Spotlight Archive.


Behind the Scenes of Hoax

Give us a quick update on what you are working on now? Any upcoming projects or teasers?

We’ve currently got three films on the festival trail. The Yowie and We are all Snakes are two doco shorts that played at Emerge last year, as well as our new film Hoax from writer/director Charles Olsen. Hoax is a fascinating short based on the true story of an Australian environmental activist who creates a fake press release to protest a controversial coal mine, leading to some very unexpected consequences.

In post-production we have a film called The Flight of the L.A.D, which is top secret (due to the UFO). (Oh shit, we shouldn’t have mentioned the UFO). (Oh f*#k, we shouldn’t have said shit).

We’re also working on a few scripts, and have commenced shooting on a feature documentary.

Have you come across anything new in filmmaking you want to share? Any new technologies, resources, sites etc.

We’ve gone back to the future a bit in shooting on 16mm glass. It’s cheap to hire in Australia, no one uses it and it looks great. We shot The Yowie on an old 16mm film lens Canon 11-138mm cinema zoom. We’re looking to shoot an upcoming short on 16mm cinema primes, preferably also on 16mm film but Sam E won’t let us (some B.S about a budget).

What is your favorite season (weather) to shoot in?

Our philosophy is that we’d rather spend a Saturday on set than hungover on the couch (hungover on set is also acceptable). Accordingly, we shoot quite frequently and have to take the weather as we get it. We often repeat the old mantra “if you wanted rain you couldn’t afford it” so find creative ways to make the conditions work. In The Yowie for instance we shot in pouring rain, thick fog and freezing winds, which were awful conditions but looked amazing.

In saying that, we have been extremely fortunate to date so we think the human sacrifices have been working.

What has been your favorite location for a project?

We filmed much of Hoax in the beautiful Hunter Valley on the east coast of Australia. The entire cast and crew went bush for a weekend and we built a whole protest camp in the middle of the forest. It was a perfect location and our down time was spent eating by picturesque rivers and drinking under the stars around a camp fire. Downside of that was the snakes, spiders, and leeches that sometimes dropped in for their breakout role.

Have you ever made an appearance in your own film?

We often find ways to put friends and family in films (free extras!), and actually have a few repeat gags for returning extras that are nice background jokes we enjoy, however usually don’t put ourselves in. Although Sam E had a big scene in Hoax as a broker which was eventually cut- he’s still quite upset about it really.

Sam H’s voice tends to end up in the documentaries asking questions, and Gavin’s nearly did for L.A.D but we dubbed it over just to annoy him.

Who is your favorite Director (aside from yourself)?

Tommy Wizzeau. Haha no.

What is your favorite genre of Film?

Collectively we form a fairly eclectic taste. We do have a real passion for shorts as their own medium- many features these days are great shorts overindulged with cash. So we tend to care less about genre and more about story, notwithstanding the duration.

What advice do you give to up-and-coming indie filmmakers?

Make lots of stuff and have fun doing it.

Some of your favorite film festivals you’ve attended?


Also had some great times at Arizona IFF, and Newport Beach IFF in the USA. The Richard Harris IFF in Limerick, Ireland is an amazing festival to attend. In Australia, Revelation Perth International Film Festival, Melbourne Documentary FF, Sydney Indie FF, Canberra Short FF, and Byron Bay IFF have been really good to us.

The great fests support their local filmmakers, and bring in international creatives so that everyone can share in the showcasing of films, but also the community. A fest is often a reflection of the wonderfully unique people and community involved, and has its own character. Which is part of the reason we love Emerge, and partying with all the Maine-iacs!

Check out the latest from Aussie filmmakers Sam H., Sam E. and Gav from Must Go Faster Films and keep up to date on their upcoming projects.

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Behind the Scenes of My Husbands Jump

Give us a quick update on what you are working on now? Any upcoming projects or teasers?

The production company I co-own with R.W. Gray and Matt Rogers, Frictive Pictures, just had the world premiere of our latest short film, My Husband’s Jump, at the Silver Wave Film Festival in our hometown of Fredericton, New Brunswick. It’s a film about the wife of an Olympic ski jumper who watches her husband soar into the air during a competition and, most peculiarly, he never lands. It’s a quirky story about wonder and believing in the unknown. We’re now submitting it to film festivals across the globe and keeping our fingers crossed that we get some good news over the next few months.

Back in May, Frictive Pictures was awarded a micro-budget grant from Telefilm Canada to make our first feature film, Entropic. It’s a haunting story about the ways beauty and objectification confine our lives and relationships with one another. I think it’s going to force a lot of audiences to face an uncomfortable truth in themselves. That’s something I love about film though – how you can inject those kinds of emotions into people. The project has been a huge undertaking but it’s something I feel all of our work in short films has been building to.

