Interview with Filmmaker Karla Santa Anna (LIGHT)

LIGHT, 5min., USA
Directed by Karla Santa Anna
In a world where a huge garbage island floats across our seas, fruit has very suspicious ancestry, and immigrant children are literally
abandoned in the middle of nowhere, if one day the ocean rains upward…we would totally believe it. That’s how the world feels: very upside down.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

One day I was thinking about the world and how upside down it feels, so that inspired me to write a very dystopic poem. Then I thought it would be cool to illustrate it with Midjourney (Art AI platform). Eventually I put sound effects,started editing, and even got to use a MOBY song that I really love. It all ended up as an experimental short, so as you see it was never a plan.

I guess I allowed creativity to unfold and just let it happen as it went by.

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

Well… when I wrote the poem, I actually let it sit for several months, but once I knew I wanted to illustrate it with Midjourney, it took me around 2 weeks to create/curate the images, and I’d say 1 more month to tweak them a little bit and also do the color correction, sfx, editing, music research, etc..etc.
Total time: A month and a half.

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

Darkness & Light.
Dystopia & Hope.

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

I am Mexican, so in the beginning I wrote the poem in Spanish and one of my challenges was to keep the same meaning and feeling in English, without losing the rhythm, metaphors and all figures of speech that I originally used. I translated it by myself, then sent it to a formal English translator to compare and have both versions, but then I actually tweaked it like 2 more times to really make sure the meaning of each sentence was what I wanted to say.

It was not a significant obstacle, but it required a process.

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

It was very cool to see that the actual message really went through and that they understood it and loved it. As a communicator I think I am always concerned about the message and the meaning behind everything I create. Also, I particularly loved that nobody criticized the AI art in a bad way. Paraphrasing one of the guys in the feedback video: “ It would’ve taken me like a 100 years to develop the style of these images by myself”. My professional background is as an art director, so I actually know how to do traditional artwork: I draw, paint, create characters with clay, you name it, but the AI style is the one that I needed this time because of its dystopic feeling, so I’m grateful I learned last year how to use that specific tool. In the end, we are talking about technique tools so as a creative you just pick the one that amplifies better the voice of your project.

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

Since I am a kid, I’ve always been involved with storytelling. One way or another I was always involved exploring different formats to express my creativity. I also studied Visual Communications and have worked in the Ad industry for 20 years, so I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of commercial filmmakers and learned a lot from them.

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

Once I married with the idea that “Reservoir Dogs” was my favorite movie of all times, so I forced myself to watch it like 15 or 20 times. There were other times that I’d say “Oh no, no, it’s Fargo. That’s it”. Honestly I think I did that because I used to think I had to label stuff as “my favorite this” or “my favorite that” in order to show good “creative criteria”. I don’t do that anymore, haha I find it ridiculous. I prefer my mind to be free from any “glorifying pedestal” and I’ve learned to see every movie, piece of art or song, as a unique creation, regardless if I like it or not. I don’t obsess with anything anymore. Well….I take my words back. Sometimes I obsess a liiiiittle bit with stuff related to the cosmos.

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 honestly don’t have a lot of experience with Film Festivals, but as a newbie, I definitely can say that the Experimental Film Festival has been showing way more commitment than other festivals. The communications are very on time, the idea of contributing to your growth with a feedback video, this interview or the podcast session, are great platforms to spark the conversation or interest about our creations.

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

So far, yes. Very cool and organized platform. I just wished I understand a little bit better why some small festivals are considered under the category of GOLD, but other than that, it’s been a great experience. Easy to navigate, to submit, pay, etc.
10. What is your favorite meal?

Hahaha, as I said before, I don’t have favorites anymore, but lately I am a fan of Tikka Masala, garlic naan and dahi.

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

Something creative for sure 🙂

I’ve been painting a lot lately and developing a lot of artwork in my little desk.

This year I decided to prove myself that I really need an art studio. I think that’s a dream I have but I won’t pay the rent for one until I really prove that I like to create in a very prolific way.


By matthewtoffolo

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

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: