Friday, October 28, 2011

Screamfest Horror Film Festival 2011 - Interview Julia X 3-D Feature Film

Cast:-Valerie Azlynn (Tropic Thunder, Poseidon, Surrogates),
Kevin Sorbo (Hercules and Xena, Kull the Conqueror),
Alicia Leigh Willis (National Treasure, How High, American Heiress),
Joel David Moore (Avatar, Dodgeball),
Ving Rhames (Surrogates, Pulp Fiction, Mission Impossible).Courtney Rawls (debuts)

Director: PJ Pettiette (The General, If I Die Before I Wake, Jennifer’s Shadow)
Music composer: Akira Yamaoka (Silent Hill-Movie & Video games, Rumble Roses)

Interview with P.J Pettiette Director,Writer, Claudine Viguerie, Producer & Courtney Rawls Actress, Producer.

Interview by Jasmina Nevada

Two sisters devise a wicked game of cat and mouse after one is abducted on a blind internet date gone wrong. Julia (Valerie Azlynn) meets 'The Stranger ' on her third internet date. However all is not what it seems and is abducted by 'The Stranger' (Kevin Sorbo) and branded with an X. An action packed cat and mouse game ensues in various locations from an abandoned school to derelict houses, and 'The Stranger is subdued. The tables are turned on 'The Stranger' when Julia and her sister Jessica (Alicia Leigh Willis) are actually internet predators and have never caught a predator before. 'The Stranger' is brought back to their house for games of torture and mayhem, whilst at the same time other men are lured in for the kill (Joel David Moore and Ving Rhames). The girls have a dark past, and Jessica's real colors are displayed by her true vicious and jealous nature, which results in a violent, tragic and oddly ironic funny end. A modern day 'Godzilla' and 'King Kong' story. However 'The Stranger' and the two sisters in this feature film are oddly enough, searching for love......but of course in their own way...

-Where did you come up with the idea for this particular film?

(P.J Pettiette) That's going to be a long answer....I will try to make it short... its a throwback to some of the old 70's kind of films like 'looking for Mr Goodbar'.  I tried to combine some of Pyscho and 'Whatever happened to Baby Jane' those kind of old movies. I really was thinking, what if I could come up with something scary..... if I was a woman and was on an internet date, and the date turned out to be a serial killer.... then I got abducted... but then what if the woman turned out to be even worse than the man. Then it becomes like this crazy sister meets maniac man, meets maniac woman, meets maniac girl/woman...

-Awesome! This sounds to me like you took some old elements of Psycho and combined it with the modern day man and woman so to speak in terms of modern relationships?

(P.J) We do, a lot of people have described it as,  like Saw meets Home Alone meets Mr and Mrs Smith. It becomes this weird kind of romance during the movie.

-How long did this film take from the beginning to the end?

(Claudine) Well we had 30 days of production but at first I was very shocked, as it was very fast so we did great. We had a long period of time of development and we are completely independent, so we went from the story with P.J Pettiette to looking for financing and pre-production and post-production. This was all in 3D.We had to learn quite a lot about 3D beforehand.

-It's a very intricate process?

(Claudine) That's right. It is shot in Real 3D and by the time we decided to go 3D we were looking for 3D companies and it was not that easy to find someone who would fit the budget. We managed to eventually and we are very proud of the result 3D..... is fantastic 

-What is next for you?

(Claudine) Julia Y of course!….I am very excited about Julia Y...Courtney Rawls will have a big role we might have Ving Rhames again .....we don't know yet, as we are talking about this...

-What advice do you have for aspiring young filmmakers who are looking to go into the 3D market?

(P.J) Just do it!...

-That's short and sweet and encouraging for filmmakers to take the plunge!...

-In your opinion as an actress in the film, would you say that it is comedic, full of horror or a mix of both and romantic also?

(Courtney) I don't think it is as much horror as it is a black comedy..... a very bloody black comedy....

-What attracted you to this particular script?

(Courtney) Well, I don't know but I really liked the diversity of the characters and I liked that everyone is killing each other and punching each other in the face. However, they are so very vulnerable and they all are looking for love at the same time, so you don't know whether to laugh or cry basically.

-What are your future projects?

(Courtney) Julia Y ! Definitely and you will see how the alphabet ties into everything in the movie and I am definitely here for the sequel ...

-Do you concentrate mainly with acting or are you involved with other things also?

(Courtney) I also wear a producers hat, I have done a lot of behind the scenes with this movie as well 

Thank you for your time


Thursday, October 27, 2011

Hollywood Film Festival 2011 Feature Film 'The Trouble with the Truth'

Directed & Written by Jim Hemphill
Producers Daniel Farrands, Thommy Hutson
Cast- Lea Thompson, John Shea, Danielle Harris, Keri Lynn Pratt

 Q& A session after the screening some questions from myself Jasmina Nevada.

