Hearing the Toronto audience’s responses compelled me to raise the bar of what I should have expected from myself in making this film. The feedback video is a great concept and I cannot express how important it was to have it as a record of the viewing experience at time when I could not be present for the screening. In the feedback video, folks rightly asserted how simple renewable solutions as seen implemented in off-grid impoverished Indian villages were not applicable in major, developed cities like Toronto. The audience was insightful and intelligent and led thought-provoking inquiries, and its their set of questions that compelled me to further develop my 10-minute short as a proper and full response in a longer version.
– Vinit Parmar, on the WILDsound Experience.
WATCH the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
Matthew Toffolo interviews Vinit Parmar:
Matthew: Your short film played at our festival in 2013. How has it done since it screened? Has it played at more festivals?
Vinit: I am grateful to Toronto and its informed audience. Screening the film there raised the film to a wider platform of exposure. The film received the Award of Excellence by the Canada Film Festival and it won other international awards.
Matthew: What motivated you to make this film?
Vinit: I started working on this film in 2006, before The Inconvenient Truth came out in 2007. An environmental scientist and colleague Prof. Micha Tomkeiwicz informed me about an unique village using American-developed technology to leap past the coal-stage of energy in which we are trapped in now. And, I felt there was something to tell explore on how to save our planet and us from our unsustainable ways.
Matthew: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Vinit: It took 5 long years. Of course, in this vast amount of time, there was really no time. I was teaching a full load of production courses in my university, and there were quite a few major events. I had recently gotten married, bought a house in Brooklyn, had two children, and helped my mother who was ill at times. What little time remained was taken up searching for funding, and no one wants to fund an environmental film, not to mention something short. It took four trips to India to make the film, but I also took the time to over-shoot, as I had in mind a shooting schedule for a longer-version of the film. I was quite aware about my carbon footprint in making this film, so I tracked it and curtailed it as much as possible.
Matthew: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Vinit: Funding was by far the largest hurdle. It’s no surprise that no one is interested in the environment, or renewable energy, unless it’s a major catastrophic and impending event. In fact, climate is just that, not it is not perceived as such, so it not as catchy or deemed significant enough to compel folks to sit in a theater or in front of a laptop screen. With the help of the film’s producer Prof. Ryoya Terao, we creatively managed to complete all our goals within our budgetary constraints.
Matthew: What film have you seen the most in your life?
Vinit: I saw Persona by Ingmar Bergman over 45 times, backwards and forwards, frame by frame on a 16mm projector that I toggled to control the speed. It’s this film that diverted my pre-med career path to make films.
Matthew: What is next for you? A new film?
Vinit: Prof. Terao and I are extending Quest for Energy to a 50-minute piece that examines the latest and greatest achievements of zero-emission living in cities and urban areas.
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Matthew Toffolo, Interviewer BIO
Matthew Toffolo is the current CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival. He had worked for the organization since its inception in 2007 serving as the Short Film Festival’s moderator during the Audience Feedback sessions.
Filmmaker of over 20 short films and TV episodes. Took over full reins of the WILDsound Festival in May 2013. From then to the end of 2014, he’s presented over 90 movies at the monthly FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto, plus has had over 60 screenplays and stories performed by professional actors at the bi-monthly Writing Festival.
Go to http://www.wildsound.ca and submit your film, script, or story to the festival.
Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com and watch recent and past winning writing festival readings.