Interview with Filmmaker Davide Carlini (TRATAK 1 – ANTARS)

TRATAK 1 – ANTARS played to rave reviews at the October 2019 TV Web Series festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Davide Carlini: During the course of directing at a private school in my splendid Marche region, the Officine Mattolì Association in Tolentino, was proposed to us and offered as part of the course to make one of our short films.

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

I started to define a subject in October 2015 and then developed in the following months.

Instead, the production was only 4-5 intense days (stolen between weekends and bridges of the Easter holidays9 of April 2016.

Post-production is instead a labor that has not yet been completed. It began in June 2016 and partially ended in October 2016 with a privately projected version for the course of the school. After October 2016 I decided to take it further and divide the project into a mini series divided into 3 episodes, or rather call it phases of change of state of consciousness. So in May 2018 I completed Antars Tratak 1 and in September 2018 Reveil Tratak 2. Currently the last Tratak3 episode is still in post-production stage and I hope to be able to propose it from 2020.

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

Solicitation of doubts and questions about ourselves and others (which we are always ourselves, even if we do not recognize it in this time-space that is granted to us.)

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

The production time is limited to 4/5 days as there was no budget and the possibility of having the complete availability of help crews and cast of actors who were also trainees of the Officine Mattoli school.

The time available to prepare the actors’ parts was also very limited as they were also engaged in other work and commitments at the same time.
Then from the beginning of post-production I became aware of a real general ostracism of the Italian and regional cinema system that does not allow effective collaboration if there is not behind an economic and above all political support and the use of this media for the narration of the single dominant thought.

Unfortunately, this is one of the reasons why even Italian cinema has been practically embalmed and moldy since the 1970s. Power logic and control of cultural narration that do not favor any real and effective independence of the authors, actors and artists who as they go they become instruments of mass manipulation.

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

I was very pleased to see him and listen to the criticisms and the questions and doubts raised and the considerations of all the public that I appreciated for the qualification and the real sincerity.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

At that time I was in a phase of experience in yoga practices, including the intense practice of Tratak (fixing a candle without closing my eyes, and accompanying this with particular breathing sequences) and studies of philosophies in different Western traditions and Eastern .
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I was also fascinated and increasingly intrigued by esotericism and by Western mysticism that apparently seems less rich than the oriental one but in reality if you start looking for it you will find universes that you don’t even imagine. Unfortunately in the European Enlightenment period and first the witch hunt and the Catholic repressions against heretics (which today we would call conspiracy theorists, no?..) Gnostics and other researchers not aligned with the Zeitgeist have veiled and muddied millennia of history of the western world.

The idea of ​​this series of short films was born to unconventionally tell all this. The title can be misleading because it is not a tutorial or guide to esoteric practices, but instead it was within a set of practices, the activation focus of a whole personal experience of self-awareness and a general change of perspectives and world view, and with the related traumas and cognitive dissonances in realizing the previous state of dogmatic certainty and running programs that are behind the reality that manifests itself.

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

Like everyone here of the middle-bourgeoisie flattened under the oligarchic neoliberalism of this era, I am a child of television culture and the beginning of the multimedia era. I met the cinema with the comedies of the late 70s and early 80s, today it would be called the “trash” genre, yet it should not be so derided .. I was then fascinated by American productions of films like Blues Brothers of Landis, the insane comedies of Mel Brooks ..

In the 90s I followed a local cinema club in my city (which has not existed for 20 years now) and projected a film selected from those released during the year 1 day a week. The true love of cinema gave me Scorsese’s Raging Bull, it was love at first sight and you rekindled it for weeks and even now I see it again and again and find it always new and full of suggestions.

Surely among the films seen several times there is Doctor Strangelove by Kubrick, and Matrix saga by Wachowski (s) ..

Then the first films of Tarantino, Pulp Fiction and Jackie Brown. David Lynch also with Dune, Eraserhead and Blue Velvet.

