Interview with Filmmaker Alana de Freitas (NANCY)

NANCY played to rave reviews at the July 2020 LGBT Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Alana de Freitas: A festival deadline motivated me, but what made me want to tell this story was that the relationship between a father and son. Some men struggle with the concept that homosexuality and masculinity are not mutually exclusive. The father finds this very confusing and is forced to go on his own emotional journey where he examines his own ingrained thoughts and behaviors. I wanted to hold a mirror up to the audience. If you can recognize yourself in a character and see room for growth, that would be my hope.

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

The film was turned around pretty quickly. Probably within a month. It was a last minute submission for a festival that my acting school (at the time) was holding. I did make some tweaks to the edit after that, which didn’t take long. The longest part of the process was liaising with record companies about getting the rights to the closing track. That took a few months more, but the film was ready and waiting aside from that.

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

Honest & eye-opening. Is that cheating?

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

Financing. Finding money for short films is always difficult because recoupment opportunities are limited. Everything else was pretty seamless. I already had pre-existing relationships with the cast, so there was a familiarity that made things easy on set. We had a very small crew, so we all worked very closely together. It was a great team!

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

I love seeing people have enjoyed the film, or been emotionally affected by it. I can tell when someone really connects with it, because this is a very personal experience that many people have encountered in their life.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It’s not a new idea. We have seen a kid coming out to his parents before. But we rarely see it from the parent’s perspective. That was what I found interesting. What’s the emotional journey that a parent goes through when they are completely blindsided by something. Especially the type of person who is not entirely woke.

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

I’m generally drawn to drama. I like to be affected by a story or a performance. I’m there for the art of it.

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

It’s very user friendly, but the best thing about it is that I can manage all my festival submissions on the one dashboard. I have all the notification dates in one place, all the festival dates. Makes it very easy to keep track of everything.

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

I have no idea. I don’t know that there would be any one song. And I listen to such a variety of music. I love music from the seventies though.

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

So many things! Unfortunately, due to COVID19, everything is on hold at the moment. But I have a horror feature screenplay I wrote that I’m ready to start pitching. I have a #metoo themed documentary in development. I have some other exciting projects that I can’t talk about just yet because I’m still finalizing contracts, but I should be able to announce very soon. Watch this space!

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Interview with Filmmaker Sophie Francey (BECOMING______)

BECOMING_____ played to rave reviews at the June 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sophie Francey: I am a graduate student at Texas State University, and in my first semester we were asked to make a documentary for our final project in my digital storytelling class. I had always wanted to go to grad school for about seven years, but it was never the right time. When I got accepted in 2019, it was a dream come true. In my first semester, a professor of mine, Dr. Haigh, made us choose a “beat” (meaning a topic) to write a series of stories on. Since this was a dream of mine that I had waited a really long time to achieve, I wanted to make sure everything I did in grad school had meaning to it. I am a part of the LGBTQIA+ community (I identify as pansexual) and I realized that I could not only learn a lot but also shed some light on the community. While researching topics I could cover, I attended a, what I thought was a LGBTQIA+ community organization, meeting to get more awareness on the issues in the San Antonio community. When the meeting had finally started, I realized that it was actually a private transgender support group and that I had misread the website. I was sitting in the front and didn’t want to cause a disruption by leaving so I stayed and listened to the stories of the community members. I was so incredibly moved by the stories by the members in the group. I realized that I, too, did not know enough or show enough support to my transgender brothers and sisters. That is when I knew that I needed to cover my beat stories and do my documentary on the transgender community. Through this group and many others, I had met a lot more people who identified as transgendered. I interviewed them for my beat topic stories and then asked if I could interview them for my documentary. A lot of them said no because it was a tough topic to go on video to talk about. My cousin’s fiancé, Jax, is a transgender influencer and I asked if he would be willing to tell his story after getting so many nos, I was surprised that he agreed. After doing a ton of research and doing this interview, transgender awareness is something that I will support and be active about for the rest of my life. There is actually so much adversity that transgender people face in so many different facets. Between healthcare, career, tv & pop culture, salaries, and much more. I would ask those who are interested in learning more to go to the GLAAD website and search transgendered facts. If you are transgendered and reading this, please know that you are loved and supported. And for cisgender people who are interested in learning more, talk to your transgender brothers and sisters because one of the biggest things I have learned is that the transgender community want to have conversations to bring awareness. They are some of the most loving and kind people I have ever met in my life.

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

I had approximately six weeks to execute this documentary on top of a full-time job and full-time grad school. I would have loved to make it longer but due to time constraints, we had to cap it at nine minutes. I think this film could be a full-length feature film.

