Interview with Filmmaker Hendricksen Armand (COSPLAY: BEHIND THE MASK)

COSPLAY: BEHIND THE MASK played to rave reviews at the November 2017 DOCUMENTARY Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Hendricksen Armand: I was always aware of cosplay as a subculture from an outsiders perspective but it wasn’t until I was fully immersed in it that I began to understand the full scope of what cosplay was. It was vibrant, it was creative, it was technical, and I thought it was a story that needed to be told.

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

From conception to completion it took about 9 months to complete. Though I have footage in the film from 2014 of the first convention I ever attended. Which was Supercon in Miami.

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

Fun, Unexpected

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

I think trying to coordinate with all the different subjects on the film to tell their stories. Logistically it was a bit challenging because we all had full time jobs including myself. So we had to find a time when we were all available to shoot.

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

I was very happy to see how many people appreciated the topics that were covered in the film. I assume some these people have cosplayed or know cosplayers. That really brings me a lot of joy when cosplayers enjoy the film because essentially, I made this for them.

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

I didnt have to come up with anyting really. I discoverd an artistic, vibrant, community and wanted to share it with the world.

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

I’ve seen a lot over the years, but what always comes to mind is The Dark Knight. I could watch that all day.

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

I’m a relatively new filmmaker in terms of the submission process so I can’t really comment on how things used to be, but I do find it very convenient to submit films on platforms like FilmFreeway. It allows filmmakers to get their work out there without mailing postage and searching thousands of websites to find festivals.

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

Wow. I can’t say I’ve been keeping track. The song I’ve been listening to the most right now is “Stay” by Hans Zimmer from the Interstellar soundtrack.

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

I am currently working on a film at the moment. It’s a project I am very excited about and could perhaps screen at this festival again next year!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of the Short Film: 

COSPLAY: BEHIND THE MASK, 20min., USA, Documentary/Sci-Fi 
Directed by Hendricksen Armand

A look into the life of cosplayers who try to shatter the boundaries of reality by transforming themselves into characters from comic books, TV shows, and movies.

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

 

 

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Interview with Winning Screenwriter Barry Brennessel (ÁNH SÁNG)

November 2017 Winning Feature Screenplay writer.

What is your screenplay about?

Two teenage boys in 1917 French Indochina discover their feelings for one another transcend mere friendship. But the hardships under French colonial rule, and the effects of the Great War, alter their lives forever.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

LGBTQ historical drama

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I like movies that carry me away to another time and place, especially when the setting is one rarely visited. I also like characters who overcome unimaginable hardships and prejudice. The characters in this screenplay face many obstacles in a land both enchanting and brutal.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Heartbreaking. Hopeful.

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

Orphée by Jean Cocteau. I first saw this in a college film studies class and I was mesmerized.

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About 8 months

How many stories have you written?

I’ve written 4 novels, 3 short story collections, 3 stage plays, 8 screenplays, and 5 teleplays.

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

“Moon River”

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

This required a ton of research, aspects such as clothing, food, mail delivery, employment statistics, number of and make and model of automobiles, rule of law, weather patterns, etc.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Architecture, gardening, animals, travel, languages, and dessert.

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

So convenient! Once your screenplay is up, it takes just a few clicks to enter any competition or festival.

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

It’s not often you find a festival celebrating and championing LGBTQ stories. And the feedback was detailed and encouraging. Plus, Toronto! I love Canada. Many family vacations there when I was growing up. And I’ve been a fervent Degrassi fan since 1987.

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Genre: Romance, LGBT, Drama

French Indochina, 1917. Two teenage boys discover their feelings for one another transcend mere friendship. But the hardships under French colonial rule, and the effects of the Great War, alter their lives forever.

CAST LIST:

Narration: Carina Cojeen
Minh: Xavier de Guzman
Thao: Anthony Yu
Laurent: Fabio Abreu
Minh’s Mother: Angelica Alejandro
Sovann: Isai Rivera Blas

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 Richard M. Kjeldgaard (NOWHERE VILLE)

October 2017 Winning Feature Screenplay Winner

1. What is your screenplay about?

An isolated, deserted trailer park in the middle of the desert falls under control of escaped convicts. Two guys on a camping trip accidentally become prisoners in the park and their trip turns into a fight for survival.

2. What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Suspense/Thriller

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

Plays on everyone’s fears of being isolated, controlled by another human and put in an inescapable situation.

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

Page turner   

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

John Carpenter’s HALLOWEEN

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

4 months

7. How many stories have you written?

10 specs

8. What motivated you to write this screenplay?

Driving across the desert between Arizona and California (Had a summer home in CA) Seeing abandoned buildings especially in the abandoned town of Desert Center, CA and the soon to be ghost towns around the Salton Sea, CA. A lot of visuals went into this script from these two locales.

