Interview with Filmmaker Ariyan Johnson (TRIGGERED)

TRIGGERED was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the May 2021 BLACK FEEDBACK Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

*I had an actual experience of strolling on social media and being triggered by the content. It was traumatizing and I had to try and get myself together for a meeting that was happening within minutes. The experience of processing what triggered me in order to move forward in joy to receive the next moment of my life was what motivated me to do this film. There is a lot of injustices in the world and how we process them speaks to how we support and show up for others within the world.

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

*It took three months.

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

* Internally Processing…

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

* COVID-19 restrictions would change from week to week so scheduling the dancers for rehearsals and filming was a bit of a challenge.

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

*I was surprised and humbled because they were all right on the nose with their own perspective of the work. That is why I love art…it allows for different point of views without the binaries of right or wrong.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

* I realized I wanted to make movies when telling stories in ways that I could have more control on how narratives were shaped became a need of mine and not just an occasional fantasy.

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

*It is a tie, The Wiz and Just Another Girl On The I.R.T.

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

* I am a first timer to festivals as a filmmaker in this capacity. The FilmFreeway platform made it easy, accessible and informative on available festivals and on how festivals work.

9. What is your favorite meal?

*My favorite meal is a classic New York pizza.

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

* What’s next for me is completing principal photography in summer 2021 on my short documentary called Spiritual Cyphers: Hip Hop and the Church.

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