Interview with Filmmaker Gretchen Bayer (THE FOREST PRINCESS)

Gretchen Bayers short film THE FOREST PRINCESS played to rave reviews at the November 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival. It was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the festival.

 What motivated you to make this film? 

We had this trip booked to visit my family in Indiana. Their 9.5 acre wooded property, my incredibly special and inspirational little niece AND the fact that we had just added some great Sigma Art lenses to our filmmaking arsenal was all the motivation we needed to dream up a story to capture on our trip.

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

We filmed in late September 2016 and released the film on Thanksgiving Day 2016.

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

metamorphosis & flux

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

We have day jobs and had already committed to a couple of side film/editing jobs.

Our biggest challenge was carving out time to work on The Forest Princess.

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

I thought it was VERY interesting to hear the varying interpretations…the theme of death came up a couple times…that was not where we were driving our story, but I like that there is that possibility!

I like that one of the audience members commented that she found the film therapeutic. Our intention was for it to be more of a glimpse…a meditation…not a neatly, wrapped up package.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video: 

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

I had read a brief article about this sculptor/painter in Spain that created ‘land art’…and had specifically painted all sorts of objects on the trunks of trees in a forest.

I come from a family of artists, so we are often sharing new discoveries with one another.

I shared this artist’s work with my sister, Kendra, and told her that I wanted to come up with a story about her daughter, Aerie, set in the forest on the family compound.

She and I wrote the script for Aerie to narrate and act out. We were gathering costumes and talking to Aerie about her role as The Forest Princess and she started talking about the caterpillar forming a chrysalis…my sister and I were surprised to hear these big words and ideas coming out of her 3-year old mouth and decided that we had to write the chrysalis monologue into the script.

  What film have you seen the most in your life? 

The Sound of Music was played EVERY YEAR in our house until I was 11-ish.
In my adult life…that is a hard one to pin down to one.
Here’s the top 4:
Wings of Desire
The Thomas Crown Affair (1968 – Steve McQueen)
North By Northwest
Grey Gardens (documentary)

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

It’s a great channel for getting your work out there. It’s wonderful to create something and send it down a few avenues via FilmFreeway…even if nothing comes of the submissions, it feels like I am honoring the process and effort made… breathing extra life into a project that I worked hard on and am proud of.

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

Wellll…it’s undoubtedly a Radiohead song…i just don’t know which one.
Their individual albums translate into single songs in my soul.

  What is next for you? A new film?  

We just wrapped a couple of music videos and are gearing up for another trip to see the family in Indiana…perhaps another chapter in Aerie’s metamorphosis…

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Interview with Filmmaker Holly Voges (FELL)

Holly Voges’ short film FELL played to rave reviews at the November 2017 FEMALE FEEDBACK Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

– My creative partner and I are currently adapting a novel. In working on that project we wanted to create something in the meantime. FELL is a story within the novel that we really gravitated towards.

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

– It took us 4 months.

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

– “Feral Fairy-tale”

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

– Finding puppies, and making sure the kids ADR was understandable.

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

– Delighted! What wonderful insights. Clearly the film is a little cryptic, so it was enlightening to hear the interpretations.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

– The film is a story told within the novel we are currently adapting that we couldn’t fit in the larger adaptation. But we really loved this powerful, little tale and we were looking to make a short film, so we pulled it out, changed a few things and made it into it’s own piece.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

– Star Wars

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

– Easy enough. Nicely streamlined.

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

– Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd

What is next for you? A new film?

– YES! We are in post on our latest short and continue to work on the feature adaptation. 

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Interview with Filmmaker Chang Hyun Park (BRIDGING COLOR)

BRIDGING COLOR played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival.

 What motivated you to make this film?

I got a couple of friend who got born color blind. Especially My class mate from New York film academy, Jun, didn’t have a car. so I always picked him up to go to school.

When I stopped traffic signal, He always asked me that Chang that was red? or Green? when i got the question for the first time, I really didn’t understand the question and thought that How you could not distinguish between red and green.

