"FILM SHOULDN'T STAY STAGNANT, IT CAN ONLY EVOLVE AND LAST THROUGH TIME BY INCORPORATING DIVERSITY AND NEW PERSPECTIVES."

Sophie Wang 
Signal
Nominations: £1000 Jury Award Best Film 
Screening Session: Feb 28 | Nominated Films
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
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A scientist investigates a strange noise related to his daughter's disappearance in an abandoned village alone.

Hi Sophie thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?

There’s been some ups and downs, but I’m holding up well. Thanks to grocery delivery services and funny memes.

Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?

It has allowed me to attend more film related events and courses online and I have learned so much about the film industry and the craft of filmmaking. Also it gave me time to actually work on my screenplays and think more deeply about my projects.

Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?

I feel really honoured and humbled. I couldn’t believe that my film would be selected by such an awesome festival across the pond! It feels really validating to have your work seen and recognised, it just makes me want to create more and better art.

Can you tell me a little bit about Signal, how did this film come about?

It’s a sci-fi film about a father investigating the disappearance of his daughter in a desolate village. It was shot over 3 days in the freezing Canadian winter in Northern Ontario.

It came about when my parents and I were driving home after a grocery run. Basically the radio was on, and the host was talking about this things called the “Mystery Boom”, which is a naturally occurring loud and scary sound that can be heard in many parts of the world, and scientists haven’t quite figured out why they happen. That piece of information just stuck with me and inspired me to write a story based on a mysterious sound.

What where the biggest challenges you faced brining your film to life?

The lack of time. Time really flies on set. Although we did a lot of planning during pre-production, we still didn’t anticipate how much time we would need. We rented an Airbnb that we would only have for one day, and we were supposed to leave by noon of the second day that we were there. But we were still not done shooting all the scenes. But thankfully the reservation right after ours cancelled, so we were able to shoot for a few extra hours.
 

The elements. For one of the scenes we had to shoot on a beach, the public bathrooms were closed and it was below 0 degree. Thank god none of us had to pee.

"...after making my first short film through the workshop, I realised that filmmaking is the true calling..."

Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?

I would’ve put A LOT more consideration into the set ups and payoffs, I would’ve gone location scouting with the DP and designed our shots around the location.

Describe your film in three words?

Wintery, mysterious, unexpected

Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?

I’ve always loved watching films since I was a child, so naturally I minored in Cinema Studies when I was in university. In one of my film classes, a classmate told me about this free workshop for learning filmmaking that is organised by a film festival in Downtown Toronto. I signed up for it just for fun. And after making my first short film through the workshop, I realised that filmmaking is the true calling that I’ve been searching for, and I was hooked ever since.

What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?
 

Show, don’t tell.
You have to be relentless.

Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?

Absolutely. Film shouldn’t stay stagnant, it can only evolve and last through time by incorporating diversity and new perspectives.

Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?

Keep your audience leaning forward.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Signal?

I hope that people found some thrill or excitement in my film.

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