Interview with Filmmaker Ken Clark (SNIP)

SNIP played to rave reviews at the August 2018 Young Filmmakers Film Festival i Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ken Clark: I like to tell stories that entertain but also prick the conscience of the viewer.

Due to illness I spent some time in hospital and in my ward was an old Jewish man who had come to New Zealand in the late 40s as a refugee. He told me a story which is the basis of another film idea that is lurking in my mind but, as we talked about life, experiences and the holocaust he said now they talk of numbers, only numbers, not about people. This stuck with me as many years ago I had read that three deaths is a tragedy, a thousand deaths is a statistic. When I came across Samuel and Ruth’s encounter I had my people story.

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

It was quite fast, for me. It was about 8 months. My university course required at least one finished short film by the end of the year. This time restraint galvanised me into getting a film finished.

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

Man’s inhumanity.

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

The biggest obstacle was writing the script. It is basically a monologue of an 18-19 year old girl living in Poland in the 1940s remembering her life before the Nazi invasion. These were things I had never experienced. I was never a teenage girl or lived in Europe. I looked at some of “The Diary of Ann Frank” and talked with my mother, who was a teenager in the 1940s, about female thoughts and experiences and the expectations of that time. I tried very hard to make the script read not the way a male thinks a female should or would think but an honest representation of her thoughts in that specific time and place. Once I had the script all things seemed to fall into place. I had a crew from the university film school and actors available from my wife’s drama class and my lead actress from our involvement in many theatrical productions. The set was designed and built to be used by both the film and the play my wife was producing.

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

Wow. This is the best thing of the festival. It was so good to get this honest feedback. I found the first comment about a ‘Kiwi’ accent interesting. Phoebe and I talked about accents early on and I made the decision that we use our normal speaking voice, as “Ruth” would have used her normal speaking voice. While there isn’t often an association of Jews and New Zealand, our Prime Minister from 2008 – 2016 is the son of a Jewish refugee. There are more ties that bind us than walls that divide us.

It was so gratifying to see and hear people respond to the film. The audience appeared to understand the story I was trying to tell. Ruth is a person and not just a statistic.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

While I had this holocaust, statistics not people, idea in the back of my mind, in 2012 I saw a documentary “Death Camp Treblinka – Survivor Stories”. It was about two survivors of Treblinka. Samuel Willenberg and Kalman Taigman. There was a short sequence;

(VO) “One day Samuel was ordered to work as a barber. He encountered a naked Warsaw girl fully aware of her fate.

(Samuel Willenberg) “She was about 19, maybe younger. I remember her name to this day. Ruth Dorfmann. I cut her hair. She asked me how long it would last. I said ten minutes. She looked back and said farewell…She was really saying farewell to the whole world. Then we heard the sound of the tank engine and that’s how it ended.”

From this short sequence I thought there’s the people story. All I had to do was work out what she could be thinking, what her conversation could have been while her hair was being cut and how to show the audience of her awareness of her fate.

I was also thinking of the broader historical implications. It took many years before the existence of the death camps was acknowledged. In the early years the ‘resettlement camps’ were shown as places of contentment and productivity, it was only at the end of the war that the dark truth was revealed. This progression, and the fact that modern audiences are used to seeing this time period in black and white was the main reason for the slow change from colour to black and white.

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

“King Kong” is my favourite film. I guess this is because it is a film that can allow you to escape into another world, but films that have had an emotional impact on me have been “The 400 Blows”, “Medium Cool” and ”Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris”

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

I think this is a very easy and simple way to get your films into festivals and they list a great number of festivals.

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

“Only the Lonely” by Roy Orbison, I’m a sucker for a sob story.

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

There are two films I’d like to make. One is from my conversation with Mr. Bergman in hospital. I don’t have it clear in my mind yet. He came to New Zealand as a refugee in 1949, he joined a Christchurch chess club in 1978. In 1985 a German immigrant joined the club. This German chess player was not only from the same village as Mr Bergman but was part of the police force that rounded up his family for deportation.

The other is “Picnic” an exploration of responsibility. If someone is unaware that what they do is criminal are they really criminals? Michael Hurst (Hercules: The Legendary Journeys) has agreed to star but schedules and finances are always a problem.

