Interview with Filmmaker Myriam Kamel (MY BROTHER)

MY BROTHER played to rave reviews at the April 2019 Los Angeles FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Myriam Kamel: I definitely wanted to show diversity on the screen. Montreal is such a cultural city, and as beautiful as it is it also comes with its issues. I wanted to portray it on the screen.

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

I thought about this film for about 3 years before writing the first version. Then from writing to the first screening it took about 8 months.

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

Cultural film

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

Casting was the biggest challenge throughout this film. There are not a lot of arabic actors in Montreal and the few I met didn’t correspond much to the characters. Casting was a very long process and I was very lucky to find Hamza and Fayçal.

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

At first I was very very VERY nervous, but after I was relieved. It’s amazing to get that kind of feedback from strangers. I loved that people who had trouble relating to the story or who didn’t understand certain things had the guts to speak out and say it. Too often it feels like people are too scared to say what they think for fear of hurting your feelings, but I know that my work is not perfect and I had an idea of what didn’t come out right with this film. This feedback helped me confirm it and think of what I could have done differently. It was very constructive and I’m very grateful for it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I knew I wanted to make a film about culture differences. Growing up in Montreal I’ve always felt like I had to behave a certain way inside the house and another when I was out. My beliefs were often challenged and my parents didn’t always understand how it changed me. After discussing it with other people I realized that I wasn’t the only one going through this sort of dilemna where I felt I had to chose between my family and what I wanted, and so I wanted to write about it.

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

In my whole life it would be La Haine by Mathieu Kassovitz, but recently I’ve just watched Divines by Uda Benyamina and I’m in love with it. It’s a sad film, but it’s beautiful, very well-made. I love french cinema.

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

I like that there is such a platform, it definitely eases the submission process and it’s great to have access to so many festivals in one place, but sometimes it does feel like your film is only one in a million. It’s also hard to figure out which festivals are active on FilmFreeway.

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

Like Ships in the Night – Mat Kearney

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

Working on my next short 🙂

Interview with Filmmaker Damien Starr (I’LL BE FINE)

I’LL BE FINE was the winner of BEST FILM at the December 2018 COMEDY Festival in Los Angeles.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Damien Starr: This was a student project and the restriction was to have it within 3 minutes. I wanted to challenge myself in a couple of ways, firstly to write a story featuring a woman as my main cast. This was a first for that, and secondly, making a film that required no on set audio, because of budget and limitations. Thus, I’ll Be Fine was born. The film, as you know, explores the communication of a deaf person through text. It opened my mind to everyday life of a deaf person and how they perceive themselves and the world around them.

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

1 week.

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

Struggle and acceptance.

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

Having a three person (including the actress) crew!

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

The first screening of this film didn’t go so well as she doesn’t mention at the end that she’s deaf. Rather, it’s left to the audience to make that connection. However, only 30% got it. 70% of people did not understand the film. As such, I changed the wording in the text bubble to reflect that. So while it’s now “on the nose” as someone described, it’s understood and enjoyed by many more people. As such, when I saw that many more loved this film in this round of feedback, I was moved and it gave me validation that this was a good film.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I usually make films with bigger budgets and lots of VFX, but for this, I wanted it to be simple and focus on character and story, and all of the emotion that comes with that. Along with the restrictions of no on-set audio, I wanted to have a story of communication conveyed by text graphics. A story about a deaf person fit exactly what I was looking for. I researched strongly about deaf people and their day-to-day struggles with life and was inspired to make this movie.

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

It’s a tie between Titanic and Beauty and The Beast (1991).

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

I like FilmFreeway, no complaints there.

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

Mr. Brightside.

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

I’m fundraising for a sci-fi thriller feature film about a physicist that is kidnapped in a desolate house and has to uncover the mystery of how she got there. I placed in a screenwriting competition, and received high scores from coverage services so I’m really excited for this!

Interview with Filmmaker Alessandro Schuster (THE BOY WITH THE TEDDY)

THE BOY WITH THE TEDDY was the winner of BEST MUSIC at the January 2019 European Short Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Alessandro Schuster: Get lots of inspiration from great movies. And I wanted a child to be the key figure. I also think that the theme of the film is receiving far too little attention in our world today.

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

The first idea for the story was in November 2016. The shooting was in February 2017 and the team screening of the film was in May 2018.

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

I can’t answer this queston 🙂 sorry.

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

To cut the flashbacks into the movie so that they are well placed and not overdone.

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

I was glad that there were so many different perceptions of the film. One has noticed the narrative method, the other has understood the process of color grading. That’s nice, that such things stay in the minds of the audience.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

That answers the first question a bit. But I was at a festival at the time and suddenly had the characters in my head at night after the aftershow party and wrote down the first frame story.

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

I can not say that. I only know that it will always be more!

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

In my opinion, Filmfreeway is the best platform for filmmakers to submit their own films quickly and well at countless national and international film festivals.

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

Also not countable. They’re getting more and more. But on top of my ‘Most Played Songs’ list on my phone is, among others, Manu Chao’s ‘Siberie Fleuve Amour’ and Tocotronic’s ‘Electric Guitar’. Otherwise I hear a lot of house / electro, reggae, rap and pop.

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

As an actor, I currently shoot many television and movie productions. Otherwise, I’m currently producing the music video for the title song of our movie “Teddy’s Lullaby” by Mike Shoe, which will be released soon.

