Thank you so much! We are thrilled to hear our film won! The festival was awesome. We will definitely be back.
– Mariah MacDonald, Producer Short Film Cycle
The November 2014 Film Festival was a giant success with a sold out crowd and an amazing lineup of diverse and eloquent films.
The short film CYCLE was the audience winner for Best Overall Film at the Festival.
Watch the Audience Feedback Video from the Festival:
Get to know more about the film here:
The Cycle is a story of revenge that touches on current world issues. Aslam’s entire family was gunned down by an American soldier named Hudson during a battle in Afghanistan.
Let’s get to know Producer Mariah MacDonald, and Director Ali Akbar Akbar Kamal
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Mariah: Ali heard a similar story on the news and was inspired to write a fictional version. His favourite genre is action/thriller so the script came to him quickly.
MT: From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Mariah: It took about 7 months to complete everything from start to finish. The most time consuming part for us was funding. We had to ask for a lot of favors and really budget carefully.
MT: What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Mariah: Obtaining locations for an action film on a small budget is quite difficult. We were lucky to use our own apartment as well as find a family home in Mississauga, but we had to be extremely careful not to damage anything. And of course, funding.
MT: You were at the festival, what were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film?
Mariah: We were nervous at first, but pleased with the outcome. The audience seemed to receive the message we were hoping to convey. It is always interesting to hear audience’s thoughts.
MT: I remember when you initially submitted that the film’s length was much longer. What influenced you to edit down the film to it’s present length?
Mariah: We noticed there was a lot of down time that wouldn’t be missed. We want to make our films as tight and entertaining as possible.
MT: Other than your own, what was your favourite film that played at the festival?
Mariah: I think our whole gang collectively agreed that Bow To Your Prince was our favourite. Beautiful cinematography and art.
MT: What film have you seen the most in your life?
Ali: Andaz Apna Apna (Bollywood)
Mariah: What About Bob?
MT: What is next for you? A new film? I see you have another film that’s also playing in the festival circuit as well? What’s that film about?
Mariah: The other short film we had in circuit was a student film entitled “Shabnam to Ali”. We are currently working on a pitch package for a feature length version of the short film. It’s about two young suicide bombers, Shabnam and Ali, as they meet during a mission in the USA. During the missions they fall in love and teach each other the value of life. Now they have to decide what they believe in most; their mission or their love for one another.
Ali is also directing an action short film that will be shot in December.
MT: Tell us your relationship with Ali, your collaborative Director? Where did you guys meet?
We both met at Toronto Film School. We worked on a few projects in school and really understood the way we both work. We have stuck together as producer/directer and plan to do so in the future.
MT: Thank You.
Mariah MacDonald – producer
Born in a small town in Nova Scotia, Mariah MacDonald has always had a passion for the Arts. When it came to choosing a career path, the film industry stood out among any other choice. Also an alumni of Toronto Film School with a few short films under her belt. Working hard on pre-production for a feature film as well as a documentary series.
Ali Akbar Akbar Kamal – director
Born in Afghanistan, Ali Akbar Akbar Kamal has always had a deep passion for filmmaking. Even as a kid, Ali would write and act out feature length movies in the privacy of his bedroom.
After living 6 years in Pakistan and 8 years in Uzbekistan, Ali finally made his way to Canada where he would pursue his dream. He’s an alumni of Toronto Film School, where he wrote/directed/edited 5 short films. Ali has recently starred in an action-packed short film.