Interview with Filmmaker David Bradburn (BEFORE YOU WOKE)

BEFORE YOU WOKE played to rave reviews at the May 2019 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

David Bradburn: I had been wanting to get some experience writing and directing an action film and also, I had wanted to work with Christian Litke. From there I started to draft a script with the resources I had in mind.

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

Because our budget was so small our post production took a bit longer than we hoped, but from idea to release was about 8 months. We shot the entire film in one day.

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

Female Blacktion


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

Money, it’s always money. We did also have a massive snow storm the night before and filmed on one of the coldest days that winter. We stole the exterior location and between the extreme cold and the cops showing up that made that part of the shoot difficult.

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

The reaction has been positive, and we are often asked if there is a feature version. There is not. I wrote this as a stand-alone piece. But would happily make the feature if the resources are there. Overall the audiences are impressed we were able to tell an action story in the within the confines of short film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I cast the film before I wrote and knew both my budget and resources, so I was able to tailor the idea to resources. Once I had the first draft done, I realized that the themes of taking control of one’s life and the oppression of black women by white men were both present. I did my re-writes around those ideas and took much of the dialogue from Dr. King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail.

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

I think Cry Freedom, but Brickis up there too.

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

I like it better than Withoutabox

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

I checked my stats on iTunes and I think it lied. I don’t really know different times I listen to different things. Over the years Rush, Counting Crows, Dolly Varden, Jason Harrod, and Johnnyswim have been the most listened to music.

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

I have several scripts. I will make the next one I can afford to make. Some are shorts some are features. Currently, I have a short film, “Family”, the is just beginning its festival run.

before_you_woke_1

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Interview with Screenwriter Justin Lifflander (THE PLOWSHARE PARADOX)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Justin Lifflander: My screenplay is about how the end of the Cold War changed the lives of players on both sides.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romance, Drama

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

It tells an important and little known true story about how Americans and Russians worked together to reduce the risk of nuclear war, and got to know each other in the process.

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

Touching and insightful.

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

Monty Python and The Holy Grail

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

About seven years.

7. How many stories have you written?

One memoir (in English and Russian) and a half dozen short stories.

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

Talking Heads: Naïve Melody

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

Finding blocks of undisturbed time to focus.

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

Humanitarian clowning.

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

I think it’s a great platform for budding screen writers to seek out feedback and professional attention.

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

I liked the title of the festival, since my story is also a romance. The feedback I received was slightly useful. There were one or two bits of specific advice, but the rest seemed general and fawning, not terribly useful for helping me to improve my work.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

When the arms race suddenly ended…

The Plowshare Paradox is the true story of two men whose lives are turned upside down at the end of the Cold War. Decorated hero Vladimir Sadovnikov spent his life proudly building nuclear weapons to defend his beloved country, his Party, his workers and his family. He disintegrates, both physically and emotionally, as the world he thought he knew and the system he believed in dissolve around him.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Carina Cojeen
Vladimir: Caleb Jaques
Defense Minister: Sean Ballantyne

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Interview with Screenwriter Gail B. Robinson (He Tried to Kill Me… He Died!!)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Gail B. Robinson: A woman dies after giving birth to Identical twin girls. 32 years later they grow up to become beautiful, smart and successful women. This is one of many things that they have in common but will later find the horrific tragedy that had taken place in their bloodlines. Lies, deceit, and bad choices in men will have them cross paths and reveal their truth. He Tried to Kill Me…He Died!! Tells the story of… Secrets! 32 Years! Shocking Revelations! And their lives will never be the same!

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama/Crime/Murder (Fiction)

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

It starts off keeping you on edge and you will remain focus with all of the twist and turns throughout the movie.

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

On edge

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

Sparkle (The original version in 1976)

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

Since 2015 and still do rewrites

7. How many stories have you written?

Two books and one screenplay.


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

Any song from “The Jackson 5”

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

Having the time and rewrites/changes in the script.

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

Singing and enjoying life.

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

It was very user friendly.

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

I was contacted on Linkedin and I was intrigued. I was very excited on the feedback, it was great!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Beautiful, smart and successful is what they have in common but will later find the horrific tragedy that had taken place in their bloodlines. Lies, deceit, and bad choices in men will have them cross paths and reveal their truth. He Tried to Kill Me…He Died!! Tells the story of… Secrets! 32 Years! Shocking Revelations! and Their lives will never be the same.

Genre: Family, Drama, Crime

CAST LIST:

911 – 4 – Stephanie Herrera
Lynn – 6 – Sarah Bedford
NARRATION – Brian Carleton
Man/James – 21 – Russell Batcher
Woman/Ann – 15 – Bree Ali
Officer Albert – 2 – Jolly Amaoko

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Interview with Screenwriter Federico Carro (THE KING OF LIGHT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Federico Carro: My script narrates the exploits of a simple crusader named Fedrick, who escaped the war that had to happen between the crusaders and the Fatimids, and finding a mysterious stone in the holy sepulcher breaks it and cataputes it into a parallel world to his own! It no longer has the battle decides to return from its love Isabel to Turin, but this city has become the capital of the forbidden empire of evil for which it is managed by an order of dark gods that dominate the world! Through his exploits to try to find his love again, he ventures into a totally new world full of obstacles, particular people, curses, subterfuge and bizarre beings that ally and clash in his path!

