Interview with Filmmaker Jean-Claude Leblanc (STUDDED NIGHTMARE)

Jean-Claude’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival.

 What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve been working on films since I graduated from Trebas institute in 2006 in film production. I was trying to find a film idea but a good one is hard to find. I’m always writing scripts, but with this one it was a fast process. I was really into it so I started production when the script was done. I couldnt stop until the film was completed.

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

1 year.

1 month on the script, 1 month pre-prod. We shot 10 days between June and October,

And since I had hard time with the edit it took me three months to delegate and get it done.

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

Haunted Chair

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

The editing. At first I was editing the film but as a writer/director I had hard times cutting out scenes that I loved and took time to shoot. At some point I called Geoff Klein, an amazing editor and friend, and he cut the film as we know. He won best editor at Top Shorts film fest and was nominated at 2 other festivals.

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

I was delighted to hear what people had to say about the film. Questioning the intro sequence as I questioned it myself when it was put together. It was good feedback.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It’s based on true events. My friend was scared of a chair because of its gruesome past (the actual chair is used in the film ). I wanted to know the entire story but in the end it was just a chair. I pushed the story to make a horror film. The main idea of the film is: Would you keep something that that belonged to something you know he killed himself with it? Most people say no because it’s creepy. I thought it had a potential to scare.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Evil Dead

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

It makes it very simple to make contact with festival. I made most of the submissions myself and I enjoy the easy process.

What song have you listened to the most times in your life? Tough question?
Wow thats a hard one!

Probably a song by Iron Maiden

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m almost done with a short script and I hope to start production soon. It’s about life after death, a heroic horror film.

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Interview with Filmmaker Jonathan Brooks (MILK MAN)

Jonathan’s short film was the winner of BEST FILM at the October 2017 HORROR FEEDBACK Film Festival. MILK MAN is considered the best HORROR short film of the year 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jonathan Brooks: I wanted to direct a short film in a one day shoot that could potentially lead to making a low budget feature. The horror/comedy genre appealed to me and I was inspired by filmmakers such as Ben Weatley and the Duplas brothers.

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

About two or three months.

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

Pasturised gore

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

Making a film on a low to no budget you are relying on lots of people to give time and skills for little or no pay and its often difficult to get people to be available at the right time so theres a balancing act there.

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

It was nice, seemed very positive and was great to know what people thought.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea of a Milkman as a boogeyman came about because Id read somewhere that low budget British horror films do well in Asia and at the same time Id read another article about the fact that lots of people in Asia are lactose intolerant.I have no idea if any of these facts are actually true.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Ghostbusters

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

It seems pretty intuitive and easy to use.

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

Lawyers Guns and Money by Warren Zevon

What is next for you? A new film?

I have a script for a Milk Man feature which I’ve written with co-writer Adam Davidson and is at second draft stage. Hopefully if there’s more interest in this short we can make the feature at some stage.

 

Interview with director Oliver Park (STILL)

Oliver Park’s short film STILL was the winner of “Best Film” at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller Festival. It was a joy to chat with him about the film and his future:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Oliver Park: I had a dream that inspired the feature idea for STILL and wanted to make a short to raise awareness for it.

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

It took about nine months as I had to spend time working on a crowdfunding campaign for it before filming. After we had the money, we moved very quickly as we had festival deadlines to hit.

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

Sweet dreams.

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

The biggest obstacle with many short horrors is shooting at night. When you’re using a friends house as a location and the sun starts to come up, you’re out of time. We were lucky enough to be able to go back to pick up the shots we were unable to get but t’s never easy when you’re against massive time constraints.

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

Joy! I was so happy that people liked it. You make horror to scare you and just hope it will scare others. I was glad that small things were picked up on like “finish your wine” for example. I agree with the fact that one probably wouldn’t have a shower under those circumstances and I don’t think it’s an excuse that ‘it’s a horror so it’s fine’. If I could go back, I would have put more effort into giving her a reason to get into the shower (she gets dirty from the greasy boiler suit, for example).

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO from the April 2017 Film Festival:

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

I had a dream about a masked figure arriving at my front door…

What film that you’ve watched in the last 5 years has inspired you the most?

There are FAR too many! Great modern horror is hard to find but I am a huge fan of the recent ‘A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night’.

