Interview with Filmmaker/Animator Amr Kamel (PROMETHEUS INDUSTRIES)

Amr’ short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo:. What motivated you to make this film?

Amr Kamel: We wanted to emulate a small 3D studio environment to get a feel for how things might work for us later on after graduation. Our group was called Project: Animate! and our mission was to go from concept to finished film, and to see what it was like to work with a team on a project of this scale. We were all also interested in the learn by doing approach, and for us, the opportunity to learn and experiment with both story telling and the technical aspects of 3D animation is what drove us the most.

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

It took us about 8-9 months from our very first meeting till we put out the final cut.

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

Delightfully Dark.

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

The biggest problem was working over the summer break, after the semester was done and everyone wanted to go on vacation, and no one was around, it was hard to stay motivated and keep the ball rolling. Making the switch between in-person and online collaboration meant that it was much more difficult to keep the communication lines open and people motivated to pull through, but we were somehow able to manage.

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

I felt elated and relieved, it’s easy when working on a project to be hyper aware of all the flaws and all the things that could’ve gone better. It somehow always surprises me to get positive reactions, because as artists we have these perfectionist tendencies.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

At the very beginning of our project, we wanted to make a 3D short, and we had everyone in our group come up with an idea and present it to the rest of us, we picked the best 3 and developed them a little more, then we pitched them again, and we stuck with what we all liked the best.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Conan the Barbarian (1982)

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

FilmFreeway is alright and convenient. But I guess it’s always nice to have alternatives and competition.

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

Probably Fairies Wear Boots by Black Sabbath

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently working with a couple of my teammates from this film on a new project. 3D animated teaser trailers for a post apocalyptic sci-fi webseries I wrote as my bachelor project, which we then hope to use to pitch the concept and crowdfund the first season.

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Interview with Filmmaker Navid Tavakolnia (BEAUTIFUL)

Navid’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Navid Tavakolnia: The idea and message of the film itself was the biggest motivation for me to make this film happen.

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

From the idea to the finished product, it took about 4 months to make this short.

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

Reality isn’t Beautiful

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

Not having a budget and financial issues has always been the biggest obstacle for filmmakers but in the process of making Beautiful, I confronted with another obstacle which now seems fun to me. We planned everything to shoot in a school with the students in the classroom and a teacher. As we got close to the shooting day, the school canceled the promises and we had to find another location in couple days before the shoot with no students other than our character. So Literally, we asked all friends and families we knew that they have kids and asked if they were willing to have their kids to be in the film. Our kid character’s mom had a little teaching classroom and also she accepted to play the role of the teacher and all of a sudden we even had more students than we expected to have before! It was an amazing experience and I was really grateful to have all those people around me.

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

It feels wonderful to see the audience understand your message and they give their opinion about the piece you created. I feel really proud and I am really thankful to have all these opinions to make my next film better than this.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

At the beginning, the story was not supposed to be about war. It was just about a burned face kid and the blind guy and the “humanity”. After I talked to one of my friend’s who was in an army before and hearing his stories, also all the bad and sad news of the world, discrimination, war, refugees, etc. I taught that it would be a really good idea to relate the story to war and show that we are all victims, no matter what color or race we are. We are just people and war is an absolute loss for everybody except the warmongers!

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Saving Private Ryan is the film I have seen the most.

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

Filmfreeway and its platform of submission make the path really easier for filmmakers to have their films seen in festivals and promoting them. It is a great opportunity with doors open to filmmakers.

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

Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen

What is next for you? A new film?

I am working on a new script and pretty soon I am planning to make my new short film with the help of the same amazing crew.

Interview with Directed Eric Shahinian (FOREIGN SOUNDS)

Eric Shahinian’s short film played to rave reviews at the September 2017 CRIME FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto. It definitely stirred a great conversation. This was one of those films that was made for the FEEDBACK Film Festival format.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

The film was motivated by a real situation I experienced when I was with a friend and we heard distressing sounds coming from a neighbor’s apartment. My inclination was to separate myself from it, while my friend took a very different stance and immediately wanted to help.

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

Since this was a student film made with a minimal budget, post-production took a long time, especially the sound design, because it’s such a crucial element of the story. From script to completion the film took nearly a year because I had some other projects that came up during post-production.

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

Foreign Sounds. (I wish this was better, sorry).

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

The biggest obstacle faced during the film was the sound design because it was such a crucial element of the story and I did not get all of the sound on set, so I had to set up multiple ADR sessions and really refine the details of the offscreen dispute.

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

It’s not easy to judge how well an idea is going to translate, so having the audience feedback is very grounding even if they aren’t singing your praises. It was great to see people respond to it and in some cases to see that my intentions came through. It’s always interesting to hear people having such different reactions and bringing their individual subjective viewing experiences.

Watch the AUDIENCE FEEDBACK Video of the short film:

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

The idea came from a real situation very similar to the characters except that I was with a friend. We took very different responses to hearing the sounds of our neighbor’s fighting and I thought that instinctual opposition was interesting. It was also never clear to us exactly what happened, which further complicated the question of how much we needed to involve ourselves in strangers lives. I really recreated the film very closely to how the situation unfolded in a way of processing it and exploring the conflicts that we both experienced in that moment.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

It’s a toss up between Punch Drunk Love and Ghost World.

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

I love filmfreeway, it’s so much easier to navigate than withoutabox in terms of the layout and the search functions. I love being able to include a vimeo link as an online screener. I’m a fan.

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

I’m not sure, I go through periods where I obsessively listen to certain songs until I can’t stand it anymore and then find a new obsession. Recently I’ve been listening to the Silversun Pickups, they have a song called “The Go Inbetweens” that feels tonally similar to a feature I’m writing so that ones been on loop.

What is next for you? A new film?

I made two more shorts after Foreign Sounds. The first was a dark comedy about an emotionally codependent sister who breaks down when her younger sister gets the chance to move out. It’s a weird movie and hasn’t been accepted to many festivals but it was fun to try something new. My thesis short film is currently on the festival circuit and has been screening globally. It was influenced by the relationship between my grandparents and is about a caretaker who is forced to confront his limitations. I am currently torn between two feature scripts that I’m trying to decide to move forward with as a first feature.

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!

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.