• Selket Kaufman

Interview with Filmmaker Selket Kaufman (A VOICE FOR WHALES)

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

June 3, 2020, Matthew Toffolo feedback, Toronto Film Festival

A VOICE FOR WHALES was voted BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the May 2020 WILDsound Documentary Film Festival.

1.Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film? Selket Kaufman: This film has been long overdue. It’s a story that needed to be told and I am honored that I had the opportunity to do so. I am very passionate about this project because it’s close to my heart (Greg Kaufman is my late husband). I feel it’s a work in progress still, but I wanted to present at the World Whale Film Festival in Maui, Hawaii 2020. This is also the year Pacific Whale Foundation, celebrates its’ 40th anniversary, so it was important to me to have the film ready.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short? It took approximately 2 years, as soon as he passed, I knew I had keep my mind busy but more than anything I wanted to create something to honor his legacy.

3. How would you describe your short film in two words!? Inspirational Legacy?

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film? There were many obstacles, I was dealing with the grief of the loss of my husband while holding down a full-time job. I had to conduct a lot of research, go through so many archives, hunt down people that knew him best. It took time to acquire all the permits needed to get the necessary footage. To take on this film was a challenge within itself because it had to be done right, Greg wouldn't have it any other way lol. However, it was also a blessing in disguise because I learned so much more about someone I looked up to and it did help me heal. This project brought together so many beautiful people that helped and supported me throughout this journey, I am so grateful for everyone I had the opportunity to meet and work with.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video? I was blown away, because these are all people I have never met and they had no idea who Greg was, to hear them understand the message I was trying to convey in the film made me know that I did it right. I teared up because it meant so much to hear how it touched so many people. I am humbled and honored for all the recognition it received and continues to receive.

Recognition from other venues include:

  • Best Shorts Competition winning an Award of Excellence.

  • Finalist for the Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award.

This film has also been officially selected for the following events: Made in Hawaii Film Festival, Impact DOCS Awards, South Film, and Arts Academy Festival, Lift-Off Sessions, Maracay International Film & Video Festival, Wildlife Conservation Film Festival.

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