Five Questions With... Matthew Bonifacio & Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio (MASTER MAGGIE)

In MASTER MAGGIE, a strange acting student seeks help from a guru (Lorraine Bracco). The short film also co-stars Brian Dennehy and Kenan Thompson.

We spoke with director/writer/producer Matthew Bonifacio and writer/producer Julianna Gelinas Bonifacio of MASTER MAGGIE, playing in the shorts program “What I’m Looking For” on Sunday, June 23 at 11:30am. Read more with Matthew and Julianna, and catch the film on the 23rd! 

NFF: Please say a little about your inspiration for the film.

MATTHEW: As a former actor and current private acting coach and professor (when I’m not directing), I’ve always wanted to make a film about a private acting coach. I really wanted to zone in on the one-on-one experience between an actor and teacher. Julianna has been producing my films for the last ten years, but has a real talent for story and writing, so I pitched her the idea, and she cleverly came up with the twist. We were off and running writing our first screenplay together.

JULIANNA: It went so well, we’ve continued writing together. 

NFF: Your film is in the "What I'm Looking For" block. What do you think your characters are in search of?

MATTHEW: Lorraine Bracco’s character is looking for companionship...

JULIANNA: … And relevancy. And Graham — Neil Jain’s character — is looking for help from the only person he feels can help him.

MATTHEW: Kenan Thompson and Brian Dennehy are just looking to book their reboots!

NFF: What do you find the biggest advantages and challenges of making a short as opposed to a feature?

MATTHEW: When making a short over a feature, the advantage is the page count and shooting schedule are shorter, and you put together a smaller budget. However, shorter doesn’t mean easier. There are always creative, technical, and financial challenges that come along for both shorts and features. Our goal is to approach any length with the same mindset, and to tell a compelling story at the highest level possible.

JULIANNA: Yeah, we’ve spent about the same amount of time — start to finish — on some of our shorts as on some of our features. Each project is unique, with different challenges and different things that just fall into place. Sometimes, pre-production will go by without a hitch, and then it rains every scheduled exterior shooting day. You just have to be prepared for all of it.

NFF: What are you working on currently, and/or where can we see more of your work?

MATTHEW: Some of our features (LBS., THE QUITTER, etc.) and shorts (FORTUNE HOUSE, MIGRAINE) can be found on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, etc.

JULIANNA: And we currently have two new projects that we’re hoping go into production in 2020. Plus, we’re looking forward to continuing to follow “Master Maggie” around on its festival run.

NFF: Why are you excited to screen in Nantucket, and/or what do you hope Nantucket audiences might relate to or takeaway from the film?

MATTHEW: We were fortunate to have another short (FORTUNE HOUSE) screen at the Nantucket Film Festival in 2013, and it won the Teen View Jury Award. Our time and experiences at NFF13 have us really looking forward to NFF19!

JULIANNA: Yeah, we knew if MASTER MAGGIE was accepted, we’d have to come back to the island. Nantucket is definitely one of our favorite festivals.