Have you come across anything new in filmmaking you want to share? Any new technologies, resources, sites etc.

I recently came across Steven Soderbergh’s new film experiment, Mosaic. It’s a smartphone app that’s structured as a television series but has a “choose your own adventure” angle to it. You follow the characters and storylines you’re intrigued by and, based on the decisions you make, everyone’s viewing experience is a bit different. It’s a really fascinating approach to narrative and how we create meaning as an audience member.

What is your favorite season to shoot in?

This is difficult for me. Every short film I’ve made has been loosely structured around the various seasons. Mirage was the summer, Hypothermia was the winter, The Beautifully Drowned was the spring, and my next short film, The Wonderful Future, will be influenced by the fall. I can’t pick a single one. I feel very fortunate to live in a place that experiences the full extent of each season (yes, even during our Canadian winters). It has served as a huge source of inspiration for me and given the films I’ve directed a backdrop to build upon.

Have you ever made an appearance in your own film?

Nothing beyond a 4-5 second cameo where I’m usually in the background or out of focus. I’m a terrible actor. Nobody should ever have to witness that.

Who is your favorite Director (aside from yourself)?

Shane Carruth, who directed Upstream Color and Primer, would probably be my top choice. I’m also really drawn to the work of Steve McQueen, David Fincher, Steven Soderbergh, and Yorgos Lanthimos. Amy Seimetz has also been doing some interesting work with her television series, The Girlfriend Experience.

What is your must see film for 2017 or coming in 2018?

I attended TIFF for the first time this year so I was able to see a lot of my most anticipated of 2017 there in September. On my list now are Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Florida Project, Happy End, Thelma, and a smaller independent film that comes out in a couple weeks titled Violent.

For 2018, Alex Garland’s new film, Annihilation, is at the top of my list. I loved the book it’s based on and was a big fan of his last film, Ex Machina. I’m holding onto hope that The Modern Ocean by Shane Carruth gets released then too.

What is your favorite genre of Film?

This changes a lot for me. Right now I’m really interested in science fiction. Usually only when it’s done on a small budget though. I love watching filmmakers build entire worlds through tiny details that don’t deviate too far from our own.

What advice do you give to up-and-coming indie filmmakers?

The best filmmaking advice I ever received came from my friend Ryan DeCourcey just a few hours before I began directing my first short film, Pesticide. We signed up to take part in Fredericton’s 48 Hour Film Competition and to immerse ourselves in inspiration we watched a number of favourite scenes – all of which came from independent or art house films. I confessed to Ryan that this approach to storytelling was where my heart was but I felt that, for this competition, we should probably make something more audience friendly. Ryan then said to me, “make the film you want, not the one you think you have to”. This radically altered my approach to that competition and has been key advice I reflect on with every film I make. It’s a small but defining moment for me and I believe that, without it, I wouldn’t be making films right now. Or I’d be making really terrible ones.

Check out the latest with Frictive Pictures and keep up to date on their upcoming projects.

Visit Frictive Pictures.


Behind the scenes on A Particular Thud

Give us a quick update on what you are working on now? Any upcoming projects or teasers?

Currently I'm finishing up touring with my short horror film, A Peculiar Thud. It's been selected for almost 30 festivals and I'm a little unprepared for its success. I manage the websites and social media for the film and that's a full workload. Filmmaking extends well beyond editing- it's also marketing, promotion, publicity, networking, traveling, exhibiting, and doing interviews/q&a's. Not only do you have to be an artist and storyteller; you've gotta be a businessperson.

Have you come across anything new in filmmaking you want to share? Any new technologies, resources, sites etc.

I try not to get too concerned with new gear. The tools are always changing but they're still used to reach the same ends that Orson Welles did in Citizen Kane in 1941. I hate to sound like a postmodernist, but it seems that the only new things are the ways we remix the old.

What is your favorite season to shoot in?

As a teacher on an academic schedule, I find myself locked into shooting in summer. Usually in 95 degree weather in July. I can't remember the last time I didn't shoot and lose 15 pounds of water weight. Needless to say, I prefer cool dry fall weather.

What has been your favorite location for a project?

I was the DP (Director of Photography) on a shoot on a lake in Michigan one summer. We spent any moments we weren't shooting either in or on the water. It felt like a "film-cation."

Have you ever made an appearance in your own film?

Funny you should ask. I starred in my semi-autobiographical feature film, A Wheel out of Kilter (2015). I'm not trained as an actor; I just needed someone who could wax philosophical and ride a mountain bike, and so I figured I could do it. Plus I work for cheap, haha. It was supposed to be a short horror film and it turned into a feature length drama that took five years to complete. I'm not sure if that was harder on me as the writer/director or as the actor.

