STIGMA, 8min., Canada
Directed by Reilly Michael Saso
Confronted with a devastating diagnosis, stigmatized and shrouded in despair, a young man desperately grapples with the dark specter of mortality and societal rejection in his tender teenage years. Thirty years on, he reflects on his extraordinary odyssey in search of solace through self-acceptance, love, and a sense of belonging, captivatingly narrated through the expressive form of dance.
Get to know filmmaker Reilly Michael Saso & producer Jeff Domitriou
1. What motivated you to make this film?
Reilly: When Jeff approached me with his idea and shared his deeply moving story, I was truly honored that he entrusted me to help bring it to a larger audience in the unique way he envisioned. His remarkable creativity immediately convinced me that I wanted to be a part of this.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Reilly: 2 Years. Sadly, work really took up a lot of my time back then. Had to keep the wolves at bay, so to speak.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Reilly: Eternally profound
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Reilly: During the editing stage, I harbored anxiety about revealing the initial cut to Jeff due to the deeply personal nature of the film for him. I questioned whether it had been assembled in the most captivating manner possible.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Reilly: "Witnessing reactions and listening to thoughts validates the profound impact of our film. Immensely proud of our labor of love and all those who contributed."
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Throughout the majority of my professional career, my focus has revolved around directing commercials for various brands and clients. However, this unexpected opportunity emerged on my horizon. Unlike my usual projects, this endeavor wasn't at all driven by financial gain; instead, it carried a profound emotional investment. Given the choice between monetary rewards and emotional fulfillment, I have a strong preference for the latter whenever such a rare opportunity arises. In this case it did and I ceased on it.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I've seen so so many great films but the one that stands out is Down By Law by Jim Jarmusch
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'm just excited that our film was so well received by the LGBTQ+ Toronto viewers, so you get an A+ as far as I'm concerned; I wouldn't change a thing!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
Reilly: We are extremely pleased with the FilmFreeway platform. It makes the submission process incredibly easy.
10. What is your favorite meal?
Reilly: A breakfast of turkey bacon, egg-whites, avocado and cauliflower patties.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
Reilly: This process has undeniably paved the way for sharing more emotionally resonant stories. I'm eagerly looking forward to embarking on the next project, whatever it may entail!