5Q's w/Christopher Miller "Race Across America: Push Beyond" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SATURDAY | BLOCK H | 1:00 |
Race Across America: Push Beyond (51 min) dir: Christopher Miller

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Push Beyond is an enthralling documentary that tells the story of Marshall Nord, a 49-year-old father and amateur endurance athlete who wants to do something “epic” to mark his 50th birthday. “Epic” to him, it turns out, means attempting to cross the USA by bicycle in under 12 days.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

I would like the BSFF audience to know that this film is not a cycling film or say, your typical documentary about an endurance event. Rather it is very much a human story with great heart, amazing energy and a fascinating character attempting something awe-inspiring at it’s core.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I studied film at university in the UK, went on to produce and direct documentary shows and various content for TV and online for a number of years and have also made a few narrative short films that have gone to festivals as well.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

The biggest lesson I learned in making this film was actually from the drama of the race itself. It was that no matter how meticulously one plans a thing, as Marshall had done with his RAAM attempt, if humans are involved then anything can happen.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

We hope this film and amazing story will get to screen at festivals around the world and also raise awareness for the Salvation Army’s Food Pantry. The Food Pantry helps feed families across the USA and was Marshall’s chosen charitable cause for the race.

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5Q's w/Benoit Desjardins "Dr. Diaz" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

FRIDAY | BLOCK B | 9:30 |
Dr. Diaz (27 min) dir: Benoit Desjardins

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Dr. Diaz is inspired by true stories which reflect the complexity of todays world. Did you ever ask yourself who is your new neighbour and where he came from? Why did he move to your country and what was is life before?

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Dr. Diaz, is the second short film of a trilogy that deals on human migration. You would like to see, Welcome Yankee, the first film? Here you go : https://vimeo.com/61817994 Password: Dr.Diaz

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I am both an anthropologist and a filmmaker. I graduate from University of Montreal in film studies and founded, in 2006, Les Productions Perceptions. I since, produced and directed several short films which won several awards in Quebec and abroad. In 2012, I directed Welcome Yankee, a short film whit the one I participated in more than 60 festivals, winning 9 awards including the «Cinematic Achievement Award» in Thessaloniki, Greece. In 2014, my love for short film bring me to founded a international short film festival in Montreal call «Longue vue sur le court». This same year, I wrote my first feature film entitled «Il paesano». Finally, thanks to the support of SODEC, CALQ and National Film Board, I produced and directed in 2016, the short film Dr. Diaz.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?
I have learned so many things doing this film, that I could write a book : )
The importance of finding the right persons, because once you are surrounded by a great team you will always find solutions and be able to follow your vision and go beyond.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?
I hope that Dr. Diaz will continue travel the festival world for at least one more year, spreading the word about what is happening in Colombia and Latin-America, with imperialist coutries and their mining companies. Beside this, I am working on a feature film entitled « The displaced», which is Dr. Diaz sequel. What will the Dr. Diaz do next

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5Q's w/Laura Franco Garcia "A New Beginning" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK M | 7:00 |
A New Beginning (13 min) dir : Laura Franco Garcia
 

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

The hardest part of overcoming a traumatic event or living with a disability is the prejudice and stigma received by our society. If you have ever felt judged and stigmatized, you will understand how difficult it is to get start again and get a new beginning.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Acid attacks are one of the most common methods of gender abuse in the world. Usually aimed towards women, men are also vulnerable to it. The perpetrator’s intention is to maim the victim, not kill, which can be mentally impairing for most. During 2014 it became a trend in my home country, Colombia, bringing attention to this time of crime as it had previously not had been mentioned, or at least I personally had never heard of such a thing. It caught my eye how important it was for us as a society to be aware of this problem and do something to help prevent it, if not stop it from happening, as well as understand the hardships the survivors go through after “recovering” from the initial shock of the attack.