I have a love for two films by French director Coline Serreau, the Crisis! and La Belle Verte, and always on this mood I find many affinities with the Italian cinema of the 60s / 70s when it was still much more genuine and bold even in narrating different critical visions, for example films like “Io, io, io. and the others “by Alessandro Blasetti, or “L’ingorgo” by Luigi Comencini, or almost all films by the fantastic Luciano Salce (director of Fantozzi, Il Federale, Coup d’état, and others ..).

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

There are many possibilities and a good selection of both festivals and works. I find it a great channel to help new filmmakers and emerging authors.

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

Goodbye Porkpie Hat by Charles Mingus

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

I’m busy solving various personal and professional issues and the time to write or edit my stuff and define new and old projects is very little. There are in some ideas on a series of short documentaries between philosophy and metapolitics and social psychology, then I am always working at the conclusion of the Tratak project the third episode of this filmic experiment. Thank you for your interest, and I always wish you good doubts! Thanks

Interview with Filmmaker Colin Gerrard (ELI)

ELI was the winner of BEST FILM at the June LA Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Colin Gerrard: I believe it has a timeless appeal coming from the moment we all make a decision regarding our own motives, without thinking of the consequences for others.

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

10 months

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

Survival & Equality

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

Having the right cast.

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

Wonderful. Feedback from people who have just seen your work, whether it be constructive or critical, is always helpful in my eyes. Especially when its immediately after they have just viewed the film…then its real and from the heart.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

A friend of mine brought up the original story to my attention. After getting the rights to film it, we went about updating the story to a point we felt that it was more in keeping with current attitudes in society today…although in retrospect, not much ever changes as human beings have the worst track record when it comes to learning from history.

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

Cinema Paradiso

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

Great. They have streamlined the process to a point that its just the click of a button, after the initial setup of your film on their site.

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

10cc’s ‘I’m Not In Love’

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

I have 2 new shorts in the works as well as working on a new script for a series.

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Interview with Filmmaker Gabriel Galand (HORLA)

HORLA played to rave reviews at the October 2018 HORROR Feedback Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Gabriel Galand: “Horla” was my thesis project for my Bachelor of Fine Arts and I wanted to make a film which had room for cinematography and production design. I remembered liking the eponym short story by Maupassant and after looking it up, I found that it was in the public domain and that I would be able to adapt me so it rejoiced me!

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

The film took about a year, 3-4 months for the writing process, from the adaptation to the shooting script. We shot in summer and post-production took 6 months as I decided to start editing from scratch after graduation to release a better version.

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

Romantic Horror

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

The post-production was tough. Flaws in the script were enhanced in the editing so I had to take creative steps to find a solution. It involved reframing, using pre-lap sounds and voiceover and FX.

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

I was happy to see that the audience had remembered the character’s names and were able to distinguish plot elements only from the sound design. I also enjoyed listening how people would compare the story and its characters to real life issues.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

See the answer from question 1: I remembered liking the eponym short story by Maupassant and after looking it up, I found that it was in the public domain and that I would be able to adapt me so it rejoiced me!

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

I have watched the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter series a lot!

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

I like the filmfreeway platform. It’s easy to use, has a great catalogue and is cheaper than the competition. I actually wrote an article about it a few years back: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/filmmakers-guide-online-film-submission-platforms-gabriel-galand/

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

There are too many to pick just one!

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

I have just directed a new film in America, untitled in true Canadian fashion “I’m Sorry”. It’s about a guilt-ridden mother who makes a grisly confession following the unexpected return of her missing son: here is the trailer. I am also writing two feature screenplays. Happy Niko is an English/Korean drama about depression and assisted suicide, and Entropy is a post-apocalyptic sci-fi which deals with consciousness and human instincts.

Interview with Filmmaker Danja Politis (ANIMUS PER MACHINA)

ANIMUS PER MACHINA played to rave reviews at the January 2019 Female FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Danja Politis: I always wanted to make an animation that was longer than three minutes on my own. At the time I was still at school and was given completely freedom to work on a project.

