Interview with director Paul Jerndal (INDIGO)

Paul Jerndal’s short film “INDIGO” was the winner of “BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY” and “BEST MUSICAL SCORE” at the February 2017 FEEDBACK Film Festival. His film is a true example of a cinematic experience. An honor to chat with him.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Life. Life motivated me. I see people every day struggling with their inner emotions, with anxiety, with a feeling of not being enough – of not doing good enough. And I think its so sad because most of these emotions is just in our heads. And I know how hard it could be when living in that darkness from many of friends and close relationships. I have struggled a lot with trying to help others but it is so hard. So I felt doing this film might actually help more people to start open up their souls to their friends, to seek help, to talk about how they really feel.

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

I took forever. I was back in New York one year after we shot the film and did a few extra things. So basically one year.

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

Emotional. Hope.

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

The editing process. When early deciding to present the story through acting, cinematography, sound design and story but with almost no dialogue – the post production was definitely most challenging.

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

I always feel honored when people talk about my films messages after seeing them. It´s fantastic that so many in the Toronto audience seemed to notice the elements I value such as the soul level connection, the emotional shower element and the interesting point that I might have chosen to present the girl friends of the lead actress as they might talk to her from her perspective and not necessarily only like that.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO of the short film:

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

It actually started when I heard the song Indigo that my friend Frida Sundemo showed the demo of – long before that song was released. And I also lived in New York along with the actress for a while and got inspired by how alive you can feel in that city and at the same time very lonely.

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

Dancer in the Dark by Lars von Trier.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes. I am writing on my feature film on a similar topic and also shot a few test scenes which is one of the great things when you both write and direct. Also I completed Steps for Life last summer a important campaign film about suicide prevention. And in a week a new collaboration with actress Cecilia Forss will be released shot in India and Sweden. Also we released the video Alive for our dream pop music duo Falcor which is out on youtube.

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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 month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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Interview with director Raynor Arkenbout (RUN FREE)

Raynor Arkenbout’s short film “RUN FREE” played to raves reviews at the February 2017 Romance FEEDBACK Film Festival. It was an honor chatting with him about his short film and what’s next.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

It’s a story that originated from two sources that interested me a lot. One was my own grandfather who, during his time in the war, traveled from Amsterdam to the rural part of the Netherlands when there was a big scarcity on food in the capitol. He told me about his time there in the country that was also still under jurisdiction of the Nazis and to me this was the perfect setting for a smaller and more personal story in one of the most defining times of recent history. I wanted to tell a story about romance, but romance through the eyes of a crude Dutch kid from Amsterdam. One that didn’t say ‘I love you’ by saying those words, but by using a phrase like ‘I knew I wanted to see you naked, right then and there.’ To him, that’s the highest form of flattery and I loved writing about romance in that fashion. Through those eyes, in that setting. To me it made sense and it made for something different than all the other stories about World War 2.

I guess that I felt that the people, just like my grandfather, deserved stories like this about that time. Apart from all the films that show the harsh and terrible side of the war and all its atrocities, I wanted to give a voice to the hope that could sometimes sprout in the most unlikeliest of characters.

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

The film took about 5 months to complete, where the first conception of the idea was actually quite late in the process. The film was to be my graduate project and my first two ideas were either rejected or I threw it out, but the whole production process had already started. So that meant that I lost a lot of my development time for the idea. Thankfully, when inspiration hit, I wrote the entire voice-over (or better said, the letter) in fifteen minutes and it became the backbone of the film.

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

Crude, Romantic 🙂

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

Especially the music was a big journey for me and the composer. I loved the idea of making the film very a-chronological in its style. So a story from the 1940s with characters that seemed to come out of the 2000s and with punkrockish music from the 90s. That was at least the original idea. But when we started post-production, I wanted to experiment with this retro 80s kind of music with synths which would make the stylistic choice more prominent. I wanted to be very careful because this choice could affect the entire experience for the viewer. Would it still suck the audience in emotionally? Will it make people too aware they are watching a film? Did it put in the wrong questions for the viewer? I was really scared to go for this choice but my composer assured me that it worked. In the end, I’m very glad he pushed me and supported the idea till the very end. It achieves a very unique feel for the film and accomplishes, I think, what I wanted it to do. To make the film feel universal in its timeframe and themes. In the end it’s about love and that’s a story that can be understood in any setting or time.

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

The feedback video was so exciting to watch. I’m always anxious of what people think of the film as it feels very personal, so to have a video of an audience that have no inhibitions to tell what they thought or felt about, is really good. I thought the reaction was very positive and very earnest. This is why I love making films, to make people connect with or react to the story underneath.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO of the short film:

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

The other big part of the original idea was a song by a certain songwriter that found the letters of his grandparents that were sent to different camps. They wrote to each other in the camps and the singer used some of those texts for his lyrics. I loved the harshness and genuine feel of that song, which was punkrock, hence the original idea for the musical score, so I used that as a big inspiration for my main character.