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

Purposeful awareness.

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

I don’t want to call it an obstacle but being very sensitive on how to tell this story that did the transgender community proud was the most important thing for me. If it did not support the transgender community in the right way, then that would be heartbreaking. There were a few moments that we needed to take a break for Jax because some of the topics were very hard to talk about. My heart broke seeing this because I had no idea some of the things he had endured. And it was my job to make sure he felt comfortable and loved. So during those moments, I would just riff with Jax and those are a lot of the moments you see in the documentary. Something that Allie told me that means so much to me to this day was that when she saw how I worked with Jax through those tough moments she said that I was meant to be a producer because I knew how to empathize with him.

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

Tears. Honestly. I sent the video to Jax & Allie about halfway through watching the reviews and forewarned them that there may be tears. I was overwhelmed with the love and support for Jax.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

When I learned that Transgendered Day of Remembrance via the support group was November 20th and the due date for my documentary was November 21st, I really wanted to honor the community by making my documentary for that day. I had also learned that a lot of the transgender people remembered on this day are transgender women of color. This lit a fire in my soul like no other. Our black transgender brother and sisters need our support and need our voice for them now more than ever. Black Trans Lives Matter.

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

As silly as this may sound, I really love teenage/young 20s trying to figure it out type alternative films like Juno and Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. But I also love watching documentaries. Since being quarantined I have actually been rewatching ALL of RuPaul’s Drag Race. So that has kept me pretty busy in the last few months as there are about 30 seasons.

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

This was my first time submitting a film to anything, so I felt the site was easy to use and provided me an opportunity to submit this film to many festivals.

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

This is a hard question to answer as I really do love all types of music. Anything from alternative to country to rap to 80’s dance to house mix mashups. The most recent song I have been blaring is So Emotional by Whitney Houston.

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

Now that I have found a passion of creating documentaries, that is what I have shifted my studies to in grad school and will continue to make more. You can find some of the other mini-documentaries I have made since Becoming ______ on my website http://www.sophiemariah.com.

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Interview with Filmmaker Dara Bratt (I THINK I’LL MAKE IT)

I THINK I’LL MAKE IT played to rave reviews at the June 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Dara Bratt: I met Kat in one of her fitness classes and really loved her boisterous energy, and her relentless passion. When she mentioned she had written a memoir, “I Think I’ll Make It,” I was curious to check it out. I didn’t know the story yet but I knew I had found a compelling subject.

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

I would say it took two years. There was a lot of stop and go with the edit due to everyone’s schedules so we had to be a little flexible.

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

Inspiring resilience

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

Finding the hook and climax for the film, since so much of the story existed in the past. We didn’t know Kat would get divorced during this process!

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

It was so great to hear all the comments. I loved hearing that they saw Kat’s strength found her inspiring.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I first read Kat’s memoir “I Think I’ll Make It” and knew there was a story there.

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

Bleu

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

I think it helps streamline the process and makes the process of applying to film festivals very efficient.

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

Groove is in the Heart

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

I really hope it’s a new film. I have a few I’ve been working on for a long time. Though after watching the feedback, perhaps it’s making this into the feature!

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Interview with Filmmaker Matt Mahmood-Ogston (MY GOD I’M QUEER)

MY GOD I’M QUEER played to rave reviews at the June 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Matt Mahmood-Ogston: On 30th July, 2014, my fiancé, my partner in everything, and eternal soulmate Naz (Dr Nazim Mahmood) sadly took his own life, two days after his religious family confronted him about his sexuality. It was the first time they had heard about our 13-year relationship and our plans to marry. They told Naz to go to a psychiatrist to be ‘cured’. They treated him like a disease that needed to be got rid of.

The day after Naz passed away I was told by his family that he was living in ‘sin’ because of their religious beliefs. In the same breath I was also told that I was living in ‘sin’ because of ‘my religion’. They told me not to tell anyone that Naz ‘liked men’ as it would bring ‘shame’ on their family. Out of respect I followed their wishes, until it reached a point and I decided I could not sit back and let this happen to anyone else ever again.

Our film, My God, I’m Queer was produced in 2019 with a goal of being screened for the first time at a large event in London to mark 5 years since my darling Naz passed away. The goal was to ensure that Naz would never be forgotten, and his life would help others to never experience the same pain and rejection that he went through.


