#DFNYFocus On: Sara Logan Hofstein – Writer / Producer / Director (Pt. 2)

(Continuing our talk with Sara prior to the conclusion of her INDIEGOGO campaign for the short film, Refuge)

(Sara’s Previous #DFNYFocus)

DFNY: Now that we know a bit about what sort of films you love and why,  please tell us about what motivated you to make Refuge.  Also, you’ve said you don’t watch Holocaust or WW2 films,  how difficult is it making this film,  considering the topic?

SLH: I was motivated to write Refuge because of the refugee crisis currently happening in Europe. Austria is one of the main routes through Europe for the refugees arriving from the Middle East, which has bred both pro- and anti-immigrant sentiments and has caused the rise of Austria’s right-wing party, the FPOe, whose first few leaders were all former SS officers. Refuge’s goal is to show how the current treatment of refugees echoes the attitudes towards Jews in the years leading up to the Holocaust.

This topic requires me to delve deep into subject on which I do not like to dwell. As a rule, I don’t watch Holocaust films, visit concentration camps, or look at photographs of the horrors that occurred there. The closest thing I’ve ever seen to a Holocaust film would be Inglourious Basterds. I do watch films like Pearl Harbor, but that covers a different area of the war, even though they are just as full of death. I’ll also watch films that deal with the aftermath, such as Woman in Gold or X-Men: First Class (obviously fictional, but still about a Jew trying to come to terms with what happened to him during the Holocaust). I have seen neither Schindler’s List nor Son of Saul. The outcome never changes, even in the fiction of Inglourious Basterds. The Jews always die. I don’t want to constantly relive that.

I do get chills when I see a swastika or other Nazi imagery, but that is far more palatable for me than the alternative, so I’ve been mostly focusing on Austrian antisemitism and the remnants of World War II that still exist in Vienna.

DFNY: As you said, unfortunately there are echoes today of what happened to the Jews before the Holocaust – as there are literally hundreds of films on that topic, what unique spin do you hope to bring to this story?

SLH: Rachel, the protagonist, experiences the Holocaust through cultural memory. What’s unique about the film is the way the Holocaust is portrayed–a flash here, a ghost there. Yet none of it is real, because Rachel didn’t actually experience the Holocaust. At its heart, the film is not about the Holocaust but about the current treatment of refugees; Refuge is about the chance to grow, to learn, to be better. Europe (and the world) has been given a chance to show that they’ve learned from their past with the current influx of refugees, and I hope that they do and I believe that they are. My goal with the film is to spread the message of tolerance.

DFNY: How is the progress on the film?  Do you have an idea of its eventual length?  And have you chosen the short format for budgetary reasons, or do you feel that a short best expresses your vision for the film?

SLH: Refuge is slated to be 15 minutes, and it is coming along. We are currently in the process of final edits on the script, and we have officially begun pre-production. We’re filling out our cast and crew rosters as well as location scouting, acquiring insurance, getting permits, etc.–all those things that go into pre-production. Refuge is 15 minutes long for a number of reasons, some of which include budgetary and time constraints.

DFNY: Thank you so much for your time – good luck with the campaign, and looking forward to seeing the completed film!

Refuge Indiegogo Campaign


#DFNYFocus On: James Hancock – Animation Producer

-Executive Producer on Bill Plympton’s animated feature “Cheatin'” and Producer on his animated short “The Loneliest Stoplight”
-Co-host on the film podcast Wrong Reel available on iTunes

Q:   Which film do you love that might surprise people?
JH: That’s a difficult question to answer in that most of my friends
know that I am obsessed with film history and they are accustomed to
my interest in obscure and esoteric movies. But if we’re talking
guilty pleasures, I grew up watching ‘Flash Gordon’ (1980) on repeat.
I think the soundtrack by Queen is one of the most epic ever recorded
for a film and in spite of the film’s many shortcomings, I love it

Q:   If you could pair up any two actors/actresses, living or dead,
which two would it be & what kind of film?
JH: I’d like to see an entire series of films co-starring Ralph Fiennes
and Tilda Swinton. In their few collaborations so far, their chemistry
has always been extraordinary and right now I think both of them are
doing some of the best work of their careers. As far as material is
concerned, put them in an anthology of adaptations of the work of H.P.
Lovecraft directed by Guillermo Del Toro.