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#3: What is your movie making background? Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Colombia, but I studied visual communications in Argentina, where I had the chance of meeting international filmmakers and collaborate with them. After coming here to Los Angeles to Pursue a Masters Degree, I have had the chance of producing short films and being the production coordinator for the Netflix show, The Hollywood Masters. Here I was able to meet and listen to filmmakers in the industry talk about their experiences and advice for up and coming filmmakers and it allowed me to understand that believing in ourselves as directors/writers/producers is the most important thing to make it in this industry.
I currently work as a production coordinator for Big Review TV, and Australian multi-media production company creating video content for local businesses.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?
Somehow things always work out. The biggest issue in pre-production for A New Beginning was the funding. At one point, I had no clue where I was going to get the funds to produce this film but I kept searching for grants, crowdfunded and the most important people in my life came to my rescue and supported this project, which I am very grateful for and cannot thank enough.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

Hopefully we will get selected at more film festivals around the world and we will be able to bring more awareness to this cause, and keep the discussion going about gender abuse and its consequences. Personally, I hope to be able to gain credibility as a director/producer and keep working on projects that impact us as human beings, that helps us become a better person and an overall more tolerant and empathetic society.

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5Q's w/April Mullen and David J Phillips "Badsville" Filmmakers by Matthew Nothelfer

FRIDAY | BLOCK F | 7:30 | 
Badsville (96 min) dir: April Mullen

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Badsville is a Badass film, and like the L.A. Times said it is "a powerful, deeply felt crime drama about letting go of the past and getting out of Dodge — before it’s too late." 

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Although it is a greaser gang movie with a lot of action and fun, at its heart it is a love story.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

David J Phillips, Producer: Originally a gameshow host and professional Shakespeare actor, David has now produced a dozen feature films that have appeared in various festivals and in theatres, netflix, and television. I started my own production company Phillm Productions of which Badsville is the 2nd film.

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Ian McLaren and Benjamin Barrett, writers + lead actors: Ian played hockey for many years until a back injury kept him away.  Ben was a wrestler who attended University of Santa Barbara on scholarship. They met in an acting class and decided to write Badsville... the rest is history.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Working as a team gets you further, and there is no such thing as a bad idea - only that some ideas are better than others :)
Ultimately, collaboration gets you the best result.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

This is our final film festival, as the film will be available on multiple platforms in March - InDemand, iTunes, Amazon, etc etc..

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5Q's w/Felix Martiz "Kiko" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

FRIDAY | BLOCK E | 4:00 |
Kiko (32 min) dir: Felix Martiz

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

"Kiko" tells the stories of two individuals that work at the same factory yet live very different lives. The titular character Kiko is a young factory supervisor who always does the right thing and Maria is a young undocumented single mother working to make ends meet. The factory gets raided by ICE and Maria asks Kiko to look after her daughter before she gets deported. Maria is sent to a border town, helpless and alone in her country of birth, which she is now a stranger to. Kiko struggles with what is right and legal, coming to understand that they are not always the same. He sets out to help bring Maria back.

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#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

"Kiko" is a very topical film. I would like to blame the bigot in office, but the truth is that unfortunately immigration is always a current topic due to our biased and inequitable immigration policy. My main objective with the film is to put faces to the stories that are truly effected by the details of this huge problem. "Kiko" paints a portrait of those who are widely discussed but little seen in mainstream media—the undocumented. The film tackles various social issues, including immigration, deportation and family separation.

#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I have been writing and directing award winning short films for over 8 years. I have screened at over 40 film festivals including last years' Borrego Springs, with "400 Miles," a film which I directed and was written by Fabian Martin. My love for the art of film came at an early age - in the 4th grade to be exact - when my teacher Mr. Tengeri screened "The Red Balloon" for our class. Ever since, I have an affinity for foreign film. As I grew older, my appreciation for all types of genres also grew and I began making home made films with my brothers and cousins. I was an inner-city kid with no means or connections to make a career of this. Luckily my High School had a Video Production class which made everything fall into place. I began directing and filming short PSA's that brought me some nationwide attention. Without a mentor, I wandered away from film after high school, but soon heard the calling again and went to the University of Long Beach, where I received my BA in Film and Electronic Arts. While in school, I noticed that there was not enough Latino content being produced, so I began writing and directing films that my community could connect with. Inclusion is empowerment and I wanted the Latinx audience to feel that our voice is represented, and simultaneously entertaining. I want to make my community proud and showcase a side of the Latinx experience that is not always explored in film or in media. I recently received my Masters in Film from Mount St Mary's University and look forward to sharing my passion and perspective in a classroom setting in the future. 