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

The first scenes were actually filmed over two years ago, but they were filmed long before we had any solid plans for making this particular film. I’d actually known for the last four years that I wanted to make a film…. But I lacked confidence and did not believe I had what it takes to make a film. And then I met my Producer Meera in December 2018 on the way to a Christmas party. We both wanted to make our first documentary – so we agreed to make the film together. The rest is history!

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

My God!

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

This was a deeply personal and emotionally challenging journey for me personally. And I know I wouldn’t have been able to complete this film without rockstar Producer like Meera. Other than emotion, probably the biggest challenge was learning how to make a film, while making a film. I barely knew how to use my camera when we first started filming!

We were blessed with an incredible group of contributors who all spent so much time and energy to help make the film a success.

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

We were smiling inside and felt proud of ourselves. To hear reactions from complete strangers who not only watched our film, but who had understood and could articulate some of the many intense struggles that our contributors, and my late fiancé had experienced.

The format and platform provided by the LGBT Feedback Festival organizers has been truly nourishing and rewarding for us two first time filmmakers.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I knew that I wanted to make a film to be screened on 30th July 2019 – five years since my fiancé Naz passed away. But it was so important that the film would not be perceived as a memorial film. It needed to be a film that could be used as a tool to help inspire others to be themselves, and to live their lives freely and openly. I was hugely inspired by the creative work of artist Yann Arthus-Bertrand who so beautifully captures the human spirit on film.

We wanted our film to feel like an ‘experience’, where our audience could escape too… and when the journey of the film was over we wanted our audience to feel moved, inspired, uplifted and optimistic about their own future.

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

True Romance, or Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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

Pretty amazing. Once we had got our head around how the process works, and made our first few mistakes, the experience was all uphill after that. It’s truly incredible that this one site has the power to create life-changing opportunities and connect new and experienced filmmakers to audiences all around the world.

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

Say Something (I’m sorry I couldn’t get to you) – ft. Christina Aguilera

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

My God, Im Queer – this is the first episode of our anthology. Once this film is available publicly we will then start releasing a series of shorter films, each focusing more in-depth on the lives of each of our contributors.

Meera and I met for the first time at the beginning of this project. Along this journey we became friends, and we now call each other family. We are looking forward to start filming together again on a new project. We’re already working on two new documentary ideas. One project proposal has been well received by the documentary department at one of the UK’s largest newspapers. So fingers crossed, when filming restrictions are lifted we can begin filming again!

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Interview with Filmmaker Fehmi Öztürk (FREE FUN)

FREE FUN was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the LGBT Feedback Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Fehmi Öztürk: Seeing the difference between people’s reality in social life and their own reality led me to make this film.

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

It took almost 20 days within everything. Me and my team are shooting TV series that last 120 minutes per episode for every week in Turkey. Therefore it was very comfortable for us to get organized. We did not spend time finding funds because we did our own production by ourselves. Our preparation took almost 1 week, and our shooting was 1 day. Post production last about 10 days. We know it sounds like impossible. Some people who live in outside of the Turkey couldn’t believe that we shot this short film in one day. However, it is possible for us because of working conditions in Turkish Tv World. In Turkey we are shooting almost 20 pages of script on a normal set day.That’s why one day was enough for us to shoot.

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

glorious lies

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

My biggest obstacle was me. Free Fun is my first movie. I couldn’t sleep because of excitement the day before shooting so I had to go to set without sleep. On the set I felt heart-throb because of sleeplessness and excitement.Therefore I had to go to the hospital. My heartbeat returned to normal but the doctor said we cannot discharge you from the hospital.It was a decision moment for me, either I stay in the hospital and not complete the film, or I would convince the doctor, be discharged and complete the film. Of course, I convinced the doctor. We lost 4 hours because of me, but in the end we finished that day.

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

I was very excited, people who lived far from where I lived and who lived where I had never been, were talking about my movie with excitement. I remembered my excitement when I first explained my dream to my close friends. It is very nice to be understood and perceived in another part of the world and witness it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

we have many roles in daily life, like being a mother, being a father, being a child.. All of them have a social games and rules, and these roles take place within these rules.

A question got stuck in my mind. What is the truth of man? Is it a social game or the game itself? Looking for answers to these questions I set up this story

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

There are a lot of movies I’ve watched over and over, but I’m not sure which one I watched the most. I can say all the films of Wong Kar Wai, especially Happy Together and 2046

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

This is a comfortable platform especially for short filmmakers. We can search according to our needs, everything is very regular, we can easily apply. we don’t need to enter our information over and over again. we can be aware of every festival. this is a very comfortable space.

