Interview with Director Liv Mari Ulla Mortensen (65.5)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Liv Mari Ulla Mortensen: Women in sexual situations are often objectified in film, and therefore I was fascinated by statistics. Like in the film, I could easily have been reduced into only being «the girl with the father who loved Bob Dylan», like I and my friends also have reduced guys into different nicknames and characteristics. I wanted the girls to take ownership of their statistics and challenge the guy who wrote it. They didn´t want to be remembered as mere statistics.

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

About 2 years. It was written over a couple of months, then it sat for a while before we shot it in two days, with over 30 girls in one small room. The editing process was quite long and challenging.

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

Confronting and calculated

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

I decided to make the film without a score, only depending on the ambience. With many different short clips jumping in time it turned out to be quite challenging to make dynamic ambience that «sows» the film together.

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

It is amazing to be invited into the room of the viewers even though I am in Norway on the other side of the world. A lot of the comments were quite close to my intentions for the film, so seeing the video was both interesting and very motivational.

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

«65,5 women» is based on a poem by Alexander Fallo. When I heard him reading at an event I immediately though «this is a short film!». We have written the script in collaboration, and the film is my free interpretation of his text.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably «The Never-ending Story»!

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

A simple and informative way of navigating through the jungle of film festivals.

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

“Tears in heaven». Broke my heart when I was 6!

What is next for you? A new film?

I am looking forward to premiering my new short film «Flightmode” in festivals this fall, and I am also writing a new short and a feature film.
 

65.5 WOMEN, 6min, Norway, Experimental
Directed by Liv Mari Mortensen

To understand a recent failure, a young man writes a statistic of all the women he ever slept with. As he tries to simplify all of his affairs into simple characteristics the memories start to take over, leaving him to face the only one he truly wanted.

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

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Interview with Director Magali Barbe (Award Winning Film STRANGE BEASTS)

Short Film played at the first ever EXPERIMENTAL/MUSIC VIDEO FEEDBACK Film Festival in July 2017.

STRANGE BEASTS was awarded “Best Film” at the Festival. 

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Magali Barbe: I’m a visual artist in a first place but what I really want is to tell stories. I was in a place where I was probably creatively frustrated, and I felt it was about time I’d write my own project. When I got this idea, I knew I’d need a bit of help, so I presented it to a few friends, then friends of friends, etc… I started to gather a crew. The fact people were getting involved, knowing there was no pay (it’s a self funded project), it meant a lot to me. I was feeling responsible to really make it happen, and to make the best short film I could.

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

One year. But I was working full time, as a VFX animator, at the same time as working on my short. So I was limited to evenings and week-ends. At some point, as I couldnt handle everything, I’ve quit my job and spent about 2 months full time on it.

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

It has to be three! Because it’s three acts/emotions: Excitement. Doubt. Melancholia.

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

As it was a self-funded project, it was really hard to be demanding when you know you can’t afford to pay people. The shoot was only a day and a half, but the post-production was a long run. And people have a life, and a job… I was feeling guilty, but I still had to chase people and keep the project going. Anyway, it all ended well, but I really hope I don’t have to experience this again!

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

I thought: There’s people talking about my short film, in a cinema room, so far away from here (I live in London) but it felt they’re really close. It was great.

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

Technologies is one of those things I like to read about, think about, talk about… There’s a mix of fear and fascination for it… That’s what I’ve tried to express in my short.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

I usually don’t watch a movie twice, but I’ve probably watched Porco Rosso (Miyazaki) three or four times. I just love it. It’s funny, and poetic, and melancholic… And pretty unique I think.

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

I’m not sure, it’s the first time I use it. I find it pretty handy, overal.

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

‘Cries and whispers’, Li Jee Soo, from the Old Boy soundtrack.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes. I am currently developping another short, with a production company/studio called QUAD. I am also writing a feature out of ‘Srange Beasts’. The short film has been seen by the right people, and I now have representation (UTA), who got me to meet with lots of producers and studios (Hollywood and London). And those people are waiting for a good script, so… let’s write something good! 😉

 

STRANGE BEASTS, 5min, UK, Experimental
Directed by Magali Barbe‘Strange Beasts’ is an augmented reality game. It allows you to create and grow your own ‘pet’. How far can it go?

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

Interview with director Zsolti Szabo (SHAPING SCARS)

Short Film “SHAPING SCARS” played to rave reviews at the June 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Short Film Festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Zsolti Szabo: ‘Shaping Scars’ was inspired by a personal relationship I had in the past, as well as by the experiences of the Poet Fern Angel Beattie and Composer Christopher J. Ward, their past relationships equally influenced the spoken word and music they created for this film.

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

I first discussed the concept with the Poet Fern in Spring 2015 and the film premiered in an intimate setting of my 30th birthday party on 5th December 2016.