Before the first sketch of the animation I made a short loop of rotating gears in a monochrome colour scheme and that was a starting point for the factory in the short.

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

From idea till an early version of my animation it took me two months, including the rendering time but I was still unsure about the editing and order of some scenes that let me put it to the side.

It took nearly a year to pick it back up. At the time I was working on background animations for a band, that was kind of an incentive to finally make it public and send it to festivals but before that I made the final edit.

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

Monochromatic selection

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

The way of telling the story. It should be abstract with no narration but not too confusing or unclear for the audience to lose interest. The part in the story where the balls are getting split through the roundabout and where they travel through different paths was quite head wrecking. It should seem that everything is happening at the same time.

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

I really enjoyed listening to the audience and their thoughts about my short.

I liked that the audience empathized with the balls and their different fates. I gave the balls two white circles that represents eyes, to make them more relatable in comparison to if they were only plain.

I was waiting on the question: Why are some balls picked and some are not? Which I deliberately wanted to evoke with my story. We have an urge to know why something happens, we try to always find a reason to justify or explain certain events. In this short I consciously don’t give one.

One other thing I noticed that my choice of making the animation in black & white stood out. It was a conscious decision to enhance the cold atmosphere and the audience seemed to think so too.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The underlying idea was a metaphor of the process of ideas in our mind. Most of the time we have so many ideas but often only one idea is coming to fruition but how does this selection look like?

So, I started to make a visual representation in form of sketches. One important aspect was that, the selection process has to seam random and arbitrary, that’s why every ball is visually the same.

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

I think that must be the second movie of ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers’. I am a real fantasy fan. One of my highlights in the movie is the battle of Helms deep, which I always anticipate when watching the movie. The next movie I have seen nearly as often is ‘A Bug’s Life’ by Pixar. I always had a fascination of 3D animation that led me to make my own.

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

It’s a really great platform to find easily and fast various film festivals and makes it easy to send the same film to festivals from one platform.

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

I cannot say for sure because through the radio I must have heard some songs a lot without me knowing. Anyhow, one song I have listened consciously on my devices the most is ‘The Nobodies’ from Marilyn Manson. Which when I am thinking about it, actually influenced me making the short. Often one specific detail or object I have seen somewhere ends up in my own work, which most of the time I notice later when I reflect on it. For example, one of my first assets I made for the animation was a conveyor belt. One can be seen in a specific clip of the music video of ‘The Nobodies’.

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

I started my own studio ‘Umbra Studio’ but I am still figuring out my business plan and working on some projects, on which I cannot share too much information yet.

What I can say for sure that I want to make another 3D animation soon. I cannot say what it will be about, how it looks like and when it will be finished but when I do, I will probably submit it to the FEEDBACK FEMALE FILM FESTIVAL, but time will tell how long it takes.

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Interview with Filmmaker Andy Brewster (A PIACERE)

A PIACERE played to rave reviews at the December 2018 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andy Brewster: I believe some of our best work as storytellers comes out of processing our own individual experiences. And, for me as music student at college (in addition to being a film major), I wanted to tell a story about the struggles we musicians regularly face at the conservatory level. Anyone who studies music at this caliber is already incredibly self-driven, but when you’re near others also pursuing the very same subject, it is far too easy to become competitive. We start constantly comparing ourselves to each other versus working on improving ourselves and our playing. But, really, this prideful competition and envy is a terribly relatable human emotion and I wanted to say something to the motivations that should be fueling our passion for whatever subject we’re called to.

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

From writing to the end of post-production it took about 8 weeks. Things really moved fast to be able to fit everyone’s schedules.

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

Living freely.

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

Schedules were honestly the hardest part of the project. It was a small crew, but coordinating busy music students, locations, and crew schedules in the midst of a hectic semester is always challenging, especially when everyone is generous enough to donate their time and energy for free.

