Interview with Filmmaker Aylin Sozen (WE SAVE US)

WE SAVE US was the winner of BEST FILM at the September 2021 LA Feedback Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Me and my business partner Cesar Jaralillo had been back and forth between East Texas and New York City around the time of the U.S presidential elections. I recall us talking about how pivotal and how unprecedented those times were, especially leading up to the presidential election results. There was so much turmoil and tension between everyone and I felt like that needed to be captured in a poetic way. But I really wanted to capture the voices and the faces of black people during that time and affirm our experiences with the system.

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

I worked on this project from the end of November to April, so about 5 months.

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

Unapologetically Black

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

Finding the music to really move the story forward was a bit challenging. I was really set on Om Shanti by Alice Coltrane for the intro, which I thought we would get clearance for, but that didn’t quite happen.

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

It made me feel inspired and humbled. I was just happy that We Save Us was so well-received and that people understood what I was trying to articulate.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I think I really started feeling connected to film after being the lead actress in my friend’s short film back in 2014.
And then when I was still living in Texarkana, Texas, back in 2018, I needed something to sublimate my rage and passion, and I eventually felt the best way to do that was visually. Prior, I had been working on my first visual project as a spoken word artist, so it was a combination of all of that.

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

I love love love comedy. Friday is one of my favorite black comedy films. I’ve likely seen it 500 times.

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

I really find the submission platform convenient. It’s saved me a lot of time by being able to submit to multiple festivals and just having everything saved on my dashboard.

9. What is your favorite meal?

I love Ethiopian food. A good vegetable combo with injera makes me full and happy.

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

I’m currently working on my debut album, which will be accompanied by a visual project. I’m also working on a script for my first feature film.

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