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#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?
You have to just do it. Never underestimate the power of your passion. When the script for Kiko was ready, I wanted to just get up and go film it. My producing partner Xiomara Castro, was a little hesitant, especially since we had no money and had exhausted our crowdfunding option in raising money for another short film "Mia." The film is a straight drama and written to be made cheaply (except for the Mexican border scene which, we planned to shoot guerilla style). The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced that we could do it. Xio and I had about a grand between us and figured if we can get the cast and crew to defer payments, then we had enough to feed them. Plus, we had the camera and gear already to go from MSMU (I was still a student when we began filming). We cast the film and surrounded ourselves with great artists who believed in the film. We took a break from filming mid-way through and created a crowdfunding campaign with the footage we had. With community support, we rented equipment and crossed the border to film some crucial scenes in Tijuana, Mexico. On our way back home, we filmed at the border, guerilla style. Passion for the project continued through Post Production, Jesus Guevara our other Producer assured that our film sounded and looked great. The final member to join the team was the very talented composer Sergio Torres-Letelier, who wholeheartedly believed in the film and gave us an amazing score. Now in festivals, the energy is still there. People are connecting with the film in a big way and our  passion for the film is felt in every audience.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?
"Kiko" was always meant to be a short film that could also be seen as a proof of concept for a series that I would like to develop. I recently created the show bible and wrote out the story plot lines and am ready to do what it takes to get it made. Hopefully the right person sees the film and helps us take it to the next level. 

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5Q's w/Victor and Fabian Martin "The Closet" Filmmakers by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK J | 9:30 |
The Closet (8 min) dir: Victor Martin

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Film deals with aftermath of a loved one's death.  In a word, it's about acceptance, something we all need a little of today.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

The title is misleading and can be interpreted so many ways.  Anything more may be giving away the ending.  More reason to come watch it!

#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

My brother and I started making films waaaay back with an 8mm camera.  We are self-taught filmmakers who learned by putting a camera in our hands and just making the movies we wished to see.  We started our own production company in 2008 "Mano a Mano Productions." Along the way we've gathered several awards and hardware at film festivals across the country and internationally.  We are only breaking ground with a few new projects in the horizon.  Stay tuned.

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#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

The biggest lesson learned is you don't need a big budget to make a quality film.  We made our film on a zero budget (well, a few salmon bagels if you want to count that) and we shot it in one day.  It all begins with a solid story, a vision and passion for the art. 

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

Our film has played in a few film festivals so far including in New York and San Francisco.  This film along with our other films  are just stepping stones to something bigger.  We are planning to shoot our first feature film in 2018.  

5Q' w/Ray Arthur Wang "Disk 44" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK K | 1:00 |
Disk 44 (13 min) dir: Ray Arthur Wang

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

A foreign-born scientist spends Independence Day weekend as an espionage suspect embroiled in a stolen classified disk scandal and soon becomes the witch hunt victim of a government agency from hell.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn't obvious from its title?

Considering current social issues, 'Disk 44' is as relevant as ever.

#3: What is your movie making background? Tell us about yourself.

Having received a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford, I was first a concert pianist from age 10 (retired at age 30). Having done well in two fields, I figured I could translate this success to another field, that of filmmaking. Movies have always been my greatest passion, so I had to give it a shot. And well, I've definitely achieved some success in the field of filmmaking (see Wikipedia), but let's just say that it's not easy translating success from one field to another. I even had to quit piano concertizing to focus better on fewer things in life. And oh, I'm a self-taught filmmaker (my co-director is Federico Gaggero, a first-time director and animation expert).

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Budget, budget, budget.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

'Disk 44' will probably play more than ten festivals total, based on already received acceptances as well as pending decisions. I'll eventually move on to a new project, continuing to hone my craft. I can only hope to improve as a filmmaker!

