PRIVILEGE, 13min., USA
Directed by Matthew Ellis
An amateur white male actor is finally given a shot at making it in Hollywood by an established Casting Director but in order to get the role he has to fulfill a deal made by his ancestors thousands of years ago.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
I was doing a stand up comedy gig as one of my characters, Pistachio. I was presenting a PowerPoint on the true History of Thanksgiving and came up with this idea of the first white male making a deal with demons for more privilege. Once I heard the audience die over the "But white people had to give up the ability to dance or season their food properly" I knew I was onto something. From there ideas just kept coming to me until I knew I had to make this no matter what.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
3 months. I knew that I could shoot this really cheaply if I rewrote the script and altered my original idea slightly. So I maxed out my credit cards, bought all the gear and asked friends of friends in the off broadway community here in NYC to act in it. To my luck they all said yes.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
The actors strike. I ended up getting a waiver from SAG because it was a micro budget from a small non studio production (aka me and my credit card) but a lot of actors who were SAG had issues with it and some non union actors felt uneasy making something during the strike.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
All smiles. I was happy to see that my intentions were seen and understood. That made me feel like I had done my job. Especially when someone said "it was like a white Jordan Peele type of movie". That is the exact phrase I used in trying to pitch the short to get people to work on it.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I was 5 years old when my Mom and Dad went on a road trip in 1993. My aunt, who at the time was a stripper, took me to see Jurassic Park in theaters while babysitting me. That night I had nightmares but was obsessed with trying to recreate that experience in my own way. When my mom got back she had a VCR style Video Camera and I used that to make my own silly little videos. I never really thought about it after that and pursued music instead. However, it was at that moment of recreating Dinosaur movies in the backyard that I knew I had to at least try.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Alien. I'm a huge sound person and that's one of the often forgotten main characters in that film. From the Nostromo Boot Sequence to the synthesized bleeps of "Mother" to the screech of the Alien itself. I constantly revisit it because I feel like it does such a wonderful job of showing instead of telling even though they barely show the Alien, which is what makes it so terrifying.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
I think all of the marks are being hit honestly.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Very seamless and very easy.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Generally it's some form of spicy Thai soup with shrimp but I guess my go to, especially when I am sad or sick is a family recipe of Steak, Mashed Potatoes and steamed Broccoli.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I am currently in pre production of another short Horror Comedy called CRY BABIES. It's about an apathetic teenager who goes into the ER with an odd request of being euthanized until the hospital is suddenly taken over by a mass shooter.