This film centers on a divorced couple who meet up and have a long conversation on the eve of their daughter's wedding and discover that there are still plenty of unresolved issues with their relationship...

(Audience member)-What was it like working with Jim Hemphill ?

(John Shea) This was an amazing accomplishment Jimmy wrote the script and we were going through the timeline and this is a road wrecker. This film is from page to screen in 2 years. Jimmy wrote this film, raised the money shot edited it did all the stuff. That is a miracle as most films take longer (John Shea)

I loved working with Jimmy (Jim Hemphill)

(Lea Thompson) Jimmy had this really strong vision when I read the script and I was like really... So it's just us talking mostly and it was really great to see the final outcome... the way you wanted it to be.

(Jim Hemphill) I was always curious to know what you guys thought we sent you the script, read it and were offered it did you sort of think ?.. that you were the movie. The whole point of me writing it was to survive my directorial incompetence as long as I had 2 good actors...It was all on you guys...

(Lea) I thought it was really daring and it was a daring choice so I was willing to try....

(John) I had a rare opportunity because we had both made a lot of movies and had never made a movie like this and probably never will again There hasn't been a movie like this since 'My dinner with Andre'...

(Lea) There is the 'Guy in the box'...

(Jim)...The whole time they were shooting this they were nervous about the fact that it was so enclosed and they kept saying we have to go outside we have to shoot some exterior.... I said look there is a movie with a guy in a box (laughs) for 90mins that people will sit and watch

(John) we had these real big production moves from the hotel to the restaurant and vice versa. Roberto shot this film and did a good job together with the crew and the secret was that we started with a good script and I know that when I read the script and you either fall in love with it or you don't...

(John) I knew immediately that the writing was good and we could have fun doing it. I heard it was Lea who was going to work with me. We had worked together before, we did a film together years ago so we were already friends. So that ice was already broken and so we hit he ground running and it was kind of great that way..

(Audience member)-For how many days did you shoot (audience)?

12 days but one of the days was 2 half days

(Jim) The 1st day we shot, I purposefully scheduled it so that it was very light, so we just filmed the phone conversation and that was the 1st day. We finished that in the morning and the first afternoon we went through the script as I didn't meet John until the morning we started shooting. The whole pre-production period was extremely compressed to say the least and Lea wasn't cast until a week before we started shooting. John wasn't cast until 3 days before and I didn't meet him until the morning of the shoot so we did our phone conversations that morning and John and I sat in the afternoon with the script and worked out what issues there were with the script. The other day was a half day as John had his family visiting and came to our AD and asked whether we could break our lunch we just kind of said that is between you and Lea if you can knock the pages out by lunch then you can leave...

(John) We talked really fast and we did it

(Jim) It was really like 11 days

(Audience member) -What was the editing process like?

It was Michael Benny Pierce, editor and he was the perfect editor for me He had been cutting it during the shoot and a week later when I went to his house it was 10 minutes longer than you have seen just now. Then it was just a matter of whittling it down. I honestly did not have to work with him that closely as he pretty much gave me the movie which was nice

(JasminaNevada)- What inspired you to take this kind of theme on board for your feature and make it very comedic and do what you did with it?

(Jimmy) Honestly it was initially inspired by purely pragmatic impulses. There was another script I was trying to get made which was a thriller, that was going to cost a lot of money. I couldn't raise the money for it so I started to get frustrated, so I said I am going to write a movie that just has a couple of actors in it just talking for 90 mins. I know that I can make, then I started writing in a sort of strange way that I ripped off from the Japanese director Yasujiro Ozo.

(Jimmy) I always feel like the actors always write the final draft of the screenplay....

(Jasmina Nevada) -So would it be fair to say that there was a little bit of improvisation during the shooting process also? 

(Lea) I don't feel like there was that much..

(John) A little bit... I think that the secret as actors is to try and make all seem as though it is improv.
But of course, Jimmy wrote 99 per cent of that and Lea and I threw in little things here and there and we would always do a take exactly as Jimmy wrote it. Jimmy would say lets have fun with it and we would throw things in and improvise little things so there was that and we knew that at the end what we were doing was giving the editor raw material for the edit...

(Lea)I felt like the acting even if the words were not improvised the acting was improvised because you did not have to match as a lot of takes I would cry at one spot and laugh and the next take I would laugh at one spot and it really incredibly freeing for me and felt very free..

