Interview with Filmmaker Carly Elizabeth Williams (echoes)

“echoes” was the winner of Best Environmental Film at the April 2022 DOCUMENTARY Film Festival.

What motivated you to make this film?

This film originated from my fascination with everyone’s adverse reactions to being under the water. Generally, all people tend to panic in their first experiences of scuba diving because we are going into an environment, not like our own. Being a Scuba Diver myself, I am always told that “oh I could never do that” or “you’re crazy, what about the sharks?” So, I wanted to bring a wider audience under the water to see what we see through our masks.

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

The film itself took approximately two years, starting early March 2020 to March 2022.

How would you describe your film in two words!?

Inner Space.

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

The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on this production because we could not travel to shoot much of our own footage underwater and had to rely on pre-existing footage shot by our subjects and pay for stock footage.

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

I was extremely nervous to see people outside of my bubble (pun intended :P) reactions, as well as those who aren’t Scuba Divers. I really leaned into the experiential nature of this film so that maybe we could convert more people into divers or just expose audiences to the more positive side of the sport. The media tends to paint the underwater world as scary and dangerous, but I believe I painted the pictures accurately to how we as divers see it.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

I’ve always been a storyteller, whether it be through talking through other mediums such as photography or design. I graduated from film school at Sheridan College back in 2013 and haven’t looked back since then. Up until recently, I hadn’t shared much of my own stories until I started deep diving into my personal experiences through experimental film. When I started pre-production on echoes, I came to the conclusion that I want to tell stories like this for the rest of my life.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

Into the Wild, directed by Sean Penn. This off-the-cuff, journey film, really made an impact on how I see the world and filmmaking.

What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

I really like talking with other filmmakers and comparing our visions to see how we all look at the world differently.

You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

It’s been fine altogether. The audience feedback is very important, and the feedback video is a very pleasant validation to help push my artistry forward. For FilmFreeway, I’d like to hear why a film wasn’t chosen for a festival. Just to give better insight into what did or did not work.

What is your favorite meal?

Probably Nachos.

What is next for you? A new film?

I’m in development of another environmental film with the same collaborators but going in a different direction artistically. The hope is that the louder we are about ocean conservation, the more awareness we can spread, and the better we can make our Earth for the next generation.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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