Interview with Filmmaker Lena Weller (UNDERNEATH)

UNDERNEATH was the winner of BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the October 2020 LGBT Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

First and foremost, I was motivated by a personal event in my life. Other than that, I was inspired by the current perceptions or misconceptions in relation to the issue of (homo)sexuality and religion.

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

The whole process took over two years. The very first draft of the screenplay was nothing like the finished short film is now. It was probably over half a year of re-rewriting and re-drafting, to then carefully bringing my plan to action. This meant getting the financial help through crowdfunding, finding the crew members and so on. From then on it was also at least half a year of pre-production until we finally shot “Underneath” in 4 action packed shooting days. The post-production also took almost a year due to the struggles with COVID19.

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

Vivid and compelling

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

The biggest obstacle was probably to remain positive and stead-fast that the project will come to an end. The project was postponed twice and there were various last minute call offs and changes. However, once we were all set and I was able to sit back and observe what a great crew and beautiful cast had come together in order to support the cause, my optimism grew.

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

I was very overwhelmed with all the positive feedback! I had never had an audience of strangers really watch the film and give me feedback, so it was very new to me and very motivating and rewarding.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

It was a mixture of personal life experiences and an important issue in today’s society that inspired the story line.

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

It is pretty impossible for me to choose one.. I can only list a few favourites: Pulp Fiction & Once Upon A Time in Hollywood by Quentin Tarantino, Mullholland Drive by David Lynch, American Beauty by Sam Mendes, and Enter The Void by Gaspar Noe.

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

I think it’s a very useful platform for filmmakers like me. It has great organisational purposes. However, at first I was worried if the film festivals would be able to view all the submissions they received.

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

It’s even harder for me to decide on one single song. But if I had to decide, it would most likely be a song by Amy Winehouse.

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

Yes, I’m currently working on a new screenplay for a film. For now, in COVID-19 times, my efforts are concentrated on producing music videos for a variety of artists.

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