the script, it turned into a short film rather quickly and I decided to just go ahead and make it instead. I also saw the making of this film as an opportunity for healing in action for several of the people involved in different ways. I actually didn’t think much about showing this film until I started editing and found I was making something I truly liked. It was a lovely surprise to make something for different reasons than creating a product and then to love the finished piece as if it had been approached in a more precious fashion. I wrote/shot with very personal, immediate, and intuitive goals and it turned into something that felt like a piece of living poetry to me. I am so delighted to be able to share it now.

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

It was shot in about a week on a trip to Israel, with one scene being directed over skype for an extra shooting when I started going through the previous footage. I started writing in February and finished the film entirely by the end of September that same year. It took me some time to find the right editor- a couple of months in the middle were mostly lost to that- but once I found Antonio, everything clicked.

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

inside outside

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

Living in a different country than my location and having no real budget, working with limited borrowed equipment on a tight time frame, all of this was challenging. Additionally, shooting a film about the realities of a failing relationship with your recent ex has its own challenges.

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

It was overwhelming in the best of ways to feel the moderator’s genuine affection for the film as well as the audience member who bravely spoke so eloquently as well. I felt a real mix of astonishment and contentment to reach the audience in a way they could personally relate with while also engendering a layered process of intellectual engagement.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

The idea for this story came while I was reading the original tale by Hans Christian Andersen. I stopped midway and started wondering what it might be like if told today from the eyes of a similarly isolated female character. By the time I finished reading the original, images from scenes and and dialogue were starting to arise. I began rough work on the script that night.

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

I haven’t counted but it would be between these perhaps… Groundhog Day, Ran, Rear Window. I also love films from the early days of cinema.

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

It’s easy to use and overall a good experience working with that platform. There could be some improvements made on the information available to film makers about the different festivals and better ways to search festivals that might be a good fit for your work.

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

Really hard to say… probably something that tracks back to my childhood like – Here Comes The Sun (Beatles). I’ve loved that song since I was a wee lass.

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

Definitely more films. I’m also working on drawings/paintings, a stage play, and a novel.

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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.