February 2019 Screenwriter Interviews

Read interviews with top screenwriters from around the world.

Interviews conducted by Matthew Toffolo

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Gracious Vallarious (VIN AND JILL)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Gracious Vallarious (VIN AND JILL)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Farook Qais (THE PORTAL)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Farook Qais (THE PORTAL)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert Tartell (Hard-Hearted Hannah & Funny Boneyard)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Robert Tartell (Hard-Hearted Hannah & Funny Boneyard)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Gregory N. Ranky (GECKO ON-SIGHT)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Gregory N. Ranky (GECKO ON-SIGHT)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Maurizio Caduto (LIKE A BLOODY MONKEY)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Maurizio Caduto (LIKE A BLOODY MONKEY)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Anoop Judge (THE RUMMY CLUB)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Anoop Judge (THE RUMMY CLUB)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter David Hearne (STARFARERS)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter David Hearne (STARFARERS)

Interview with Winning Screenwriter Anna Milun Walsh (GIRLS TV Show)
Interview with Winning Screenwriter Anna Milun Walsh (GIRLS TV Show)

Interview with Screenwriter Tali Zingman (HEADSTRONG)
Interview with Screenwriter Tali Zingman (HEADSTRONG)

Interview with Screenwriter Marilyn Lee (WOMEN OF STEEL)
Interview with Screenwriter Marilyn Lee (WOMEN OF STEEL)

Interview with Screenwriter Eileen Wilson (GINGER SNAP)
Interview with Screenwriter Eileen Wilson (GINGER SNAP)

Interview with Screenwriter Rodrigo Juatco (ROAR)
Interview with Screenwriter Rodrigo Juatco (ROAR)

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February 2019 Film Festival Interviews

Best of the new festival interviews for Feb. 2019. And what they link about FilmFreeway:

Interview with Operations Manager Auregan (Paris Art and Movie Awards PAMA)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/02/08/interview-with-operations-manager-auregan-paris-art-and-movie-awards-pama/

Amazing : Off to the biggest start we had since the creation of the festival. It’s like people were somehow expecting us to accept entries and… Here we are !

Interview with Festival Director Brent Kado (Chicago Independent Film +TV Festival)
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/02/08/interview-with-festival-director-brent-kado-chicago-independent-film-tv-festival/

Good overall. The main issues with them is, again, this gluttony of festivals and awards “contests” and needing to do better weeding out the scams and misleading events.

Interview with the Festival team of FILMSAAZ
https://festivalreviews.org/2019/02/08/interview-with-the-festival-team-of-filmsaaz/

A great service. Have done wonders for us.

Interview with Festival Director Anastasia Cazabon (GRRL HAUS CINEMA)

https://festivalreviews.org/2019/01/18/interview-with-festival-director-anastasia-cazabon-grrl-haus-cinema/

The FilmFreeway process as been great. It’s a really great platform to view films and super user friendly.

Interview with Jury member – Auregan (Paris Art and Movie Awards PAMA)

The Paris Art & Movie Awards (PAMA) is the leading film festival in Paris for independent filmmakers.

The line up included through the years: Sharon Stone, Kirsten Dunst, Sam Rockwell, Robin Wright, Vladimir Cosma, Laetitia Casta, Kristanna Loken, Mark Dacascos, Caterina Murino, Andrew J. West, Hugo Becker, Jansen Panettiere, Tetsuo Nagata, Leslie Bibb, Melanie et Alain Doutey, Macarena Gomez, French prime Minister Edith Cresson, French Minister Frederic Lefebvre, Emma Bell…

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Matthew Toffolo: How did you get involved with the festival?

Auregan: I’ve been a voting Jury member since 2015. It is always fun and exciting to be part of this adventure, because it’s international: you get to discover talents, artists, music and movies from everywhere in the world!

2) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

The festival is accepting films, scores, soundtrack songs, and art pieces with more than 20 categories in official competition. That includes documentary, feature and short films, experimental, music video, web series…

As a jury member, I focus on quality, and originality. Being a Judge or Jury member on a regular basis with various competitions, I really appreciate when I hear / watch something that stands out, or when it create emotion. I particularly love the animated films and score categories.

3) Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

I believe a festival should come in support of the artists, and the PAMA does exactly that, that’s why I come back. The PAMA is the biggest film festival in Paris, for independent filmmakers. The team does give a fair shake to every artist and every submitter is truly considered. Last year, a very young female composer, Jeanne-Peri, won best score; even if she was up against Vladimir Cosma, who is very well know and established and has a lifetime career in scoring! It is a competition indeed, but the festival’s mission and the event itself really pushes the artists under the spotlight, offering a fun and really useful experience to keep going with their careers.

5) What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Back to the Future, and quite a lot of the Walt Disney classics. Also I’m always looking for new series to catch up on.

6) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A beautiful story will beat every little flaws because it will transport you else where, like a catchy melody.

7) How is the film scene in your city?

I spend most of my time in Los Angeles… It’s safe to say the movie scene is quite strong here…

8) What are the qualities a programmer needs to select the best films for a festival?

At the PAMA, they have the clear objective to showcase the most female filmmakers as possible. They also invite stars and international figures to be judges, and that brings various perspectives on the table. The selection is somehow a reflection of the times: you have to be connected to the outside world, and at the same time look for the tiny details and human qualities into every movie.

9. How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Amazing : Off to the biggest start we had since the creation of the festival. It’s like people were somehow expecting us to accept entries and… Here we are !

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—-
AUREGAN’s BIO
Auregan is a singer-songwriter and performer.

She penned more than 250 songs, and performed 300 headlining shows during her last tour, including stadiums, legendary venues across Europe, and Cathedrals.

She sold 1.5M units of her latest albums and singles.

She performed in numerous festivals in the rock, folk, Celtic and pop genres; recorded songs in Paris, London and Los Angeles.

Her three published albums are “Mon Tricorne Noir”, “Rock Movie” and “Tortuga“.

Her duet song with Billy Ray Cyrus, “Shelter In The Storm”, is included in critically acclaimed multi-award winning movie Man Of The Past‘s soundtrack. Auregan co-wrote the song with Billy Ray Cyrus.

In her latest song “Broken Doll”, Auregan opens about choosing a path, accepting who you are, and following a higher purpose despite a strong suffering. The track was produced by Diego Alfonsi.

pama 2

Interview with Festival Director Brent Kado (Chicago Independent Film +TV Festival)

The Chicago Independent Film and TV Festival supports international and national filmmakers and showcase strong independent work in the city of Chicago.

CIFF fills the overdue need for a quality international independent film festival in Chicago. Ran by filmmakers with a recognized and notable track record, CIFF not only brings quality projects to Chicago but partners with reputable, knowledgeable local film and arts groups. We will use an inside-out approach to championing local creators. After having worked in both Chicago and Los Angeles for nine years we understand the realities of film and video in Chicago and the bulk of the opportunities outside of the region. We see the need to educate and champion local production opportunities but also the actuality of the current industry.

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Matthew Toffolo: What is your Film Festival succeeding at doing for filmmakers?

Brent Kado: We are connecting them with strong opportunities to success both in Chicago and in LA. We’re happy to be working in both cities and love connecting the two filmmaking communities together.

2) What would you expect to experience if you attend your upcoming festival?

We are doing many co-events with our sister festival Chicago Comedy Film Festival. Between the two festivals we will have over 300 filmmakers, actors, agents and producers in attendance. So it is a great way to network. Obviously you’ll see amazing premieres of films and enjoy talking with those involved in each project.

3) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

Chicago premiere and not online or distributed.

4) Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

Not really. There is a gluttony of film festivals right now. So many little towns have them, 100s in LA, so I feel you can get in somewhere. But the really difference maker is getting into the top tier fests.

5) What motivates you and your team to do this festival?

We are filmmakers who understand the festival circuit. We’ve had our own successes (and failures). Our team understands the work and love for independent filmmaking. We’ve also seen a lag in good advise, education and credibility in Chicago’s scene and really try hard to inform and promote our filmmakers to the larger industry in Chicago and LA.

6) How has your FilmFreeway submission process been?

Good overall. The main issues with them is, again, this gluttony of festivals and awards “contests” and needing to do better weeding out the scams and misleading events.

7) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

With Chicago Comedy Film Festival we’ve seen growth happen in areas I never would have thought. Things happened organically and I expect the same for CIFF. I hope we grow as needed and continue to work with Chicago Comedy Film Festival on creating content and having educational initiatives that make a difference.