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

I love to listen to film soundtracks and classical. Anything by Glass, Newman, Zimmer or Einaudi works and I adore Chris Young (composer of Sinister).

What is next for you? A new film?

There are many things going on right now, mainly feature development, so I certainly plan to make many many more films very soon and rest assured, I will stay in horror for now!

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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.

Interview with director Ian Schiller (KONG’S)

Ian Schiller’s short film KONG’S played to rave reviews at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller Film Festival. It was an honor catching up with the very talented filmmaker.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ian Schiller: I work in film but mostly documentary sports and commercials. I want to broaden my story telling ability. Kong’s, the market you see in the film is a block from my house. I had been thinking about a short film for a while and the story sort of presented itself walking into Kong’s one day for some beer. I guess the motivation in summary was to challenge myself to develop a short soup to nuts.

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

Script started maybe mid February 2016
Script finalized in April of 2016
Shot May 2016
Post completed August 2016

About Six months.

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

Very intense

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

My own self doubt. And an actor who I had to fire for showing up a day prior to filming drunk.

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

Initial reactions to the feedback – I like how the audience fills in some of the backstory. The criticism is great as well. The last comment, doesn’t feel like an independent film but something larger is what I was going for. So, overall, I’m happy and grateful for the comments.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the short film: 

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

We set a world/box to play in. I wanted to lead the audience with breadcrumbs. Kong’s per my mention above is close to my house. The art direction was already there for a seedy noir-ish story. The idea sort of presented itself.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Big Trouble in Little China

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

Something either by the Horrors, The Kills, or the Eagles of Death Metal

What is next for you? A new film?

After financially recovering from Kong’s, I’d like to pursue either a feature length script idea of mine or a television show. More soon hopefully.

Thanks everyone coming out to watch the films and comment. Much
appreciation

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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 actress Linette Beaumont (THE PROWLER)

linette Beaumont 1.jpgLinette Beaumont was the winner of “Best Performance” in her short film THE PROWLER at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller Film Festival. It was an honor to chat with her about her role and what’s next for the talented actress:

Matthew Toffolo: Describe your character? How was the process in executing this performance?

Linette Beaumont: Eva is a tormented character, who is struggling with heart break after her husband has had an affair and left her. Eva is unable to let go and finds herself in a very dark place, manipulating her daughter into being instrumental in something that will change their lives forever.

As an actor I believe I have a responsibility to the character that I am playing, it’s my job to tell my characters story without judgement.

I tried to do that, and to be as honest to Eva (my character) as I could, and act exactly what was on the page.

How did you become attached to this project?

Tim Kent ( the director ) and I had worked together beforehand at Pinewood Studios. We discussed the possibility of doing a film together.

Tim introduced me to Daniella Gonella (our wonderful producer) at DG Productions. We then all had a meeting in Soho London with the very talented writer Matthew Arlidge, who had worked in television for many years and had written for one of my favorite BBC drama series Silent Witness. Matthew had also recently launched his bestselling crime debut Eeny Meeny. He agreed to write a short film specifically for me which I was delighted about and very flattered.

We then worked extremely hard to make it happen.

Coincidentally, James Friend BSC, (director of photography) BAFTA award winning, Rillington Place, who had just shot Matthew’s episodes of Silent Witness agreed to shoot the film.
An amazing team.

How would you describe your short film in two words!

Psychological thriller!

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

Time restraints were challenging. We used very high-end cameras and lens from Movitech at Pinewood Studios. The end result is fantastic, but when you use such high-end equipment things move very slowly. It takes 3-4 people to move everything. Also the interiors were shot in a cottage, so it was very tight for space.

Also Christmas! Kate Plantin CDG (casting director) who was amazing, was phoning agents to confirm actors when they had closed for Christmas, it was crazy.

And Budget, you never have enough money!

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

Of course as an actor, I was very happy to hear they liked the acting! I smiled at the comment regarding the ‘leaves on the trees’ we shot the film during winter, just after Christmas, and we did have leaves on the trees!

Feedback is great, and it’s important. I think it is always very interesting to hear feedback from people, industry and non industry professionals.