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5Q's w/Mark McKinsey "Vows" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

MONDAY | BLOCK N | 9:30 |
Vows (5 min) dir: Mark McKinsey

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Vows is an animated short I directed during my final year in university about a man named Carl, who is preparing for one of the biggest days of his life. Ultimately, the story revolves around love and the different forms of vows we make in the name of it. I wanted to tell a story that isn’t often told in animated film, but impacts many people all over the world.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Vows was made to give hope to anyone who believes in love and all its colorful forms.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I am a 3D artist who recently graduated from the Savannah College of Art and Design. During my studies, I was fortunate enough to intern at Pixar Animation Studios working on Cars 3. It was an incredible opportunity, and it helped prepare me to take on the challenge of directing this project. I don't have much experience with traditional film making, but I've always been inspired by the stories I grew up with, particularly those in the animated format. With my skill set, I usually help support the post production process of film making, but I was so passionate about this story, that I had to learn quick how to be a filmmaker, collaborating with many other artists that helped guide me to success.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

I learned just how important collaboration is. Incredible things happen when a group of talented people work together. I knew this before, but directing a project and seeing every single part of the pipeline come together made me understand this on another level. I'm so grateful for all of my talented friends that helped make this story a reality.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

I feel so fortunate that this film has been received by multiple festivals, but I'm truly very excited to release it publicly sometime next year. I hope it'll make an impact and make people re-evaluate how our society defines certain institutions. Thank you to the Borrego Springs Film Festival for this awesome opportunity to share it with your audience!

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5Q's w/Kyle Kleinecke "The Root Cellar" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK K | 1:00 |
The Root Cellar (15 min) dir: Kyle Kleinecke

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Our movie's theme is about using your creativity or God given gifts to help you cope in dire circumstances. We believe hope lies in your ability to dream.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

It's a thriller with heart.

#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Tulsa, OK but now reside in Bossier City, LA.  I'm a director, editor, scriptwriter and producer.  I've worked in television commercial production and TV station promotions since 2006.  I directed my first short film "The Pickle" in 2015 and a year later my second short film "The Root Cellar".  Earlier this year I produced my first short film on Super 16mm film, "Willow".

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Work with people who are excited and have the same passion for the project that you do.  Filmmaking is hard enough without having someone on set with a bad attitude or ego complex no matter how talented they are.

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

The Root Cellar will continue to screen at film festivals for all of 2018.  I'm currently writing a script for a short film that I plan on directing next year.  After that I'd like to make a feature length film.

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5Q's w/Carl Rogers "The Jar" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK L | 3:00 |
The Jar (20 min) dir: Carl Rodgers

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

I think people should see The Jar as it helps highlight issues we all face and can sympathize with on a human level. Namely, how do we overcome our challenges and face them down in order to make our dreams a reality?

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

I want the audience to know that The Jar isn’t necessarily a happy film but one with a heart. Through the film I tried to borrow on things that we all encounter as we grow up, the duality between dreams and reality and the loss of our innocence. As children we often believe in things that are completely at odds with reality but we believe in them anyway because we want something more, something better to exist outside of what we have. Usually, as we grow older and mature this part of us can be lost and that’s a bit of a shame really.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I was raised in west Belfast just as ‘The Troubles’ were ending so when I was growing up there was a great optimism in the air. In 1997 I saw the Star Wars re-releases in the cinema and from that point on I knew I wanted to become a filmmaker. I started off making home movies and shorts and applied to college to study film. My first student short film ‘Junior Trouble’ went on to win the college festival. I decided I would set up my own production company Apex Pictures. My producer and friend Michael Costello and I made a self-funded feature ‘The Old Irish Washerwoman’ in 2014 which premiered at the Belfast Film Festival. We decided to make three shorts in 2016/17 with me directing two of them (The Jar, Sophie’s Christmas Wish) and Michael directing the third. All three are out to festivals and are proving successful. I mean I’m writing about it to a festival in California, I wouldn’t have dreamed that a year ago!

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

The biggest lesson I’ve learned is how to work with children. It was very daunting going into a film filled with 8-10 year olds but I learned so much from them just by listening to them and talking things through. Brandon who plays Jake in the movie was great; we would run through the scene together and discuss how we felt about it and how it should play out, we really bonded. The whole cast and crew just came together like one big family. It was quite sad when everything was over and we all had to do the goodbye.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

More shorts, I hope! I make movies to entertain people and so long as they’re entertained I’ll be happy to continue making them. I’m hoping the film will continue to spread; the reaction so far has been amazing. Everyone back home is so pleased with its success especially all of the cast and crew. It’s really neat to be able to think that your movie being screened half way around the world, there’s a bit of you that has a kind of childish giddiness about it all.