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

Building some of the motivation for a few of the characters while keeping the readers on their toes and curious.

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

Reading about writers (Bios) and photography.

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

Read some reviews on your festival which were positive. Feedback was to say the least, educational.  I learned a lot about character development and pacing. The feedback was very encouraging regarding my writing.  Appreciated it very much!

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

Good porthole for entering contests.  Always updating info on upcoming festivals. Just one miscommunication on the acceptance of a spec I did in one festival.  A mass Email was sent to clarify the issue in a few weeks.

WATCH the Screenplay Reading: 

Genre: Action, Adventure, Crime, Thriller, Horror

Two men fly a Cessna from California to New Mexico for an out of state camping trip. They encounter bad weather and are forced down in the desert with no means of communication. Their situation becomes worse when they run across escaped convicts hiding out and are taken prisoner in an abandoned trailer park. They soon find out there’s more horrors waiting for them.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Elizabeth Rose Morriss
Jory: Sean Ballantyne
Robert: Connor Lyon
Mike: Shaun Mazoka
Travis: Dan Cristofori
Fulton: Brennan Clost
Char: Rachel Rain Packota
Leona: Julie C. Sheppard

 

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Joel Stern (WORD GAMES)

WORD GAMES is the September 2017 Winning Feature Screenplay.

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

“Word Games” is about two strangers in a nursing home who are isolated because of the “Blizzard of the Millennium” . One man – Sal Genesinni – is the janitor. The other is Dave Phillips, an old man, wheelchair bound, who was found abandoned in the storm. While Phillips’ true identity remains a mystery, he and Genesinni play “Scrabble” to kill time. As they spell certain words it takes us back in time to real life events. As they recall these events they actually change what happened. This affects the destiny of the promising young people they speak of. As the story unfolds, we realize their “game” is a battle of wits between good and evil – one they engage in as different people throughout time.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Suspense/Horror

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

“Word Games” would provide moviegoers with a suspenseful, alternative view of destiny and attempt to explain why bad things happen to good people.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Story in two words: Inescapable destiny.

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

The movie I’ve seen the most: “Pineapple Express”

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

I wrote the short story two years ago (now on Amazon). I began writing the screenplay in January, 2016.

How many stories have you written?

I’m currently writing my third screenplay. I began my first, “Trickle Down”, a dramatic comedy based on the 2007 mortgage meltdown, in 2012.

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

Favorite song – Rod Stewart’s “Have I Told You Lately…”

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

Obstacles to writing screenplay: Trying to think as God

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Other passions: Sports, politics, travel, history

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

Film Freeway: Easy to work with

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

I entered the festival to gage interest in my work and to get it produced. “Word Games” also won a Finalist Award at the Cannes Film Festival Screenwriting contest in April of this year.

I was thrilled with the feedback I received. I made a few clarifications when asked to.

Genre: Thriller, Horror, Drama

A commercial airliner flying to Paris explodes off the U.S. East Coast killing sixteen members of a high school French Club and a young pianist destined for greatness; a pair of deranged teens go on a terrifying high school shooting spree ending the life of a young girl devoted to serving God and mankind. If there is a master plan, how could these horrific events be allowed to happen?

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Sal: Kris Hagen
Dave: Peter Nelson
Monica: Shania Belton
Julie: Katelyn Varadi
Tanya/Shannon: Carina Cojeen
Lassen: Mike Ruderman
Bill: Nick Wicht

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Gunel Asgarova (THE FLUTE OF PEACE)

THE FLUTE OF PEACE was the September 2017 winning Sci-Fi screenplay.

Get to know the winning writer:

What is your screenplay about?

My screenplay is about a bullied village girl with the supernatural power, Lanaia, who accepts her destiny of the World Savior.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Fantasy

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

Because this original screenplay has the most important ingredients of the successful fantasy movie: universal issues, good vs. evil, mythology, human psychology which are fully presented through the breathtaking adventures, unexpected twists and catchy characters. Likewise, the significant reason of its competitiveness is a key hero, a young woman, tender, yet strong enough to take the lead in life-changing events winning the battle in the end. This movie will be an inspiration for millions of girls and women all over the world.

How would you describe this script in two words?

The future blockbuster, which will hold its brand for the next five to ten years.

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

I like to watch fantasy/adventure genre movies, but according to calculation, the movie that I’ve seen the most times in my life is Harry Potter film series (first watched as a teenager, then together with my kids).

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

11 months

How many stories have you written?

I have written 6 stories (epic-fantasy, animation, fairy tale and short screenplays) and constantly working on new projects.

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

“Canto della Terra” by Andrea Bocelli

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

The most obstacles were connected to the proper formatting issues.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I am also passionate about storytelling, psychology, mythology, and anthropology. Thus, besides of my own imagination, this story is also based on the years’ long research analysis of world mythology and anthropology (including the Paracelsian concept of four elements of nature).

