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.

eli_movie_poster

Advertisements

Interview with Screenwriter Ricardo Bravo (HUSH LITTLE BABY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ricardo Bravo: Hush Little Baby is the story of an up-and-coming young executive who is tormented by the crying of the baby next door. As we follow the character, we explore the impact the cries of the baby have on his work, his personality and finally his sanity.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror

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

Deep inside this story delves into primal fears of parenthood, regret and loss, and how they shape our lives and the decisions we take. Most of all this is a story about the things we hide and how much they can consume us. As such, this movie would resonate with many people.

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

Shocking, Thrilling

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

The Matrix and Aliens would be at the top. However, I enjoy all genres from the biggest blockbuster to indie dramas to international film.

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

This tale started as a short story for the Create50 Twisted50 vol 2 competition three years ago. It made it to the finals, but alas, it was not selected for the final book. However, last year I came up with the idea to make it into a screenplay. I’ve been working on it for ten months, updating it with comments and suggestions from festival based readers.

7. How many stories have you written?

Four short stories, eight short scripts, two pilots for TV (one in Spanish) and three feature screenplays in Spanish, all unproduced (yet).

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

Sympathy for the Devil by the Rolling Stones, which also happens to be the song I use to get me into the mood for writing.

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

Converting from a short story to a screenplay was certainly a challenge. Many plot points have a deep root in what my protagonist is thinking and feeling at the time, which does not easily translate into a screenwriting language. I had to make visual the internal struggle of my protagonist

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

Movie trivia and movies in general.

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

It’s been quite a pleasant experience. The selection of film festivals is quite large and I found it very easy to find a festival that best suited my requirements.

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

I was looking for horror festivals to enter my script and yours hit all the right notes. The feedback I received was exceptional. I had previously received good feedback on my script but the recommendations provided by helped me tighten and polish the story.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

A man is slowly driven insane by the cries of a baby next door.

CAST LIST:

Police Officer: Anjelica Alejandro
Richard: Azar Hassan
Narration: Hanna Ehman
Patrick: Ikenna Osuji
Ms. Sinclair: Marla Horner
Polish Man: Tyssen Smith

****

Interview with Screenwriter Joël Henning Doty (STAGE DAD)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Joël Henning Doty: The movie tells the story of Ray and Lily as they try to cope with the sudden death of wife and mom, Catherine. Ray agrees to take Lily to a writing competition in L.A. to fulfill a promise Catherine made, even though he disdains competition. Meeting other parents and teens at the competition pushes both of them to “keep up with the Joneses” until it comes back to haunt them. They soon learn that being truthful to each other is the only way they can successfully move on in their lives.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Family Dramedy

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

Father-daughter relationships are not shown much in the movies and this one
focuses on how a dad and his teenage daughter accept one another. Also writing
about “writing” is not seen often and it should be fun and interesting to see the stories that the teenagers create come to life in animation throughout the movie.

Teen girls are shown as smart and able to make independent decisions and help each other succeed and grow. Finally, it is an uplifting feel-good flick without any sappiness!

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

Family Love

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

Have to admit it is “It’s A Wonderful Life” – Christmas family tradition.

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

Various versions over several years – stopping and starting after read-throughs and changing the title three times!!!

7. How many stories have you written?

Maybe twenty-five? I write stage plays and many have been produced and my YA
novel, The Good Citizen, came out last year.

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

Anything Motown and Hamilton (the musical) related!

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

Balancing the amount of backstory to be just enough to understand all the
characters’ actions.

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

Make A Wish and NAMI. I volunteer for both organizations.

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

It’s easy to use.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: Stage Dad is a family dramedy in which a dad must overcome his disdain for competition and help his teenage daughter navigate a prestigious writing contest.

Family Feature Film

CAST LIST:

Max: Steve Rizzo
Oscar: Daniel Jones
Narrator: Caroline Concordia
Ray: Peter Nelson
Lily: Emily Weir
Ellen: Judy Thrush

Interview with Screenwriter Vinny Smith (SQUISH!)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Vinny Smith: It’s about a group of marine biology students who are stalked by a giant jellyfish. It’s basically a monster movie set in the tropics but it’s also about the environment and Big Oil’s involvement in harming it.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

I would call it horror/comedy

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

It’s fun and unique in that I have never seen a movie with a giant jellyfish before much less one where a dwarf and a 400 lb. fat guy are the heroes. It ticks all the standard boxes for blood and gore and sexy people getting killed. Plus it makes an environmental statement.