Who is your favorite Director (aside from yourself)?

I have many heroes but above all I admire the intellectual, spiritual, and political work of Michel Haneke (Funny Games, Amour, The White Ribbon).

What is your must see film for 2017 or coming in 2018?

Thinking of film as extending into television, there's no question that Twin Peaks: The Return (which aired this summer on Showtime) is the most important piece of moving image narrative that has been created since, well, the original Twin Peaks in 1990. It is a shocking exploration of nostalgia, trauma and resilience that disregards, bends, and breaks all conventions of traditional storytelling. I teach courses on experimental cinema and even I was unprepared for the audacity of Twin Peaks: The Return. It took nearly ten years for the effects of the original Twin Peaks to be noticed. I expect it will take at least a decade for mainstream cinema and TV to come to terms with The Return.

What is your favorite genre of Film?

I tend to keep returning to the horror/thriller genre. I developed my love for film by watching (and rewatching) horror films of the 1970's and 80's. I think they're in my DNA. Every time I think I'll make something different - horror finds its way into my work.

What advice do you give to up-and-coming indie filmmakers?

That's a tough one for me... I'm a filmmaking professor at Connecticut College; I talk to up-and-coming indie filmmakers all day long as the very definition of my career!

The advice I give on the first day of film class is, "Film is first and foremost a visual medium." It's all about visual storytelling. Most beginners start off writing screenplays that are more like theater or television—full of dialog and devoid of action. Remember that you're in the medium of Maya Deren and Stan Brakhage; dialog is just one of many actions a character can perform. Focus on visual storytelling.

What are some of your favorite film festivals you’ve attended?

Well I can speak very highly of the Emerge Film Festival in my hometown! They treat the filmmakers as well as any festival I've ever attended. I have a blast every year I've gone. I was surprised how many excellent filmmakers come to the festival from around the world. I've met some inspiring people who I've remained connected to over the years.

Check out Ross and his upcoming projects with Kiltered Productions

Visit Ross Morin Film and Kiltered Productions.


Behind the scenes on the short film Hoax

Give us a quick update on what you are working on now? Any upcoming projects or teasers?

I have just finished Hoax, a short film I’m submitting for screening at Emerge 2018. Hoax, based on a true story, is about an Australian environmental activist who acquires national notoriety when he fakes a press release cancelling funding for a coal mine. Since finishing Hoax I have been living in a camper van and travelling across the United States, so maybe the next project will be a road movie!

What is your favorite season to shoot in?

The Must Go Faster crew and I have previously made shorts in summer, which is great when you’re filming an entire short in a weekend and need the extra hours of daylight. We shot Hoax during autumn. There’s a sunset scene in Hoax which looks beautiful, but we had to hustle to get there in time. We shot the scene while half the crew were packing up the set, and when we cut it was dark. But even in summer there’s never enough hours in the day.

What has been your favorite location for a project?

I have really enjoyed making shorts around Newcastle and the Hunter Region in Australia, because the community is very supportive. We’ve shot in bars, accountancy offices, backyards and houses, out in the bush with 14 cast and crew sleeping the night on our friends’ couches and floor. A mate loaned us his BMW and let me drive it around while the DOP rested the camera on my shoulder. This kind of support is vital to indie filmmaking and it also doesn’t hurt that the area and all the locals who live there are so photogenic.

Have you ever made an appearance in your own film?

I played an extra in a bar in Jinxed, which showed at Emerge in 2016, and an off-screen uber driver in Late Moves, which showed at Emerge in 2017. My voice was dubbed out of Late Moves. Then I provided a temp voice for a phone call in Hoax and understood why I got dubbed. My voice is terrible. I couldn’t watch it until we replaced my temp voice with an actor.

Who is your favorite director (aside from yourself)?

I like David Fincher because of Seven, Zodiac, and The Social Network. When his style is right for a film, he makes that film perfectly. Some of his other stuff is solid, and some of it is trash, but nobody’s perfect.

What advice do you give to up-and-coming indie filmmakers?

Re-write your script one more time. You can’t change the lines once the actors say them.

Some of your favorite film festivals you’ve attended?

Film Festivals are all different and have their own feel. I went to Arizona International Film Festival in 2016, it runs for a month, it’s really chilled out, you can just drop in and catch a few sessions when something takes your interest. So that was cool. But how can you beat the glorious hectic ride of a weekend that is Emerge? Do it properly, go to every session you can find between opening night and the closing party, and soak up the curated showcase of talent they display every year!

