Interview with Filmmaker Karen L. Charles (OUT OF THE ASHES)

OUT OF THE ASHES, 63min., USA, Dance
Directed by Karen L Charles, Ryan Melling
Out of the Ashes honors those impacted by 9/11 and asks whether we can resurrect a better way of living.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film? My husband was on a flight that day and I recall the few moments of terror I had not remembering which flight he was on. I have always felt 9/11 was perhaps a catalyst for the vitriol and hatred that seems to bee escalating today. I wanted to remind people of the dual impact of 9/11. First, it was a moment in time when we forgot about racial, sci-economic, and religious divides for a moment and just helped each other. Secondly, the fear generated by that event later began to precipitate hatred towards certain groups in America that seems to hve only escalated over the last twenty years. Most importantly, I wanted to honor those who lost their lives on that day.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film? Honestly, it took two years. The work was not originally imagined as a film. We began creating in 2019 and then the pandemic happened. I then began to reimagine the work as a film. Honestly, I do not think that I would have been able to tell the story as successfully as a live work. Thanks to my film & music collaborators Ryan Melling & Peter Morrow we were able to successfully create a moving work.

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

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film? The biggest obstacle(s) I faced was the limited time and financial resources we had to film and edit the work.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video? I was very proud and pleased that the audience felt something. That is always my goal for anything I create is to hve people feel something and want to share what they felt/learned with others later. I was also not surprised by the additional comments related to editing concerns. If we had more time and money we would have remedied these issues,.

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films? I have been thinking about making films for years. Primarily because I love films and wanted to explore how to reach audiences via dance through a different medium.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life? Imitation of LIfe & the original West Side Story

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career? Perhaps providing retreat/sabbatical opportunities for filmmakers to meet & plan with their collaborators to experiment with concepts and ideas prior to production.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site? The festival platform is easy to use albeit overwhelming at times. Also, my film did not neatly fit into any category, so that was disappointing.

10. What is your favorite meal? Breakfast

11. What is next for you? A new film? In the immediate future I am working on a live performance work that incorporates poetry and spoken word artists. I would like to collaborate with my glass making colleague to explore the creation of a film that looks at the connection between glass making, dancing and continental drift. I think film exploration would be interesting,


By matthewtoffolo

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

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