8) What film have you seen the most times in your life?

Besides my own, Friday and Gimme Shelter

9) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

Belief.

10) How is the film scene in your city?

Chicago is a great place to create. Cheap, lots of resources and supportive. It’s also a great city to consume art, including film.

 

chicago 2

Interview with the Festival team of FILMSAAZ

Filmsaaz is an annual celebrated international Film Festival organised by the University Film Club of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). The festival is one of the largest multi-disciplinary art and cultural festivals in India dedicated to the exhibition of short film, documentaries, music, art and cultural advocacy programs. This 4 days festival hosts the screening of upto 50 differently categorised movies and on the eve of 4th day holds an award fiesta. Thus asserting a down shift in the isolophiliac nature of today’s mind, by uniting them to crave for such hearty gathering.

A legacy of 11 long years, and enormous heart warming memories to cherish with, Filmsaaz has witnessed the presence eminent Indian Cenematic intelligentsia. The 12th edition is all set to deliver, an awe inspiring selection of movies from across the globe. For the past 11 years, Filmsaaz has been one of the ideal events in Aligarh achieving new milestone with every passing year.

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Matthew Toffolo: How did you get involved with the festival?

FILMSAAZ: For the aspiring filmmakers, who submit their work at our festival. We specially screen their work at our Kennedy Auditorium, built in our University. With a seating of over 12,000, the work of these Filmmakers is spread all over the city. Moreover, at the last day of our event. We hold a special felicitation ceremony for the films that has been adjudged as the winner in different categories. In the felicitation, the filmmakers are awarded an exclusive FILMSAAZ trophy along with a certificate specially given by our chief guest which is usually a renowned personality from Bollywood.

2) What are the qualifications for the selected films?

FILMSAAZ has always been a festival of movie and drama. Filmy vibes can be felt throughout the 4-day event. From film screenings to photo booths. From musical evenings to eye-catchy decorations. These is nothing that won’t make you stay for a while longer.

3) Do you think that some films really don’t get a fair shake from film festivals? And if so, why?

No, we never think that. All the deserving movies gets a fair chance in competing in the competition. That’s the only reason we’re now getting some good and meaningful movies at international level

4) Where do you see the festival by 2023?

In the next 5 years, we definitely see our event as one the prominent Film Festivals around the world. Like the number of International stuff we’re getting. We’ll soon might have more number of International movies competing at our festival than the national ones.

5) What film have you seen the most times in your life?

6) In one sentence, what makes a great film?

A great script and team makes a great movie.

7) How is the film scene in your city?

We didn’t had much support for filmmaking in our city. But for the past 4-5 years, alot number of great and enthusiastic filmmakers are coming up with some great content.

8) What are the qualities a programmer needs to select the best films for a festival?

Well, since we all know. Nothing in this world comes easily. We’ve been on a rollercoaster ride everytime. Sometimes, we do get a lot of movie and sometimes, we don’t. But thanks to filmfreeway for making us a lot easier to reach some great filmmakers around the globe. Now, we just need to register our festival and all the other work is done by them.

9) How has your FilmFreeway experience been so far?

A great service. Have done wonders for us.

filmsaaz 2

Film Review: THE PRODIGY (USA 2019) ***

The Prodigy Poster
Trailer

A mother concerned about her young son’s disturbing behavior thinks something supernatural may be affecting him.

Writer:

Jeff Buhler

THE PRODIGY is a horror slasher/possession film that by nature of the script evokes a lot of thinking – at least from my part.  Part of these will be mentioned in the review.

The plot centres around a child, Miles (Jackson Robert Scott) whose disturbing behaviour signals that an evil, possibly supernatural force possessed him, forcing his parents, Sarah (Taylor Schilling) and John (Peter Mooney) to investigate whether sinister forces are involved.  Miles is a prodigy with exceptional learning ability though socially backward.  The film is clear later on to let the audience know the difference between possession and reincarnation though the effect of both on a horror film is the same – i.e Miles behaves like a different being.

