Interview with Filmmaker Cameron Johanning (STICKY)

STICKY was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the September 2020 Drama Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

The moral at the heart of the story rang like a bell for me — you don’t get to choose what the people around you do even if it hurts you. You do get to choose how to react, maybe not in the moment, but over time, you do. Too many families and friends are torn apart by pride.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?

Too long.

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

summer sisters

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

At what stage was there not a big obstacle? I’ll pick a diplomatic one because it’s also funny. We made the rookie mistake of filming at the metro platform during golden hour — another term for “when people get back from work.” One straphanger announced that he not only “paid for this city,” but also would be using the stairwell that we were filming on in protest. In a physical sense, he really was our biggest obstacle.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

Shock. Heaven forbid I conflate myself with the greats, but I recall Wes Anderson telling a story about a test screening for one of his earlier films and receiving exclusively negative feedback, save for one slip of paper. Someone got it. That’s how I feel.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I contacted a very talented playwright acquaintance (now dear friend, Sean Peter Drohan) and basically demanded that we collaborate on a film! Luckily, he was game. So we started searching for inspiration by sifting through personal statements that we’d helped to craft over the years, and the statement that “Sticky” is based on came through the kitchen doors like a sizzling fajita. How could we not make that?

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

At any given moment, I’m down to watch Casino Royale. And there have been many moments when I have.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are your feelings about the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

FilmFreeway is great. It can be difficult to figure out where one’s audience is geographically and psychologically, and the platform helped me to sift through so much of that.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

“Nobody’s Empire” by Belle & Sebastian

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I do have a film project that I’d like to pursue, but it’s a tad nebulous by nature and would be a departure from the clean writing style of “Sticky.” I think it will offer a really big emotional payoff, so as soon as I find a way in, it’ll be off to the races. For now, I’m focusing on making music under the pseudonym Smith St. Nicholas.

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