Interview with Filmmaker Sarah Konner & Austin Selden (TURNED TO STONE)

TURNED TO STONE was voted BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY at the May 2022 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

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

We talked about the concept over the phone and developed it over the course of a couple weeks, knew we wanted to shoot it upstate NY, and shot it in I think less than two weeks- which included creating the choreography, costumes and makeup. And the editing process took about two weeks as well. So the whole time was about six weeks?

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

Creepy, Lush

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

Many obstacles! We were doing all the roles ourselves with no money; choreography, cinematography, direction, performance, editing, finding locations, sourcing music, doing our make-up. We are choreographers and performers by trade (Lance, the cameraman, owns a coffee business), so everything was a steep learning curve. I would say the hardest thing was shooting because we were at Sarah’s families cabin, which meant there were way too many people sharing the space and we were trying to get everything done in the limited amount of time we had- that was hard; managing the other families vacation dynamic while trying to work as fast as possible, with the steep learning curve.

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

Very flattered. I find myself surprised with enjoyment when I watch this, only because of the chaos of making it and this being our biggest video we’ve made together. It’s interesting to hear people’s interpretations of it. We left it open to be seen however it’s approached; the stories people project and scoop out are always interesting. I can’t believe we won best cinematography. We definitely had to be creative with it, considering we had no real budget. I think we spent $400 of our own money on everything.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Austin: I, Austin, have always loved films. Growing up we had hundreds of VHS and DVD’s, it was something my family really enjoyed together. So movies have always been alluring. Now in my life, after having ten plus years of professional dance experience, combining the two makes the most sense as an approach to making videos. It feels like an easier “in”, and I’m not completely out of my element.

Sarah: Dance is something that is quite ephemeral, but a dance for the camera is a way to share ideas, images, and movement to wider audiences.

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

So many. Austin: Death Becomes Her, The Witches, Gone with the Wind, The Grifters but honestly if we’re looking at numbers, probably a Disney movie. Maybe the Little Mermaid?

Sarah: Waynes World

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

Honestly, I’m blown away by the support of this. Getting some feedback was helpful and answering these questions is helpful. This has been a very encouraging experience. We will definitely recommend this festival!

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

FilmFreeway is easy and user friendly.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Austin: Olga’s Kitchen- a restaurant in Michigan. It’s a nostalgia thing….

Sarah: Mushroom ravioli with tomato sauce and shaved parmesan

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

We just created a 30 minute stage performance that we want to expand and extract from. There’s always been a question of if that gets interpreted into a film. At the moment we aren’t percolating any video ideas, but there will 100% be more.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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