My friend said that he have never see the red color through my view so He doesn’t know how red color is. He just see the red color with his own view. When I heard that I’m so embarrassed and surprised. It was so shameful that I answered like that. who is right color? where is right color? is there absolutely color? My story was from there.

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

Since I wrote this story It took 6 month to complete it. For 3month to prepare pre-production, 8days shooting, 2month for post-prodution.

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

Actually I had no idea about art, especially painting. I’m sooo poor at drawing and artistic authentic of paint. so I meet many artists and art students to get some comment and recommendation. all art works in my film, are created by art student.

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

I was so glad to hear all comment for my film. All comments are so useful and helpful to improve my film career. Especially the host mentioned about the wardrobe of main character I’m so happy with that.

I really did it intentionally that his wardrobe’s color being changed gradually following his condition.
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What film have you seen the most in your life?

I prefer to watch drama and thriller genre. I know that these twos are totally different style and the reason why I like to watch two different genre films.

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

It is really convenience and trustful to submit my film into film festival. I don’t have to search each film festival but I can see most film festival on one page.

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

sorry I don’t usually listen music. Haha. I usually listen music when I work out. Just random music.

What is next for you? A new film?

Yes I’m preparing next film which is my first debut feature film. It is about Korean Immigrant living in LA korea town.

I almost finish the script and production book. I have plan to pitch to get investment soon. Thnaks!

 

Interview with Director Jeremy Garcia (STAR WARS: TRIALS)

Played at the Fantasy/Sci-Fi FEEDBACK Film Festival – July 2017

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Erlend Bjelland: I’ve always been a huge Star Wars fan and it’s probably the films that originally got me into film making. I had recently gotten my girlfriend the lightsaber prop and thought, “I bet I could light an entire film with this lightsaber”. From there I began brainstorming and that eventually led to ‘Star Wars: Trials’.

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

I was doing nothing but working on this film for probably a solid two months. Doing several camera tests with the saber to make sure we could in fact light this whole thing with the prop. All together I spent about 40 hours rotoscoping the lightsaber effect in each shot frame by frame.

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

Dark, Lonely

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

For this project it was definitely the music. Trying to find something that wasn’t specifically Star Wars but could get you general mood of the film and the setting was tough. I went though several different versions and at one point had just a slowed down version of the Imperial March.

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

Elated! I loved being able to see everyone’s feedback and thoughts. It’s great to see people understand and figure things out about the film that I wanted them too.

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

Part of the lore of Star Wars has always been the Trials that the Padawans must do before becoming a Jedi Knight and we’ve never been able to see that. And at one point our main character was a Jedi. Then I thought that it would be a lot more interesting if the audience (because of the name and the color of the lightsaber) only thought they were seeing a Jedi but who turned out to be not only a darkside user but Vader’s new apprentice. I thought it would be a really cool reveal if we could pull it off.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

That’s a tough one! Probably Star Wars: the Empire Strikes Back or one of the Indiana Jones films. (Not Crystal Skull

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

So far I have nothing but good things to say about Film Freeway. They make the process super easy and convenient.

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

Another tough one. The songs I listen too most are normally tied to a good music video. Probably Hurt by Johnny Cash.

What is next for you? A new film?

I currently do a lot of work and help out with a production company called Wages of Cine. I’m about to start production as Cinematographer on one of their short films and then later in the year will be Directing a short horror film for them as well.

STAR WARS: TRIALS, 5min, USA, Action/Adventure
Directed by Jeremy Garcia

Rowan awakes in the dark depths of a cave with nothing but her lightsaber. As she navigates the dark environment she learns she may not be alone.

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

Interview with Lucy Lee (VOICING SILENCE)

Short Film played to rave reviews at the Under 5 Minute Film Festival in June 2017.

To learn more about the film and filmmaker, go to her website: https://instinctfilms.wordpress.com/documentary/voicing-silenc/

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I have always aimed to make independent films that explore issues that are important for me, and through doing this I hope to add to the worldwide dialogue on how to live a happy and fulfilled life. To do this we sometimes have to face some difficult topics. I aim to make films that help change the way people think by encouraging dialogue. I hope this film encourages people to think about this subject.

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

8 months, around other work commitments.

