TEARS was the winner of BEST DANCE FILM at the May 2020 Experimental Film Festival.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Max Rothman: I wanted to explore the words, themes, and underlying emotions of old poetry through the lens of a more contemporary art form – namely, dance – to show how the issues and prevailing attitudes of the past are the same as they are today, just within a different context. Ultimately, I want to show that our society today is shaped by and merely a reflection of our past narratives, accomplishments, and mistakes.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
About 2 Months
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
Lyrical, a cry for help
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Coordinating the core of the film, that being the single-tracking shot of the dance performance. Working in an underground tunnel, with a whole series of rigged lights that needed to be timed perfectly for maximum effect, was a feat of ingenuity and ambition that my team executed with flying colors!
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Pride that I made something that could touch people, and relief that this relatively esoteric concept for a film could resonate with people viewing it without the context of the process that created it (a voiceover artist read the poem, a composer then interpreted their reading into a piece of music, and the dancer then interpreted the music into what you see on screen).
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
Poetry and dance naturally go together, as they are focused on form rather than narrative, so I wanted to tie them together in a meaningful and have their respective strengths feed off of one another.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Pulp Fiction, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
I like it a lot! There are always great festivals on there, and I am always surprised to find great high quality festivals that I would not have heard of if not for FilmFreeway working with them to facilitate submissions. at the high quality festivals I find open for submissions but that were ones I
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Nights on Broadway by the Bee Gees
10. What is next for you? A new film?
More films of this nature – merging dance and poetry together, as well as two narrative short films, and – hopefully within the next two years – my first low-budget indie film.