Interview with Animator/Filmmaker Susan Shulman (PURRS AND ‘OL MAN BLUES)

 PURRS AND ‘OL MAN BLUES was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the December 2017 Animation FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Susan Painter: I have a love of music especially the blues and it was inspired by the actual musician Jack Dappa from New York City. I heard his song and it inspired me.

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

3 months of crazy drawing and experimentation.

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

Blues Soul

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

Not having enough technical expertise.

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

I was delighted and thought what they said had merit. It was really great feedback. As artists we need that feedback to continue in our dreams. It’s very important.

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

Again, its my love of music that was the impetus for this concept. Of course I do love cats too!

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

That’s a tough answer but I think what has influenced me in the past was the classic Disney movies like Fantasia and the old black and white felix the cat.

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

I love it. It makes my life easier in submitting!

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

Too many to name but for sure Muddy Waters, I got my mojo working.

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

I just completed a new one called In Our Memories Forever. I hope to submit it to you again this year. It is 2.5 minutes long, I can’t seem to stick to 1 minute. It is about heritage and immigration to Canada in 1900 by boat. I hope you will like it.

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PURRS AND ‘OL MAN BLUES, 2min., Canada, Animation
Directed by Susan ShulmanCool alley cat meets old blues musician and they tour together

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

Interview with Animation Filmmaker Ina Conradi (CHRYSALIS)

 CHRYSALIS was the winner of BEST ANIMATION at the December 2017 Animation FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ina Conradi: The idea for Chrysalis started in 2014. I have followed up the abstract and surreal structure of my earlier war film Elysian Fields (2013) and continued developing the story about life and death, around the theme of perseverance, metamorphosis and immorality. I wanted Chrysalis to install hope and to reflect on many topics such as life’s purpose and the human desire to explore the inner workings of the mind. However the idea of metaphysical quickly expanded to topics such as evil, dehumanisation, totalitarian governments, and environmental disasters. The quintessence legend of a butterfly summed up all of the ideas well.

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

Two years- which is inclusive of stereoscopic 3D version of the film. The funding for the project was awarded in late 2014. The research and story board was done in January/Feb of 2015. Animation production started in 2015 March in tight collaboration with co-director and animation veteran, Mark Chavez, founder of Giant Monster- the animation/game company, and with Joshua Tan founder of CRAVEFX -the best VFX studio in Singapore. The sound effects and music were done by IMBA Interactive, led by Jeremy Goh.

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

Surreal journey

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

The biggest obstacle was time and budget. We all work full time on other commitments and the project was put on hold few times. The budget was tight to cover entire original story board for the film.

The film had 11 chapters depicting the surreal journey of a monk. (Part 1 Conscious mind, Part 2 The Descend, Part 3 The Field, Part 4 Influencing the Field, Part 5 Chaos, Part 6 Dystopia, Part 7 Dehumanization, Part 8 Nefarious, Part 9 The Ascent, Part 10 Warriors and Survivors, Part 11 Integration)

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

It was absolutely rewarding to hear the feedback and reactions of the audiences. Movie creatives on Chrysalis really want to know if their film do “wow” the audience. It is so valuable to see that the Chrysalis does sustain and build audiences’ involvement.

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

I have been living in South East Asia in Singapore for the last 12 years. I am fascinated by diversity and unity of all the cultural traditions. There are hundreds of ethnic groups with their own distinct languages and culture. Many of religions are based on the idea that spiritual and supernatural powers constitute and heal the material universe. The original idea for the film was inspired by the monk that would undertake mystical journey to the worlds inhabited by spirits.. very often film has been mistakenly identified with Buddhism. Some Buddhism references in the film are just an umbrella for all of sorcerers, magicians, and priests. The film does not adhere to one or another religion. Rather to human desire to explore the spiritual.

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

I am big fan of Rydley Scott’s movies

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

FilmFreeway is fantastic platform for submitting the films and recording the acceptance rate. There are many useful tools within the platform on how to navigate through various film categories. FilmFreeway allows for filmmaker to work independently and to take the role of publicity team allowing for as much marketing and publicity mileage as possible.