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

I must’ve seen Fight Club about thirty times now and for some reason, that one just hits me deep within my core, but I think I will never truly understand why!

What is next for you? A new film?

Right now I’m working on a few things, but I’d love to make one more romantic short film as a sort of closure to a short film trilogy about love and connection. But for now, time will only tell what my next project will be!

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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 month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
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Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
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Interview with director Paula Neves (PUMPKIN)

Paula Neves’ short film “PUMPKIN” played to raves reviews at the February 2017 Romance FEEDBACK Film Festival. It was an honor chatting with her about her short film and what’s next.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Pumpkin is my thesis film in school. I saw the opportunity to make something good and I wanted to honored Dan.

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

I started writing the script in April 2015, we finish shooting in November and post-production ended in March 2016.

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

Heart breaking.

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

Was making sure everyone would understand and connect with all three characters.

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

It honestly made me really happy. It’s amazing how good it feels to see the story you told, making people feel something. I really appreciate all the thoughts and comments everyone said about the movie. It’s really rewarding.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO of the short film:

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

This film is based on a real and personal story. I wanted to make my personal eulogy and tell the story of this amazing person, that was Daniel.

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

Either Spirited Away or Pride and Prejudice. I actually know all the lines by heart, in both movies.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes! We are currently in post-production of True Colors. A movie about a synesthete guy who sees everyone orange, meeting a girl with blue aura for the first time. It’s a visual experience and artistic way to connect and represent synesthete people.

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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 month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
Submit the first stages of your film and get full feedback!

Interview with director/actor Nicole Jones (FOUR DAY WEEKEND)

Nicole Jones’ short film “FOUR DAY WEEKEND” was the overwhelming winner of “BEST FILM” at the February 2017 Romance Film Festival. She not only directed the film, but also starred in it as well. A definite true talent.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I was motivated by a desire to see complex characters on screen about mature people over 35. I was tired of seeing middle aged people, (often times middle aged women,) portrayed as very stereotypical and one dimensional.

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

Nine months. I just counted right this second, it took exactly as long as it takes to make a baby!

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

Complex. Love Story. (Can Love Story count as one word?)

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

Creating a 23 year-relationship, with no rehearsal, between two actors who just met. Our lead actor, whom I was extremely lucky to get, (Ben Koldyke,) is a well respected, working actor who kindly lent his talent to our film. But because of his extremely busy schedule, he and I were not able to meet until the day we started shooting. Since this was a character driven film about a couple married for 23 years, the challenge was making that seen authentic with a man that I had literally just met. (I decided to act in the film with Ben so that I could improv and rewrite as needed in the moment.) The most important scene, which was the last one in the film, was particularly challenging because so much was riding on it. So once everyone was ready to go, I cleared the set, had Ben come in, we rehearsed for exactly 30 minutes, then I called the crew in, and we shot. Fortunately Ben is so talented, I was able to just work off of him, and we nailed it quickly.

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

Tremendous gratitude. I wanted to make a thought provoking film, that is morally ambiguous, therefore watching the audience debate it made me feel like I had really accomplished my goal. Is it a love story, or is it the opposite? That is up to you to decide. There was a young man who did not think it was a love story, in fact it made him uncomfortable and sad. I felt his point was very valid. But then there was an older woman around my age, (I’m 46 now,) who saw it as a love story, which I personally agree with her. Yet both opinions are correct for the person who said it. It all depends on who you are and what stage of life you are in.

AUDIENCE FEEDBACK VIDEO of the Short Film:

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

I am lucky to have found true love at the age of 40. I’ve been with my husband now going on six years. Having this experience as an older woman really changed the way I view love. Though this short film is NOT based on a true story, I could really understand this woman’s perspective. Loving someone so much that wanting them to live a full rich life is more important to you then following any social norm. “I’m not in love with my marriage, I’m in love with the man I married”, is a line that when I wrote it, I thought made the most sense to me. That was an idea I wanted to explore in a film, and by making it a couple who had been married for such a long time, I could really play with that concept.

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

I watch “Being There” a lot. Chauncey Gardiner AKA Chance the Gardner is my spirit animal.

What is next for you? A new film?

I am about to go up to West Marin County with Jeanne Tyson, (the cinematographer who shot Four Day Weekend,) and film a documentary about the local radio station up there, KWMR. This documentary is also about this community and their listeners who are the coolest, mellow, most bad-ass, people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I’m pretty sure Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski is real, and he is retired up there. The radio station is putting me on air to read from a script I wrote, pitch an outline, and get feedback for my next project from this amazing audience.

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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 month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 2 times a month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

SUBMIT your TV PILOT Screenplay or TV SPEC Script
Voted #1 TV Contest in North America.
Screenplay CONTESTSUBMIT your Short Screenplay or FEATURE Script
FULL FEEDBACK on all entries. Get your script performed
Screenplay CONTESTFIRST SCENE (first 10pgs) Screenplay CONTEST
Submit the first stages of your film and get full feedback!