Interview with Filmmaker Michelle Danner (THE RUNNER)

THE RUNNER was the winner of BEST FEATURE FILM at the September 2021 THRILLER/SUSPENSE Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It was a story in the news that caught my eye and I have become aware that it always has to do with children falling through the cracks. This particular story about how police will force teens to wear a wire and go undercover to bring down drug lords without the knowledge of their parents brought me to tears because horrible things can happen when adults don’t take care of children.

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

It took me about 2 years to make this film. I probably would have been 18 months except for the fact that the pandemic helped me to relax and gave me more time to edit than I am normally accustomed to.

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

Intense ride!

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

For this film tha biggest obstacle was that parts of Post-Production, color correction and sound design happened remotely due to the pandemic and the lockdown. In the very end stages we were able to go into the screening rooms. I realized I didn’t like doing those processes online, it’s much easier to be in the room with the editors.

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

It felt very rewarding, I think it was a great thing to do because as a filmmaker it really felt like the people that weighed in understood what it was meant to be about. Thank you so much!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I think when I started teaching acting it reinforced in me the power of storytelling and making a film and getting people to see it. There is a big reach there. You get to play in the biggest classroom in the world. At a very young age I realized that I wanted to tell stories in whatever capacity and medium that I could because whether you’re in a theater or a cinema the same story has the power to move so many people from different walks of life, there is a beautiful universality to humanity.

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

Many! But the two that come to mind are “Gone with the Wind” and “Heat”. At first you think they’re complete opposites, or are they? They are both about divide and survival.

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

I love FilmFreeway, it’s very streamlined and easy to navigate.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I love Italian food, Spaghetti Vongole, Clam Sauce 🙂

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

Yes, always. I just produced a short film “Death May Die”, directed by my son Nicholas Danner, and I’m working on a comedy that we’re hoping to shoot in November.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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