CARVING A NEW LIFE was the winner of BEST DOCUMENTARY SUBJECT at the October 2021 DOC Shorts Film Festival.
1. What motivated you to make this film?
A lot of my work had been canceled due to the pandemic. And I was back in my hometown of Tampa riding it out. A friend from high school and I started working on some shorts. We both knew Dan and had seen on social media that he was making these chairs. We thought it would be cool to document the process. But as we started shooting, we realized there was so much more to it.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
We started shooting in June of 2020 and released it in March of 2021.
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Figuring out the right balance of Dan’s story and the chairmaking.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
I’ve read a lot of comments about the film. But this was so much more personal. I really enjoyed that.
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I spent 10 years in TV news. Each story is sort of a mini film. But eventually, I realized I needed more time to develop and tell the type of stories that I am passionate about. So I embarked on this new journey.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Probably Dumb and Dumber, ha! But that’s not the type of answer you’re looking for here. I will say that I’ve watched Ken Burns’ Civil War series over and over. The writing, music, and David McCullough’s narration are all so beautiful. And it’s about such a wretched subject. I just can’t get enough.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Well, I love the video feedback. Definitely keep that. It’d be cool for filmmakers to be able to do live q&a’s with audiences. That’s always a lot of fun.
9. What is your favorite meal?
Whole Maine Lobster, steamed with butter. Preferably two.
10. What is next for you? A new film?
We’re actually working on another story about addiction and recovery. This one is about a former IV meth and heroin user who got clean, went to law school, and rose to the top of her class. She ended up representing a Black trans woman inmate who was abused by guards. She took the case to federal court and won!