(Jimmy) we shot it on DSLR the Canon 5D's which are basically still cameras that we shot video with and it was great as they are very unobtrusive and I think the look they get is fantastic

(Lea) I think that there was a real honesty that we got to have with each other as actors as we were not trying to match each other. We could do whatever we wanted to, we could improve emotionally is what I was trying to say..

(Jasmina Nevada).. -What attracted you both as actors to this particular script.... what made you fall in love with it to take it on board?

(Lea) I think the script was great... I really do and now I see it, I enjoy it even more. I did not even realise it was funny. I didn't... that's one way to approach comedy often but I just thought it was really interesting and really daring.....

(John) I have to say that I am both a romantic and a cynic about some things. The character was the opposite of who I am in real life so I wanted to play someone who was different from me and had a different world view, make that believable and bring that to life and that was really fun to do. Although there were some things that I could relate to like being in love and having a divorce.  I had certain experiences that I could draw upon emotionally that helped and so I thought that Jimmy had put his finger on a lot of human truths and I thought those human truths would resonate with an audience and we were happy to hear your laughter tonight that's what we are here to do...

(Audience member)- What do you think happened after the end of the movie? Will there be a sequel?

(Jim) What do you think? ....If I knew I would have written it I ran out of ideas at that point that's why the movie is over honestly I did not know.

(Jim) We actually shot 4 or 5 different endings believe it or not and the one that is in there was written and we figured whilst we were out there, we could do some different ones we did - one happy, one that was kind of in the middle...


Bel Air Film Festival 2011 - Interview - 'Empty Sandbox' World Premiere

Empty Sandbox 
Interview with Melissa Marie Gibson - Director/Writer and Janay Lee Casting Director
Starring Jeremy Batiste, Ser'Darius Blain & Melissa Marie Gibson

This short film centered on the difficulties posed by the the Iraq war and the social consequences of that when returning home from duty.

-Obviously this short film had an 'Iraq' theme? Why did you decide to incorporate this as the main theme to your film?

It was kind of something I was going through at the time as I guess a little auto-biographical (Melissa)

-So it was a true to life experience that you wanted to bring to screen from your thoughts and feelings that you wrote about?

Yes you said it I am more of a writer (Melissa)

-When did you decide that you were going to put pen to paper?

About 2 years ago and we shot and filmed last June (Melissa)

-How did you find the casting process for this?
Well I did LA Casting.I did the breakdown and basically it was a union film so we got phenomenal actors. There are a lot of phenomenal non union actors that just haven't joined.  But is does make a difference when you step it up and make a SAG film (Janay)

-So you only went for SAG actors and not non-union purely for the label that they are SAG affiliated or talent wise?

We do scan the resumes, and you can tell the difference whether who has taken the step to join and who has been there for a while and versus the new people (Janay)

-I am curious to know as a non-union actress myself do you normally go for the more experienced or do you look at fresh talent also?

I love fresh talent but because this was a SAG film, I wanted to give SAG actors a chance as there is not a lot of work out there and a lot of things are non-union. So to be SAG and work on a SAG film is a great experience and a great opportunity as it is slim to none. (Janay)

-After the casting process how long did it take you to get the film ready?

By the time we finished casting about a month and a half from searching for the right talent and we found  Ser'Darius Blain who is actually doing Footloose right now we are really excited for him....(Janay)

-What is next for you?
We have something called 'Almost Happy' and something called 'Bad Chicks'...both will be shorts but with the potential to go as feature.

-Is this the 1st film festival you have entered this particular short into?

3rd... World Fest Houston and we won Platinum and that was pretty exciting- for the whole show
San Diego Black Film Festival
San Francisco Black Film Festival
We will be at Hollywood Black Film Festival also (Melissa)

-Did the message of the movie meet your expectations?

It did and beyond (Melissa)

-What were your expectations?
2 men one choice what do you do? You go with your heart (Melissa)


Screamfest Horror Film Festival 2011 - Interview with 'Deadheads'

Directed and Written by Brett Pierce & Drew T. Pierce
Starring - Michael Mc Kiddy, Ross Kidder, Markus Taylor, Thomas Galasso, Natalie Victoria, Eden Malyn, Benjamin Webster, Greg Dow, Harry Burkey and Leonard Kelly

Interview by Jasmina Nevada

Deadheads is about two zombies who awaken from the dead after a zombie outbreak.One of them discovers an engagement ring in his pocket and persuades his friend to help him search for his lost love, whilst being pursued by a team of zombie killer bounty hunters......and a full scale adventure ensues combining horror, action, comedy &  love....

Drew Pierce
The writer and director of Deadheads together with brother Brett Pierce

-How was it for the casting process for this?