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5Q's w/Nicholas Thurkettle "The Dinner Scene" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SATURDAY | BLOCK G | 9:30 |
The Dinner Scene (10 min) dir: Nicholas Thurkettle

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

The Dinner Scene shows a writer at work and the scene they're trying to write - with stopping, revising, doubting, mentally giving up, and that rare, glorious feeling of writing something that doesn't suck. It's funny and painfully true about the agonies of the creative process.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

If you love extreme close-up shots of someone drinking a cappuccino, then this is the movie for you!

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I started in film as a writer and story executive, and focused exclusively on the writing side for a long time. A few years ago I got back into acting after leaving it behind in college, and it's led to some phenomenal opportunities on film, on stage, and in the voice-over world, including a sweet little feature film called Cloudy With a Chance of Sunshine that got such a welcoming reception at Borrego Springs in 2017! Then two years ago, I took the initiative to start writing and directing short films for myself; in many ways they're serving as the film school I never went to, and I'm loving it!

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Just how much you can achieve if you are careful and thorough in your planning. Our budget was laughably small and our schedule insanely tight, but with a meticulously-organized shotlist and a crew of people I had great chemistry and experience with, I think we pulled off something not a lot of crews of our size and resources could have.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

We're going to hopefully be showing it off at festivals through the first half of 2018, then we have another short film called R&R, made with many of the same people, that we hope to start touring at that point. Like many other filmmakers out there, we've got our feature film that we'd love to raise money for; but in the meantime, any time we can throw a few bucks together, I'm always tempted to get the band together on some weekend and bring something to life. For this one, a significant chunk of our budget was a $100 bill I found in a parking lot. I'm nothing if not opportunistic!

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5Q's w/Corbin Schweitzer "SOS: The Salton Sea Walk" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK K | 1:00 |
SOS: The Salton Sea Walk (62 min) dir: Corbin Schweitzer

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

As California’s largest lake approaches an environmental point of no return, one man will attempt to become the first person to walk around its hazardous shoreline in order to prevent an ecologic disaster that could impact the entire western hemisphere.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

This is a time-sensitive story that has horrific environmental and health implications should it continue to go unnoticed. It's impact could extend far beyond California's borders and ultimately could impact the entire western hemisphere. From renewable resources to emerging technologies, the Salton Sea is a true “diamond in the rough”, and holds numerous opportunities for improving the economy and ecology of southern California. This film also talks about improving relations between the U.S. and Mexico through an international canal or pipeline, greatly benefiting both countries.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

There are two main filmmakers for this project:

Corbin Schweitzer (Myself) - With over a decade of film production experience, Corbin approaches the creative production process very methodically, combining imagination, strong attention to detail, and a passion for storytelling. His dedicated filmmaking prowess began at a young age, where he was first inspired to pursue his dreams. A degree in Cinema from University of Washington and a Masters in Film production has been the educational foundation cementing his youthful dreams into a firm reality. Today he seeks to provide future audiences with the same awe inspiring experience he had when he went to the theater for the first time. Corbin is a founding member of Black Moon Productions.

Blake Alexander - Blake attended the University of Washington where he graduated with a degree in film. While in school, Blake worked in the local entertainment industry on films and television, and produced several short films and commercials. Blake's approach is that film has a responsibility to be a steward for societal change, in the ways in which we live, eat, and interact with each other. Film has an enormous amount of responsibility to tell a story that is simultaneously entertaining, beautiful, and yet meaningful. It is from this ethos that he approaches his documentaries. During the arduous Walk, Blake joined Randy in the entire trek around the Salton Sea and many training missions. Blake is a founding member of Black Moon Productions.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

In hindsight, we should have tracked, logged, and organized our footage immediately after our shooting days finished. We frequently skipped the "dailies" (or watching over the footage we captured at the end of the day). This unfortunately added mountains of time and effort later in the editing stages. We were forced to painstakingly categorize and sort through each clip and piece of footage to determine the viability and use within the context of the narrative.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

Our plans for this film are to get it into the hands of important decision and policy makers in the hopes of inspiring a permanent and viable solution. For the future, our plans are to return to the Sea and bring to light it's current state of affairs through a story-driven narrative instead of another documentary. We believe a different perspective could help continue to raise awareness without repeating facts, figures, and issues. We also are planning on a separate documentary around the message highlighted at the beginning of the film: water; from the dwindling sources of freshwater, to the importance of what kind of water we drink.