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

I can be more specific about movie scores – Interstellar by Hans Zimmer

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

Currently I am collaborating with my partner Mark Chavez, who was also co-director/producer on Chrysalis for a recently installed large scale urban media platform in Singapore called Media Art Nexus (MAN). The 2m by 15 m long led wall is installed at the Nanyang Technological University Singapore in a very public setting and seen by thousands of passers-by daily. It features real time animated works and video art by local and international artists. In addition to premiering our works in Tokyo for SGIO Tokyo last august we will be organizing two major events – one with ArtScience Museum in Singapore and another with famous Elbphilharmonie Philharmonic Hall Hamburg Germany, featuring novel experimental animation done for MAN.

 

 

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CHRYSALIS, 7min., Singapore, Animation 
Directed by Ina ConradiBased on an old legend about the butterfly’s struggles the film is the symbolic metaphor of rebirth after death and fascination with the human innate drive to survive.

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

Interview with Animation Filmmaker Marleia A. Alfaro (BARRY THE BLOBFISH)

BARRY THE BLOBFISH played to rave reviews at the December 2017 ANIMATION FEEDBACK Film Festival.

 
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Marleia A. Alfaro: It’s so difficult to come up with new characters that you’ve never seen in animation before. The story of Barry the Blobfish came about and motivated me to finish because it is a 100% original story, written be myself, of a character that no one else has seen before. I love animation and storytelling so in the hardest times of making the film, this thought, the idea and the story itself and what it represents kept motivating me to make it a reality.

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

I made the screenplay in sophomore year of college, back in 2011. I conceptualized it for a children’s book, but had the drive to major in animation, which it later became and finished as my thesis film for graduate school in May 2017.

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

Different, and quirky

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

Learning throughout the process was a challenge. In school my animation skill began to grow and develop so in some shots I’ve seen my improvement where in others, it feels very stiff to me now. Also as a director I had to focus not only on animation, but getting the textures, lighting, and environment to work in rendering, which I fortunately had the help from teachers and other more talented students.

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

I was nervous in the beginning, but it made me feel great that everything was so positive. I’ve always wondered what others thought about my film watching it while I wasn’t around. It’s not polished or at any professional high standard, but I spent 3 years making it work as an animated film, so of course I want people to like it.

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

I had seen an article on the world’s ugliest animals, and the Blobfish was one of them. When I saw it I had to write a story about him. It kind of came to me with some help with ideas from my sister. We decided he’d be sad and lonely, and have only one small, seemingly insignificant friend, and turned into a simple, fun adventure with a simple message of sometimes you can try your hardest and not reach your goals by yourself.

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

I can probably recite the entire Lilo and stitch film by heart, I’ve seen it so many times. It’s a childhood favorite.

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

It’s incredibly easy to find festivals and submit to festivals via film freeway. I never would’ve thought I could be a part of so many great festivals, and meet so many people who love animation and telling stories like I do.

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

I have a very eclectic collection of music. While working on animation I love listening to instrumentals or score; songs that don’t have words in them, just because it keeps me focused and in the proper mood. When working on Barry, I would always repeat Tabula Rasa by Calum Graham. It’s just guitar, but its very uplifting.

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

I have ideas for new short films and animations. I try to think of something every day. Most of them have been about animals or underwater animals.. but I’m hoping to come up with something simple first just to keep the flow going.

 

 

BARRY THE BLOBFISH, 2min., USA, Animation
Directed by Marleia A. AlfaroBarry is a fat ugly fish that can’t swim and lives at the bottom of the ocean. He longs to live on a beautiful coral reef at the top of a tall, tall cliff.

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

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Danielle Erlich (LEGACY)

What is your screenplay about?

“Legacy,” is a fantasy story rendering a teen’s initiation into a magical world, in order to find out the truth about his own origins. Lachlan is an outcast who
uses his journal to try and figure out why his father left him at such a young
age. After a horrible last day at school, Lachlan decides to go against his
mother’s wishes. He ventures to the ruins of an ancient castle by his home, to
write in his journal. On this day, Lachlan meets Atlas, the Centaur, after falling through a portal outside of the castle. Atlas will lead him on an adventure filled with magical, and mythological creatures. Lachlan will soon find out the truth about his own origins, which is that his father, Kyros, comes from an ancient, magical, royal family in a realm called “The Garden.” His father had gone to the human realm on a spiritual quest as all royals do on their eighteenth birthday. He fell in love with a human, Abigail, and they marry against Kyros’s parent’s wishes. Abigail then gave birth to Lachlan. Soon after, Kyros’s parents died leaving the kingdom of Gershwig situated in “The Garden” without a monarch. Atlas tells Lachlan that his father didn’t leave him by choice but rather to keep him safe. Upon the death of his parents, Kyros realized that an ancient prophecy about his son was beginning to come true. It was prophesied that, “A half human, half magical, royal child would be born. This child would be the only chance humanity and the magical creatures have of
stopping evil from enslaving them all.” Kyros tried to stop the prophecy by
returning to his kingdom, but he was to late. The die had already been cast.
Years later, Kyros gets kidnapped and disappears. This prompts Atlas to
retrieve the king’s son from the human realm, in order to save them all.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