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

Dancing Pain

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

This film was my debut as a Director and Producer on a larger scale. I knew I had the organisational skills to see through the process but because I didn’t go the film school and didn’t have years of experience I had to fight a lot of self-doubt. I wanted to show my creative side, be a good Director, create something that moves people at the core and leaves them in tears. It was somewhat frightening experience because this film was my way to process a painful separation, and I thought whatever feedback it will get that’s also a judgement on my personal feelings. Fortunately over time the project became less about who I was in my past relationship but more about who I have become as a Filmmaker.

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

I was in tears. This was our worldwide premiere on big screen and the first time to hear feedback directly from the audience. The comments were deeply moving and validating.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was going through a break-up in 2012 and in the aftermath I started to see images rolling in front of my eyes but not really knowing what to do with them. Later on this happened a few more times and I came to the conclusion that I have to extract these images from my head, to let them come to life. It was the first time I started to look at filmmaking as a new career path.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Constantine with Keanu Reeves – love the mystical concept how good and evil has to battle it out for every soul.

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

Bliss – Breath (from a Cafe Del Mar album) – it’s on loop when I mediate.

What is next for you? A new film?

I’ve just started my own film production business Pulie Productions to operate between London and Hungary (where I’m originally from). I’ve been working in offices far too long, now I want to travel, meet with new creative people and have more freedom. I might have 2 more dance films in the pipeline too…

 

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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 twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director Erez Eisenstein (HOW TO BE ALONE)

Short Film “HOW TO BE ALONE” played to rave reviews at the June 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erez Eisenstein: “How to be Alone” was my final project as a film student in Tel Aviv University. When the time came for me to start working on my final project I decided that my script will be an adaptaion of a shorty story. The main reason I made this decision was a previous project of mine that I was very pleased with – a modern adaptaion of “Romeo and Juliet”, which acctualy was the project that got me in the film production program in the first place. And as it turned out, the actress I casted to play Juliet was also the lead in “How to be Alone”…

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

So long… The earliest draft I could find is dated April 29th 2010. February 27th 2012 was the very first day of shooting. The official completion date of the film is November 26th 2015, and the official release date is April 16th 2016.

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

I wouldn’t… Sorry, I Just can’t do it… However, previous film festivals I’ve sent my film to have described it as “wonderful and intellectual” and “thought-provoking”, so I will leave it to you to decide which description is better.

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

Oh, there were so many… I’m so glad that part is over and done with, and now it’s time to just sit back and enjoy the finished product.

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

I was smiling the whole time.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Back to the Future.

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

I have absulotly no idea… An israli artist, most likely.

What is next for you? A new film?

I sure hope so.

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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 twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director David Holechek (CRADLE)

Short Film played at the June 2017 Sci-Fi FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

WINNER of BEST FILM at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

David Holechek: Short films are an amazing way to push yourself creatively and to venture into new territory as a filmmaker and ‘Cradle’ provided a great opportunity to try something truly different. Jake Hart wrote the script and had been living with this concept for years and the complexity and nuance of the story was something that excited me and made me want to pursue the project. It’s rare to work on a film where so much of the action and complex plot happen off screen or are presented to the audience but not fully explained. The world and rules in Jake’s script were so detailed and the challenge for us was to present all of these big ideas in a visually comprehensible way. We wanted to withhold information and keep people guessing but also wanted to give them enough to stick with us until the end. In short, it presented a creative challenge that was a bit new for me so I wanted to take it on and bring this fun, complex, weird sci fi tale to life.

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

Well, the idea had been with Jake for a long time but I was pitched the project just a couple weeks from when we started production. For me, from the first time I heard the idea to the completion of the film was about 4 months of sporadic work.

How would you describe your short film in two words!

Mind games.

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

We had completely wrecked a good friend’s converted attic space to use as the location for the film. After two long, hard days of filming we had to pick up our mess…that was not fun.

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

5. I’m always interested to hear if an audience generally “gets” what the film is trying to do and am relieved when the connection is made. Was really nice of the festival to provide the opportunity to hear what people took from it.

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the short film:

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

Jake Hart, the writer, has had the basic idea for a long time, since childhood I believe. He was challenged by the filmmaking group Dare:LA to write a film that featured many moments but in one location and that inspired him to craft his time-jumping idea into ‘Cradle’.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Probably either The Two Towers, the 1989 Batman or Return of the Jedi.

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

That’s a tough one. Either an R&B track from the early 90’s or an emo song from the mid-00’s. Not sure I’d admit to any one particular song though 🙂

What is next for you? A new film?

I run a production company called Duality Filmworks with my twin brother Daniel Holechek so we’re always pretty busy with television and film projects. Currently developing a biopic feature film and am waiting for Jake to finish the feature version of ‘Cradle’!

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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 twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director Eugenio Villani (OTHERS LIKE YOU)

Eugenio’s short film “OTHERS LIKE YOU” was awarded “Best Cinematography” at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Eugenio Villani: After our first short film “Haselwurm” we took a break because of several businnes issues. Then we felt the urge to write a new story. We love horror movies and every kind of queer and odd story.

