Interview with Filmmaker Emma Selinski (VIRTUALLY HAPPY)

VIRTUALLY HAPPY was the winner of BEST PERFORMANCES at the October 2020 Fantasy/Sci-Fi Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I am deeply concerned about society’s addiction to social media and feel that it actually makes us lonelier, more disconnected and depressed. I wanted to explore the lie of our social media feed and how far it actually is from reality.

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

It took 2 years from writing the script to finishing the film.

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

Stylishly relevant.

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

I had a nasty little run in with a fraudulent production company in Fresno, that stole $7000 of the initial production budget from me, and that pushed back principal photography by a year. It’s a very long, complicated, painfully funny story that I’m glad to put behind me! Lots of lessons learned.

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

I was delighted to see how the audience really connected to the film on every level, through the themes, performances, cinematography etc. It really brought a big smile to my face!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I attended a birthday dinner at a restaurant a few years ago with people in their late 20’s and early 30’s. To my amazement they were all on their phones for the whole night, not talking to each other, but just posting pictures of the food, selfies etc. It was a virtually happy birthday but the reality was very different, and that’s where the seed idea came from.

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

The Piano by Jane Campion

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

I really love the ease of using FilmFreeway. It’s been a very positive experience for me.

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

Paranoid Android by Radiohead.

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

I’m re-writing my TV pilot, ‘The Death of Dreams’, and hope to use it to either get staffed as a writer on a TV show or get work as a Director in episodic television.

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