Interview with documentary filmmaker Jenna Gartlan (MISSING PEACE)

MISSSING PEACE played at the November 2017 Short Film Festival to great reviews. It is by far one of the most unique films the FEEDBACK Festival showed in 2017.

 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I was really shocked to learn about Body Integrity Identity Disorder (BIID), but I was instantly intrigued. I have always been interested in ‘fringe’ or unique aspects of people’s lives. When I read more about the condition and spoke to those who suffer from BIID, I realized that their stories weren’t being told properly. The media had been sensationalizing their plight and was more interested in criticizing than helping bring awareness and understanding. I also realized that people with BIID just want to be happy and accepted and I really relate to that and sympathize.

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

I came up with the idea in November of 2015 and we finished the film in the summer of 2016. So about 9 months.

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

Provoking acceptance.

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

The biggest obstacle was filming in two countries on a small budget for a short timeframe.

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

I liked hearing what people had to say, and at the end of the day, there are many things that I would have liked to have done differently but time, budget, and availability of our subjects were tough to navigate.

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

I came up with the idea after reading about BIID in an article.

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

Hot Fuzz (2007) or the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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

I think Filmfreeway helps a lot of emerging artists by simplifying the submission process and clearly explaining what needs to be done.

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

I can Feel a Hot One by Manchester Orchestra

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

I have been working away in the industry while writing on the side. I hope to be working on a comedic web series in the next coming months.
 

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

MISSING PEACE, 17min., USA, Documentary/Drama 
Directed by Jenna Gartlan

Missing Peace follows Chloe Jennings-White and Jeremy as they struggle with Body Integrity Identity Disorder. Chloe wishes to be paraplegic, and Jeremy wants to cut off his hands.

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

 

Advertisements

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Carl F. Zimmermann (TOE TAG MURDERS)

1. What is your screenplay about?
Clearwater, Florida rising-star homicide detective, Mike Carol gets the chance of a lifetime when he goes to New York to work a two-year stint as a liaison in the Queens 112 precinct. But, the day he arrives bodies start showing up pitting him against the hardcore NYPD detectives he has to work with. The murder victims share two crucial clues – they were all booked for a crime they committed the day before they were murdered and they were all left posed with toe tags attached to their shoeless foot identifying that crime. Somebody doesn’t believe in the justice system. Somebody is a vigilante.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Crime, Mystery, Drama.

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

This is a delightful, suspenseful murder investigation that twists often accurately following NYPD protocol, but often in unconventional ways. You will be surprised by the reveal.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Intriguing investigation

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Broadcast News

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote it in 6 weeks

7. How many stories have you written?

4 finished features and numerous starts

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

“Suddenly I See” by KT Tunstall

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Finding several NY detectives to consult with to keep things real and authentic – and to go from start to finish in 8 weeks.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am a teacher, a former member of the Florida House of Representaives and a used car dealer. I am passionate about doing the right thing in everything I do.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

I love FilmFreeway. It simplifies things for everyone.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I entered because it was tailored to my genre and it was billed as a premiere festival. The feedback was outstanding. It was very complimentary and very detailed pointing out areas I knew needed to be worked on. I have taken the advice and am currently making the changes suggested.
****

 

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert Cox (DRAGONSONG)

  1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s the story of Tal, a young man with a magical heritage, the son of the Magician Merlin, who finds that after hiding his magic for most of his life, realizes that he must do battle with the sorceress that trapped his father and has tried throughout history to conquer England by allying herself with those who sought to invade her. Now, she has allied herself with the Nazi’s and only Tal, his friend Arthur and his RAF wing, four dragons, and his father Merlin stand in the way of an invasion.

  1. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

War/ Historical, Fantasy

  1. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

The film blends together World War II and the knights of the round table. There are scenes of war and scenes of magic, and the friendship that develops between two very different young men. It is a movie where good overcomes evil. But most of all, it is the story of a young man finding his personal strengths and the magical warrior within himself.

  1. How would you describe this script in two words?   

Historical Fantasy

  1. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

August Rush

  1. How long have you been working on this screenplay? 

6 months

  1. How many stories have you written?

25 – 30

  1. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

“Here I Am”

  1. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Combining actual events with Urban /Rural legends that got their start in WW II, along with the Welsh Language, and combing the German war archives for battle plans.

  1. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Grower and breeder of Orchids, Roses, and Plumeria. Avid reader.

  1. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

On the whole, I have been very pleased, with their timeliness and professionalism. It also is good for keeping track of those festivals that you’ve entered.

  1. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

Have always been a fan of Sci-Fi/ Fantasy since I was a kid. After writing the script for ‘Dragonsong,’ was looking for a film festival that could appreciate it. Have found the feedback that I  received to be very informative and gave me many ideas that I have set to practice, not only in this script, but in others that I’ve written since.

***

Genre: Fantasy

A MIDWIFE carries a newborn to a forest cave. It’s 527AD. NIMUEH, the sorceress, waits there to cast a spell, encasing the child in a crystal tomb, as she did to his father, Merlin. Nimueh kills the midwife to hide her secret.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR: Rachel Rain Packota

Carolyn: Vanessa Burns
Edward: Jason Gray
Midwife: Stephanie Haines
Nimueh: Olivia Jon

Interview with Winning TV Pilot Writer Ed Vela (PSI-COM)

What is your TV Pilot screenplay about?

