Interview with Filmmaker Elena S. Shelton (REMEMBER BEGINNING)

REMEMBER BEGINNING was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the May 2022 WILDsound Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

There was a local horror film festival. I overcame my insecurities and signed for. I felt this was a real opportunity to create my first film with actual actors, even though I wasn’t into horror.

I thought I will make something meaningful. The rules were to write/shoot/edit a film in a span of one week based on a given unique prop.

The 1st version of the film for this Festival I wasn’t satisfied at all. It was rushed and unfinished. I created a 2nd version a couple of months later.

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

1st version one week. 2nd version at least 3 months (not full time).

The shooting with actors took probably half a day if I were to combine the limited time I had with them during the Festival week. The postproduction work took at least 3 months as I had to learn how to edit sound in Audition and
fix/color grade in Resolve. The editing process was very slow due to limited footage with actors, especially the younger ones. I had to go and shoot a lot of nature B-roll and then debate what fit best with the flow of the story and its emotional build up. It took a while to find the right music too.

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

Stretching the limits (talking about postproduction)

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

Oh my goodness! There were so many!

– One person crew. Thus no dialog.
– The script was changed during editing since the original idea didn’t have enough support from the footage. Thankfully, narrative style and music really carried through.
– Very limited time for shooting people. I asked for a favor from people I didn’t know.
– Just a couple of days to find people to act. No actors except one. Literally asked a father and a child on the street; thankfully they agreed to come.
– Overexposed/ blurred footage of people that was already scarce, made it super difficult in edit to drive the story. Thus, a lot of B-roll.
– The VO and music just didn’t stick together well. As a former musician, it really hurt my ears. I got stuck trying to figure out the issues.
– Lots of mistakes as the learning curve was pretty steep. Postproduction was practically fixing issue after issue.

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

Of course a sense of extreme appreciation! It felt very gratifying to hear from people who not only found the time to watch the film, but also think through and give feedback. It was so invaluable and quite motivating! To see that after all this effort, your story came alive and made a small impact on others is a very special feeling. I was very moved by hearing what people had to say.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

Always, always thought about movies since I was a child. But it didn’t happen until I hit 50. I started really small. Making my own videos, interviews, promo films for sports coaches.

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

Hmmm…That’s a tough one. I don’t necessarily have one special film that I keep returning to. I like to see a movie that has a strong message, a movie that makes me think and ponder afterwards. Sometimes I watch a film from the analytical perspective where I go back and forth in between the scenes to see what was done to create that mood in terms of cinematography, editing etc.

8. 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 appreciate how much support I am getting from your Festival. You seem genuinely interested and supportive of indie filmmakers.

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

Absolutely love that site. Very well-designed and so easy to find what you are looking for. They are very supportive.

10. What is your favorite meal?

I don’t have a favorite meal but rather cuisine: Indian. Love the complexity of flavors.

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

I am writing a feature film screenplay: drama/thriller with political undertones.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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