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Interview with Filmmaker Daniel Bergeson (UNEARTHED)

UNEARTHED was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the August 2018 Young Filmmakers Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

I had been wanting to write a part for a strong female lead and to work with a very young actor. I’ve also found that the best way to empathize with another demographic is to write dialogue from their perspective. I suppose this is only true because I take dialogue very seriously.

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

I think about four months.

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

Unwanted Revenge

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

All our rented gear arrived just a few days before we shot, and the handheld monitor that I planned to use to direct my cinematographer while filming arrived completely unresponsive. We had no time to get another monitor to work with the Ursa Mini Pro, so a most of the shots in the film actually had to be photographed by myself as the director. That’s why there’s no cinematography credit on the film.

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

I was blown away at the theories they came up with. So many of the ideas about how the themes were communicated and the questions the film raised I never would have thought of. Just brilliant interpretations.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

One very late night I was driving from Minneapolis to Sioux Falls along Hwy 60 and the image of a shovel slicing into the dirt entered my mind. Then, I had also been wanting to explore the multifaceted possibilities of guilt and intentionality of choice.

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

Either Rob Reiners’ The Princess Bride or Ron Howard’s The Grinch. It’s one of those treasures.

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

The platform is very easy to navigate for the most part. I like that the entire press packet and media for the film is available in one place. Pretty slick.

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

Either “Rite of Spring” by Angels and Airwaves or something by Freddie Mercury.

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

Right now I’m working on growing my production company After Hours Pictures with my father and business partner, Rodney. We’re doing some documentary work and producing a bigger short film about what road trips are like for minorities. I’m also writing a feature narrative about a living Sudanese refugee and child soldier. We’re looking to collaborate with other production companies who have a passion for excellent storytelling and irresistible characters.

Interview with Filmmaker Harrison Lane (THE GHOULIES)

THE GHOULIES was the winner of BEST FILM at the August 2018 STUDENT & YOUNG FILMMAKERS FEEDBACK Film Festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Harrison Lane: What inspired me to make this film was the relationship i had with my own older brother, the film actually went through multiple different iterations, all of them centred around the relationship between two siblings and the neglect they once experienced being patched. At one point it was even a full fledged horror film with a polar opposite style and story. But decided i wanted to go into a more realistic and simple direction. I was motivated to make something entertaining that a lot of people could take something from and reflect with.

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

It was for uni so we were assessed on the writing, so i’d say it took around a month or two to cycle through all the different versions of this story, once i had it nailed down i spent a couple of weeks polishing it so it was as precise and direct i could make it, it was only allowed to be 5 minutes and i really wanted to tell a satisfying arc in that time. I spent a few weeks before we shot finding the locations and all the denim jackets so they could be painted and then we shot the whole thing in two days. It was a blast.

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

Family, Dirty

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

It’s odd, this film was an absolute joy to create from the get go, I enjoyed basically every aspect. I guess the hardest experience was locking down the script, i can’t stress how much it changed. But i feel like every version added to something incredibly layered for the final version.

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

It was bizarre, I had to pause and finish watching in the morning because it was so surreal. It’s so strange watching people you have no connection to picking apart something you spent months to create. All the feedback was great and so affirming that i was successful in telling this arc and not being too dramatic and getting the performances as good as i could get them. After the initial strangeness of it, it was brilliant to watch.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I do a lot of reminiscing on my own upbringing and a lot of that time as a i was looking up to my older brother and his friends. Wanting to be around them and fit in with a crowd much too old for me, but really it was because i aspired to be like my brother. I got picked on by that group a bit but my older brother had my back and i could tell he really cared about me.

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

Far out, that’s hard. I definitely reckon it’s The Sandlot though. I used to watch it on repeat and i can quote the whole film to this day. It’s got such a nice feeling to it.

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

I think it’s great, It’s super easy to find new festivals that your film could qualify for.

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

I am an absolute music fanatic, this is difficult, i cycle through a lot of different artists depending on my taste at any period, but i reckon one artist who will stay with me forever is Sufjan Stevens. His storytelling is so inline with my vibe. My favourite song of his is Djoharia.