Extensive, we spent a year and a half casting our movie and we really wanted to get it right we started from the point where we were raising funds like picking out our favorite actors and holding auditions. Also, because the hallmark of indie film is just terrible acting especially horror movies so we really wanted to get it right and get a full ensemble. 

-Is the genre of horror something you normally concentrate on ?

Yeah, we are big fans of horror as my Dad did the special effects for Evil Dead so we grew up in the midst of the crew of Sam Raimi and all those guys. We did some of the effects in our basement when we were kids - we were freakiing out going down into our basement. So when it came to making a movie and writing a script we thought that horror and comedy would be a real fun mix. So we ran with that idea and we thought that a zombie movie would be a lot of fun.

-What is next for you?

A lot more scripts, we want to make a lot more movies

-Of the same genre?

The funny thing about Deadheads is that it is kind of this blend it is almost like an 80's action adventure movie than a zombie movie. It's kinda a blend of several different genres as we love everything - horror, action, fantasy and all sorts of movies.

-So your main aim is to combine a little element of everything rather than making it one tone?

I don't think we will every make a single genre movie. I think that every movie I will make will be in this weird category of 4 genres....

Ross Kidder-

I play Brent in Deadheads which is one of the two main zombies who are coherent zombies so I not only have all the attributes of a normal zombie but I also walk, talk and have a passion for the strongest thing in the universe which is love.

-Love that is a very powerful thing? How did you feel about playing this coherent love hero maybe?

Well I feel that whether you are dead or you are not dead that the strongest thing you can feel is the passion for somebody else or for what you are doing, and what that the main route is love..

-It sounds to me that you had a very big passion for this script from the beginning?Am I right in assuming this?

Absolutely! from the minute that I read the script, it was the strangest thing I had ever read in my life but the main throughline of it was the passion. When you find something like that, as an actor and you read something like that, you know that you have to stick with it. There are lot of projects that you might do and you can have fun with it. This one I saw it, I knew I had no choice and I could really make something grand with this. It is a really amazing team.

Kasey Bell 

I play Rob in the movie, a high school buddy of one of the main zombies

-How did you find playing that?

It was great! It was a lot of fun... everyone who knows my character in real life.. I'm the kind of guy who thinks he is better friends with people than he really is....

Thank you for your time

Angelus Student Film Festival 2011- Interview with Jenni Nelson 'Love Hacking'

Director, Producer of Love Hacking Winner 2011 Outstanding Documentary Award

Director, Producer of Love Hacking Winner 2011 Outstanding Documentary Award

Jenni Nelson is a Producer, Director, Cinematographer, Editor.

Jenni Nelson recently graduated from the MFA Documentary Film and Video Program at Stanford University. Her films investigate a range of topics, from mental illness and poverty, to quirky character portraits of knitters and robot inventors.

She has filmed internationally in countries such as India and Turkey, most recently working on a project about human rights education that will screen for the United Nations.

Jenni’s work has been recognized in numerous film festivals including Love Hacking, which won the Outstanding Documentary Award at the Angelus Student Film Festival 2011.

Her short documentary Tightly Knit premiered at the 2010 Los Angeles Film Festival and screened in over 100 venues across the country with Lunafest. She is currently working as an Associate Producer for the Program in Bioethics and Film at Stanford University on projects such as Rare, The Revolutionary Optimists, and Map Your World.

While she is invested in social change, her work is infused with strong visual concepts drawn upon from her background as a production designer and prop master on films such as Napoleon Dynamite, Moving McAllister, and the Emmy-award winning PBS series BizKids.

'Love Hacking' centers on a modern day virtual relationship which becomes a reality when a robot inventor falls in love over the Internet and journeys to Nepal to meet his fiance for the first time. This documentary crosses boundaries, barriers, religion and culture to conquer love.

-Please outline briefly your documentary?

“Love Hacking” is a short documentary that follows the journey of Tim Heath, a robot inventor living in Silicon Valley. After a personal reawakening, Tim radically shifts his outlook on courtship and utilizes the technology he knows best in order to find love. He meets Sarita on a dating website, the couple get engaged over Skype, and Tim finds himself on a plane to Nepal to meet his new fiance in person for the first time. “Love Hacking” is a contemporary love story where Mormons and Hindus come together in a journey of faith, technology, and marriage.

-What inspired you to make this 'new age' relevant to our social networking documentary?

