IF I WERE A PONY, 4min., USA
Directed by Leonard Eckhaus
If I Were a Pony by Leonard Eckhaus is the story of a boy and his pony told from the Pony's perspective. The pony and the boy share many adventures. They ride across streams; they ride with friends and sometimes they just enjoy each other’s company.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I spent most of my career building and operating a company in the computer field which I eventually sold. When I was 75 years old, I published my memoirs which was very well received, even being listed as number four on UK Radio's list of the Ten Must-Read books of 2021.
Then I began publishing children's books. My first one, Grinza's Orchard – an Enchanted Tale, became an Amazon number 1 bestseller. Three years ago, I published a children's book entitled "If I Were a Pony". I dedicated this book to my then 7-year-old granddaughter, Hannah.
It was an immediate success, winning a Mom's Choice Award for Excellence; a Reader's Favorite Five-Star Award; awards in 11 Book fairs globally including New York City, Paris, London, Los Angeles and more; and Creative Child Magazine's 2021 Book of the year.
At this time, I already had two Grammy nominations for a record album I had produced the year before and had just released my first original song, "In Your Arms Forever", a tribute to my beautiful wife of over 60 years which received over 53,000 views on YouTube in its first month.
With that in mind, I decided to write another song – this one based on the "If I Were a Pony" book. Two years later it all came together. I found a wonderful local composer to do the music and then brought my now 9-year-old granddaughter Hannah (to whom I had originally dedicated the book) into a studio to have her record the song. Then, when so many people who heard the song suggested it, I produced the video which has now won awards in over 70 International Film Festivals.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
"Enchanting" and "Endearing"
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Finding an animation production company that was the right fit.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I was thrilled that it was so well received, and also appreciative of the thoughtful comments, such as, "I can see this on Nickelodeon or Disney Kids."
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
When my books and music began getting so much recognition, my daughter Jill commented, "Gee, Dad, your books and music are doing so well, what's next – a film?" And then, with the release of my children's album, "Let's Be Silly", I realized that some of those songs would make great children's music videos. So, I started with If I Were a Pony.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Where the Boys Are, Bambi, It Happened on Fifth Avenue, It's a Wonderful Life
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Can't think of much you can add to this festival – it already offers so many ways to promote its winners. It is definitely one of the very best!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Very good – they have opened many opportunities for me and my work and been helpful when I needed to be in touch with the festival organizers themselves.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Hot Dogs and potato salad from Katz's Deli in New York City. I frequently have them shipped to me here in Las Vegas!
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Next will be a new music video of my song, "The Leprechaun and the Rainbow".
For more information about me and my work, visit my website: bookandmusicbylen.com