MAKING A FRIEND, 13min,. Canada
Directed by Anthony Carniello
Jonathan Cooper is an autistic young man who craves acceptance. In a meet-and-greet event, he finds the courage to talk to Grim Andrews. However, his friendship gets threatened when Jonathan gets into an altercation at the event.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
What motivated me was the subject matter and living through personal experiences. Having autism myself and being in the same room with other autistic kids, many of us have one thing in common. We want acceptance. Seeing Hollywood's take of it, they failed to bring awareness. It needs more attention and handled with the proper care. Making A Friend is a huge passion project of mine, and I want to bring audiences not just into the world of autism but to bring people together.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you
to make this film?
I had the idea since 2016; the issue was how to put it on screen. It wasn't until I got accepted into the Toronto Film School that I developed the idea. The goal was to make it into a full-length feature film. However, things don't work like that for first-timers, so I made it into a short instead. I do have plans to make it into a feature film in the future. The development took about a year, and Preproduction to post took about 2 years. We faced hiccups along the way, but we made it through.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Extraordinary and Important
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
COVID-19. When the world went under complete lockdown, we had limitations to work with. On top of finding the location to shoot with the little time we had was stressful. Summer Gough, my film producer, was also in Winnipeg around that time, so she did her job remotely. With everything that was thrown at us, we were able to push forward. The film was shot in my hometown too, and the results were satisfying.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking
about your film in the feedback video?
It was great feedback, and I enjoyed the different viewpoints on them. Thank you! I'm grateful you all enjoyed the film. Whatever a project I make, I ensure it's the best it can be.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
When I was in High School. I have always loved film ever since I was a kid. They have been a huge part of my life. I wanted to get into the industry but didn't know what field. There was a time when I wanted to review movies for a living, like Roger Ebert or Chris Stuckmann. I saw that more as a hobby than a career path. I tried getting into acting classes in High School, but I didn't think it wasn't the best place for me. Then came the creative side, where I started editing projects and saw a tiny film called Back To the Future. That was the spark that lit up and inspired me to make movies.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
That's hard because I have seen a lot of movies. I even made a top 100 list. Some movies I watched multiple times more than I can count. If I had to choose which film I would revisit the most in the future, I think either the Back to The Future trilogy or Monsters Inc. since those films resonate with me the most and have impacted my life forever.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other
festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking
I'm not sure yet. I just entered the ring, and I'm still learning about the festival circuit at this time. I should have an answer soon :) In the meantime, I would love the chance to meet with the festival directors or other filmmakers if the opportunity is there. Keep the network growing, as they say!
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your
experiences been working on the festival platform site?
So far, it's really fun yet challenging! At times, it feels like a raffle where you can have a chance to win something big or not. From what I learned, you must start with the small ones and work your way up while finding the best festivals suited for your project. Being the primary home for festivals, It does a great job presenting the opportunities for you to send your voice. It took research and a lot of prep, but I'm still learning. I will continue to explore more with Filmfreeway and believe that my future work can be a hit for the big boys, like Sundance and TIFF.
10. What is your favorite meal?
To be honest, I don't have one. I just love to eat.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I have multiple projects at various stages of development. The few projects in development that I can share are two shorts centering around autism. One project I'm directing is called Dear Grandpa, It's Micheal, a short film that focuses on the true story of Micheal and his late grandfather. I'll also be doing a PSA on Anti-bullying as part of the project for awareness. The second project is a short called Breakfast, which I wrote and will direct. The short focuses on an autistic young woman finding her Independence while trying to surprise her boyfriend for his birthday. The script is completed, and I'm working to get it off the ground. Lastly, I'm working on the script for the feature film for Making A Friend and hope to finish that soon.