After moving to the tech hub of Silicon Valley, I became interested in the ways that technology has shifted how we form relationships. Love Hacking is a character driven story that embraces the contemporary world of technology and globalization and pairs it with the challenges and humor inherent in romantic relationships. At the heart of the film,I am interested in exploring the notion that personal choice and determination is what

binds people in their relationships. While Tim’s method to find a marriage partner may seem unorthodox in Western culture, the idea that he chooses his partner no matter the obstacle is a powerful model for all relationships, whether parent, child, co-worker, or friend. How do we maintain relationships with those we care about through all conditions? What is the difference between virtual and physical communication? Tim and Sarita’s view about trust, determination, and personal choice in commitment resonates with viewers
because there is a universal message in their approach. It was this universal message that spurred me to make the film.

-Please outline where the documentary was shot and any difficulties faced with the location etc?

“Love Hacking” was filmed in Palo Alto, California and Kathmandu, Nepal. After learning of Tim’s engagement over Skype, I began filming with him immediately--only 2 1/2 weeks before his planned wedding and relocation to Nepal. While trying to film the US portion of the story, I was simultaneously trying to plan an international shoot. We were instantly immersed in this whirlwind adventure and upon arriving in Nepal, power outages and traffic jams all became part of the technical mix. However, I kept telling myself that if Tim and Sarita could make this journey, then surely I could find a way to document their story.

-How long did it take from the initial idea to make this documentary to the finished result?

I learned of Tim’s engagement at the beginning of December 2010. Three weeks later, I had completed all of the filming--that included everything in California and Nepal. (While sitting on my return flight from Kathmandu to LAX, I was stunned to realize that it had been just a little over three weeks since the beginning of this journey.) I spent the next five months editing the film during my MFA program at Stanford University.

-What were you hoping that your audience took away with them after seeing your documentary?

Tim creates a beautiful analogy about how marriage should be like open source philosophy. Constant innovation and freely sharing information are key for him. I hope that audiences walk away realizing that we have to innovate in all of our relationships, and personally choose to make them work through all permutations and conditions.

-What is the current position/circumstances with the 2 main characters now and are you considering a sequel?

Tim and Sarita were living together in Nepal until just recently. Because of their visa situation, Tim had to return to the United States. They are anxiously waiting to be reunited once Sarita’s immigration paperwork is approved. But, true to Tim’s style and ease with technology, he dedicates love songs to Sarita on Facebook every few days.

-What projects are you working on currently and in the future?

I am currently editing a project that I helped film this summer in Turkey, India, and Australia on human rights education. I am also in the development phase for a new documentary that I hope to start shooting in
India at the beginning of the new year. This film will be a hybrid documentary that follows several young Bollywood dancers in Delhi, incorporating Bollywood storytelling elements as well as observational filming.

Thank you for your time

Like Love Hacking on Facebook to stay up to date on screenings:

Angelus Student Film Festival 2011 - Interview with Alexander Gaeta 'Shoot the Moon'

Alexander Gaeta Winner Directors Choice Award 2011

Alexander Gaeta attended the University of Colorado at Boulder, combining passions for photography with natural abilities for storytelling as a documentary filmmaker. He transferred to the Chapman University Dodge College of Film and Media Arts to further his knowledge in film production, graduating in a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Film Production with a particular emphasis on directing, he wrote and directed 3 short films. As a recipient of the 2010 Destination Africa Scholarship he went to record the life of abandoned orphans living in the streets of Botswana. In Gaeta's senior year he was selected to be mentored by prestigious producer Jonathan Sanger (100 Feet, Vanilla Sky, The Elephant Man). This esteemed scholarship provided Gaeta to gain invaluable insights when developing his thesis film, Shoot the Moon. This film has also been chosen as an official selection at New Orleans Film Festival, Cucalorus Film Festival, Encounters Bristol Film Festival and Austin Film Festival. He was also chosen to be part of First Cut 2011. Since his graduation in May 2011, Gaeta lives in Los Angeles and is developing his first feature film about the fragility of the human connection.

Shoot the Moon is a relevant true to life film which highlights today's difficult economical situation and depicts how this can affect decisions and relationships. Based on a character known as Marcy Meyers who is struggling with piling bills, a failed marriage and an imminent foreclosure on her home, she is hoping for nothing short of a miracle. Which is found in a national Game Show 'Shoot the Moon' that provides hope and promise of that once-in a lifetime chance to win it all. However this comes at a price as her relationship with her daughter is tested to the limits...

-Would you like to tell us a little bit about the short movie?

We made it as an undergraduate thesis in collaboration with Chapman University, Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. It took about a year to write, we developed it during the course of that year. There has been an overwhelming response so far. We had finished the shooting part back in March and finished the film in May. We just premiered here at the Angelus Student Film Festival. We are hoping to start the Festival Circuit with this so we are really excited to see how it all goes....