“Legacy” is the first screenplay in a big fantasy saga.

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“Legacy” is not just a typical fantasy story. What it’s really about, is
the impact that parents have on their children. It is also about
overcoming obstacles, staying true to yourself, being loyal and the
lasting power of integrity. This is a tale of love and sacrifice.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Magical adventure.

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

I would have to go with “Harry Potter.” I read all the books, listened
to them on tape, and own all the movies. I think J.K. Rowling is the
Tolkien of our time.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I have been working on the idea of “Legacy” for about eight years. I
was first published in the sixth grade. I won a poetry writing contest
whose prize was having your work published. Later in life, I started
working on “Legacy.” It took me eight years for the screenplay
because I was unaware at the time that I had a rare auto-immune
disease. This disease gave me brain fog, along with other symptoms.
It made it very difficult to write, and to engage in day to day
activities. Instead of giving up, I forced myself to sit in front of the
computer and write a little something everyday. I figured my writers
block would eventually lift. I was right. When I finally received my
diagnosis, which was eight years later, and started my treatments,
the writers block lifted. I have been non stop screenwriting ever
since.

How many stories have you written?

I am currently on my fourth screenplay, which is a sequel to “Legacy.”

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

I would have to say my favorite songs are either “Dancing Nancies”
from The Dave Matthews Band, or “I Want My MTV” by Dire Straits.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I had a very large obstacle. A rare auto-immune disease that causes
the immune system to attack the nervous system. This led to brain
fog, writer’s block, and I became a prisoner in my own home as well.
One of the main themes I like to write about, is that obstacles aren’t
placed in your way to ruin you. Instead, they are placed there to
help you grow into the person you are meant to be. As long as you
have faith, trust your heart, and work hard, no obstacle can stop
you.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am extremely passionate about acting, and frankly just making
movies. I studied acting for over ten years, and after two years of
college, I decided to give acting a real try. I graduated from an
acting conservatory with a vocational degree in theatre. We spent
two years on script analysis and character breakdown. I feel it has
really helped me to create different character’s story arcs. When I
wasn’t acting, I was working with producers, directors, and
representation. I interned at Smart Entertainment, was the assistant
to the CEO at CFP Entertainment, and was a casting assistant on
location in Arizona for the film “Transamerica.”

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

FilmFreeway has been a game changer. It makes submitting so easy.
I just wish that they had a way to rank all the contests, not just the
top 50 and 100. For instance, a lot of screenwriting competitions
seem not to be ranked. If they had a separate ranking system for
screenwriting festivals, that would be a dream come true!

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

“Legacy” is “Harry Potter” and “Lord of the Rings” fan fiction. When I
saw that there was a festival for fan fiction on FilmFreeway, I felt like
it was meant to be. The feedback I received was very helpful. I may
not have agreed with it all, but it definitely made me re-think certain
parts of my story. I feel like the people at the Fan Fiction Film
Festival really want to help develop you into the best writer you can
be.

****

Genre: Fantasy, Adventure

A boy, Lachlan, unknowingly stumbles into a magical world, outside of Dublin Ireland, where the father who had abandoned him as a child is king. He comes to find the king has been kidnapped, and it is up to him to save his father and marshal good against evil in this fight for all of humanity.

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Lachlan: Gabriel Darku
Ludlow/Kyros: Neil Bennett
Devlin/Atlas: David Schaap
Makani/Lynch: Noah Casey
Anya: Clare Blackwood

Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Jeff Racho (BUCCANEERS OF THE ASTEROID BELT)

What is your screenplay about?