Q:  Which film has had the biggest impact on you personally, and why?
JH: Without question that would be Josef von Sternberg’s ‘The Blue
Angel’ (1930). At age 20, I discovered it in a film class and that
film was directly responsible for igniting my obsession with film
history, an obsession that endures to this day.

Q: If you could have one prop from any film what would it be?
JH: Hank Quinlan’s cane from ‘Touch of Evil’ (1958).

Q: Is there any subject matter which you would not make a film about?
JH: No. Without complete freedom of expression, movies would rapidly
become totally irrelevant.

James Hancock’s IMDB Page

Twitter: @colebrax

Wrong Reel Podcast

#DFNYFocus is a new series from Daily Flick NY focusing on the personal film tastes of Screenwriters, Directors, Producers and other individuals working in the film industry

#DFNYFocus On: John DiLeo – Author

John DiLeo is the author of 5 books about classic movies:
– Screen Savers II: My Grab Bag of Classic Movies
– Tennessee Williams and Company: His Essential Screen Actors
– Screen Savers: 40 Remarkable Movies Awaiting Rediscovery
– 100 Great Film Performances You Should Remember- But Probably Don’t
– And You Thought You Knew Classic Movies!

Q: Which film do you love that might surprise people?
JD: People are usually surprised to learn that I’m a lover of westerns of the 1950s, especially those directed by Anthony Mann and Budd Boetticher, but also many others. That era of “psychological western” fascinates me. Hollywood had moved on from the forging-a-frontier category of western (exemplified by CIMARRON in 1931), mostly done telling us how the west was won. In the ’50s, the genre presented characters marked by psychological turbulence (think Gregory Peck in THE GUNFIGHTER or Jimmy Stewart in THE NAKED SPUR), placing them into compelling (and primal) morality plays. Too many to recommend, but how about THE FURIES (1950), DEVIL’S DOORWAY (1950), THE FAR COUNTRY (1955), and RIDE LONESOME (1959)?

Q: If you could pair up any two actors/actresses, living or dead, which two would it be & what kind of film?
JD: I wish Judy Garland and Frank Sinatra had paired up for a big MGM musical circa 1948. I also wish Cary Grant and Claudette Colbert had teamed for a scintillating sophisticated comedy of 1939. (They only appeared together for seconds in WITHOUT RESERVATIONS from 1946.)

Q: Which film has had the biggest impact on you personally, and why?
JD: THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! (1974). It shaped my taste, my aspirations, my sense of wonder. I was 13 when it came out and I saw it on the big screen 13 times that spring and summer.

Q: If you could have one prop from any film what would it be?
JD: Whenever I see a movie with a painting of a central character—the most obvious example being Gene Tierney’s portrait in LAURA (1944)—I always wonder what happened to the artwork after the film wrapped. I would love to have one of those paintings, gazing daily upon some beloved movie star (as if one of the family). Yes, Gene Tierney would do nicely.

Q: Is there any subject matter which you would not make a film about?
JD: It’s all in the treatment. If anyone had described THE UMBRELLAS OF CHERBOURG (1964) to me—its plot, its entirely sung dialogue, its emotional climax at a gas station—it would surely have sounded pretty lame. And yet it’s a magnificent movie, one of my all-time favorites. So, you never can tell what will and won’t work onscreen. That said, the subject matter I’d like to prohibit from the screen is anything involving a superhero, at least for a decade. Also, I would forbid any further unions between Johnny Depp and Tim Burton.

John Dileo’s Website

John Dileo’s Amazon Page

Twitter Handle: @JOHNDiLEO

#DFNYFocus is a series from Daily Flick NY focusing on the personal film tastes of Screenwriters, Directors, Producers and other individuals working in film and related industries


Introducing The #DFNYFive!

Here’s the first #DFNYFive, our five favorite flicks!  So hard to choose,  but these are the ones that consistently come to mind when people ask.  And it doesn’t necessarily mean that these are best movies ever made, just the five flicks that I can return to over and over again and enjoy just as much as the first time I saw them!

1. Annie Hall (1977)

2. Seven Samurai (1954)

3. All The President’s Men (1976)

4. A Matter of Life and Death (Stairway To Heaven) (1946)

5. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

Hope you like the #DFNYFive,  what are your favorites? Looking forward to receiving some interesting responses!