-Where did you get the idea to write the short from?

Originally I wanted to do something with game shows as this fascinated me.. Shoot the Moon is the name of the game show within the movie. What fascinates me about this is the repercussions it has for the American Dream. The idea of getting something from nothing, we kind of focused the story that changed over and over again on a single Mother who kind of becomes obsessed with this game show in kind of an effort to save her home from foreclosure. There are a lot of relevant themes like this. It is kind of a family drama but it something that you really have to see to articulate it well.

-You highlighted then the present day economy in your movie?

Yeah, I was always interested in making films that were relevant. It matters somehow and that means something. There are issues and themes that people can relate to when they see it in the year 2011 and it would be different if they saw it in 2005 or 2015 or another year for example. I always find that something relevant to right now to be one of the things I like a lot about films like 'Up in the Air' which were really relevant beautiful and kind of inspired me as to what films can be made about the now and what they can do.

-With the subject material that you have put forward in this film what were you hoping for from the audiences that they would get from this?

Honestly, it was never an issue film and I don't think I would be very good at making issue films. I think at the forefront of the film it is basically a relationship about a mother and a daughter. That was the repercussions that this recession is having on the family unit of the responsibilities and motherhood. In a way having this role reversal where the mother has had to give a lot of responsibilities and has become incapable of doing her job and her daughter has to step into the plate. So in many ways it is kind of like a universal thing in American families - it is something that is really important and something that I kind of I experienced in my own life, so I was interested in telling that angle.

-What format did you shoot the movie in?

A red MX

-What is next for you?

Travelling a lot with the film going to various Festivals here and internationally. At the same time I am in writing development for a feature so we have started writing and are getting serious with a new story. We are really excited to see where that takes us to a stage that we want to present it to people.

Thank you for your time


Angelus Student Film Festival 2011 - Interview with Max Zahle 'Raju'

Interview with Max Zahle -Hamburg Media School
Writer, Director & Editor of Raju which won the 2011 Excellence in Filmmaking Award

Interview by Jasmina Nevada

Max studied and graduated in Audio and Visual Communication at the HAMM in Hamburg, Germany in 2002, meanwhile had various jobs as a video operator, location manager, and first assistant director on various sets. Then, he completed an apprenticeship as a film editor at the Handelskammer, Hamburg. He graduated also in a Film Directing graduate program in 2010.

This film documents a true to life issue that came to the attention of Max Zahle and immediately touched his heart, prompting him to research, and make a film highlighting and bringing to life the circumstances in today's world of the international illegal adoption of children

The story centers on a German couple who adopt a young Indian boy in Calcutta, and then without warning the boy disappears without trace...... with complicated and ethical issues and resulting consequences for the couple to consider..sparking many debates on the issue..

-'Raju' -Why did you choose this for the title of your film?

It is a West Bengal name, from Calcutta, India. It's about the boy.

-Could you elaborate a little on the boy?

The film is about international adoption, illegal international adoption and specifically about children. Also the specific way in which I told that story. Raju is a boy who is getting into a foreign legal adoption , so for me I don't think that the film could have been called anything different.

-What inspired you to write such a story?

Its a global thing the 'international foreign adoption theme'. Last year there was this big earthquake in Haiti and children were 'stolen' from that country. They were illegally put into an international foreign adoption system. I read about this and I started to do research, there was so much information on this that I literally had to do a film about it.

-This issue you wanted to bring more public attention and awareness to?

After a while when you put so much effort into the research, suddenly one is personally connected to it. You never know how good the film will be and how the audience will react with the film. The aim was to bring it out to the world and show and highlight this serious present topic. The more that it will be shown, and seen the better it is, meaning that people will talk about it, due to the serious nature of the topic.

-What are you hoping for from your audiences that will see your final finished product?

I just hope that people talk and discuss the topic. If you see the film you will see that I don't give a final answer on the topic, that depends on the persons that watch and want to talk about it and find their own subjective opinion. That was my biggest aim literally to talk about it and find out if it is right or wrong to adopt a child from a foreign that way.

-Essentially it is a Human Rights issue that you are trying to bring forward?

Absolutely it is a Human Rights topic and nothing else

-How long did it take you from the initial information & ideas about the topic to the finished film that you have now?

Almost a year

-Are you happy with the film result?

Yes definitely I had fantastic actors & crew, I think the topic has been told as it deserves and people do talk about it. We actually made people talk about it in Calcutta as they found out about orphanages that do proceed in that way. It came up in their politics and I feel that we really achieved something with the film.