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

Entertaining, relevant.

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

Office Space

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

It took about a year.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’m just finishing my 9th feature length screenplay and I published a book of 15 short stories.

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

Tie: Hard To Say I’m Sorry by Chicago and Carolina Morning by Mickey and the Motorcars.

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

Writing it in a linear fashion. I had a bunch of scenes that I knew I wanted in it so I had to craft the story around them. I jumped around a lot and wrote it out of order.

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

Real country music and cigars.

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

It was super easy to submit and check the status of all of my entries.

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

I didn’t need much influence. I feel the more you get it out there, the more chance you will have that somebody like it enough to make it. The feedback was about what I expected. You can tell who gets it and who doesn’t. Most of the time the things that are pointed out as negatives are exactly the point I was going for like when they say it’s too formulaic or something. Yes, I’m trying to fit the format.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

 

A scrappy group of marine biology students are stalked by a giant jellyfish in the Bahamas.

CAST LIST:

Bobby: Geoff Mays
Howard: Neil Bennett
April: Elle A
Narrator: Val Cole
Nick: Jarrod Terrill
Michael: Ryan Singh
Sofia: Isabel Kruse
Gina: Bianca Alongi

 

Interview with Screenwriter Eric White (BLIND VAMPIRE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Eric White: The 15-minute Short is about a vampire who was blinded in an ambush. She learns to survive throughout the centuries by using the vision of animals and her ability to compel beings through thought. In the Short we see: (1) Healthy vampire Dreven, (2) Blinded Dreven and (3) Dreven overcoming her disability. It’s heartwarming in a horrible sort of way.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror, Action

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

Vampires typically don’t have a disability — they are either very strong and resilient or dead. In this case, the vampire Dreven adapts to her disability in a seemingly “normal” way by using a service dog that she has trained to detect danger, protect her and hunt for blood.

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

Pragmatic adaptation.

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

Fifth Element

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

1 month

7. How many stories have you written?

I have mature scripts for “Blind Vampire” and “Vapor”, a Sci-Fi Steampunk TV Pilot. And nascent scripts/stories for two more Pilots, “Unseen” and “Not So Charming” and one feature, “Dead Princess”.

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

Rolling Stones, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”

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

Targeting 15-minutes in length and I struggled with the ending. Some will feel it ends abruptly. I could have explored a relationship with the neighbor, making the script longer, but I preferred bloodlust over just plain lust and kept the script to 15 pp.

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

Beach, beagles, and irreverence.

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

It’s great. I feel like I’m not presenting work through a portal but, rather, sharing my accomplishments with a community.

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

The festival struck me as welcoming, constructive and interested in my work, not just building a lengthy participant list to legitimize their festival – particularly new ones.

What were your feelings on the initial feedback you received?

The feedback — in particular the tone, not just the content — was far more helpful and encouraging than most all other reader responses I’ve received.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Centuries after a being ambushed, a blinded vampire survives thanks to her seeing eye dog.

CAST LIST:

Thug Leader: Daniel Jones
Boris: Steve Rizzo
Narrator: Carina Cojeen
Dreven: Caroline Concordia
Melanie: Emily Weir
Celia: Judy Thrush

Interview with Screenwriter Carmine Bicchetti (TUXEDO TERRACE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Carmine Bicchetti: At a dinner party in the Hollywood Hills, Lorenzo and Kitty (with the help of some Hollywood legends and a few unexpected guests) must convince an immigrations officer that their phony marriage is actually legitimate; or else Lorenzo could risk deportation.

Lorenzo is an Italian immigrant who’s one of the biggest hair stylists at MGM, he also happens to be homosexual, as is his wife, Kitty and her live in girlfriend Lisette.

When the INS begins investigating the validity of their marriage, Lorenzo & Kitty throw a dinner party to convince the inspector that their relationship is real so that Lorenzo can stay in the country.