I think film is an observer of life. Everybody loves to watch a film. But we all feel so differently about what we see when we watch a film. It was interesting listening to what they had to say, how an idea resonated, or how the film made them feel. For me film making is magic, full of twists and turns, highs and lows, to quote the film director Danny Boyle, ‘to be a filmmaker, you have to be relentless. You have to be psychotic in your desire to do something and keep working. People always like the easy route. You can’t, you have to push very hard to get something unusual, something different to stand out.’

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video of THE PROWLER:

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Very difficult question as I have films for different moods! But I would say these films are in my top ten of most watched.

The Godfather and Deer Hunter, Star Wars. Street Car Named Desire and Annie Hall, Some Like It Hot, Singing in the rain. Cinderella, and the Fox and the Hound.

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

Clair de Lune- Debussy its the first thing I learnt on the piano, and reminds me of so much. But I also love Stevie Wonder.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes I’m working with writer-director Daniel Yost (co-writer Drugstore Cowboy) co-writing and playing the lead role in Melody’s Tune, a project where I will play both the negligent mother of a homeless nine-year-old and the girl’s imaginary good mother. “ I can’t wait!

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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 Jake Gutwillig (SHELTERED)

 SHELTERED was awarded “BEST MUSIC” at the April 2017 Horror/Thriller FEEDBACK Film Festival

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jake Gutwillig: A lot of different things motivated me to make this film, for example thematically telling a story about how challenging parents and authority truths is important. Though the biggest factor is that as much as I enjoy watching films, there’s nothing I love more than making films. The various phases of production, the hard work and teamwork that is being on set, and the satisfaction that comes with creating strong collaborative relationships while completing a hopefully strong short that a whole team can be proud of. I also really want to and plan to make a feature film and this short, among others I have made was one of the biggest stepping stones for me as a director, writer, producer with all that occurred and the big production with a low budget mentality that it had.

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

From start to finish we got this project done in about 7 months. I started writing it in August, it was shot in November and finished in post around the middle of March.

How would you describe your short film in two words?

Claustrophobic, Untrustworthy

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

The biggest obstacle facing the film was actually finding the location to shoot the shelter. We didn’t have enough money to rent studio space and didn’t actually lock our location until a week and a half before we had to shoot. We found a large basement space below some industrial buildings, and I exchanged doing photography for a business for free use of the location’s basement. For three straight days, which is all we were given before we were to shoot there, our art department was working non-stop building our set up in the homemade style sound stage we created in that basement.

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

Watching the feedback was really incredible, as so many people understood so much of what I was trying to do, and some of the theories and metaphorical meaning put behind some of their thoughts after the showing was exactly what I was going for and hoping the audience would take away. It also seemed like my theme was clear, and a few things I was worried that other audiences didn’t get right away this audience did.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I came up with this idea based off of a theme I really wanted to explore, but once I had that down it really came to what I could do logistically for this short. I knew I needed to make a short where everything essentially took place in one location, so I started writing random ideas for one location shorts with the theme of trust parents, and that idea that to learn truth we have to find it for ourselves and not just rely on what others tell us. I tried to make the location something different than your average in-house setting, which led me to the shelter. I began to like the treatments I would come up with around a kid being stuck in a storm shelter, and I started to dive more into this character I kept creating who was stuck in this shelter, and through various versions and various experiences for this main character it kind of turned into what it did. Though the theme was there every step of the way and shaped the story more than trying to restrain myself around the logistical limitations.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

The film I’ve seen the most in my life is probably ‘The Wizard of Oz’, though that’s because when I was a lot younger I’d watch it essentially everyday. As of more recently, the film I can’t stop watching is ‘Brazil’.

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

I don’t know if there’s one song I’ve listened to the most in my life, as I always bounced around genres, but ‘Wino Junko’ by the Wings and ‘Sunny Afternoon’ by the Kinks are two songs I seem to never get enough of.

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m currently working on making a very low budget feature this summer in the psychological thriller genre. The script is written, and some of the elements are falling into place putting us close to pre-production. I’m taking a lot of what I learned from making ‘Sheltered’ in terms of the feature story also having a central setting and small cast, though thematically and visually it’ll be a very different project. I’m hoping to continue writing features and directing short and long form videos, whether it be my videography work or my hopeful jump into feature filmmaking.

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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.

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