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

I think this is the hardest question. My musical taste changes according to my mood. Just looked at my music list, I have listened to the song “The day before you came” from Abba so far

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

The shooting of my second movie is over. I am currently interested in post production. I worked on the concept of “father” in my first film “Free Fun”, and I tried to deal with the concept of “mother” in my second film. I love Bergman’s “Autumn Sonata“ movie. The problematic relationship between the mother and daughter there was my reference point. I really wanted to have a girl revenge on her mother in the film. I made the movie “a mother’s sonata” with this desire for revenge.

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Interview with Filmmaker Erik Dronberger (FACE THE CANNONBALL)

FACE THE CANNONBALL played to rave reviews at the June 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erik Dronberger: Friends of the LGTBQ community, I wanted to share an experience that people could relate to, so people know they aren’t alone.

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

– About a year for the idea to develop into the finished product, most of which was spent writing.

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

– Courageous banter.

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

– Discovering Donnie as a character and bringing him to life.

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

– I was astounded and delighted. I wasn’t expecting such positive feedback, it felt great knowing that people connected with Donnie.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

– I imagined a cruel experience for Donnie and how he might reflect on it.

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

– The Holy Mountain

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

– I was happy to get into the festival, so it worked out for me.

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

– Grateful Dead – Ramble on Rose

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

– I have a couple of films I want to make: one is about a homeless musician, and the other is a bit lighter and is about a marriage proposal gone terribly wrong.

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Interview with Filmmaker Jake Michael Shannon (SAMMY THE SALMON)

SAMMY THE SALMON played to rave reviews at the April 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jake Michael Shannon: We made this film during the Australian plebiscite vote for same-sex marriage. During this time there were a lot of negative messages in the media coming from both sides of the argument. What I wanted to do, was to create a story that humanised the issue in a comedic, lighthearted way.

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

I wrote the first draft of the script years before we began production. But when we found out the plebiscite, we thought that it was the prefect time to dust of the idea and bring it to life. From that point on it was incredibly quick. We had three weeks in pre-production, three days shooting, and three weeks in post-production.

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

Jovially absurd.

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

Trying to get the salmon to talk was an interesting challenge. What we managed to do was a mix of practical and visual effects. I attached a green pole to the bottom of the salmon’s mouth, then I would move the pole in time with the actor’s voice-over. In post-production we took the pole out of the image so it looks like it’s talking on its own.

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

I felt like my heart was about to explode. Almost bringing me to tears, it was wonderful to hear people connecting with the film. It really meant a lot to me. Thank you.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was on my computer late at night. I found myself on a deep-dive of Wikipedia, and ended up on a page that had a list of all the animals that exhibited same-sex relations. Much to my surprise, salmon not only engage in same-sex relationships, but can change their gender. I found this incredibly interesting, and what’s worth noting is that as humans, we impose these things with unnecessary social baggage, compared to the animal kingdom where they are completely amoral and natural. I found this fact about salmon both absurd and insightful, as we could learn a lot from salmon as a species.

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

I’d say it would be Jurassic Park. I think I wore out two VHS tapes back in the 90’s.

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

I think its a wonderfully streamlined platform that makes the process much easier on the submitter. I really like it.

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

Solitude is Bliss – Tame Impala

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

I have a film that is coming to the end of its festival run. I have just finished a another film, which is about to enter the festival circuit, and I’ve begun writing on another project.

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Interview with Filmmaker Sergey Vlasov (SOBA-CHAN’S MORNING)

SOBA-CHAN’S MORNING played to rave reviews at the April 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sergey Vlasov: The motivation for the film was the old script I had and finally decided to make. There was a festival in Japan that I wanted to participate in, so I chose this script as it was sharp and simple.

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

From the moment my friends told about the festival and I decided to make the short to take part in the festival, to the completion of the film it took three weeks.

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

That’s a hard one…
Routine uncertainty…may be…

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

The production went so smoothly. I cannot believe I could make a film in 3 weeks. My previous films took me 6-12 months. So no obstacles whatsoever for this one. )))

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

It was soooooo heart-warming. People understand it, people enjoy it and people will remember it. I have to say this is the best reward.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I just head this idea of the triangle, and I thought what would happen if I change the lover for a girl (in original script it was a man). I did it and I liked the new vibes of the film.

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

Eeeemmm… It might sound strange but it is Robocop (1987) I saw it more than 300 times.

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

Filmfreeway is the best platform. The design, the interface… It’s just out of a competition.

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

Emmm… probably Who wants to live forever by Queen.

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

I have already filmed another 5 minutes short and now writing my first feature.