Interview with Filmmaker William Mussini (F**KING WORLD)

The short film F**KING WORLD is a must see 1 minute blast. It hits on a lot of emotions that many of us are feelings, plus it’s really funny. William Mussini’s film played to rave reviews at the WILDsound FEEDBACK January 2016 Film Festival.

Interview with William Mussini:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

William Mussini: I wanted to depict the fleeting scenes of everyday life, through the eyes of an ordinary man, in one and half minute at most, bringing out his thoughts, his pains, his actions and his disasters.

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

William: It took me two days to make this short movie after finding the inspiration.

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

William: A sudden awareness.

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

William: Looking for a fitting location.

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

William: I felt curious and amused.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video from the Festival:

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

William: In a moment of anger, I wanted to shout to the world why there was so much useless evil affecting us.

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

William: The Thin Red Line, directed by Terrence Malick.

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

William: Oh yeah! Even four movies per…….month! Waiting for the inspiration…..

 

Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to http://www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with filmmaker Jordan Inconstant (YO SOY PEDRO)

Jordan Inconstant’s award winning comedy/sci-fi YO SOY PEDRO played to rave reviews at the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film Festival in January 2016. The film was also the winner of Best Musical Score at the festival.

I recently sat down with the French film-maker to talk more about his career:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Jordan Inconstant: Yo Soy Pedro, is the first film I’ve done with an original script. I had already made short films before (fanfilm, adaptation …) but I wanted to try to create a universe and original characters as something really very exciting. (Makeup design, costume etc …)

I tried to make a film that looks like me, both offbeat and funny.

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

Jordan: I wrote the film for 2 months. There were 5 months of preparation for the shooting and 1 week of shooting. Subsequently There were six months of post-production. We will say that the film was produced on approximately 1 year.

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

Jordan: Strange and crazy

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

Jordan: The most complicated part was filming! We were shooting mostly at night in the forest. Sadly for us it did not stop raining during the shoot, the generators for projectors, toasted. And makeup was struggling to endure the rain. We also broke a wheel of the truck containing the equipment … On the other hand we had to take into account the time to make up for the shoot. There was 7h makeup for the blue alien and 3h for Pedro. That had to be taken into account when organizing the shooting. But we had a great time on this shoot, there was a very good atmosphere!

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

Jordan: I was very surprised! There is no other festival that offers this, it’s great! To see the public reaction and to take part in the festival. There was a little debate about the fact that the film was shot in French while the atmosphere is American, it was interesting. This has pleased all the film crew, Sylvain Ott, composer joins me in thanking you for the price of the best music.

Matthew: Your closing credits are terrific. How long did it take you to do that portion? Who did the animation? It’s almost like you made an entirely different film.

Jordan: Thank you ! We spent 6 months on this generic, for parallel to the Post-production of the film, it was directed by Damien Bracciotti. The idea was really to make the sequel as a small cartoon. I find it funny to see what happens to the characters, this could make a sequel somehow .

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Jordan: It is difficult to answer this question, there are so many movies that I watch very often. Of course all the classics, but in general I’m attracted to movies with universal appeal, that is or arthouse films or blockbuster.

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

Jordan: I have 2 short films in post production right now!

The first is a fanfilm Star Wars (I had already done a Pirates of the Caribbean before Yo Soy Pedro).

This is an episode from the episode 3 and 4 when Obiwan watches over Luke on Tatooine. We shot with a real fan, possessing replica costumes. The advantage of fanfilm is that they get good visibility … It will be online in spring.

The second is “Super-Vieillots” ( The Old-Men in English) is an original movie with an old superhero (about 70 years) who wants to resume service! The film will be in festivals this Autumn.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK of YO SOY PEDRO:

Interview with Screenwriter Bruna Rubio (VAMPIRAS)

Bruna Rubio’s short film was showcased at the best of Under 5min. Film Festival in January. An extremely unique, funny, and scary story about Spanish Female Vampires living in Los Angeles.

I recently chatted with Bruna and chatted with her about her short film:

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Bruna Rubio: As a Latina I was always wondering why can we have our own vampire TV show 🙂

It’s never been done in Spanish a vampire TV series so my idea was create the first Spanish vampire TV series . So I did Vampiras with the idea of a sizzle reel for a TV series.

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

Bruno: Everything happened really fast…one day I stayed up all night and wrote the script and 1 week later I put a credit together and did some auditions. Since I have my own movie studio in Los Angeles I was able to get done fast . So took me 3 weeks from start to fully edited.

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

Bruno: Surprising and funny

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

Bruno: I really didn’t have any … I was 100% focused on getting it done ASAP and everything went well.

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

Bruno: I love the first girl totally got my original idea of Vampiras been a TV series 🙂 The porn part was also funny. ..you have to understand that Spanish TV it’s always a little cheese lol .Also that was my intention … to have the old school vampire formula… of dark comedy mixed with surprises and a little bit of sexy.

Matthew: What is the future of Vampiras? This seems like a film that is a setup to a large film.

Bruno:  I would love for Vampiras to be a TV series but I am also looking into making it as a full movie and I already wrote the script and it has so many cool things !! Luna is actually a detective and when the judge can not put a bad guy in jail the Luna take justice on her own at night …

Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?

Bruno: I must admit the answer is Indiana Jones 🙂

Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?

Bruno: I just finished my second one and we are on post ending the film with animation… This one is in English and it’s very dramatic …and it mix real with animation.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK for VAMPIRAS:

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Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 10-20 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto on the last Thursday of every single month. Go to www.wildsound.ca for more information and to submit your work to the festival.