Interview with Animator/Filmmaker Brian Giovanni (WHEN COMES THE RAIN)

 WHEN COMES THE RAIN played to rave reviews at the May 2018 FEEDBACK Film Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Brian Giovanni: I was taking an online animation class taught by Bill Plympton. The assignment was to produce a short film throughout the class, and this is the film I had created. As for motivational factors, getting the film made and completed in time for the class deadlines was certainly a factor, but the larger appeal was simply having the chance to work with Bill and getting his creative input and guidance along the way. I’ve been a huge fan and admirer of his work for years, so the opportunity to do this project and see it through to completion was especially exciting.

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

The class itself was 2 months, and then I spent another month fine tuning some extra details to get it festival-ready.. So in total 3 months.

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

‘Misplaced Ambition’ seems appropriate.

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

For my animation projects, I typically do most, if not all of the work on my own. In this particular film, I did it all (story, animatics, full animation, music, editing, sound, VFX, etc..). Being a one-man-show has its challenges, and it’s certainly time-consuming, since you’re carrying all of that workload by yourself. But at the end of the day, it does have its advantages. Being responsible for every aspect of what the audience is seeing and hearing on screen – it can be quite empowering as well.

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

It was fun seeing the various impressions people received, and the artistic details that resonated with them. You never know how someone might interpret your work, and allowing others to see it in their own way and share that impression back with you can be quite insightful. Also, getting out of ‘isolated creation mode’ and into the world of actually sharing it with other people is always a welcome treat.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

One of my on-going animation outlets is submitting to LoopdeLoop – an Australian-based animation collective that hosts bi-monthly festivals of looping animations / GIFs, set to a given theme. They have screening cities all over the world (even here in LA!) and the loops can range from a few seconds to a few minutes, from narrative to experimental. One such theme a few years back was ‘Ritual’ and I immediately had this idea of birds doing a ritualistic rain dance to fill a birdbath. Later on, the idea became too extensive to complete in time, so I tabled it, and went with another idea instead. Then when the class with Bill Plympton came about, I brought it back, and it became the perfect fit for this assignment.

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

Probably a two-way tie between Tim Burton’s ‘Pee Wee’s Big Adventure’ and Warren Beatty’s ‘Dick Tracy’ – two childhood staples that I watched endlessly in my youth. Today, I could probably still watch them over and over…

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

It’s great! The process is incredibly streamlined to not only submit your film to a wide collection of festivals at one time, but it also helps in the overall research process. Looking for the right kind of festivals for one particular film can be fairly time consuming. Their platform makes it easy to find the right kind of setting or audience that you’re looking for.

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

Probably ‘Mack the Knife’ by Bobby Darin. It’s become my go-to song for karaoke!

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

Yes, there’s always a new film on the horizon! Giving ‘When Comes the Rain’ a pretty decent festival run seems to be turning into its own full-time job these days, but I have three other short films in various stages of production at the moment. Never short on things to do!

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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 Screenwriter Bo Liebman ((A) UTOMATED (I)IRRITATION)

 (A) UTOMATED (I)IRRITATION played to great reviews at the May 2018 Comedy Feedbaack Film Festival in Los Angeles.

 1. What motivated you to make this film?

A friend had asked me to contribute a short for an anthology series he wanted to do about artificial intelligence. Knowing that most people take a dark, dramatic approach to AI, looking at the world-changing ramifications it could have (ie: Terminator), I wanted to take a different approach and see how it would effect smaller, mundane aspects of life in a comedic setting. The script I wrote was a little too far off from my friend’s vision for his series, so I decided to move forward with the script and get it made myself.

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

Overall the film took around a year to complete – 1 day for filming, and then the rest of the year for editing, voice overs and VFX.

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

Satirical Sci-Fi

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

Getting it edited – we didn’t have a lot of money for post, and our original editor took forever and eventually had an accident with his equipment, so we needed to start over with a new editor.

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

It was exciting to hear such positive responses from people who I had never met. It showed me that the film really spoke to people and that the themes came across (and that some people found nuances in it that I didn’t notice myself).

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

As mentioned above in question 1, I had wanted to take a completely alternative look at what kind of future artificial intelligence may bring us, and see how it could complicate even the simplest of daily tasks (like making breakfast). I’m sure I had the animated film The Brave Little Toaster in the back of my mind as well!

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

The Truman Show. My all-time favorite.

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

FilmFreeway is very user-friendly, and does a great job of making the submission process quick and easy. I love that it has a laurel generator, and makes it simple to keep track of the festivals you’ve entered (since we entered a lot).

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

Probably The Mighty Mighty Bosstone’s “The Impression That I Get”. I’m unashamed to say I am a big fan the 90’s ska-punk music.

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

With the director of (A)UTOMATED (I)RRITATION, we will be developing an anthology-style series in the same world as this short. For the web at first, but eventually a broadcast version. I’m also editing a second collection of short stories I hope to have out this year.

 

 

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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.

Interview with Filmmaker Andy Fortenbacher (ORNAMENT OF BEAUTY)

 ORNAMENT OF BEAUTY played to rave reviews at the Under 5 Minute FEEDBACK Film Festival in April 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Andy Fortenbacher: My producing partner, Stephanie, and I were interested in extracting a fantasy/horror from Shakespeare’s Sonnet #70, which is ultimately about slander. It seemed like a challenging opportunity to tell a story very different from my other work.