Check out some of the latest projects for Must Go Faster Films

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"Reckless Fancies" Podcast

Island Zero Premier at Emerge 2017

Give us a quick update on what you are working on now? Any upcoming projects or teasers?

Currently working on the script for a feature I'll be directing next fall in mid-coast Maine-it's a thriller! My podcast, Reckless Fancies, started airing in October!

Have you come across anything new in filmmaking you want to share? Any new technologies, resources, sites etc.

What I'd like to see come to filmmaking are some of the less tangible resources being utilized by other industries; progressive organizational styles. There are so many resources (money, time, culture building) being spent in the tech industries, even the financial industries, on improving communication and quality of life for employees. I'd love to see some of the work around emotional intelligence, for example, be employed by filmmakers. Not just studios either, there's just as much to be gained by indies in creating the best collaborative environment possible.

What is your favorite season to shoot in?

Fall! It's my favorite season, period. Cinematically I love the idea of viewing the world in a state of change that can imply death, renewal, restoration, shedding the former self...I could go on. Fall is the best and most colorful time of year. Not to mention the weather is desirable-not too hot or cold!

Who is your favorite Director (aside from yourself)?

At the moment, the directors I'm most drawn to are the people taking audacious risks--the cinematic experiences that really surprise me even if they don't entirely "succeed." Recently that's been the Wachowskis, Anna Biller, Yorgos Lanthimos. From a business perspective Patty Jenkins is my hero. I love that she held out for so long to get a historic deal signed with Warner Bros, it's fantastic.

What is your must see film(s) for 2017 or coming in 2018?

I just saw Mother and love it or hate it, the experience was singular. Next I can't wait for The Killing of a Sacred Dear, Mudbound, I'm excited to see what Greta Gerwig will do with Lady Bird. You Were Never Really Here is Lynne Ramsay's first feature in six years and with Jonathan Ames as source material I assume that will be stunning. It bears repeating that everyone should see Get Out.

What advice do you give to up-and-coming indie filmmakers?

Write a good script and don't be a jerk to be people. For me, a lot of my creative growth didn't start happening until I was able to remove financial dependence from my creative work and make time to spend more thoughtfully developing as an artist. I am privileged enough to have a second, non-entertainment, career that I love that provides me with a lot of freedom. I wouldn't have any of the opportunities I do now if I hadn't spent several years making that reality. It's not advice, per se, but I did make a somewhat different path for myself than the usual entertainment industry narrative. It took intentionality and patience.

Some of your favorite film festivals you’ve attended?

Honestly, cross my heart, Emerge has been my favorite so far. We were treated so well by everyone; our projection needs were treated with care and of course it's always the biggest pleasure to screen in Maine surrounded by so many supportive friends.

Check out everything Mariah has been up to and learn more about Island Zero

Visit Reckless Fancies or check out the podcast here: Subscribe.

Visit the Island Zero movie website.


Behind the scenes from “Credo Creatus”

Charlie on the red carpet at the Tribeca Film Festival

Give us a quick update on what you’ve been working on…

I have moved to Los Angeles to pursue my dream of filmmaking and earn a degree in Cinema and Television Arts at California State University at Northridge. I wrote and directed a short film "Credo Creatus." The story tells of a boy named Harry who is bound by his wheelchair. Harry is a passionate person who dreams of playing the game of football. This film is inspired by the documentary of Eli Mollineaux's touchdown, which was screened at Emerge. I am currently working on a mini-documentary series about the rescinding of DACA and the wave of protests in LA. I am also currently developing two narrative scripts for production this Fall, while looking for funding.

Have you ever made an appearance in any of your films?

I have made an appearance in one of my films before. This was a small appearance in a 48-hour film challenge. However, I prefer to stay behind the camera. The one benefit I gained from trying to act, was that it allowed me to understand what it's like to be in the shoes of an actor. This allows me to be more empathetic when directing; to relay my vision as best as possible.

Must See Film for 2017/2018 is…

My "must-see" film for 2017 is "A Ghost Story." I fell in love with the unique approach to storytelling this film took. By showing how love and connection is infinite, was eye-opening. Displaying the ghost as just someone in a bed sheet was a factor of the film that I would never expect to see, which created a beautiful aesthetic.

Any advice for up and coming Indie Filmmakers?

My advice for up and coming indie filmmakers is to "always take the first step, all the forces of the universe will come to your aid." This is advice I once received from a filmmaker with an Academy Award under his belt of achievements. I live by this in my pursuit of filmmaking, and it has worked for me; by taking first initiative in my creative voyages, I am able to work toward my goals while finding help on the way.

Check out Charlie and some of his projects. And look out for our next Filmmakers Spotlight, coming soon!

Follow Charlie on Vimeo or check out his production company, Room 7 Productions.