Thank you for your time


Monday, September 26, 2011

Conversation at Burbank International Film Festival 2011 with Bill Plympton, Animator

Burbank International Film Festival 2011 September 15th -18th 2011

Interview by Jasmina Nevada

My name is Bill Plympton. I am an independent animator from New York City. I am out here for the Burbank Film Festival I have a number of projects involved in the festival I have 3 or 4 shorts : -

-Special Screening Guard Dog Global Jam
-A Summer Bummer
-The Flying House

also a film that I did some design on – Into the Woods it's a little documentary about Ingrid Pitt who is a famous actress who was in a concentration camp (Ingrid Pitt: Beyond the Forest). Then also there is a Feature film about me called Adventures in Plymptoons by Alexia Anastasio. I also received the Lifetime Achievement Award here so I am sort of multi-tasking while I am out here.

You can find out more information at

I am a totally independent and I am proud of that. My films make money and people are astounded that my films make money but I will tell you how...

That's what I do when I talk to young filmmakers I do master classes and I talk about how anybody can make money in Animation and Animation shorts. It's called Plymptoons dogma, these are my 3 rules for anybody to make money in animation:-

-Rule 1 to make your film short minutes or less
-Rule 2 make it cheap -when you ask the question what do I do on my films?... I do a lot....... I write, direct, storyboard, animate, design produce.  I wear so many hats that I don't have to pay a lot of money out to other people to do it. I do have a colorist, musicians and an editor so that's where the money goes..
Rule 3 of my Dogma is to make it funny and everyone will want to buy it..

-Are you saying to make the films succinct as obviously some of the films can wane off in different directions?

I am just talking about short films. in Feature films the rule also holds - you don't want to make a 2 hour film it is really hard to sell if you make a 80 or 70 minute film it is so much easier to sell and save money

All the films on You Tube that are really popular are short and funny, and that is the secret to success.

-Why did you decide to enter all of the entries above into this particular festival?

They asked me, it is my 3rd year of the festival. I think I had a film here last year -The Cow who wanted to be a Hamburger... and it may have won a prize I don't recall. They knew of me of course and were very aware of my work and they thought that they could do a feature appearance by me. They invited me to bring my new projects..

-What are you expectations with all of your entries this year? 

First of all I can't win a prize as I am a judge.. there is a Bill Plympton Animation prize named after me so it wouldn't look good if I won the Bill Plympton prize.. so basically I am just here to show off my work and show people what I am working on. They can talk to me about how I make my films, how I get distribution, how I come with ideas, the techniques I use it is more of inspirational techniques ..

-So you are providing a source of information to those just starting out and/or providing inspiration to those already in animation?

-What's next for you?

I had a workshop here at the Festival and I showed some of my works in progress. One of them is a new feature film called 'Cheating'- it's kind of James M Cain storytelling. It's very dark - a lot of jealously and cheating on other people, a lot of romance, broken hearts, but it's animated. It is a very different look. It's much more stylised look than the past and I am hoping to have that finished by sometime next year.

Thank you very much for your time
Other links

*Special thanks and appreciation by Jasmina Nevada to Bill Plympton for taking time out to chat with myself, Brandon Scott Kurtz for the extended courtesies & all those who were involved in the organisation etc of this year's  2011 Burbank Film Festival*

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Interview with Award Winners at Burbank International Film Festival 2011 Animation Section “Supa Pirate Booty Hunt -Music Saves Lives PSA”

Dahveed Kolodny-Nagy – Director, Animator, Character designer, Co-author
Steve Sievers- Co-creator, Writer also the Voice- over of 'Daniel the Turtle' in the series

Burbank Film Festival Award Winners – in the following categories:-
Best Writing (Animation/Original)
Best Voice Acting -Spike Spencer
Best Character Design
Best Production Design
Best Art Direction
Best Sound Editing (Animation)
for episode Nurse Boobies Please

Burbank International Film Festival September 15th -18th 2011

Interview by Jasmina Nevada

-Where did you get this concept from to write 'Supa Pirate Booty Hunt?

(Steve)....It started off as a skit in 2004 on a college radio show, pirates, turtles, super heroes & music. Kind of combined it all and then this concept was born. I moved out here and I teamed up with Dahveed and he cleverly came up with the name Supa Pirate Booty Hunt

(Dahveed)..I wanted to come up with something catchy that people would remember and basically the name says it all 'Supa Pirate Booty Hunt'..... it is pirate hunting booty of all kinds, treasure & ladies. One writes from what you there may be some characters in here that may be ex-girlfriends of Steve and an ex-room mate of mine. The main character is based on the glam rocker who always hits on the ladies a little and pretty easy to start a fight and doesn't have much to back it up.

