Interview with Filmmaker Austin Smock (THE BEAUTY BETWEEN)

THE BEAUTY BETWEEN, 5min., USA, Documentary
Directed by Austin Smock
The Great Salt Lake is often overlooked and misunderstood. Through her passion for wildlife photography, Mary Anne Karren unexpectedly fell in love with the lake’s unique landscape and the 10 million birds that rely on it. She now uses her photography to bring attention to the lake’s dire situation in an attempt to save it.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
Having moved to Salt Lake City in the last year I was aware of the what is happening to Great Salt Lake. I knew I wanted to make a short film about it, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like. I stumbled upon Mary’s instagram and knew that she would make a great subject for the film. Luckily, she was more than willing to be apart of this project and I couldn’t have asked for a better person to partner with.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
The film took roughly 3 months to complete. The initial filming was one day, but I had a few days of pickups.

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

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
For me there were two obstacles. One being that it was self funded, so there wasn’t much of a budget to work with. I would have loved to rent out a telephoto lens and get some beautiful close-ups of birds, but that wasn’t possible. Secondly, I was working as the Director and DP, so it was challenging to make sure I’m getting the coverage that I need as well as handle lens changes since most of this was shot on anamorphic primes.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It felt good to see that people appreciate the film and that it is reaching a wider audience. I think that it’s important for people all over the world to be aware of this issue.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I grew up skateboarding and was the person in my friend group that took to using a camera to film everyone skateboarding.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
I recently watched Some Kind of Heave which is directed by Lance Oppenheim. I highly recommend checking it out. I’ve always been a fan of projects he’s done with New York Times Op-docs.

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 enjoy the feedback component. I haven’t seen that elsewhere.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
The experience is great and it makes finding film festivals easy.

10. What is your favorite meal?
Chicken wings or a good sandwich.

11. What is next for you? A new film?
I’m always working on shorter form docs, but I’m excited to begin developing a new film that will be my longest film. I’m looking forward to the challenges and learning what it takes to make longer form docs.

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By matthewtoffolo

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

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