A story about falling in love with your first piece of art.
Interview with Writer/Director Shannon Janet Smith
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thank you, I made my film with like-minded professionals that wanted to bring this idea to life. I wanted to create a film about art that most people can relate to on some level. It is about appreciating art even if it’s not attached to a popular artist, it’s about if art possessed human emotions how it may feel if it was ignored. After confronting the observers who don’t see its beauty, the story becomes a tale about falling in love with your first piece of art.
When the male lead, Estefano Suazo, enters, he cannot take his eyes off the painting and wants to bask in its beauty. I wanted to make this film to create a nostalgic feeling around it, to bring an individual back to when he/she fell in love with a piece of art for the very first time. That piece of art could be a painting, a piece of poetry or music etc. I wanted to create a film that could take you back to that moment and see how that piece of art would react if it could feel.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
To experience the magic of the first time you fell in love with something, whatever that may be. You should watch to experience a story using several mediums of art wrapped into one film. From abstract art to avant-garde makeup, the different forms of art bring my choreography to life and enhance the magic of storytelling through film.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Personal and universal themes are definitely present throughout my film under the guise of love. Love is a personal and universal theme that can be found in all cultures. Dance is a universal language that exists regardless of cultural differences, or geographic location. It is a way to communicate without saying a word and most people can understand the meaning behind the movement. Another personal theme is the idea of falling in love and how that manifests in a person’s life.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development and production?
The film has evolved over the course of development and production in a few ways. One being that my idea was inspired by my friend Shanna Cistulli’s abstract makeup she was doing on herself or models as more of a portrait of an abstract painting. Whenever I looked at her work, I always thought to myself that needs to move. So it sparked my idea of a painting come to life.
At first, I wanted it to be more of a story similar to when a child leaves the room and the stuffed animals come to life. The museum closes for the night and the paintings pop out for a dance until morning. The idea spiraled into the painting being ignored by the people in the gallery and the painting is frustrated by their behavior and confronts each one to get their attention. Then I had the idea that there is one person who gives the painting the attention it craves and thus, the painting is satisfied. It just kept growing and growing into the story you see on film today.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Not much feedback as of now since I’m keeping it private due to the film festivals I want to submit it to. The people who participated in the film are all very supportive and proud to have been a part of the process. My close family and friends who have seen it are impressed with the message, but think the story is pretty clear and well thought out. I’m looking forward to hearing more feedback at this film festival and any other festivals it is accepted at in the future. My goal is to learn how I can be a better storyteller through dance and film.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback I have received has surprised me with the different interpretations of what everyone perceives the film to be about. I’m looking forward to more opportunities so I can figure out ways to refine my skills and make future projects more polished.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I am honored to be featured on your website. With my film being more visible on your site will mean more people are exposed to my art. The more people see it, the more people have art in their lives! That’s all I am looking to accomplish.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
Anyone who wants to support my film, I will be forever grateful. I’m open to any person or organization trying to encourage my film’s message!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I hope people can relate to my film in such a way that it resonates with them on a personal and nostalgic level and I hope the reception is a warm one. Of course I would like my film to be seen by as many people as possible to create an open dialogue about art. I want people to see how important art is in the world. Art connects people on an emotional level and is such an expressive outlet for most people creative or not.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
The key question that will spark a debate or start a discussion about my film is, what artists inspired you to make this film and why?
Would you like to add anything else?
I would like to add that it is an honor and privilege to be accepted into any festival let alone be featured on a website or in a magazine for making this film. This film is a labor of love!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
My Co-Director, Steven Butler, is working on several projects from documentary work for recording artists to working on a t-shirt line. My MUA, Shanna Cistulli, is teaching make-up classes at MUD in Burbank and works at several make-up conventions all over the country. Devin Schiro, Cinematographer, is constantly working on different projects ranging from music videos to art films. Molly Myers, lead dancer, is studying at University of Arizona for her Masters in Dance. Estefano Suazo, male lead, is partaking in projects in the dance industry from commercials to music videos. Beyond that, Estefano is an accomplished artist and graphic designer.
Interview: January 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
A story about falling in love with your first piece of art.
Director: Shannon Janet Smith and Steven Butler
Producer: Shannon Janet Smith and D.W. Frydendall
Writer: Shannon Janet Smith
About the writer, director, and producer: The writer, director, and producer Shannon Janet Smith is constantly creating ideas for stage and film to evoke an emotional response from her audience. D.W. Frydendall is an artist who loves to invest in projects he finds interesting. Steven Butler (see above).
Key cast: Molly Myers, Estefano Suazo, Anthony Arellano, Michelle Mejia, Kelly Adrianse, Erica Lawless, Amber Amrhein, Luis Montenegro, Kaitlyn Schwalbe-Fletcher, and Anya Janowski
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): All of the above.
Where can I see it in the next month?
Thursday, January 26 at Los Angeles Dance Festival.