Interview with Filmmaker/Musician Ami Hanna (MOMENTO MORI)

MOMENTO MORI played to rave reviews at the April 2021 Dance & Music Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I’ve played the piano since I was a little kid and Jerry Lee Lewis was always a strong influence for me. I always loved the mental image of him lighting his piano on fire while playing it. As an adult I’ve always wanted to explode a piano for a performance piece and film seemed to be the safest way to achieve that. The idea of the film piece came before the song.

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

I had the initial idea a few years ago and bought a piano (that the roses are being dropped on) 3 years ago with the idea I’d make this video. I have an active career in designing stage elements for live shows and one day I came across the concept of Momento Mori. Remember You Will Die. I realized that if I didn’t actively start to make time for the things I wanted in life they weren’t going to happen. I took the last two weeks of October off in 2019 right after that realization and shot the roses scene, and then piano explosion on Halloween. We shot the laser scene the second week of February 2020 and the train track sequences in March. I’d consider this an active project for about 6 months.

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

Explosive Passions

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

Finances. I used my own money from my career in stage production to fund this and it was only limited by not having funds to do exactly what I wanted when I wanted.

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

Glee!! Joy!! I haven’t seen reactions from people that don’t know me personally yet as covid is making it difficult to gather in groups. It was really validating to see that my message and art is appreciated.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you know that you wanted to make movies?

I knew I wanted to make films when I was 5 years old and I lived behind a camera.

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

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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

I think it’s very effective. It has all the options I need to correctly portray my projects.

9. What is your favorite meal?


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

Next up I’m recording an album and I’ve already begun filming the follow up short film to Momento Mori, Danse Macabre, which continues the story where our heroine ends up in the afterlife.


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival

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