-Are you saying then that you used the traits from your friends personalities to develop characters?

(Dahveed) Yes, defintely our friends and ourselves as well.
(Steve) And our life experiences we have thrown in here or stuff we loved growing up. I had a turtle and I just loved turtles... the pirate has to have a sidekick so I said how about a turtle?

(Dahveed)The main character, the one thing we both really love about him is that he never gives up. In the 1st episode he has a shark biting him on the crotch, but still goes to the bar and hits on all the ladies. So that is the kind of lesson which we try to aspire to is that - don't give up pursuing your goal and don't let anything stand in your way

-Is this the first film festival you have entered these animations films into?

Actually it was the 2nd, we were in ITV Fest just last month.
Film festivals are a lot of fun

-Which film festivals would you like to enter for the future?

Sundance Film Festival, we will be there... in one way or another
We did an Emmy Gifting suite for Music Saves Lives. They will have a suite at Sundance so we will still have our animation playing there and the stars will come in and check it out.

-So it will be great promotion for you at Sundance?

(Steve)..Yeah I have never been to Sundance, Dahveed has told me so much about it so I will find a way to get there...

(Dahveed).There is Sundance, Slamdance, Tromadance, Slamdunk etc a whole bunch of festivals and Hollyshorts etc.. and then just enter all of them and see what sticks

-You both seem like you are very good 'buddies' and how long have you been friends you seem to have a very nice rapport between each other? I am curious to translate that on....

(Dahveed)We grew up around the same area on the East Coast DC, Virginia, Maryland, we didn't know each other back then. A mutual friend introduced us, it was like a 'blind date' we were very apprehensive of each other because we both had very bad experiences with other partners in animation projects before.

(Steve) Dahveed was my 4th animator on this project and I almost gave up and then my friend told me about him and said that he knew that you guys will get along great. It's true and we both love this project. We push each other to promote and animate and get it out there and it is great to see all the hard work we put into it come to life. Now I will and have seen it on the big screen at the Burbank Film Festival

-After this what is next in the pipeline? Is there something that you are working on together now?

(Steve) We have a Kickstarter campaign that we are working on for an animated PSA for Music Saves Lives and I have guest starring Dave Mustaine of the band Megadeth. We are open up to our fans and if you want to be part of the animations you can help contribute and be rewarded by being in the cartoon. Dahveed is going to draw you in there.

(Dahveed) I do caricatures of people all the time and I did include a couple of people from real life in the current episode.

(Dahveed) It is incredible as we do this just for the love of doing it really just love the stories but then we were contacted by Russell of Music Saves Lives. We were trying to reach this demographic the young adults, college kids and trying to get them to donate blood. He said that your series and your project would be perfect to reach them and get the message across that is why we are doing the whole music saves lives PSA's and the first one had the band 3OH!3 and Steve said the next one has Dave Mustaine of Megadeth.

(Steve) We actually turned our animated PSA into a comic (shown to me) that was given out on every day in the 'Vans Warped Tour' daily for two months in the whole of North America

-Is there a website that one could find all of this?

Cartoons and all our information at:

(Steve) Please come out to any events or conventions that we do and if we have any more comics left we will continue giving them out and the message is to get people to donate blood.

(Dahveed) That's the one thing I would say anyone who is a film maker and /or Animator. One has to be shameless in their self promotion and it is one thing that Steve and I do in a big way. Obviously you can't see this but we dress up as our characters .. photo of Steve in the turtle costume with the playboy bunny and myself in the pirate outfit there. Our first fan tattoo this girl got the pirate tattooed on her back leg. Of course once you have you first fan tattoo you have your commitment to do something with those characters

-What message would you like to pass on to the young and upcoming animators at the moment ?

Keep at it, you have to have the heart and desire you can't just make something and expect to be an overnight sensation. Put it out on UTube and hope that everyone is going to find it, you really have to work for it. We started from scratch and we went to every networking event, every convention, any concert where we could give out postcards and spread the word about it. It has slowly been growing over these years and Music Saves Lives, Burbank Film Festival noticed and so many things are happening so we have to keep that train rolling.

Also I think speak from your own heart and don't try to copy other people and do what you think will be popular or hot it , as it will come off kinda weak. If you do want to make it you will have to go all the way to the finish line....

-So it sounds like passion , destiny and relentless work is the key...

Please also check out : -

Thank you for your time

* Special thanks and appreciation from Jasmina Nevada to Brandon Scott Kurtz, Fatima Grate - Burbank International Film Festival, also to Dahveed-Kolodny-Nagy & Steve Sievers for the wonderful invite to enjoy the festival*