Interview with the film team of the short film CHRISTINE (Jessica Adler, Kate Montgomery, Stephanie Serra)

CHRISTINE was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

We wanted to tell a story that highlighted the idea that you can be yourself, even if you don’t have words to describe it yet. We wanted to paint an image of a child trying different ways to conform to what they believe is the “right way” of being, so that we could reveal the persistence that may be involved throughout this form of exploration.

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

Draft one was finished February 20th, 2013. The project continued to grow and evolve until it was officially completed on Valentines Day 2016.

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

Be yourself.

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

Casting and rehearsing remotely. We found our Luke, Logan Reinhart, very easily. But for the role of Christine our director, Jessica Adler, ended up utilizing Skype to cast outside of Texas (where the film was shot). Through these Skype auditions we found Jordan Jones who played Christine. Throughout the months leading up to filming Jessica rehearsed with both Logan and Jordan remotely, it was not until the day before our shoot day that the director and the two leads met in person.

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

We found the feedback video to be a very nice gift and a wonderful tool.

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

Our Writer/DP, Kate Montgomery, drew on some of her personal experiences growing up. While Christine’s path diverges from the writer’s experience, the underlying themes of identity and strength are present in both the real life of the writer and in the personal narratives of her character.

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

What a wonderful tool! We found it extremely easy and useful to use. It’s a great way to learn about new and unique festivals.

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

One would have to be “Least of All young Caroline” by Frank Turner. Which, after a re-listen, also speaks to some of the messages in CHRISTINE!

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

Our team works in all parts of the film industry. Kate Montgomery is currently working in NYC as a freelance DP, the most recent project she has shot is a LGBT short called Window Shopping that will be making the festival rounds soon!

Jessica Adler is currently working on a feature script and is developing her next short film. She is living in LA and working on the miniseries One Day She’ll Darken, directed by Patty Jenkins.

Stephanie Serra heads Triserratops Productions an independent film company delivering cinema for and about children. Her short film TADPOLES, a subtitled, foreign film for children (shot in Norway), will be released in the 2018-2019 festival circuit.


CHRISTINE, 10min, USA, LGBT/Coming of Age
Directed by Jessica Adler

With the help of her best friend, Christine redefines her perception of strength and what it means to be herself.

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

christine_movie_poster

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Interview with Filmmaker Stephen Riscica (IT GETS BETTER?)

 IT GETS BETTER? was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Stephen Riscica: I started writing this film almost years ago after learning about Jamey Rodemeyer, a young gay teenager from Buffalo, NY who made an It Gets Better video only to commit suicide only a few short months after. I then started reading other stories about youth who have made these testimonials of hope but weren’t able to battle their own inner demons. It was the juxtaposition of these messages of hope from our youth on YouTube mixed with their tragic fate that inspired me to write this piece.

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

I started writing this six years ago– much of that time it was just sitting on my laptop. I went to a film festival in May of 2016 and was really inspired by what I saw there and decided it’s time to finally get this film made. I started an indiegogo campaign a month later. We had approximately two months of pre-production, two shooting days, and 3 months of post production.

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

Oh that’s a tough one…

I’ve always described my film as an examination in loneliness and a desperate plea to hang on… so maybe “Loneliness Examination” or maybe just “Got Wine?”

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

There was an actor attached initially who I cast because his life story and where he is now reflected what the character is going through in the film. A week before production I was “ghosted.” We held a casting session a few days before shooting and thankfully Gys DeVilliers came in and blew me away– he had me in tears during his audition. It was as if I was hearing my words for the very first time. I knew there was no way I could have gotten such a powerful and haunting performance from the previous actor attached.

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

I appreciated the honesty and candor of the audience. This is the first time I was able to hear what people thought about the film without being physically present. I think the film effects people in different ways, and everyone I’ve shown it to responds differently. I disagree, however, with the gentleman who said the film felt cliche’. I see what he’s saying about how it feels like a play, which most likely has to do with my theater background, but I think it is a film that stands out because of its uniqueness.

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

As I mentioned earlier, the story of Jamey Rodemeyer was the main catalyst in writing this piece. His story made me re-examine my own issues of loneliness and depression. I was also very much inspired by Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, a one act play in which an older man is listening to a audio tape of himself from years back reminiscing about his youth. Instead of a tape recorder we use a laptop and YouTube.

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

The one film that really changed my worldview as a young gay teenager was Pink Flamingos directed by John Waters. As someone who didn’t identify with straight culture or gay culture, this film was really a celebration of individuality for me and taught me that it’s okay not to fit into any sort of category. I would invite friends over to watch double features of Pink Flamingos and Female Trouble and I’d love to watch my friends squirm, but we’d also be laughing our asses off and quoting lines from the film. I also used to be obsessed with Elvira: Mistress of the Dark as a child and Gregg Araki’s The Doom Generation and Nowhere. Recent films I’ve been watching repeatedly lately: Ingmar Bergman’s Cries & Whispers, Jennie Livingston’s Paris is Burning, and David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

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 it’s a great platform. I discovered a lot of festivals I never even knew existed. I like the up to date notifications of when a judging status has changed on your film.