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

My script derived from my second novel as well as the first novel of my Fantasy trilogy called “The king of light”

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

because it is a breathtaking adventure full of actions, dynamism, suspense, complicated scenes, but also highly sought after with ever-increasing improvisations like the adventure that confronts the crusader … the first chapter is limited to the Fantasy but by opening up the question will become more great to leak into a universe totally created by me in a new version never imagined before!

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

particular as breathtaking and unpredictable fantasy script full of actions, complicity in a new world to be discovered

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

Maybe titanic … it is a true story but it makes one think through various vicissitudes and particular events … not by chance has won so many awards and will remain in the overall mind of the people for the masterpiece performed

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

I first started the book for which I worked uninterruptedly for 14 months to build the whole trilogy and to match the whole story, for the script instead I worked for 9 consecutive months

7. How many stories have you written?

for now I wrote a screenplay from my second novel, I have written 4 books for now and I’m writing the fifth one lately! I wrote three novels in both Italian and English, a collection of poems and also published three music albums! The last musical album are represented by soundtracks for my trilogy: “The king of light” for which they were used to create book trailers and for other projects related to my fantasy trilogy!

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

my thoughts have always been centered on nature, not by chance my first novel and the writing of my poems and many other things are also linked in my novels and in my works! So the song: “Earth song” by Michael Jackson I think it is the song most listened to me and that always excites me to listen to it!

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

The biggest obstacle was to see which parts are the most fundamental to put and others to discard! Since the book where the script is from has many more adventures, more situations and explained many more things that, for obvious cinematographic reasons, have not been issued, putting them in the possible spin-offs that I want to finish one day both in books and in the script !

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

I am a versatile artist, so besides being a writer I also composed, sang and arranged three music albums, I am a 3D generalist with the program: “Maya” I am an advertising graphic designer, I like to draw and paint and process other information with photoshop, illustrator and a hip hop dancer … long ago I imitated Michael Jackson in various shows!

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

I must say that the site is one of my favorites that is there is managed beautifully and gives you the official results in real time! It would be great to create such a site with work contests, or prize competitions in general … Filmfreeway is really fantastic

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

My first ever film festival that I ever took part in was this January to which I came first as the best script, after which I won several awards in a few months, selections as a finalist, semi-finalist and other nominations! What influenced me was my determination to show and judge my work to competent people, to which I simply tried to propose my script, winning so many prizes!

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

During the final period of the first Crusade to conquer Jerusalem, a crusader named Fedrick secretly reaches the Holy Sepulchre, finding a mysterious stone. Breaking it by chance, Fedrick frees a wicked entity that makes hin faint and takes him into a parallel world. Having not to think about the battle anymore, the protagonist decides to enter in a world full of pitfalls, characters, events, peculiar and bizzarre twists, maneuvered by an obscure Order of Gods. All this in the effort to reach his greatest love, Isabel, in Turin.

CAST LIST:

Ker – 2 – David Occhipinti
Madilim – 5 – Carrie Schiffler
Narration – Barbara Bergeron
Obscure – 8 – Steve Saet
Fedrick – 4 – Michael Ruhs

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Interview with Screenwriter Eduardo Ramirez (TRAVEL COMPANION)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Eduardo Ramirez: The screenplay is a romantic drama about a couple of men whose lives cross paths when they’re both at the lowest point in life. They develop a friendship, which eventually turns into something more.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Romantic Drama

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

The story explores a side of human relationships that is normally treated as a taboo: a romantic relationship between two men. In these times of increasing intolerance towards the LGBT community, it’s important to produce films that include these type of relationships to hopefully create a more positive view of them in our society.

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

Unconventionally warm.

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

Star Wars Episode IV (37 times)

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

I worked on it for about 6 months but I have made changes since then.

7. How many stories have you written?

I have written several short stories. This is the first full length (feature film) screenplay I’ve written. I am currently working on three new short stories.

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

‘Time After Time’ by Cyndi Lauper.

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

Lack of quiet time in which I can focus and write.

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

Being a film director.

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

My overall experience with FilmFreeway is very positive. I really enjoy submitting material to festivals via their website.

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

I received an invitation. I was really excited after I read the initial feedback.

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Logline: The lives of two men: An unsuccessful writer and a former mixed martial arts champion cross paths when they’re both at the lowest point in life. They develop a friendship that turns into something more.

Genre: LGBT Romance, Drama

CAST LIST:

Gloria – 5 – CASSANDRA GUTHRIE
Julia – 11 – ETHEL ABRAY
NARRATION – TED POWERS
Brian – 19 – JUSTIN DESOUZA
Helen – 11 – OLIVIA BARRETT
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Interview with Screenwriter Anthony DeFoe (SUPERCUT)

Matthew Toffolo: What is your screenplay about?

