Honorable Mention – “Conflict” (USA)

Title: Conflict
Runtime: 5 min
Country: USA
Director: Barbara Holstein
Placement: Honorable Mention
Competition: June, 2018

Synopsis: In less than five minutes get to know a teen, her losses, her fears, her concerns over bullies, alcohol, drugs and more. You may be left wondering who is there for her. Should you be? Certainly, she will stimulate thoughts and discussions as the solutions are left up to the audience.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Barbara Holstein, Director

OR: What was the inspiration for your film?

BH: This film which is my fourth selfie, coming of age film, was inspired by many of the issues kids face today. I wanted the ‘girl’ to come face to face with serious common teen situations: bullying, drugs, drinking and to cry out for help in a way that would encourage the audience to think about our today problems.  

OR: When did you conceive the idea for your film and how long did it take before it was realized?

BH: Actually, sitting on a stationary bike at the gym, the whole plot came to me.  The two prior films about this same ‘girl’ had in part been based on my two books for girls, ‘The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween’ and ‘Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen.  However, now I was in new territory, as I had yet to write the third book in the series.  I guess one of these days I will sit down and develop ‘Conflict’ and the other film in development, ‘The Medium’ that also came out of that day at the gym, into the third book.  But for now-making short films is exciting enough!

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of working in a short film format?

BH: I love every aspect of making short films.  I am a psychologist in practice for over 30 years.  Three years ago, after a bunch of miracle opportunities fell into place, I became a filmmaker.  So for me the whole experience has been golden. My issues have been the common ones, like where am I going to get the money to make this film? My first film was 16 minutes, based on my first book, ‘The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween’.  It was while directing this film that Selfies as film was born. I quickly realized that the intensity that develops when a tween or teen films herself with her smart phone is amazing.  I am still refining this Selfie as Film niche. Now I am taking it to the world via what I call ‘The Selfie Project’ where lots of kids can share their real feelings, concerns and ideas in Selfie videos.  So I guess I’ll be doing short films in one way or another for a long time.

OR: What was the most challenging aspect of your production?

BH: Creating a serious tone to ‘Conflict’ that was just the right level.  Also, separating the original script into two short films was a challenge. I had originally hoped for one film, but it just wasn’t coming together.  But now I am happy as I will have two films which can be shown separately or together!

OR: Do you have any advice for first-time filmmakers?

BH: Just like writing a short story best if you write from what you know, so is film-making best when you film aspects of what you know about life. Don’t try to go where you have not traveled, because you will get discouraged and the results will not be great.  I know a lot about the inner life of people, I know a lot about how I felt growing up and I know that kids have lots of their minds..  Putting these aspects together works for me. 

Also, unless you are heavily funded, make your first films small-short and clear in plot. Filmmaking is an expensive activity and funding isn’t so easy to come by.

You may want to experiment with your smart phone as your main equipment.  What ever you do, have fun and be another gift to humanity by what you offer!