Q: What was your overall role?
I was the main creative force behind the project, as both writer and
Q: Did you always want to be in the film Industry?
Actually, yes - even when I was a kid I would use our old family VCR
video camera to make all sorts of weird made-up stories. I've always
been a huge movie fan and have been immensely influenced by films in
my life, so it seemed natural for me to want to be a part of that
Q: Tell us how Dreams of the Last Butterflies evolved.
Butterflies are fascinating to me, and their beauty as well as their
incredible process of transformation has not only inspired me, but
many throughout history. Unfortunately now they are facing habitat
loss, pollution and pesticides, invasive species and increasing
temperatures, and many butterflies of this world are endangered or
quickly disappearing. I wanted to create an "environmental faerie
tale" that not only entertains, but that shows the butterflies' side
of the story and helps raise awareness of the dangers they face.
Q: Did you have any unusual difficulties during filming?
Figuring out how to create our massive butterfly wings for the
costumes proved to be quite challenging! In the end, we chose to use
super high-resolution photographs of actual butterfly wings, and
large-scale printed them on special fabric. We then had to
custom-design individual harnesses and interior fitting rods for
each of the 8 Butterfly Queens' wings so they would keep their shape
and fit the performers comfortably. It was a huge undertaking, but
they turned out spectacularly!
Q: Will winning awards help promotes the film? How so?
Absolutely! Even casual film-watches tend to be more interested and
more likely to want to see a film if it has won awards. It's a
recognition that the film is deserving of attention.
Q: How much money did the film cost?
Around $60,000+ US.
Q: How did you finance that?
We ran a successful Kickstarter crowd sourcing campaign for
the pre-production and production funds, and raised over $36,000
from 372 generous donors. Most of the remaining post-production
funds were self-financed.
Q: Where were the locations?
We shot the entire film in a massive, sprawling former garbage
processing plant in Brooklyn, New York, USA - over only 2 days!
Q: To what audience is Dreams of the Last Butterflies suited?
Young and old alike - my intention was to make a film that would be
enjoyable for both kids and adults, and anyone that has ever
appreciated the beauty of a butterfly.
Q: Any bites yet from distributors?
Because we believe the film has an important message, we always
planned to release it online for free this spring after our festival
run - so that's not something we pursued.
Are you working on any new projects?
Yes, I'm currently hard at work writing a new short film about a
subject I'm very passionate about - though it is a bit controversial
in the world at large.
Q: Tell us about your own background. Where you were born? Where
did you study film? What was your first movie? What was your
previous job? Are you a full-time filmmaker?
I've been a short film and music video director/writer/producer for
over 15 years, and have been lucky enough to work with an incredible
community of artists and performers here in New York to help bring
my stories to life. I was born in the American Midwest in South
Dakota in a small town out in the middle of nowhere. My first real
short film was a kind of surreal black and white 16mm film I shot in
the Badlands National Park - it was nearly 100 degrees F and my car
kept breaking down, but it was a great learning experience! I
studied film at New York University and graduated from the Tisch
School of Arts Film program, which was great for me and where I met
a lot a creative collaborators. I've had all sorts of jobs in
addition to my film work - at one point I was selling home heating
oil to suburban families over the phone. You do what you gotta
Q: What was your first award? And how did you feel at that time?
For my very first music video I directed, I won an award for "Best
Music Video" at a film festival - it was very encouraging that I was
on the right path.
Q: What was the best part of the project?
I very much enjoy the collaboration with all the other kinds of
individuals that it makes to make a film - it's always amazing to me
that so many people can come together to create a single work of
art. And they're all important - whether it's listening to advice
from your Producer or discussing the color of a wall with your Art
Director, every moment is a chance to make your film better. I was
lucky to have an amazing cast and crew on Dreams of the Last
Butterflies, and most of them are friends as well, so it was a true
pleasure to work with all of them to bring this to life.
Q: Are you pleased with the overall outcome?
Very much so!
Q: What are your hopes and dreams for the film?
One dream has already happened, because we've had a tremendous film
festival run this year and were already accepted at 33 film
festivals in 10 countries. Which of course we are thrilled about!
The next step is to release the film online for free this spring,
and it's my hope then that the film will really "take off" and been
seen by many people across the world on the internet.
Q: How long did it take to complete the film?
About 2 years, from our extensive pre-production to finished film. I
think you can see how much work was needed when you see the film!
Q: How do you feel to have won awards in the Filmmakers World
I'm most proud of this award than any other we've received. Not only
did we win "Best Film", but the fact that it was appreciated and
understood in Indonesia, literally on the other side of the world
from where I live, is amazing - and I'd love to visit Indonesia
Q: Does this film send the message you intended?
Based on the reaction from our viewers, and especially all the
Environmental film festivals we've been accepted at, I believe so.
Because story and message are so important to me, considering the
audience for my films to reach is of course very important as well.
If I can't affect the viewer on some level, I'm not doing my job as
a filmmaker. Part of being an artist, at least for me, is the
satisfaction of knowing you've enriched someone's experience of the
world, or at least given them a moment of wonder or delight or
introspection - even if you never meet that person, even if that
person is seeing your creation many years from now.
Q: Why the title "Dreams of the Last Butterflies"?
Well, it's exactly what the film is - what happens in the dreams of
the last Butterfly Queens on earth.
Q: Advice to others who might like to follow in your footsteps?
Keep making films, no matter what! And surround yourself with other
collaborators who are as passionate about art as you are.
Q: Is this a film that young people, college or high school
students could benefit from?
Yes, very much I hope, as I made the film with youth in mind -
because it is an environmental film at heart, and it will be the
youth of this world that can make the changes that help the planet
most of all.
Q: How do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
I've been working on a story for a feature film the last few years,
and it's the best idea I've ever had. To see it coming to life would
definitely be my dream project. I've love to collaborate with many
of the same amazing artists and performers I know now, and hopefully
a lot of new ones I haven't met yet!