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

On and off, it took us about 2 months to complete this project.

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

Overcoming oppressors

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

A single day shoot that was consumed by a tropical storm.

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

It was a rare pleasure to receive video feedback from a film festival. Probably one of the coolest things I’ve received in a while. Nobody else does this! As a filmmaker, it’s always good to hear what the audience thinks about the work, especially when you’re not able to attend the festival and hear firsthand. My hat is off to you!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Many elements of the sonnet were used as inspiration, but I took ample artistic liberty when working through the surreal visual approach, story and characters.

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

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?

I’ve been pretty happy with Filmfreeway. When withoutabox was years outdated, Filmfreeway came in with a fresh, cheap, and simple approach to getting my films to festivals.

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

Grateful Dead: China Cat Sunflower

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

I’m currently developing three feature films and always writing.
 

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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.

Interview with Filmmaker Declan Quinlan (BOY)

 BOY was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the LGBT FEEDBACK Film Festival in April 2018.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Declan Quinlan: I wanted to tell a gay story that highlighted how being gay and repressed because of your environment can really alter a person’s state of self and treatment of other gay people.

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

November until December was writing. Production was January 19 and 20. Editing was until May.

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

Bleak, honest.

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

Time constraint and so many locations on short time! Too much moving about. Filming in the apartment was the easiest because it was one space all day.

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

Very proud to have a reaction and understanding like this. I was too nervous to watch immediately. I love the responses. It gives me confidence to pursue unique stories in the future and also makes me happy that the story was understood the way I wanted it to be.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

After multiple failed attempts to try write something that wasn’t me. This idea came to me one night and I finished it over three nights. It felt like a secret that cracked out of me. Not autobiographical, but metaphorical.

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

Titanic.

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

A great tool and social media network.

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

Probably Toxic by Britney Spears. Listened a million times when I was very young.

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

Yes writing a feature, taking my time.

 

 

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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.

Interview with Filmmaker Sari Eran Herskovitz (TRAIN)

TRAIN was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the April 2018 Under 5min. Feedback Film festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Sari Eran Herskovitz: The film is a music video for Train, the first single of Longing Songs, the debut album of Sari & Moshe, a music duo consisting of me and my husband. As an animator, I wanted to create a visual expression of the song.

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

It took about 6 months to make the film from the idea to the finished short. Most of the time was dedicated to choosing the right images and exploring the animation technique combining watercolors and cutouts.

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

The host of the conversation in the feedback video described it as liquid joy. I really like this description and would like to adopt it here.

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

I created the animation like a jazz improvisation – drawing live under the camera. This was difficult because we had very limited time for shooting the film, for budget and timing reasons.

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

It was very exciting and moving for me to hear the people in the audience talk about the animation and the music. It’s a special experience to be deeply understood by people I don’t know, who could feel the joy and the flow I felt creating the animation, and could relate to the childlike experience of morphing into the moment. I was surprised by the fact that the translation of the lyrics was not clear to some of the people, but this feedback was helpful.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

The music video is based on my feelings as a mother to a small daughter.
The animation started out as a short poem I wrote describing a moment of watching my daughter play with her toy train. The lyrics were then composed by my Husband, and the song became a part of our first album.

In the animation it was important for me to express warmth and connection, and also the fluidity of time I experienced as a mother: rhythms changing, time stretching and shrinking, allowing me to discover things I would not notice otherwise. Using watercolors in a stop motion technique helped me to express this fluidity visually.

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

I am not sure which film I have watched the most. What I can say is that watching Yellow submarine as a child was a very strong experience for me, and I think it’s a part of my inspiration to combine music, colors and visual images.

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

I experienced it as a very friendly and comfortable platform.

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

I don’t know. There are many songs and styles of music I love. Today I listened to Paul Simon’s American tune.

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

My husband and I are working on some new music, there may be more music videos in the future.

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Photo by Doron Oved

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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.

 

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Mike Hoberg (OCCUPY WALLY STREETSKI)

Get to know the writer: 

 1. What is your screenplay about?

You’re just one electric bill away from being Amish!

Finn Chandler is a jobless college graduate, loaded with debt, and living in his Dad’s basement. While at an Occupy Wall Street protest, Finn gets whacked in the head by a weird-looking coin that supernaturally predicts future stock prices.

Finn uses the coin’s picks to make $261,554.14 in his first week at home as a day trader.

The coin belonged to filthy-rich Walter Streetski and he begins a devious plan to put Finn through hell to get the coin back.

Finn fights back, but is just one step from going to prison.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, Action, Central Hero, High Concept

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

Cathartic relief if you’ve ever been screwed over by a rich person, business, or bank.

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

Joyous revenge!

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

Dirty Harry

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

A couple years

7. How many stories have you written?

Four screenplays

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

I’m hooked on any form of Smooth Jazz and listen to it during most of my workouts.

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

Getting to sleep because it was just too fun to write.

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

My wife, cycling, and triathlons.

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

Excellent

12. What influenced you to enter the festival?

The ability to have access to actors reading the best scene of a screenplay is a fantastic idea.

Genre: Comedy

Funny things happen on Wall Street.

CAST LIST:

Finn: Brogan Caulfield
Reporter: Emily Weir
Narrator: Peter Nelson
Wally: Daniel Cristofori
Atticus: Neil Bennett