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Interview with Filmmaker Matthew Richardson (HALLELUJAH)

HALLELUJAH was voted BEST FILM at the LGBT Feedback Film Festival in April 2020.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Matthew Richardson: I experimented once before with combining circus arts and LGBTQ issues through film, and the response and support was so incredible that I wanted to create more. So I began brainstorming different concepts. While I was visiting LA one summer, I was shocked by how many protestors at LA pride were using their faith as a means to spread hate. The protest signs they used and things they said were unbelievable to me, and I couldn’t get the experience off of my mind. The idea of someone using their own faith, to make others feel terrible seems so backwards and I wanted to create something in response to this. The idea for the film came pretty quickly after that experience.

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

About 9 months.

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

Gentle. Reflective.

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

Honestly the entire project was smooth sailing. It was surprisingly easy once things started moving.

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

It was really moving for me to see honest reactions from the viewers. It gave me an overwhelming feeling of gratitude, and appreciation that my work meant something to these individuals. To see genuine feedback that was so positive and supportive, meant the world to me that day.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I was at the airport in Montreal, when the idea came to me. I knew the two artists I wanted to use for the acrobatics, and knew that I wanted to address religion and the way it affects the LGBTQ community. Just with that concept alone, there’s so much that can be said. The isolation and rejection we feel from organized religion can be so damaging. And I wanted to give a gentle response to those who don’t understand what that must feel like for us. So while I was thinking about this in the airport, the idea developed quickly. Of course it evolved over time, but the initial idea struck very quickly. And then I began contacting the team I work with to start the process.

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

Dracula Dead and Loving It. lol.

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

I had a great experience, with no complaints.

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

Arrow by The Irrepressibles.

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

Yes I have 2 new film projects in the works! The situation with Coronavirus has delayed things, but they are coming eventually!

Interview with Filmmaker Hailey Abernathy (FLOOD)

FLOOD was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the April 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Hailey Abernathy: This film was motivated by personal experience…not necessarily with my family but just something I generally witnessed living in southeastern United States. I felt that other people needed to see what this type of behavior does to a person and possibly even sympathize (empathize?) with an LGBTQ+ character.

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

It took me a while to get the idea to paper, but once I did, it only took a few weeks to complete the script. Raghav, the DP, Sun, 1st AD, and I only had about a month left of living together once the script was finished, as we were currently all living and working together at the time. Our (semi) final day of shooting was actually our final full day of living in Boston together before we all went back home.

Filming took two weekends but the toughest part was editing, since we were no longer together. We also had to reshoot the outdoor baptism scene because our first attempt was a complete failure. All in all it took about a year to finish.

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

personal, powerful

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

Our biggest obstacle was definitely filming the outdoor baptism scene. Raghav, Caroline, the lead actress, and I drove to Virginia from Boston to shoot this scene around this time of year and tried to shoot it in the Atlantic Ocean…yeah that didn’t work out. So eventually the scene had to be shot in a lake in Georgia in August but I wasn’t even there for it! Caroline and Raghav happened to both be there along with some other trusted filmmakers, and they were able to get it done. Side note, I trust Raghav with my life so this wasn’t a problem for me.

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

I was nervous to hear what they had to say but the more I watched it, the more confident I felt. I really enjoyed getting the feedback.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The idea really came from experiences I saw around me. I wanted people to be able to feel for a character that maybe they wouldn’t traditionally feel for. And I didn’t want to tell the age old story of coming out, parents don’t support but child eventually finds happiness because that’s not always the way life works and I wanted people to know this. I want others to understand that a family’s disapproval can destroy someone’s life inside and out.

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

Star Wars Episode IV…if we’re being honest.

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

I like FilmFreeway for the most part because it saves me the trouble of going through website after website after website. However, it can be overwhelming and sometimes hard to find the best festival for each unique project.

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

Wow, I am going to probably be cliche here because I just really don’t have an answer to that one 😦 Raghav and Sun would DEFINITELY have great answers to this question.

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

I wrote another LGBT short and was supposed to shoot it on March 28 and 29 but sadly, that was not possible due to coronavirus. We still have our actors lined up and most of our locations, but we have no idea when we will be able to get back to normal (just like everyone else). I am very confident in the script (WAY more confident than I felt about Flood) so I am excited to see where it goes.
Raghav just wrapped shooting on a short called “Impersonal” which I think will be phenomenal. He was DP for that film, as well.

Raghav and Sun are both such incredible, creative people and I know whatever is next for them will be beyond amazing. I’m hoping we all get out of this mess soon so I can see them SHINE.

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