Anthony DeFoe: Supercut is about a relationship falling apart. It’s told from the perspective of one of the partners as he get’s ready for a major life event he flashes back on the highs and lows of his relationship for the euphoric first moments of falling in love to the bitter conclusion of not being able to hold on to it forever. The title is sort of a double entendre as the script it a giant super cut of some of the relationships most important moments but also sets up the climactic ending.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama, Romance

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

I don’t see a lot of LGBTQ movies that show a gay relationship presented as just any other relationship. While it’s obvious in the movie that it’s gay relationship in the fact that it’s two men. The word is never used and the issues they face are issues any couple (gay or straight) can face.

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

Romantic, emotional

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

Hmm that’s a toss up between Mean Girls and Cruel Intentions

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

I wrote the first pass in a week but have been changing and editing things for several months.

7. How many stories have you written?

I’ve written two pilots – (one of which I got produced) and several episodes of that series.

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

Like A Prayer by Madonna is probably my all time favorite song.it brings back great memories of being a kid. I’ve also been listening Reputation album by Taylor swift constantly for almost two years now. That album resonated.

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

The hardest part was writing the ending and conveying the metaphor that I want the audience to think about.

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

Music – I don’t make my own music but I love finding new songs and listening to the lyrics. The more personal a song is to the artist more into it am.

LGBTQ Film – I volunteer and am involved in the Queer Film festival here in Vancouver. I love seeing our stories up on the screen, even if we don’t relate to all of them it’s just awesome hearing form different voices.

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

It’s been good! It’s very user friendly to use and keeps you informed on upcoming festivals

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

I had been looking for a Canadian LGBTQ screenplay festival to enter and I liked the reviews I saw on it.

The feedback was good, my first round they were unclear about the ending which was something I was worried about so it was good to get that feedback and then work on the ending a bit more.  

Watch the Screenplay Reading: 

Nick a man in his late twenties reflects on his relationship with his partner as he get’s ready for an event. The script uses flashbacks to tell the story of relationship that starts with a beautiful beginning but heads towards a bitter ending.

CAST LIST:

NARRATION – CASSANDRA GUTHRIE
Nick – JUSTIN DESOUZA
Drew – DANIEL JONES

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Interview with Writer/Producer Rana Sowdaey (CAUGHT IN THE SPOKES)

CAUGHT IN THE SPOKES was the winner of BEST FILM at the April 2019 Drama Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Rana Sowdaey: I was motivated to make this film after experience bike theft. Haha!

So my bike was stolen, and it was at the time, a big part of my life… I moved to Vancouver (I’m from Geneva where I was doing an internship after living in Toronto) with just my bike and suitcase. I had one good friend for the first few months so I biked around a lot and explored… I took huge day trips alone on my bike with music in my ears and my camera. After that bike was stolen- I bought a better bike- but it took me a while to get over it… the loss of my teel peugot racing bike. …. Sometimes I double take at other cyclists riding teel colored bikes. But I really like my new bike now. And I have some good friends who’ll ride with me in Vancouver now ( 3 years later).

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?I guess two full years from the idea to the finished film.

2 years.

It was my first film. I did it with the help of some friends in the production program which was parallel to the journalism program I had just graduated from..

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

Quirky and dry.

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

The budget. Making film costs money and I was just out of school so I basically put all that was left of my savings into location rental, equipment rental, insurance, FOOD for crew etc etc: 2.5k. Our DOP chipped in 1k on top of that ( for some more fancy equipment) and our lead actor chipped in another 500 or so for distribution. Their support was huge. Producing a film involves a lot of moving parts and cost money.

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

I was incredibly touched at what the Toronto audience had to say in this video…. so grateful that it was made- thank you again for that!… I haven’t gotten a lot/ any feed back from STRANGERS- I think maybe they got it more than my own friends or family. I felt understood and again – so touched.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Similar to question 1- I got my bike stolen, and it was all I could think about! I actually wrote 5 or 6 different stories, first draft including chase scenes and car accidents…. but that was beyond my budget.

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

Kill Bill 1, Lost in Translation, Space Jam.

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

I think it’s an amazing platform. Specially to new filmmakers- the site gives you a beginners sense of the film distribution world, which is incredible valuable. Now I work for a production company in Vancouver and we also use the site.

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

My music is super varied. Soffi Tukker’s, Hey Lion recently hit the top.

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

I’m currently working on two short films and just finished another short. One short I’m working on is inspired by my experience in the film industry and the relationships I’m encountering from a career perceptive. Although writing is not my strength … producing is! I recently produced another short film with a talented director named Jerome Yoo which was selected my Telefilms Not Short on Talent, and was taken to Cannes. Currently producing another short film for another talented writer named Ben Johnstone. Again I get to do casting, locations scouting, pulling the team together, grant writing on this one, etc.

Besides passion projects I’m working in the industry as Producer’s Assistant and get do work in production, development, marking and distribution.

This was my first film which I wrote and produced just as I was stepping into the film industry. In the last year I’ve connected with some really talented people – including production designers, artists, composers, writers, directors, location managers, etc. With the help of team and insight from some awesome people, the shorts I’m working on are getting better.

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