Award of Merit – Never Forgotten (Australia)

Title: Never Forgotten
Runtime: 44 min
Country: Australia
Director: Michael Todorovic
Placement: Award of Merit
Competition: September, 2020

Synopsis: Three individuals want to get on with life after witnessing a murder, however, the trauma of witnessing a murder took its toll, so they attend a trauma victims meeting.

FILMMAKER Q&A – Michael Todorovic – Director, Producer, Writer, Actor

GS: What was the inspiration for your film?

MT: It’s funny because there’s two equal inspirations I had that moved me to make this film. One was in February 2019 on the flight back from my trip to Los Angeles, I had some idea of what I wanted to create. It was all smoke and shadows at that moment, but then when I landed back in Australia and on the car ride back home, I started to have an idea of what I wanted to create. The second thing is, ultimately, I wanted to create an opportunity for the cast and crew alike who may have never received an opportunity like this.

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

MT: It didn’t take me long in retrospect, I wrote four drafts with the fifth being the final screenplay, and that took me about a month. Assistant director and producer, James Leete (Jason) as well as assistant producer, Shashank Repala (Naajy), we all came up with the ideas and characters of what you see in this film, so I couldn’t have made this without their help. Gathering together like-minded individuals who understood the constant message that was said from myself in the first meeting: “Treat this film as if you’re working on a big-budget, professional set. So that way when you do get there, working in this type of environment will become second-nature to you.” And boy did everyone deliver on this film, a major shout-out is in order to Catelyn Ashley (Sarah), Josephine Boffa (Patricia), Angie Camorra (miscellaneous crew), Elleni Daglas (miscellaneous crew) Jeet Dhaliwal (Fadel), Robert Plaza (editor), Marnie Roberts (Lesley), John Sacco (director of cinematography), and Joshua Waite (Barney)

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

MT: The fact that with a short film, you don’t have much time to reel the audience in and gain interest, so there’s no time for “filler” scenes just to make up time. It really was a testament to quality over quantity, so the challenge was really gaining that interest from the start and keeping it scene, by scene, until eventually, the credits start rolling.

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

MT: From my point of view, it was juggling so many different things at once, such as directing with an objective mind-set as I am also an actor in the film, and vice-versa, even the relationship I have with my fellow co-stars as my character is different to that as when I’m in the director’s chair, or even in the writer’s chair. Keeping everything according to schedule, organising permits and filming locations just to name a few things. So, it was a challenge, but a welcomed one, and if you were to ask me if I would do it all again? In a heartbeat. 

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

MT: The most important thing I believe, and this applies to anyone, filmmakers, actors, athletes, beauticians… Count your lucky stars. Be thankful, be grateful and be humble for what you already have, and what you get. For filmmakers, I implore you, if you have an idea, put pen to paper, or finger to screen, however you do it these days. Don’t wait for someone to give you an opportunity, make your own opportunity. Take it from a first-time filmmaker.