Interview with Filmmaker Kayleb Lee (A THEORY IN SEPIA)

A THEORY IN SEPIA was the winner of BEST FILM at the May 2022 ROMANCE & RELATIONSHIPS Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

“A Theory in Sepia” started out as a poem I wrote, “All in Sepia” and facing the prejudices within my own community and the ones I subconsciously carried. I had this poem for a while and there was a competition looking for stories that represented the “power of love”. When I finished the script I realized it didn’t follow that theme. I wrote a story of characters struggling with what love means– I didn’t follow the prompt, but I made the film anyway because I felt the subject matter was important.

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

The idea was simmering for over a year and once we got into pre-production to final product, that took a month of planning around schedules and the pandemic.

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

That’s hard, lol. “American, Love.” ?

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

The finishing in editorial. We shot guerilla-style in a not-so-optimal location for sound. So we had to do a lot of dialogue clean-up and deleting outside noises.

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

“Intentions received”. As I grow as a human being and artist, I really want the pieces I make to resonate with people personally. I’m simply the translator, so to hear reactions of people feeling, thinking, contemplating the message and coming up with their own thoughts and feelings– that’s powerful to me. If art/films can express something about our inner/outer selves, I’m just glad I was able to put something together for that initial reaction.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

“If you’re going to complain about it, then do something about it.”– Kevin Matsuki– he was a mentor and coworker, when I was deployed in Afghanistan. I had the skillsets of a filmmaker, from drawing storyboards to editing, but never felt it was a career I could get into so I did it simply as a hobby. It wasn’t until he convinced me to get out of the Marines, go get an education, and pursue the arts that I felt I could do it.

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

Besides, ‘The Fox and the Hound’ as a kid, today Parasite & Shoplifters has been the current film I watch to enjoy and I watch to study.

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

It would be interesting if there were panels amongst other filmmakers, not just directors, or awards for best editor, production design, etc. highlighting very key aspects of filmmaking.

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

Filmfreeway is a goto for entering festivals.

10. What is your favorite meal?


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

Continue creating with the overall goal of a first feature (in progress) reaching audiences by theatre, film festival wins, and then hit streaming platforms.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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