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.

April Mullen, Director:
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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