At a secret government facility, young psychics are being trained and their psychic gifts developed but when one group: Psi-Com 5, finds out about an enhancement program that is killing and maiming some of the younger less powerful psychics, while at the same time discovering a powerful young psychic on the outside being used as a pawn, they decide to try to escape the confines of the Clinic.

Why should this screenplay be made into a TV show?

Psi-Com 5 has at its core a few elements that make it very appealing for episodic television or platform viewing: it has well drawn characters relatable for who they are and who they aren’t, it has a basic “chase” plot element as PC5 works to stay hidden from society at large while staying one step ahead of the Clinic as they relentlessly pursue them, and it combines both a sci-fi and thriller element as it deals with both psychic powers and the danger of the pursuit.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Super Psychics.

What TV show do you keep watching over and over again?

Game of Thrones.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

A few years.

How many stories have you written?

About 60, if you count stage plays, screenplays and teleplays.

What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

The Longest Time by Billy Joel.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Firstly, the framing device, it seemed natural once I realized that Lynx is such a acerbic character that if you didn’t know what he was thinking he wouldn’t be near as likeable as he ended up being, so I told it thru his eyes. Secondly, the age old dilemma in a pilot: making sure ask more questions than you answer.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love producing, directing and acting in my own short films, and web series. It offers me a creative smorgasbord.

What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

As a TV pilot there aren’t that many festivals to enter a script like: Psi-Com 5, and this is the 1st contest I have entered it. I found the feedback thorough and helpful.

You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

I find FilmFreeway a fantastic way to search, find and enter festivals all over the country and the world.

Any advice or tips you’d like to pass on to other writers?

If its not a story that you feel you have to write… Don’t write it. If you think it’s interesting… The audience will too.

****

 

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR: Becky Shrimpton
Lynx: Merlin Simard
Lucien: Allan Brunet
Joselyn: Mahtab Sabet
Liticia: Kate Varadi
Titansor: Anthony Tran
Hadley: Scott Beaudin
Cho: Salma Dharsee

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Sheri Davenport (EYES OF DAWN)

1. What is your screenplay about?

Eyes of Dawn is new look at the life of Mata Hari. It tells the story of a woman far ahead of her time, a woman in touch with the strength, beauty and power of her femininity and her sexuality. A woman who loved with passion, danced with abandon, never gave up on finding the child who was taken from her. And in the end, she was a woman betrayed by men who were threatened by her free spirit — men in power who forced her into the world of espionage and ultimately took her life.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Historical Fiction

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because it’s time for more films about strong women overcoming obstacles to become their whole, complete, best selves. And the subject of men who feel threatened or insecure using their power to diminish, harass and limit women has never been more relevant than it is today.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

Powerful. Relevant

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

All About Eve

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Two years

7. How many stories have you written?

Dozens.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Rachmaninoff’s Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Still facing some obstacles as I rework it into a three part series: To make each character arc interesting and believable and to reveal what truly drives Mata Hari, what’s in her heart.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Theater

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

I’ve had no problems. It’s efficient.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival? What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

I loved that the festival focuses on women’s work. Also the chance for a reading was motivating and that feedback was included. I thought my feedback was terrific. I’m impressed by the effort the reader took and how truly helpful it was. I couldn’t be happier to be a winner and have a very professional read of my script. Thank you!

****

Mata Hari — a spy who betrayed her country or a woman ahead of her time? This is the back story of Mata Hari.

CAST LIST: 

NARRATION: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Mata Hari: Marisa King
Bouchardson: Dan Cristofori
Vadime: Yehuda Fisher
Macleod: Michael Sabet
Clunt: Scott McCulloch
Sister Leonide: Elizabeth Skidmore

Interview with winning screenwriters Edward Ocean & Michael Sgueglia (THE NOWHERE MAN)

1. What is your screenplay about?

It’s the story of a depressed New York talent agent who inexplicability finds himself back in 1980 just in time to save John Lennon and his own marriage.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Fantasy/Dramady

3. Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Michael – It has all the good stuff; music, comedy and a Beatles reunion.

Ed – It also has everyones favorite ….time travel.

4. How would you describe this script in two words?

What if?

5. What movie have you seen the most times in your life?

Michael – I’ve seen tons of movies many times. So choosing only one would be impossible.

Ed- “Battlefield Earth”

6. How long have you been working on this screenplay?

We wrote it 9 years ago and have been tweaking it ever since.

7. How many stories have you written?

Two feature length scripts with treatments for 8 more.

8. What is your favorite song? (Or, what song have you listened to the most times in your life?)

Both – Anything Beatles!

9. What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The decision to use the Beatles instead of a fictitious band because of the licensing expense.

10. Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Ed – Being a former professional musician it would be music.

Michael – I’m also a singer-songwriter/producer.

11. You entered your screenplay via FilmFreeway. What has been your experiences working with the submission platform site?

 More user friendly than the other big submission site. Also the Paypal option was a plus.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

It had the qualifications we were looking for.

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

Honest and helpful. 
****

Watch the WINNING Reading: 

Genre: Drama, Fantasy,

Struggling talent agent, Harry Durst unintentionally saves his idol’s life and changes his forever.

CAST LIST:

NARRATOR: Rachel Rain Packota
Harry: Julian Ford
Mary: Stephanie Haines
Julia: Vanessa Burns
John Lennon: Jason Gray
Stevens: Isaiah Kolundzic
Yoko: Olivia Jon