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

Probably something by The Cure– maybe Pictures of You?

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

Still trying to figure that out! I recently helped out on the pilot episode of a new documentary series interviewing pioneering DJ’s and party promoters from the early days of gay nightlife. There is a short story written by a friend of mine I would love to adapt. I’m looking to collaborate with other LGBT screenwriters on future projects!

it_gets_better_5

IT GETS BETTER?, 11min., USA, LGBT/Experimental
Directed by Stephen RiscicaAn older gay man is inspired to record a testimonial after watching a bisexual teenager’s video, assuring him that ‘It Gets Better.’

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

Interview with Filmmaker Jesse Gotfrit (SUNLIGHT OVER WATER)

SUNLIGHT OVER WATER played to rave reviews at the December 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jesse Gotfrit: The story came from a personal place, from formative relationships and experiences of intimacy that I had in my adolescence, which I thought would resonate with others.

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

From start to finish, a period of about 5 months.

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

Character driven.

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

Probably learning about all the technical requirements and also working to get the best performance from my actors.

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

I enjoyed the mixed reviews. The criticisms were as interesting to me as the compliments.

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

I knew I wanted to make a film that was socially conscious, that had some sort of social ideas that it articulated, but I wanted to draw those ideas from my own lived experiences.

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

Probably a film in the Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings series that I binged as a kid.

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

I like it. It gives you access to a broad range of festivals that you might not be aware of otherwise.

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

Honestly probably a Leonard Cohen song, maybe Suzanne because it’s the first on his first record.

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

I have many film projects underway, all related to queer experiences and ideas, as well as some music and writing projects!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

SUNLIGHT OVER WATER, 15min., Canada, LGBT/Drama
Directed by Jesse Gotfrit

High-schooler Merit discovers his sexuality through a tumultuous relationship with his friend Julien.

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

sunlight_over_water_movie_poster

Interview with Director Andrew Galloway (WALLY)

 

Andrew Galloway’s short film “WALLY” was voted BEST CHARACTERS at the LGBT Documentary Film Festival in August 2017.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andrew Galloway: I first met Wally Linebarger as an art teacher at my school. I was in 4th grade and he entered our room pushing his art cart. A man that would become the founder of the art department at our school. That would come in time. At this point however he was simply a man armed only with an artcart and an enthusiasm for teaching. In this first day he appeared a seeming madman leaping from student desk to student desk encouraging, commenting, and guiding each student. So was the introduction.

Years passed. Wally and the art department he lead grew in stature. Gone were his vagabond days where he traveled from classroom to classroom pushing his art cart. He had his own room complete with a photography studio, and his students… why they became contenders, and at time champions, in District and State art competitions. While I was a renaissance man, my extra-circular activities of athletics and Theater prevented me from having him as a teacher.

Wally was a constant figure to be seen around our school. He did not hesitate to offer his time or lend an ear. For many, Wally may have acted as confidant. Others may have sought him out for encouragement, or guidance. Regardless of what it was for, Wally would not hesitate to led an ear or share with his students. This seemed especially true with my class.

After I graduated from the University of Texas I went back to Trinity to visit some of my teachers. I was able to find them all except for one: Wally Linebarger. When I asked the front desk where Wally Linebarger was, they merely turned their heads and mumbled that he didn’t work there anymore. They wouldn’t tell me why. It was not until years later at a reunion that I found out what had happened to Wally Linebarger and his family. Shocked at the injustice of what had happened to one of my favorite teachers I began a Facebook correspondence. The relationship of Teacher and student grew into one of friends. When I began my M.F.A. in Documentary Production and Studies at the University of North Texas I knew that I had to film his story.

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

In total, my project took about four weeks to shoot and about four months to edit.

The week of Thanksgiving was when my project began. I heard that his daughters, who resided in New York City and Los Angeles, would be gathered at their Mothers house for the Holiday and I was able to interview them all. Though they only knew me as little more than an acquaintance, somehow I was able to earn their trust. Either it was that, or they had decided that it was time to give air to the pain, the joys, and the sadness that the memories contained. I say this because they admitted after their interviews that they did not talk about this topic and all were surprised by their sisters reactions. It was so good in fact that I knew that their interviews would be the core of my film. Two days later I was able to travel to Jefferson City, Missouri to do location scouting for my documentary filming that would take place in two weeks. At that time I recorded him on audio and asked him questions about his firing and his reflections on the experience for him and his family. I did not tell him nor did he know what his daughters had said. When I shot the documentary proper, I had threae weeks to shoot which consisted of about one week in Dallas and two weeks in Jefferson City.

The true labor would lie in the post production work. I had to scan and prepare photos from the past. I wrote transcripts of the interviews and wove them into a skeleton that my documentary would arise from.