The film begins with three intercut scenes.  One is a woman screaming for help, running out of the woods stopping a car driven by another woman, who stops.  The second is a birth, an early one at that, with the mother in labour.  The scene is intercut with a man in his tool shed, called out by the police and then gunned down in the yard.  The man clasps what seems to be a severed hand.  When the woman gives birth the writhing baby fades into the dying man that was gunned down by the police.   The film then moves on in years when the baby is now grown to a boy of different ages 8 and 10.  It does not take a genius to fit the pieces of the jigsaw together, but it is still fun doing it.  The dead serial killer is reincarnated in the boy.  The parents have to figure out what is happening and who the reincarnating killer is and save the day, and hopefully their son in the process.  A doctor, Arthur Jacobson (played by Canadian Colm Feore) aids in solving the mystery.

The film is supposedly set in Pennsylvania but shot in Canada.  The actors are a mix of Canadian and American casting.

McCarty’s film is both scary in concept and execution.  One is not knowing what your child will grow up to be.  One scene has the mother wondering the same question, then assured by the physician that the boy is giftedly bright.  The film contains graphic gore and violence – the most disturbing scene involving the boy hitting another with a huge wrench.

Not to mention any details, there is one glitch in the story that I thought evaded the scriptwriter.  But upon closer examination, the script allowed for that discrepancy if one thinks hard enough.  The details will not disclosed for plot twists would have to be revealed.

THE PRODIGY is not without its loose ends (how did the boy get the sharp shears in the car?  How did the boy have the tools to make the camera to spy on his parents), which is forgivable in a low budget horror movie.  Still this is one hell of a thinking horror film, and a satisfying one nevertheless.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=REXXOGV1IIE

Film Review: WHAT MEN WANT (USA 2019) **

What Men Want Poster
Trailer

A woman is boxed out by the male sports agents in her profession, but gains an unexpected edge over them when she develops the ability to hear men’s thoughts.

Director:

Adam Shankman

Writers:

Tina Gordon (screenplay by) (as Tina Gordon Chism), Peter Huyck (screenplay by) |8 more credits »

WHAT MEN WANT is a black woman’s fantasy romantic comedy, a loose remake of the 2000 film WHAT WOMEN WANT.  It is fantasy as the plot follows a woman who, after drinking a potent concoction given by a shaman, gains the ability to hear men’s inner thoughts.  

There is nothing new or innovative in this rom-com with a little spin targeting a black female audience.  Last year’s Netflix original NAPPILY HAPPY AFTER saw a Black lady get her man.  The twist here is hair that made up her life – hair standing as a metaphor for her ego.  WHAT MEN WANT’s twist is less subtle, after an incident, the female protagonist can hear men’s thoughts.

So what do men think that is funny?  Apparently not much as the film attests.  Lots of dirty thoughts, gay thoughts and ridiculous thoughts, most of them more outrageous than funny.  

The woman in question is Ali Davis (Taraji P. Henson), a successful sports agent working in a man dominated world of sports.  Her personal agent, who is gay, Brandon (Josh Brener) dreams of becoming a sports agent but Ali wants him all to herself.  When she is passed over to become partner in the firm she questions what she needs to succeed in a man’s wold.  This is when she gains, half hour trough the movie, the ability other men’s thoughts.  This allows her not only to gain the upper hand at work but to engage in sex with several hunks including one who becomes her main romantic interest.

Of all the comedic set-ups, one stands out.  Oddly, the stand out if from Henson’s outrageousness as well as the scene’s.  This is the sex scene between Ali and Will (Aldis Hodge).  Ali plays the dominant sex partner, totally in control and freaking Will out so much so he can hardly breathe (yes, she chokes him) or speak.  Finally after they complete the act, she rolls over to her side to sleep ignoring him and leaving him looking totally flabbergasted.  I would not consider revealing this scene a spoiler as it has to be seen as description does not do the segment justice.

Other parts of the story involving Will’s son, Will and Ali’s misunderstanding and her work among men in the office fall into cliched territory.  The part where Ali makes up with her friends propel the plot but is rather uninventive.

It is interesting to note that Ali possesses this ‘power’ for only half of the movie.  She gains the power only after the 30 minute mark and loses it 30 minutes before the film ends.  Obviously the filmmakers do not think too highly of this niche in the rom-com story.

The film runs close to 2 hours, and that is very long for the typical romantic comedy.  And one feels the length of the running time.  The material is stretched out far too long for too many unfunny parts just to get the narrative flowing and unnecessarily.  Credit to Taraji P. Henson for trying really hard to make the film work.

Trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HeoLiTirRp4