It tells the story of a once-prosperous asteroid mining business driven to the point of bankruptcy after a disruptive technology from a rival entrepreneur crashes the market for space metals. The former owner and his crew are faced with a decision: eke out a substance-level life in the asteroid belt or steal a spaceship to return home.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama and science fiction

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

It hits on a lot of themes pertinent to the present: economic dislocation, worker anxiety, automation, “creative destruction” in the economy. A lot of present-day influences—such as behavioral economics and the author Matthew Crawford—are in the script but there are some hints of John Steinbeck and Richard Llewellyn too. So it’s taking some themes from classic works and seeing how they apply to the present. Plus I think it’s an interesting story and people seem to like the plot.

How would you describe this script in two words?

“Endowment Effect.” The endowment effect is a concept from behavioral economics and it’s a big theme in the script. It’s one of the causes of the protagonist’s conflicts.

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

Probably “Raiders of the Lost Ark”

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

It began as a completely different short story draft in early 2016. I shelved it and came back to it in late 2016 and that’s when the final plot began to develop. I realized it would be too long for a short story so I decided to turn it into a screenplay. I spent a few weeks doing research to get the “science/engineering” aspects correct and had the first draft finished in a few months.

How many stories have you written?

I’ve had four short stories published and am trying to finish up a few more.

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

Tough one – “most times” is probably the album “Led Zeppelin IV” (I used to play the drums) but my favorite piece is probably Beethoven’s 9th.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I’m a horrible proofreader of my own work. Luckily I have a friend who owns a ghostwriting company and she’s also a novelist. She provided invaluable help with finding errors and feedback.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

In my day job I do legal and finance work for start-up companies. It’s a lot like writing: start with an idea and try to bring it to reality. Some of the things I’ve seen in the day job influenced the script.

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

I think it’s a great system. It was a great help finding appropriate contests & festivals and seamlessly handled the submissions.

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

I found out about you through a FilmFreeway search. When I wrote the script I kept thinking of Harrison Ford’s “you can type this – but you sure can’t say it” remark and tried to picture the various characters saying their lines so I like the “recorded performance” aspect.

The feedback was excellent and I really like this aspect of the festival. Good constructive (and honest) feedback is essential to make authors better but many contests and festivals don’t offer any! Your feedback definitely improved the latest draft of the script.

 

****

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure

After a disruptive technology from a rival entrepreneur destroys a once-prosperous asteroid mining business, the former owner and his crew are forced to steal a spaceship to return home—but the trip doesn’t go according to plan.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Xavier de Guzman
Jackson: Isai Rivera Blas
Jessie: Angelica Alejandro
Eva: Carina Cojeen

Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Clark Moriarty (LURE)

What is your screenplay about?

When a group of InstaSnap addicted Crazy Rich Kids ignore warnings not to go to the haunted Gomen Island, fun soon turns to horror when an activated augmented reality game forces them to #PlayOrDie

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Horror

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I think an audience would find it thrilling, scary and an entertaining night out/in, plus with all the tech stuff I think it’s really ‘now’ and is perfect for its natural audience.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Creepy horror.

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

Silence of the Lambs

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

Since January this year.

How many stories have you written?

5 feature screenplays, 1 TV pilot, three novels, 1 stage-play.

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

Go Your Own Way – Fleetwood Mac – or pretty much most other songs by Fleetwood Mac.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Time poverty – I was supposed to be finishing my second novel…

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Animal Welfare/Rescue, particularly dogs.

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

I think it’s a brilliant tool. So useful to see so many amazing film competitions/festivals you probably wouldn’t hear about otherwise.

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

I thought it would be absolutely brilliant to hear audience feedback. It’s so key to hear this and often you don’t hear it until the very end of the filming process (when it’s too late to change it!). The initial feedback we received from the festival readers was very encouraging.

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Genre: Horror, Thriller

When a group of Instasnap addicted Crazy Rich Kids ignore warnings not to go to the haunted Gomen island, fun soon turns to horror when an deadly augmented reality game forces them to #PlayOrDie. We like to think of it as Super Rich Kids of Instagram meets The Hunger Games.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Xavier de Guzman
Sofia: Carina Cojeen
Lily: Angelica Alejandro
Archie: Anthony Yu
Slick: Fabio Abreu

Producer: Matthew Toffolo http://www.matthewtoffolo.com

Director: Kierston Drier
Casting Director: Sean Ballantyne
Editor: John Johnson

Camera Operator: Mary Cox

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