Thanks to some uninvited guests, the dinner party quickly turns disastrous as the trio find hiding their secret is harder than they imagined. To make matters worse, Lorenzo thinks he’s falling in love with the INS inspector, who might be hiding a secret of his own. Hijinks ensue throughout the evening and make for a memorable visit to Tuxedo Terrace.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy with lgbt themes

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

Hollywood in the 1950’s was a machine that produced some of the most memorable entertainment in History; yet most of the industry was leading a double life, trapped in the closet and unable to live freely. Although Tuxedo Terrace is a wacky comedy, it highlights a story that hasn’t been told and reminds us of those who paved the way for today. I wrote this story as an homage to the men and women who produced beautiful art for the world while hiding in the shadows. Inspired by the films they made, and influenced by their glamour and sophistication. My dream is to share this story with the world, so we can pay respect (and have a laugh while were at it)

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

Classic Screwball

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

Moonstruck

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

2 years

7. How many stories have you written?

Blogs, travel essays and a few short skits

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

Into The Groove by Madonna

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

Trying to pay homage to the very serious issues of homophobia and immigration while also being funny.

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

Food! Born & raised in restaurants, I am very passionate about food and cocktails.

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

It’s been wonderful and I am very fortunate to have a lot of success thus far.

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

? I was looking for festivals that would understand the themes of my story and would be supportive of queer writers. The initial feedback I received was extremely constructive and truly helped me develop my story into something I am very proud of.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

When the government begins to inspect their marriage, a gay immigrant and his lesbian wife throw a dinner party in an attempt to fool the INS; but soon realize that they aren’t the only ones hiding something.

CAST LIST:

Lisette: Bianca Alongi
Lorenzo: Ryan Singh
Narrator: Val Cole
Chip: Geoff Mays
O’Sullivan: Neil Bennett
Kitty: Elle A

Interview with Screenwriter Ron Micci (ALL THE WOLVES YOU WERE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Ron Micci: It’s a tongue-in-cheek, droll, humorous take on werewolves involving the British aristocracy during the Victorian era, think 1880s. A satire and a parody of those old Universal Wolfman films.

The Prescotts, whose aristocratic fortunes are in decline, are hoping that the marriage of their son, Lawrence, to a mysterious young Romanian princess whose family has established a summer residence nearby, will save them from financial ruin.

On the eve of the nuptials, the princess (Elizabeth) confesses that she is a werewolf and begs Lawrence to call off the wedding.

When he poo-poos this, she runs off to the moors. What ensues with the help of a subplot involving a romance between a village boy and an uppercrust girl, a mad doctor, and a shrewd gypsy who seeks to lift the princess’s curse, culminates in a very hairy and hilarious set of church vows.

2. What genre does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy. Satire. Horror.

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

It’s consistently funny, and werewolf films are generally popular based on the special effects involved in the wolf transformations.

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

Very cute.

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

Last time I said The Best Years of Our Lives, but there are any number of films, particularly in the film noir genre, that I have seen many times.

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

Actually, I began work sometime in the 1980s, then switched to writing for the stage and created a three-act stage adaptation, then returned to the script in the late 90s and did intensive rewrites of it.

7. How many stories have you written?

About 60 one-act plays and sketches, three longer plays, three novels, four screenplays, one episodic TV pilot, three screen shorts and two original sitcom pilot scripts.

8. What is your favorite song?

“When I Fall Love”

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

The most difficult challenge was to sustain the same droll, tongue-in-cheek tone throughout.

If it’s a spoof, you want to maintain that feeling beginning to end. Certain scenes were more difficult than others, but I managed to persevere and feel I succeeded in doing that.

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

Playing the flute, for one thing. And making humorous videos. I’ve been told quite adamantly that I should have been an actor, and I believe there is more than an modicum of truth to that. (I suppose writers are actors.) But I didn’t realize this until much too late in the game. (Hey, choose your favorite form of starvation, right?)

11. Experiences with the FilmFreeway site?

Tough to say. In trying to use the site to submit to screenplay competitions, I hit a dead end. I believe technical glitches.

12. What influenced you to enter the Festival? Reactions to feedback you
received?

By and large I was surprised at how fair-minded the feedback was, a rarity. The fact that they even bothered to read the scripts, and it was obvious they had, was a pleasant surprise. I think in most of these contests they simply throw the scripts against a wall and whatever sticks they give awards to.

Watch the Screenplay Reading:

Logline: “Do you take this werewolf — I mean woman — to be your lawful wedded wife?” “I — I — I — ulp! — do.” In Victorian England, a wedding between a British aristocrat’s son and a mysterious Romanian princess is thrown in jeopardy when the princess reveals she’s a werewolf. A droll, witty farce.

Comedy-Horror

Feature screenplay

CAST LIST:

Hastings: Daniel Jones
Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Col. Wellington: Peter Nelson
Lady Wellington: Judy Thrush