FAMILY AFFAIR, 16min,. USA
Directd by Julio Dowansingh
A young adult's secret relationship puts him at odds with his friends, family, and other commitments in this short queer comedy.
Get to know Writer/Producer Ernest Anemone:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I think comedy is a non-threatening way to talk about big ideas. But mostly, I just wanted to make people laugh. Too many comedies these days are hyper-focused on what makes the filmmaker laugh and they forget about creating an experience for the audience. I wanted my film and its characters to feel easy to be with and anxiety-free, like you're sitting with an old (incredibly funny) friend.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
I wrote the script in December 2021, pre-production began in March/April 2022, we filmed it over the course of three days in late August, and we had a final cut at the end of January 2023.
3. How would you describe your film in two words?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
I'm sure most filmmakers can relate to this one: Not being independently wealthy. Making a movie is expensive and crowdfunding can be time-consuming and exhausting. In the end, I used crowdfunding as an excuse to reconnect with old friends and make some new friends – and that was a lot more pleasant than simply begging for people's pocket change. Moreover, if you truly believe in your own project, why wouldn't you give people an opportunity to invest in it?
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
We smiled so much that it hurt. It wasn't just that the feedback was positive – it was specific. Moreover, it expressed all of the things we hoped in our heart of hearts would come through for an audience. Honestly, it felt better than receiving an award.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I became a filmmaker late in life. And I'm not sure I ever realized it. Not even now. I feel compelled to tell stories and have those stories become platforms for the creative genius of others to shine.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
By the numbers, it's probably National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. It's silly, I know, but it's also a good example of a film that's not only funny but also anxiety-free (for the audience at least).
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Honestly, I am really pleased with everything this festival offers. As I said, the feedback video alone is one of the greatest gifts you could give a filmmaker. Even when you do win awards you don't necessarily get that level of feedback and it feels so good to hear you made an impact in exactly the way you hoped.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
FilmFreeway sure beats how it used to be done – or so I'm told. I can't imagine having to mail a VHS tape with a paper application to every festival.
10. What is your favorite meal?
The one that I share with family and friends. *Booing from the audience* Okay fine - Chicken Tikka Masala.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
A few things, actually. I'm in pre-production on "The Last Fool," which is about a minister who visits an inmate before his execution. It's a story about confronting right-wing extremism and explores the origins of hate. Not a comedy in case you couldn't tell – but if you do want more comedy, you're in luck! I'm also developing a feature-length comedy called "Drag Me to Heaven," about a priest who gets kicked out of the Vatican and reassigned to a rural parish in Alabama as punishment. And if you loved Family Affair, I've got even better news. I've developed the short into a series, which I'm looking forward to pitching as soon as the AMPTP gives the WGA a fair deal. In addition to making my own films, I'm also creating a new platform to highlight the work of others. This year I started a nonprofit called Project My Voice, which pairs thought-provoking films with facilitated dialogue, communications training, and forum theater so audiences can learn from both films and each other! We will be hosting a yearly film festival and offering interactive school and community programs throughout the year.