Indie Week: A Few Words With Sam Qualiana

Indie Week: A Few Words With Sam Qualiana

Greetings, readers.  You might remember Sam Qualiana from his upcoming full-length feature film, SNOW SHARK: ANCIENT SNOW BEAST or from when he won “Filmmaker to Watch” at last year’s BUFFALO SCREAMS film festival.  Well, when Wes brought up the idea of Indie Week, I knew who I had to showcase.  Both of us being overwhelmingly busy with various projects (and these crazy “jobs” things that are a real drag), I sent Sam a few questions, and he was kind enough to send some responses back.

When did you realize you wanted to be a filmmaker?

Since I was a kid I always loved movies and watched them endlessly, creating fake movie posters and writing down ideas.

How did you start making movies?

When I was 13 I got my first video camera and tried to make something with it. I ended up filming this awful alien movie, that was still quite enjoyable… for me at least haha. It was the first thing I filmed and somehow we ended up getting a whole bunch of kids to show up and play roles in it. So like a lot of the films I did after it growing up, there was 12 year old kids playing adult roles. Good times. I have copies of it still on DVD shhh don’t let anyone know 😉

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of making a movie?

Getting everything scheduled right with your actors and doing it on no budget or a low budget. A lot of people make sacrifices for making indie projects and it’s hard to work out something that can be good for everyone when they have their lives outside of movieland.

What would you say is the most rewarding aspect of making a movie?

The end result and the relationships you build on the way with other filmmakers, actors and crew.

How does making a short film compare to making a full-length movie?

A short you can have done in a day or few and have it edited and printed (which somehow I kill myself to make happen) in a couple weeks. A feature is a headache to say the least. Trying to arrange everything, with music, editing and time. There ends up being a lot more people involved, which makes it take a lot more time seeing as you’re not only using up all your free time, you’re taking theirs. Still a great time either way.

What was the most important thing you had to learn about filmmaking?

You learn from everything you do. Take in everything that anyone wants to teach you, observe what is going on when you are on other peoples sets. Treat people good and they will keep helping you. And most importantly you’re not making the best movie ever made and you’re not better than everybody else. Work together.

What comes next after SNOW SHARK?

Well at the moment I’m popping out shorts left and right that are hitting the festivals. As far as my next feature, only time will tell.

If you were just starting out again, what piece of advice would you most appreciate receiving?

Try making a movie with a small cast and no giant sharks… haha but I love my sharks. They just made me tear my hair out sometimes. So maybe, give yourself a lot of pre-production time is a good one.

Many thanks to Sam Qualiana for agreeing to be showcased as part of the Blood Sprayer’s Indie Week, and I hope that, like me, you’re all hyped for SNOW SHARK’s eventual (no set date on the calendar yet) DVD release!


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Bill Adcock likes long walks off short piers and eating endangered species. In addition to his work for the Blood Sprayer, his writing can also be found at his personal site, Radiation-Scarred Reviews, which he's maintained since 2008. Bill has also contributed, as of this writing, to GRINDHOUSE PURGATORY issues 2 and 3, and CINEMA SEWER issue 27.

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