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

Despite the positive feedback from more than four hundred potential viewers, I was eager to get the professional opinion.

I am very grateful for the detailed and sincere feedback, which helped me to properly polish my script. I am very satisfied with the feedback, special THANKS to my reader!

Genre: Sci-Fi, Adventure

After the break of the balance between the Light and Dark Powers, enforced by Dark Lord Erk, Mother Universe sends a child of Light – Lanaia to embark on a dangerous journey chasing the magic flute, as only its melody could save the world from disaster.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Sean Ballantyne
Nabi: Rais Moui
Teli: Connie Wang
Guli: Daniella Zappala

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Alison McGrath (TWITS)

TWITS is the September 2017 Winning COMEDY Screenplay.

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

TWITS is a satirical look at humanity’s addiction to technology, and what happens to people when their (de)vices are taken away from them.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Comedy, Satire

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

I think in this “game of life” we need to laugh at ourselves a little bit, and take a look in the mirror to see the real person–the one without the snapchat or iPhone filter–staring back at us. Films help us do this. TWITS in particular sheds light on our addiction to technology and how it’s shaping everything from our sex lives and our relationships with our kids, to how we navigate–literally–through life. To me, TWITS lends itself to some personal exploration: Do I see a little bit of myself in these characters? How do I feel about that? Am I OK with the real-life role I’m playing and where we’re headed as a society? There is no wrong answer, as long as you think about it and be honest with yourself. That’s what’s so magical about film, and comedy in particular. There is no pressure, and you’re supposed to laugh. Humor is a great way to half-ass explore your emotions without feeling too much! I think many people will be able to identify with TWITS and I really hope it gets made into a movie.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Scary. Outrageous.

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

Bridesmaids

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

A few months

How many stories have you written?

Ten. Eleven if you count the one I wrote when I was 9 years old about a rotten banana named Eachanonie who was finally happy once he was made into banana bread. Even bruised bananas can find their place in this world.

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

Jump in the Line, Harry Belafonte. Every time hear it, I become Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice.

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I didn’t face obstacles with this one, which is a crazy thing for me to say. I’m usually stumbling, breathless, army crawling to the finish line. TWITS had been swirling in my head for quite some time. I’d been taking notes for a couple months and then when I sat down, it just flowed. It was really fun to write.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

I love being a mom. I love to boogie board, ski, and travel. I am especially passionate about jalapeño margaritas. No salt. I feel like this should be on Tinder. Please swipe right.

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

It’s been amazing. I love how organized and easy it is.

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

I feel so passionate about TWITS coming to life on screen, and the thought of having it read at your festival seemed like an awesome next step. I can’t wait to hear it!

The feedback I received was encouraging, very helpful and respectful. Being kind goes a long way, and I thank you so much for that!

Genre: Comedy

How one community deals with life when technology goes dark for a brief moment in time.

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Val Cole
Paul: Nick Wicht
Demi: Carina Cojeen
Emergency Alert: Peter Nelson
Barista: Shania Belton
Cheryl: Katelyn Varadi

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Taryn Procsal (PALACES)

The September 2017 Winning STUDENT Screenplay writer for their short script PALACES.

Get to know the writer:

What is your screenplay about?

Logline: An upper-class wife and mother seems to have the perfect life, but when her husband discourages her from pursuing a career in art she is challenged with a new understanding of how a woman’s value is measured.

What genres does your screenplay fall under?

Drama

Why should this screenplay be made into a movie?

This screenplay deals with subtle issues of social inequality that are often overlooked in film. I believe it is a strong dramatic narrative with a valuable message.

How would you describe this script in two words?

Feminist drama

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

Mallrats

How long have you been working on this screenplay?

About four months

How many stories have you written?

Seven screenplays, but countless stories

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

Violet by Hole

What obstacles did you face to finish this screenplay?

I had to work on several other school projects while writing this screenplay. I also struggled with keeping the potential budget of production low, while also depicting a lavish lifestyle.

Apart from writing, what else are you passionate about?

Political activism, especially concerning issues of civil rights and social equality

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

I love FilmFreeway! It’s so much easier to use than Withoutabox.

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

I really wanted to get feedback on this screenplay to get a better idea of its value. I’m considering using it as my writing sample for my graduate school applications. I thought the feedback was honest, helpful, and polite, which is pretty rare; there are a lot scathing, embittered script readers out there.

Chava, an upper-class wife and mother, seems to have a perfect life, but when her husband discourages her from pursuing a career in art, Chava is tormented by her new understanding of how a woman’s value is measured.

Genre: Drama

CAST LIST:

Narrator: Laura Kyswaty
Chava: Regan Brown
Paul: Jim Canale
Knox: Cory Bertrand
Deb: Rachel Rain Packota