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5Q's w/Jack Swiker "Sessions" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SATURDAY | BLOCK I | 3:30 |
Sessions (8 min) dir: Jack Swiker

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Sessions is an intense drama in which a young woman recounts to a therapist about her struggle to find and connect with her birth mother who she has never met.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Sessions was made from script to finished product in only 48 hours. This is our team’s seventh year competing in the Los Angeles 48 Hour Film Project, which we won last year. It’s a wild adventure. Exhausting, but fun and creatively satisfying.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

Having studied film and digital media in both undergraduate and graduate programs I have directed a number of shorts over the years on video, digital media, and film. Since moving to Los Angeles ten years ago, I’ve also directed and starred in a seven-episode web series, and directed six other 48 Hour Film Projects with Transplant Pictures.

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#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Your production team is everything. When you have the right collection of talented, creative, and wonderful people, the rest of the process flows naturally even during the hectic schedule of a 48 Hour Film Project.  Transplant Pictures is a collection of some of the best people I’ve ever worked with.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

After following our last film Boy Soldier on the festival circuit, I’m looking forward to doing that again this year with Sessions and then settling in and working on another short, as well as prepping for a feature film.

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5Q's w/Ryan Casselman "Our Barrio" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SATURDAY | BLOCK H | 1:00 |
Our Barrio (29 min) dir: Ryan Casselman

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Our Barrio tells the story of Gabriela, a young Latina on the verge of adulthood, who lives with her family in a diverse neighborhood. This film will immerse you into a world that resembles many living in the United Sates, but yet is hardly ever portrayed on the big screen.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Often the question is asked, “Does art reflect culture? Or does culture reflect art?” When we set out to make Our Barrio, we wanted to make a film that reflected the current political and social climate. Inspired by the diverse communities we live in, we also wanted to make a film that was a call to action. Something that could inspire audiences, alter one’s viewpoint, and potentially bring people of all walks of life a little closer together.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

Though my professional movie making career has just started, my non-professional movie making marks back to when I was thirteen years old. Riding my bike to the movie theater a few miles from my house to sneak into films like About Schmidt and Before Sunset and messing around with my dad’s VHS camera. Early on, I had a strong interest in acting, but I soon realized that my true passion was in filmmaking. It has been so empowering being able to express myself through the films that I’ve made. After making several micro-budget short films, Our Barrio is the first SAG film that I have directed.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

It’s okay to step outside of your comfort zone and make something beyond what you feel your capable of. You often will surprise yourself and there is no better way to learn.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?
We hope to continue screening Our Barrio at more festivals and hope to reach a bigger audience through online distribution. As a filmmaker, I hope to continue making films that will challenge myself and eventually start the daunting task of writing a feature film. 

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5Q's w/Marlen Rios "Rosario" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK J | 9:30 |
Rosario (10 min) dir: Marlen Rios

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

“Rosario” tells the story of so many caregivers who remain silent about the hardships they face. We all have met at least one caregiver in our lives. Their problems are something we don’t discuss but we need to. Inevitably, over time, we ourselves will be related to caregiving.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

The film was inspired by some events in my life. So, I really wanted to tell this story. It's a film that brings awareness but also empathy for a very difficult situation. "Rosario" is a woman's name, but it's also the same word used in Spanish for Rosary, the Catholic prayer. I wanted to emphasize the struggle the main character goes through.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

Actually, my first degree was a B.S. in Accounting. But film has always been my passion, so I've never stopped working towards it. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to get accepted into Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, in the film directing program, and now I'm currently pre-producing my thesis short film there. I also work as an editor, script supervisor and director in Mexico City.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

The importance of getting the cast and the crew on the same page ahead of time. We were all working towards the same vision, and that made all the pieces come together as one. Also, to always have fun while making films: It's a blessing to make them.

#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

Fortunately, we've had a successful festival run so far. We're very happy with how the public has reacted to it as well. We will be screening in The Netherlands, The Bahamas, Bangladesh and some beautiful cities in the next few weeks." 

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5Q's w/Dinh Thai "Monday" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

MONDAY | BLOCK O | 1:00 |
Monday (19 min) dir: Dinh Thai

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

MONDAY is going to grab your mind, surprise your expectations and satisfy your senses. It’s a character study with a big-world vibe.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

Our 23-time award-winning short film is part fiction and part autobiography, which hopes to reboot our prejudices about leading roles for people of color.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

All my real life filmmaking experience is in commercials and branded content. That’s where I’ve been able to learn, practice and experiment. MONDAY is the first narrative project since graduating from Art Center in ‘02. Here are some links if you’d like to find out more.