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

I am approximately 13 days from shooting my graduate film at the VCA. I am very stressed and it’s a much bigger production then any i’ve tackled previously. I reckon it’s going to be really special and meaningful for me. So i’m excited.

the_ghoulies.jpg

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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmakers Michael Boctor & Dylan Hancook (CHEATER)

CHEATER was the winner of BEST FILM at the June 2018 Young Filmmakers FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Michael Boctor: I wanted to challenge myself creatively by making a bottle film—what I mean by that is a film that takes place entirely in one small location. Within this small space, I wanted to reveal intrigue amongst the mundane by manipulating a variety of cinematic tools such as pacing, performance, and perspective. The escalating beats intensified the pacing, our actors projected a tense performance, and our thoughtful cinematography controlled for a visceral perspective. And then… well… it turned into quite the wild scene.

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

MB: The film had a pretty quick turnaround. We had entered a 24-hour film competition, so all of production was done in less than 12 hours, and most of the post-production followed in the next 12 hours. Since the sleepless competition, Dylan Hancook has made more edits polishing it up to what it is now.

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

Unexpected Escalation

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

MB: Like I said earlier, at the start of production we only had 24 hours to complete the first version of the film. Along with battling technical issues, we had to cut a lot of shots from the storyboard due to our significant time crunch. Thankfully, we had an incredible producer/DP/editor in Dylan Hancook and an amazing crew which led us to persevere.

Dylan Hancook: Without a doubt gathering a classroom of students for free on very short notice and shooting around their schedules was the most difficult; people are busy. Also for a 24 hour film competition we were being very ambitious with shot quantity, our film has around 70 shots while the other finalists had only 3-5 long takes.

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

MB: There are few greater rewards than hearing from people who have genuinely enjoyed your hard work. I felt incredibly encouraged and loved listening to the specific things they drew from it.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

MB: On the first day of a college film class, we were asked to fill out an icebreaker-questionnaire. Following that, we went over the syllabus which discussed the “cheating policy.” I thought how hilarious it would be if someone tried to cheat on our previous “assessment.” Then, I did what I always do and thought, “how can I turn this into a movie?”

DH: The original script actually didn’t include the 2nd half of the film, I encouraged Michael to really flip it the drama on its head and run with it– and he did.

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

I’ve honestly lost count between “I Am Legend,” “Ex Machina,” and “The Rugrats Movie”

8. What are your thoughts on FilmFreeway?

DH: Film Freeway makes it incredibly easy to search, submit, and forget. It’s actually pretty overwhelming how many festivals there are, so any guidance to find the right fit is definitely appreciated. I think this particular festival is ideal for young filmmakers because you can enjoy the audience experience remotely, especially when traveling to each festival is often impractical.

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

“When I Ripped My Pants” – Spongebob Squarepants

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

MB: I just graduated and I am taking a GAP year in between college and… wait for it… medical school. During my GAP year I plan to continue working on both commercial and narrative filmmaking. I have plenty more ideas in my notebook and I want to work with creative people to translate them to the film screen.

cheater
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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

Interview with Filmmaker Matt Provenzano (EDGAR’S INVENTION)

EDGAR’S INVENTION played to rave reviews at the June 2018 Young Filmmakers FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Matt Provenzano: I was motivated to make this film to honor the memory of the man who invented water balloons, Edgar Ellington. Inventors like Steve Jobs and Thomas Edison are household names, but no one knows Ellington. I’m not sure if my interpretation of the man was accurate, but as long as I can stir up an interest in an inventor who has had a profound impact on rubber sacks of water, I’ve done my job right.

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

The entire film took about a month to complete. The script was written in a day, casting took a week, filming took three days, editing took another week.

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

Really silly.

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

It’s a toss up between getting a tear to fall out of Edgars eye at the end, and getting ready to shoot a scene in the lab when suddenly a glass plasma ball fell on the floor and shattered. No one was hurt, but it set us back a good 30 minutes and made the time crunch we were already in even more stressful.

