Interview with Filmmaker Lea Toran Jenner (LIGHT OF DAWN)

LIGHT OF DAWN was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the June 2021 DANCE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

This film is the „movie”-version of our original Circus Act. After having performed it over 1000 times across the world we decided that it would be great to re-adapt it and make a short film out of it.

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

I would say about a year. It took time to find the right location, decor and team and of course also adapting the framing and choosing camera movement and angles to match the story.

The choreography and acrobatic technique was created and improved over 3 years.

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

Love lightly

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

The time we had on set. We had rented the studio for one day, but after 10 hours we were not done with the shooting plan. So we added hour after hour, which was very costly. Since I was directing, starring but also paying for the movie it was not easy to stay in my character during those 4-5 extra hours during the night.

Also we shot this movie while working at the Moulin Rouge in Paris. We shot it on our only day off from performing. Physically this was a huge challenge as well.

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

Of course I am always happy when people are moved and touched when watching my art. Their comments where were kind. I also love when people who are not in the circus world comment on circus. The vocabulary they use, and their approach is different. Sometimes that makes me smile, and sometimes I am surprises how impressed people are by our acrobatic tricks. I tend to forget how impressive they are.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I used to document my travels and adventures as a circus artist with little videos. When I lived two years in Paris (2017 & 2018) and worked at the Moulin Rouge in Paris I noticed that I suddenly I had a stable enough life to go study filmmaking. I always liked movies but never really had the opportunity to try it for myself. The school I went to was very technical and „hands on”. It was very fun to learn about all the technical side, but I also realized that I am more interested in the artistic side and also in performing and acting.

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

Call me by your name by Luca Guadagnino

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

I think it is very well made, and easy to navigate! I suggest it to anybody who wants to apply to Filmfestivals!

9. What is your favorite meal?

Pasta al dente with a glass of red wine.

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

I am actually working on a Late Night Show format. It is a mix between a Talk Show and modern Circus. Currently I am testing versions of it, and writing the first season. I hope to be able to tell you more about it in a couple of months!

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