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

Personal story.

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

Working round other commitments, and worry that the film may not do the subject justice.

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

Fear, followed by interest.

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

This film was made with my friend Abhi, who approached me with her voice recording and asked if I would be interested in make a film with it. My initial response was to use metaphor to juxtapose with the very graphic narration. However Abhi explained that the problem with this issue in India is that no-one will talk about it, so it is touched on in euphemism, hints or silence. She wanted to challenge this silence, be direct and stir up emotions, in response to this I decided to be more direct with the visual approach. She sent me photos of herself at that age, the area, and links to things that reminded her of the place and times, so I included these as references and in the design. I also included references to Lachmi, as the young girl wearing red and standing on a lotus carpet design, and the dance she is doing at the start (Bharatanatyam) is one practiced by higher caste Hindu girls as an expression of spiritual ideals. I did this because I wanted to heighten the incongruence between the idolised feminine and contempt for women and girls that leads to sexual abuse. I also used insects as a metaphor to add an extra layer of emotion and keep the audience active in their reading of the film. After making the middle section of the film, I felt that there needed to be some resolution to this experience, so I asked Abhi to record thoughts on how she felt about it now, and why she wanted to tell this story. She also told me that these thoughts occur to her when she goes running, which she likes to do to relieve stress. I liked the idea of contrasting the present with the past by highlighting that she is now in a different place physically and mentally. The live action, jogging, black and white, northern hemisphere winter, wealthy River Thames, is a good contrast to her childhood memories in India, bright colours, heat, rich culture, fixed camera, drawn animation. It highlighted the idea of a flashback memory that still continues to affect and motivate us many years down the line.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

‘Hedgehog in the Fog’ by Yuri Norstien

What song have you listened to the most in your life

I like to listen to and look at the work of everyday artists, normal people like you and me who create to communicate and to connect with other people. I like to buy the CDs of musicians busking on the street, and this is how I discovered the work of Daniel Waples. So at the moment I am particularly loving a Hang In Balance album called ‘Hang & Violin’ (https://hanginbalance.bandcamp.com/album/hang-violin-download-by-donation). I’m also loving an album by Spooky RedRum, ‘The Illusion of Time’ (https://spookyredrum.bandcamp.com/), for which I am making a music video for the song ‘The Dream’ by Nefeli Stamatogiannopoulou.

What is next for you? A new film?

I will make more films of course, but at the moment I am working on an illustrated book (and a music video, and a dance video).

VOICING SILENCE, 3min, UK, Animation
Directed by Lucy LeeHow do you move forward when events from a distant past continue to cast their grim shadow on the present? Can breaking the silence ever bring a much longed for quietude? Voicing Silence is one woman’s attempt to find her words that have remained muted for so long.CLICK HERE – and see full info and more pics of the film!

Interview with director Jeff Draheim (THE SNOWMAN’S HAT)

Short Film played to rave reviews at the Under 5 Minute Film Festival in June 2017.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I love stop motion animation, and I love trying to tell a story visually with no dialogue.

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

I made this film in my garage in my spare time. I nurtured the idea for almost a year, but once I started production the whole process took about 7 weeks.

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

Be patient.

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

I used white clay for the snowman. It attracted ever spec of dust in my garage. After filming the animation I had to create a filter in After Effects to the final frames to remove the dust but still retain the clay texture. The filter required hours of rendering for each shot.

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

I loved hearing the comments! A few people were offering a deeper meaning to my film then I ever envisioned. Their comments reinforce just how subjective art can be.

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

I was partially inspired by the antics of the Olaf character in the movie “Frozen”.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Jaws. I am a life-long fan of moves. I try to see as many as I can.

What song have you listened to the most in your life

My musical tastes are very diverse; classic rock, sound track scores, musicals, Jazz. I couldn’t begin to guess which song I’ve listened to the most.

What is next for you? A new film?

I like to make about 1 film a year. I’m currently nurturing a few ideas but I always like to have a solid story before I begin.

 

THE SNOWMAN’S HAT, 2min, USA, Animation
Directed by Jeff DraheimA stop motion snowman adventure.

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