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

It was the coolest and most humbling thing in the world. I think more festivals should implement that. Nothing is more honoring than audiences genuinely discussing your work, be it critical or raving. Most of the audience had very heartfelt things to say about my film, and I couldn’t be happier about the reaction it received.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

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

There I was, randomly browsing reddit.com one day in April. I came across an interesting fun-fact that someone posted on the subreddit r/TIL (stands for Today I Learned) which read “TIL an inventor trying to make a sock to prevent trench foot first produced modern water balloons. Having made a latex-coated sock and filling it with water to test for leaks, he found a rip and angrily threw it on his table. Pleased with the splash, he decided to market water balloons for children.” I immediately saw the story play out in my head. I saw the disgruntled inventor who just wants to make his mark on the world, I saw the Frankenstein-esque lab, I saw the cheesy 1950’s sci-fi esthetic, I saw the triumph in Edgar’s eyes when he realizes what he has done. I knew I had to tell this story.

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

There’s a difference between my favorite film and the film I’ve seen the most in my life. My favorite film is Back to the Future, but I’ve probably seen Forrest Gump more than anything else because it’s on TV every single day.

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

I think it is great. Anyone over 35 knows how difficult it was to submit to film festivals before the use of online platforms. I can’t think of a better way to bring serious filmmaking into the 21st century than with outlets such as FilmFreeway. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it works.

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

There’s a song from the obscure Japanese game “Gitaroo Man” called “The Legendary Theme.” I’ve been listening to it almost daily since I was a child. Something about its simplicity is hypnotizing to me. It puts me in a beautiful trance every time I hear it.

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

I’m always cooking up something new. I love creating. The next project for me is an anthology film with 10 different stories, ranging from funny to suspenseful to action packed to tear jerking. One of them is even a musical. I hope that with this project, people can take me a bit more seriously as a writer and a director. For more information and for updates, you can visit my website mattprovenzano.com or the website for my production company Purple Cloud Entertainment purplecloudny.com. Peace out yo.

edgars invention.jpg
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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 single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.

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 Filmmaker Paul Scheufler (TASTE OF LOVE)

Paul’s short film played to rave reviews at the October 2017 STUDENT FEEDBACK Film Festival. “TASTE OF LOVE” was the winner of BEST Cinematography at the festival.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Paul Scheufler: To tell the story about the various forms love can take on, to tell the story about and invite forms of sexual passions and the importance of a colorful and diverse world.

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

Four months in total, but we were all in high school at this moment and just graduated. So we spent every second on our free time to producing the film. We even flew to Berlin in Germany to record the right voice. A lot of effort went into it.

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

INTENSIVE COLORFUL

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

The melting and stinky fruits under the hot lighting equipment next to our actress…

No, the biggest obstacles was the camera department. We shot everything with a Macro lens so everything was really close, all lights, the actors, and the camera on a special, very heavy 3 axis tripod. That was new to us and it took us two days to improve the workflow.

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

Oh at this point I want to thank the audience for such a great feedback! – It’s absolutely fantastic and such a great full feeling when the audience feel with the story and take the main though out of the cinema!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Love and food are really important things in life or… (laughing). The thought at looking for the right sexual desires made me crazy. I did a lot of research on sexuality and “unusual” passions. After a talk with a good friend of mine, I knew I wanted to do a movie about polysexuality and tastes as a reverence where everybody can connect with.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Let me see… as a child a was obsessed with the TV show “Barbarbar’s” but thats a long time ago. Now I’m trying to watch a short film every day and see sometimes recommended features, but I do not really have a favorite film.

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

It’s super easy to reach festivals all over the world and present it to a real audience. Movies are made to be seen and these platforms helping new comers, filmmakers and the audience to see new and exciting films!

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

I really don’t have any favorite song. My mood decides if I hear classics, house, electronics or what ever combination of genres. But I wanna give a shout out to “Glass Animas” , “alt-j”, “Portugal The Man” and to “Gudrun von Laxenburg” (Austrian guys).

What is next for you? A new film?

At the moment I’m living in New York City, I’m working for the Austrian American Film Festival in New York and doing commercials and writing for next short movies. I’m planning to go back to Vienna, Austria in Summer 2018 and preparing for applications for Film Academies in Austria or Germany. But you know… everything can change so quickly. I’m not the guy who is planning my next 5 years. My passion of telling stories and connecting with people and issues is driving me, and I will see where this passion is going to take me.