Worlds collide as Riley attempts to escape fate.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Chelsea Best
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Our short film was made and submitted through Campus MovieFest, the world's largest student film festival. This is my third year participating in the festival at San Diego State University and it has most definitely been the most successful. This year I wanted to experiment with a more avant-garde, visual story. I tend to circle my stories around the idea of death, so this time around I figured why not focus solely on death itself?
Still, I love playing with the audience. I like making people think. We played a lot with factors or stimulating emotions from tranquility to distress.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
If you enjoy the cliche roller-coaster gut feeling, you should watch this short film. It may not have all the answers, but it takes you on a journey through the explorations of being in limbo.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
This short film is such a small glimpse into a young woman’s life, or rather the end of it. Many people have approached me after viewing it with different perspectives on it. Some grasped ideas of schizophrenia, mental health, suicide, and others followed her struggle of simply being stuck in this new, unknown universe. There is so much to be questioned about her back story and relationship with her significant other and what caused her to take certain actions.
On a universal level, and a very interesting topic to me: what happens after death? Are we sent into a new stage of “life”, do we pay for our sins, or is it just a vast nothingness?
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
One of the unusual aspects about participating in Campus MovieFest is the time limit of creating your film. Every team is given 5 days to write, capture, and assemble the film to completion. That being said, there was no evolution or changes made for the film throughout its process being made.
After I had written the script and sent it to my cinematographer, Gabriel Sandoval, we met once to go over the shot list. From then, everything was set in stone and we ran with it. Though there were some especially difficult scenes for Ashlyn Savidge, my actress, she put herself up to the challenge and performed beautifully. Everything seemed to come to play how I’d imagined, if not better. Everything worked out for the best!
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Feedback always tends to be better than I would expect. The first time the film premiered at my university, I had my ear out listening for any reactions from the audience. The credits are very quiet, so once the film ended I heard a handful of people exhaling a gust of air they’d been holding onto.
Most of the feedback I have received is typically positive, but surprised at the same time. As I’ve mentioned briefly before, not many people expect a story like this to come to life from the imagination of a young woman.
I am generally a very positive and happy person, so after a lot of my peers watch this short, or others from me they haven’t seen, the typical response is “you directed this?” or “I wouldn't have expected a story like that from you”.
This is why it’s so much fun for me to develop a story in such a different light than people would expect. With such a lack of female representation in the industry, it’s especially important for me to tune into my deeper, and sometimes darker side. It may catch people off guard, but it takes them for a ride.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
The feedback hasn’t been that big of a surprise to me. I’m currently completing a research project on female representation in the film industry and have learned that this is quite normal. I received the same feedback last year with my short Enamored and not much has changed in a year. I know that people can be taken aback and maybe even become impressed by someone after watching a piece they may not have expected much from.
The feedback I get from any film challenges me to keep doing what I’m doing. It inspires me to develop more content like this short film. I want to surprise people, and I think it would be fun to make a living out of surprising people.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
First and foremost, I want to shine a light on the power of women in the film industry. We may be a small percentage, but we’re a very strong and an impactful percentage that can’t be reckoned with. I’m so proud to start my career within this industry with the love and support I’ve gotten over the last few years.
I also hope for this short to receive more exposure. For the time and effort my cast and crew put into this short, it makes me so proud of the outcome. I’m most fortunate to have worked with my actress, Ashlyn Savidge, and my cinematographer, Gabriel Sandoval. They both understood my vision and adapted it into their own craft with the utmost passion that I’ve ever seen from two people.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
I would love anyone who may see a future or a spark from this short film to hop on board with it. This may include producers, buyers, film festivals, or an audience member wanting to share feedback. Any individual with any interest of the industry would more than help to amplify this film and its purpose.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I have grown in my craft over the years from always being curious and always having questions in the back of my head. I hope that this film impacts the way people perceive the world around them and that the audience members never stop being curious and always question life.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
There may be a couple of questions that could spark a conversation after viewing this short.
What happens after death?
Are we as happy and healthy as we can be?
What do we truly appreciate about life?
Would you like to add anything else?
This short has allowed me to explore as a filmmaker and a woman striving to make it big in this industry. I hope anyone who watches this short enjoys it. I cannot thank the cast and crew, CMF, and everyone else enough for all of the support I’ve received!
What are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Ashlyn Savidge, Gabriel Sandoval, and myself (Chelsea Best) are all entering our final year at San Diego State University. Ashlyn is a Theatre Arts major with an emphasis in Performance and Film minor, while Gabriel and I are majoring in Television, Film, and New Media Production and I carry minors in Theatre Arts and International Studies. Ashlyn has been cast in a feature-length Indie which will begin shooting in August 2017. Gabriel is one of the five nominees for Best Cinematography nationwide for Campus MovieFest’s Golden Tripod Award. I am currently starting my second feature length screenplay which is expected to complete by the end of the year.
Interview: June 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
Worlds collide as Riley attempts to escape fate.
Length: 04 minutes 38 seconds
Director: Chelsea Best
Producer: Chelsea Best
Writer: Chelsea Best
About the writer, director and producer: Chelsea Best is entering her senior year at San Diego State University. Majoring in Television, Film, and New Media, she hopes to pursue a career in writing, directing, or editing.
Key cast: Ashlyn Savidge
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): All of the above
Social media handles:
Personal Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chelsea.best.35
Personal Twitter: @chelsea_best
Personal Instagram: @swimcjb
Other(link to film): http://bit.ly/2tGV5XR
Made in association with: Campus MovieFest
Where can I see it in the next month?
Recently premiered at the 2017 Cannes International Film Festival. Screening at TERMINUS in June 2017. Can be viewed on Youtube.