IMDB
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6510684/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm8663041/?ref_=tt_ov_dr

FB
https://www.facebook.com/dinh1
https://www.facebook.com/mondayashortfilm/

IG
https://www.instagram.com/mondayashortfilm/
https://www.instagram.com/madebydinh/

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Two lessons came from making this short.
Loving, respecting and caring about my talented filmmaking friends is one of the keys to personal growth and expediting the filmmaking process; when it was time to make MONDAY many friends were committed and ready to help.

I also learned that it was ok to wait 15 years after college to revisit narrative filmmaking. I had to personally grow and refine my sensibilities before I was confident enough to make artistic decisions, which could translate well for the audience.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

The success of MONDAY has opened a few doors, giving me an opportunity to pursue TV directing. We’re also trying to turn the short into a TV series. So if anyone wants to help, please visit our social media and leave a comment. Don’t forget to like, follow and share! #MondayAShortFilm
 

5Q's w/ Susie Rivo "Left on Pearl" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

FRIDAY | BLOCK D | 2:00
Left on Pearl (55 min) dir: Susie Rivo

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

In 1971, hundreds of women took over a Harvard owned building in Cambridge MA, demanding a women's center and affordable housing for the community. One of the few takeovers by women for women, this radical action led directly to the founding of the longest continuously operating Women's Center in the U.S.  

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

LEFT ON PEARL is about activism and politics, but it is also funny, entertaining and fast-paced. It's rare to see kick-ass women on screen who are over 60, talking about their younger selves. 

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I studied filmmaking at San Francisco State University in the early 90s. I have made several docs.

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#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Don't give up.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

More festivals, community screenings, hopefully broadcast, and definitely we plan to get the film into classrooms through educational distribution (not just to universities, but also to community centers, senior centers, high schools, prisons)

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5Q's w/Wynter Rhys "Jouska" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

SUNDAY | BLOCK J | 9:30
Jouska (6 min) dir: Wynter Rhys

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Audiences should watch Jouska because of its interactive nature. The level of pain and guilt seen in the main character depends upon what each viewer has experienced in their lifetime.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

That this film was written, directed, and edited by a 17 year old girl within 48 hours to a prompt drawn from a hat.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I directed my first film at 14, and over time I realized my vision remained aesthetically consistent across all platforms. I was self-taught and come from no lineage of filmmakers. Now I am about to embark on directing my debut feature film in Atlanta.

#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

Well, Jouska was created for the Seattle 48 Hour Film Festival. This means I drew a surprise category from a hat and then had 48 hours to write, direct, edit and turn in the entire film. This was a huge learning experience because I am a major perfectionist and usually plan every moment of a film second-by-second. It was both freeing and terrifying to not have this privilege for Jouska.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

For Jouska, the future resides in the film festival circuit, which I'm so thrilled has been received so well. 

Best Sound, Best in City Runner Up Seattle, 2016

George Lindsey UNA Film Festival, Florence Alabama, Vanguard Award Finalist, March 2017

Francis Larkin McCommon Scholarship Winner, full-tuition SCAD, March 2017

Emergencia Youth Film Competition 20th Cine Las Americas International Film Festival, Austin TX, May 2017

The Young Filmmakers Grand Jury Prize, Nashville Film Festival, Nashville Tennessee, April 2017

National Film Festival for Talented Youth (NFFTY), Seattle WA, April 2017

Dances With Films June 2017, Hollywood CA

National YoungArts Cinematic Arts Winner, 2017, Miami FL

Best Experimental, CineYouth Chicago International Film Festival, Chicago IL, May 2017

Hollyshorts Film Festival, Hollywood CA, August 2017

Sidewalk Film Festival, Birmingham Alabama, August 2017

Long Beach Indie International Film, Media, and Music Festival, Long Beach, CA August 2017

Best Experimental, Feel The Reel International Film Festival, Glasgow, United Kingdom, August 2017

Best Youth Film, FilmQuest, Provo Utah, September 2017

The Bushwick Film Festival, Brooklyn NY, October 2017

BendFilm Festival, Bend Oregon, October 2017

Citizen Jane Film Festival, Columbia Missouri, October 2017

Director of the Year, Rockland Youth Film Festival, Rockland NY, November 2017

As far as my future films, a lot of weight is carried in my debut feature film to be shot in Atlanta with the same budget as Moonlight. My producers' last film won Jury Prize in Sundance, so our goals are similar but more ambitious. We hope to tackle Cannes as well and other raw or prestigious film festivals, and also gain international distribution specifically targeting the European market.

