Interview with Filmmaker Kurtis Theorin (MARY & MARSHA IN THE MANOR OF MADNESS)

MARY & MARSHA IN THE MANOR OF MADNESS played to rave reviews at the May 2018 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.
 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kurtis Theorin: Kris, the animator/director, wanted to do a project where he could learn 2D animation. He had a final project due for one of his college classes so we figured that would be good deadline to motivate himself to go out and make something.

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

The idea phase went through many, many iterations before we got something we liked and was feasible. Kris then did most of the animation in a very busy week and a half period in order to meet his class deadline. After that we did some revisions which took another week.

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

Lovecraft Scooby-doo

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

Making sure everyone understood a somewhat complicated story in a short amount of time without dialogue took a lot of careful planning and creativity, but I think we finally go it.

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

“Oh, thank god they like it. I actually have some idea about how to make good films and am not a fraud.”

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

Kris and I both like the Lovecraft setting so that was a good genre to think about. There is a Lovecraft board game called Mansions of Madness where you play characters exploring a spooky mansion hiding a dark secret. This seemed like a good framework to start with. The premise of a character rescuing their girlfriend provided good motivation for the characters to propel the story forward. Finally, since we were doing 2d animation I thought it might be interesting having the film occur in a 2d sidescrolling perspective, similar to video games like Mario or Castlevania, while everything was running around and going haywire. This made the animation side of production similar and also gave the film a sense of ruckus and momentum that I really wanted.

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

As a kid I watched Return of the Jedi 100 times. Nowadays I have The Third Man memorized.

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

It is an incredibly convenient platform. In terms of platforms acting on what they set out to do, it is in the top ten.

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

According to my iTunes it is the main theme from the anime show Baccano! I’ve also probably heard Bohemian Rhapsody over 300 times.

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

We are in various stages of production on a couple of short films. We are also continuing our commercial business of making branded content on social media for toy companies like LEGO and Mattel.

 

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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with director Kurtis Theorin (ENCORE)

Kurtis Theorin’s short film “ENCORE” played to rave reviews at the December 2016 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival. It was the winner of “Best Music” at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Kurtis Theorin: We wanted to stretch ourselves and create something that felt unique. We had done projects for a line of YouTube star toys. We had also watched the reality show about making movies called The Chair. It featured a YouTube star who talked about how he could be swarmed by rabid fans at a convention but not be recognized going down the street. It’s an interesting world that hasn’t been explored that much in films.

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

KT: A little over a year. The first draft came up in the summer. I started revising around December. We did pre-production and script revisions up until the three days we shot it in April. We edited it in-between other projects until we finally got it done in August.

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

KT: Youtube Coming-of-age (if I am allowed to hyphenate)

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

KT: Surprisingly getting the script right was what caused the most problems. There was a lot of debate between us about what elements worked and what didn’t. We went through a lot of drafts. The rest of the process involved a lot of hard work but no unexpected curveballs or difficult obstacles. It’s amazing how much people are willing to help you if you act professional and are polite.

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

KT: Intense relief. This is one of the first pieces of non-acquaintance feedback we have gotten. It was so great to see that people liked it. We were happy that the music and acting was as good as we thought it was. I was also really happy to see that it got people thinking about what it’s like growing into adulthood in the age of YouTube stars and social media.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO of the short film:

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

KT: Nik came up with the idea after seeing a YouTube Star giving a livestream tour of her and her girlfriend’s new apartment.

MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?

KT: I think I watched The Return of the Jedi about a hundred times as a kid. More recently would probably be The Third Man. To quote Roger Ebert: “No film better captures the romance of going to the movies.”

MT: What is next for you? A new film?

KT: We are still submitting this film to festivals and Kris has recently made a short animated horror film. We’ve been doing some commercial projects as well that have taken up a lot of our time but we expect to make another film in the near future. I am playing around with a story about a schoolgirl prone to violent fits of rage dealing with her friend’s crush on her.
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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.