Through this years we saw a lot of films expecially from Europe. We wrote a screenplay wich is not fully into the horror genre but is more in tune with an European concept of film ( Fabrice Du weltz and Ben Wheatley jus to to name a couple of example)

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

We worked very hard on the screenplay.It took us six months for the script and about three months for the pre production.

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

A weird shriek.

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

The biggest issue was to find the actress who fit the role of the evil doctor. The location also was a big deal because we needed a very special place to set the women in the cabe scene.

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

We really love when the audience comes up with a lot of questions because we think that movies are built for that. We would have liked to be there to answer all the questions: especially the cat one.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO from the April 2017 Film Festival:

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

We started from an imagine I had in my mind. A woman who finds an umbilical cord. Everything started from that.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

My favourite is The Locatarie by Roman Polanski

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

Bohemian Rapsody (Eugenio)
Dammi una lametta (Raffaele)

What is next for you? A new film?

We are working on a script inspired by The white People, a novel by Arthur Machen.

others_like_you.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 month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director Sofia Vyshnevetska (CONFESSION)

Sofia Vyshnevetska’s short film CONFESSION was the winner of “Best Cinematography” at the Los Angeles April 2017 Female Film Festival. It was an honor chatting with the talented director who is on the rise.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sofia Vyshnevetska: Throughout the world more than 2,000 children are reported missing each day. Unfortunately, one of the reasons why it happens is because there is a lack of vigilance. This can cost parents the life of their child. Promoting this topic through media will help to reduce the quantity of missing children as a reminder to be aware of their child’s surroundings. This is what has motivated me to make this film, to promote awareness.

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

This film was a class project and it took one month from writing a story to locking it onto a screen in post production.

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

Everything pays-off.

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

The lead prop in the film was the biggest obstacle. The doll was supposed to be created by an artist from Chicago, but two weeks before our shoot, the artist got injured so I had to order a new doll with a Ukrainian artist. It was a risk that the prop might not be done on time, or would arrive on time, since it was being shipped internationally. Any delay with flight delivery would have definitely affected this film. Since it was a school project we weren’t allowed to move our shooting days. The doll arrived one and a half days before the day of shooting its scenes.

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

Similarly in film school, I accept constructive criticism or feedback. However, the difference is that at the film festival the film is already completed and you can’t change anything to improve story using the helpful information from what audience says. But I listened to the feedback at the festival and took it in as a lesson for my future projects. I was very excited to hear all thoughts from people at the festival!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

My personal connection to the topic inspired me to write this story.

In my native country, Ukraine, during the 1990’s, many children were kidnapped and their organs were sold.

When I was 7 years old I was sitting at my ballet school after my class was done and was waiting for my mother to take me home. My teacher didn’t want to wait much longer, and since I remembered how to get home, she sent me on my way.

I felt so much pride and independence walking home by myself. I chose a short solitary way. The path was laid through bushes and abandoned buildings.

In one moment from behind I heard a car engine sound, that was following me as I was walking. I heard it stop and a woman talked to me. She came out from the car and suggested to look at the doll that was inside. Her driver was watching through the window with readiness to drive in any moment. I kept walking, as my mother always was strict about talking with strangers. When her walk became much faster than mine, I started to run. She screamed something on Gipsy to the driver and ran after me. I don’t remember what I was feeling in that short moment, but clearly my thoughts were about the possibility of never seeing my mother again.

Two women from afar rescued me when they saw what was happening. They ran towards me. Their loud scream stopped the Gipsy woman and she rushed back to the car.

My life-savers called the police and by our descriptions that couple was under the criminal investigation department from another part of Ukraine for kidnapping children and selling their organs.

The reason why my mother did not come for me was because she was hospitalized that day. And that day is still the worst day for her as she could have lost her daughter.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a hard question to answer. I really love and have re-watched Martin Scorsese’s films many times. However, one film that has really affected me was the recent science fiction film “I am Legend.” Although it’s a lot different from the Scorsese films, I loved the script as well as the technical parts of the film. Every time I watch it, I discover new things and always enjoy it.

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

About three years ago I was writing a feature script called “Silence”. It’s about the German invasion of Ukrainian villages in 1942 during World War II. In the script, a young German soldier is sent to search the houses and look for anyone hidden there. He finds a piano in one of the houses and starts to play. As he plays Beethoven’s “Silence” on the old out of tune piano, a little Jewish girl is hiding in the lower deck of the instrument. I listened to this composition over and over as I wrote the script and the song has become a very special part of my life. It means a lot to me.

What is next for you? A new film?

I am currently working on a documentary about the legal and illegal cat and dog meat industry. The film will address the cruelty and violence as well as the political aspects that affect Russia,Taiwan, China and even America. In addition, the film will cover the serious health concerns, the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, the kidnapping of animals and interviews with those for and against the practice.

confession_2

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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 month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.