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5Q's w/Ashwini Kumar Bhat "Aghanashini" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

THURSDAY | BLOCK A | 4:00 | 
Aghanashini (41 min) dir: Ashwini Kumar Bhat

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters

It is for those who want to see how a pure and free flowing river can nurture life of humans and other life forms along its path. Told in her own words, this is a story of one such river in India - “ Aghanashini ”, which in Sanskrit means ‘The Cleanser of Sins’.

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#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

In an era where development is the mantra that everyone is chanting, India still holds a river that is left almost untouched! Aghanashini stands as a testimony for how a river can nurture life and influence culture, if left for flowing free.

The documentary covers the river from four different perspectives.

1. Origin and history of the river 2. Environment and rich biodiversity along the river. 3. Human dependency on the river. 4. Culture and rituals that have developed over time because of the river.

This film covers some of the very unique aspects of the river that is being discovered for the very first time. For instance, the presence of "Moonbow" in one of its waterfalls. Moonbow is a rainbow formed because of moonlight! This is the very first record of a moonbow from Asia! Similarly there are many untold stories of various facets of the river that is being told for the very first time to the outside world. We took more than two years to make this film. The film is funded by Crowd Funding and a grant from Rohini Nilekani Philanthropies.

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#3: What is your movie making background? Tell us about yourself.

This is my maiden feature documentary. I have been involved in making short documentaries over past five years. I am a part of a team - Landscape Wizards and from last several years we have been running a short documentary series (one per year) called Unseen Landscape, which focusses on throwing light on unseen aspects of Landscapes of India. While I have been a part of few of those short docs, Aghanashini is my first effort towards feature length.

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#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

I have my ancestral roots in a village close to Aghanashini river bank. I have spent many summer holidays of my childhood playing in and around the river. But when I started visiting those places from the viewpoint of telling a story, all of them started looking differently. The same river, the same big rocks inside it, the same banks, the same people started giving new perspectives. The intricate relationships between the river and its surroundings slowly started to emerge. Understanding these intricate relationships via various stories that happen along the river and how to thread them to make a narrative story was our biggest learning from this film.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

We strongly believe in spreading the message of conservation through visual storytelling that are made with creative sense. Because people conserve only those things which they love. Unless we make people fall in love with Nature and its wonders, it would be very hard to convince them to conserve Nature for the future generations. We believe that Aghanashini w ill go a long way in that direction to make people more aware about the importance of saving a river and allow it to be in its Natural flow, as much as possible at least. Very very few people know about this river in India itself, let alone around the world!

We are screening this film at various schools and public institutions along the river basin to bring in more awareness in the young minds and general public. We are constantly getting very good feedbacks from the people who have watched the film in such screenings. Aghanashini was featured in this year’s Moving Water Film Festival in Bangalore, a festival that is focussed on screening documentaries related to water and its issues. This film is sent to the film festivals of over 20 countries and waiting for the response from them all. 

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5Q's w/Christian Monnier "Jenna" Director by Matthew Nothelfer

FRIDAY | BLOCK D | 2:00
Jenna (25 min) dir: Christian Monnier

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#1: Can you describe your movie and why somebody should see it in less than 280 characters?

Jenna talks about difference and tolerance. Accepting the other as he is. An essential subject.

#2: What do you want the Borrego Springs Film Festival audience to know about your film that isn’t obvious from its title?

In my opinion, it would be better to discover the film without knowing anything about the subject in advance.

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#3: What is your movie making background?  Tell us about yourself.

I made a dozen short films and a first feature film.

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#4: What was the biggest lesson learned in getting your film made?

You must always believe in your projects. Which sometimes can take you much further than you would have hoped.

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#5: What does the future hold for your film and you?

I hope many festivals and TV broadcasts. And maybe a feature film adapted from the short film. We are writing the film.

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