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

Bittersweet life

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

Biggest obstacle? Let’s see, I had many things that could be considered obstacles during the making of this film. Beyond the limited funds and impossible dreams common to every filmmaker, I did face some unique constraints. I had shooting locations in two different states. I arrived in Jefferson City, Missouri to find that my subject hesitant to talk about the relationship between he and him and his daughters. The last day of my shooting was two days before Christmas so my crew was understandably anxious to home with their family, But with each obstacle faced, I knew that I had to continue to press forward regardless.

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

I truly enjoyed hearing the critiques of the audience members. Just like the documentary Wally, their commentary served to provoke thought at times and evoke emotion at others. One thing I found to be an excellent compliment on my editing skill was the audience member who believed that I had shown Wally commentary on his daughters interviews was prompted by his listening to their answers. This was not the case. I interviewed both Wally and his daughters separately then cut the interviews together. Not only was this comment a testament to my skill as an editor, but more importantly it revealed the sympatico relationship between a loving father and his daughters

WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film:

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

The story itself was one that cried to be told. As documentary is at its base story, I felt that this was an exceptionally strong narrative.

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

I think that Filmfreeway is an exceptional platform for film makers to submit their work to festivals.

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

This would have to be a toss up between Secret World and Blood of Eden by Peter Gabriel.

What is next for you? A new film?

The next film I worked on was The Eviction, a story about the forced removal of a homeless enclave in Dallas, Texas named “Tent City.” Beyond focusing on the reality of homelessness, I also gave attention to a group that is attempting to rectify the social reality of homelessness by buiilding homes to house them. I also am working on a documentary about rural homelessness, the craft beer industry, and a story about a 74 year old man who made contact with his 95 year old birth mother who agreed to meet. After a lifetime of not knowing what happened to the other, the two meet. This has been given the working title: The Chosen Baby. Updates to all of my work can be found at http://www.andydocs.com . Any questions can be sent to andy@andydocs.com.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director Zsolti Szabo (SHAPING SCARS)

Short Film “SHAPING SCARS” played to rave reviews at the June 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Short Film Festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Zsolti Szabo: ‘Shaping Scars’ was inspired by a personal relationship I had in the past, as well as by the experiences of the Poet Fern Angel Beattie and Composer Christopher J. Ward, their past relationships equally influenced the spoken word and music they created for this film.

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

I first discussed the concept with the Poet Fern in Spring 2015 and the film premiered in an intimate setting of my 30th birthday party on 5th December 2016.

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

Dancing Pain

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

This film was my debut as a Director and Producer on a larger scale. I knew I had the organisational skills to see through the process but because I didn’t go the film school and didn’t have years of experience I had to fight a lot of self-doubt. I wanted to show my creative side, be a good Director, create something that moves people at the core and leaves them in tears. It was somewhat frightening experience because this film was my way to process a painful separation, and I thought whatever feedback it will get that’s also a judgement on my personal feelings. Fortunately over time the project became less about who I was in my past relationship but more about who I have become as a Filmmaker.

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

I was in tears. This was our worldwide premiere on big screen and the first time to hear feedback directly from the audience. The comments were deeply moving and validating.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was going through a break-up in 2012 and in the aftermath I started to see images rolling in front of my eyes but not really knowing what to do with them. Later on this happened a few more times and I came to the conclusion that I have to extract these images from my head, to let them come to life. It was the first time I started to look at filmmaking as a new career path.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Constantine with Keanu Reeves – love the mystical concept how good and evil has to battle it out for every soul.

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

Bliss – Breath (from a Cafe Del Mar album) – it’s on loop when I mediate.

What is next for you? A new film?

I’ve just started my own film production business Pulie Productions to operate between London and Hungary (where I’m originally from). I’ve been working in offices far too long, now I want to travel, meet with new creative people and have more freedom. I might have 2 more dance films in the pipeline too…

 

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with director Erez Eisenstein (HOW TO BE ALONE)

Short Film “HOW TO BE ALONE” played to rave reviews at the June 2017 LGBT FEEDBACK Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erez Eisenstein: “How to be Alone” was my final project as a film student in Tel Aviv University. When the time came for me to start working on my final project I decided that my script will be an adaptaion of a shorty story. The main reason I made this decision was a previous project of mine that I was very pleased with – a modern adaptaion of “Romeo and Juliet”, which acctualy was the project that got me in the film production program in the first place. And as it turned out, the actress I casted to play Juliet was also the lead in “How to be Alone”…

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

So long… The earliest draft I could find is dated April 29th 2010. February 27th 2012 was the very first day of shooting. The official completion date of the film is November 26th 2015, and the official release date is April 16th 2016.

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

I wouldn’t… Sorry, I Just can’t do it… However, previous film festivals I’ve sent my film to have described it as “wonderful and intellectual” and “thought-provoking”, so I will leave it to you to decide which description is better.

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

Oh, there were so many… I’m so glad that part is over and done with, and now it’s time to just sit back and enjoy the finished product.

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

I was smiling the whole time.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Back to the Future.

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

I have absulotly no idea… An israli artist, most likely.

What is next for you? A new film?

I sure hope so.

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto twice a month, and every other month in Los Angeles. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.