Interview with Filmmaker Brianna Celestina (MR. SEEK)

MR. SEEK was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the April 2021 FEMALE Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

We actually started ideating for this project to submit to a Aputure film challenge of some sort. But it quickly turned into a sort of passion project, especially for me. I was kind of tasked with creating this script, so I wanted to make it something rather personal. Mental health, homelessness, the love of a father – they were all themes that I wanted to pull out. It’s my first non-fiction film and first script I’ve ever written, so it was a new challenge that I was ready to tackle.

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

We started ideation around October 2019 and it was released December 2019, so all in all a relatively short turnaround.

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

Calming chaos.

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

I would say doing the film with no budget. Both the other producer, DJ Adamczyk, and I spent a good amount of our own money into the creation of the film. It was a lot of asking people for favors and borrowing equipment from friends. The DP, Brandon Roberts, had amazing gear of his own that he lent to the project which was a huge asset. Both the actors were really amazing and we all just did it for the love of filmmaking and the story! The location was my friends attic that we emptied out the day of. It was chaotic but came together in the perfect way.

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

It felt unreal. When you’re so attached to a film and spend all this mental energy in it, seeing other people’s reactions is wild. You almost forget that it isn’t just something that exists for you, it’s something for other people to enjoy too. Everyone was so insightful and seemed to really grasp what I was trying to say.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you first realize that you wanted to make films?

Fairly young, probably early years of high school. My grandfather is an amateur filmmaker, so cameras have been around me my whole life. My entire childhood is basically in their basement on film or tapes. I got my first camera in 7th grade and have been addicted ever since. I love the medium and the power it has to impact people.

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

It’s definitely the first Transformers movie by Michael Bay. As a kid I loved the animation, and when that movie came out, it was the first thing that made me go “wow, I want to do stuff like that!” I love a good action movie guilty pleasure. Since I studied film and have spent years dissecting them, the movies that I often go back to are ones that I can just enjoy and escape into.

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

I think that it’s great! I would never have such access to all these film festivals if they weren’t presented to me like that. It’s opened up way more opportunities for me and my films.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I would say probably sushi or tacos. I could eat them at any time.

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

I have a short documentary in pre-production right now. It’s actually on my grandfather who is the amateur filmmaker. He’s also an immigrant from Slovenia post-WWII and had to choose between supporting his family and making films. I want to explore that in the doc. I’m actually really excited for what it can be.

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