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

To be honest, I was terrified to open it at first… sharing your work is the hardest and most exciting thing about being a filmmaker. But, it was so fascinating to hear how others really picked up on the film’s integral themes and key moments (like the breaking of the violin). I love this format for a festival as we indie filmmakers rarely get such vocal feedback from public audiences who have no personal connection to the people behind the lens.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The ideas and situations really stemmed from my own personal struggles, thoughts, and doubts as a musician. In high-school especially I went to a really unhealthy place where all my decisions, repertoire choices, performance choices, etc. were all clouded by a craving to be better, noticed, or get that higher chair in orchestra. Instead, I probably would have become a better musician over that time if I had been forced to wrestle with the questions I ask in this film.

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

Probably all three of The Lord of the Rings films. Those were the ones that really inspired me to pursue filmmaking.

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

I love how intuitive FilmFreeway is compared to other submission sites. From setting up your project to filtering out and searching festivals, it really streamlines and simplifies the process.

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

Oh, that’s tough. Probably some solo piece I’ve worked on for a long time. Perhaps the first two movements of Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto. Those are some of the most gorgeous works ever written for solo violin.

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

I’m currently finishing producing the feature film Rubaru by Marco Zambrana. (rubaruthemovie.com) Post-production for that should be wrapping up in May. In the meantime, I’m looking to produce or direct another short or two while continuing my film and music studies at Biola University.

Interview with Filmmaker Kayden Phoenix (PENANCE)

PENANCE played to rave reviews at the January 2019 LGBT Feedback Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kayden Phoenix: I grew up in a Catholic church, my mom even sang choir. I’m not religious but the church has always been a powerful influence People turn away from their relatives (even their kin sometimes) and friends because of sexual preference and they use the Bible as their reason. Religion has a huge hand in conversion therapy. I’m a believer in freedom of choice- so to see others being persecuted for being themselves is unconstitutional. I made Penance to turn the tables around on the persecutors and to bring awareness about the horrors of conversion therapy. It’s sadly and oddly still allowed in 35 states. You can legally physically and emotionally hurt another to “cure” them from your rigidity.

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

30 mins to write. 2 weeks prep. 1 day shoot.

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

Dark. Twisted.

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

Not letting the church I shot in know the storyline.

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

I was so happy. I listened to the audience during the film- the gasps and shrills were the best- it means they felt it. I loved the feedback- there was a great range of confused, loved, self-interpretation as to their experience with the church, etc.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Conversion therapy has always gotten me mad, so it wasn’t hard to write the ironic justice side of it.

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

The Lion King

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

I love it. Simple and accessible.

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

Phantom of the Opera “Music of the Night”

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

I’m making a graphic novel, Jalisco, and writing a horror feature.

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Interview with Filmmaker Raghuvir Joshi (YAMAN)

YAMAN was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the Janaury 2019 LGBT Feedback Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Raghuvir Joshi: Yaman was a personal story to begin with. The struggle to separate from my soulmate after having discovered my sexuality was the most excruciating yet rewarding experience of my life . I wrote the film during this time – It was cathartic.

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

It took me about a month and a half to write it. After which I sent it to my producer, Tayyab Madni of Picture Works Australia, who came on board to produce the short. It took roughly 6 months to complete the film once the script was done.

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

Simple but complex.

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

The struggle to be objective to the script as it was immensely personal.

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

Nothing short of overwhelming! When I saw the audience echo and reiterate everything I envisioned and wanted to say through the film, It was the biggest reward 🙂

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It was my personal journey that inspired the idea for this film.

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

Recently , I have seen ROMA – by Alfonso Cuaron a lot of times. Every frame is a story!

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

FilmFestival is a great platform for filmmakers. Easy to use and offers submissions to a large variety of International Film Festivals, which gave us the freedom to select the Festivals that suited our films theme.

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

I have listened to the Indian classical Raga – Yaman the most times in my life – the emotion that Raga generates is the emotional DNA of my short film.

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

I am in the process of writing the feature script based on my short film, Yaman .

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