Interview with Filmmaker Seraphine Terryberry (STROKE OF LUCK)

STROKE OF LUCK, 9min., USA, Drama/Comedy/Fantasy
Directed by Seraphine Terryberry
A young woman in her 20’s deals with her father having a stroke and being hospitalized, by escaping into her imagination and pretending she’s in movie scenes.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?
Answer: This film is loosely based on a personal experience of a family emergency and essentially a love letter to my parents about that time. It was during that uncertain chapter of my life, I noticed how much comedy played a role in helping me cope with difficult situations. As time passed, I found I was best able to sort through my feelings best by writing this script and using it as a way to express those tougher to verbalize emotions. As I come into my own style of filmmaking, I’ve discovered I’m drawn to stories that tackle difficult topics wrapped in a warm fuzzy comedy blanket; this was the first of (hopefully) many more stories like that.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
Answer: Oof, This was a concept I had from day one of my year long program in 2022 at Second City Film School. However, I started active pre-production in May of 2022 and had a total of four shooting days ending July of 2022. So, four months-ish.

3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
Answer: Bittersweet annnnd Thoughtful.

4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Answer: Location, casting and look. Location wise, I knew I had to have a realistic environment for the audience to be able to lean into the real emotions of the story. Thanks to the Illinois Film Office who sent me a list of potential locations, I was able to get in touch with Metro Film Studios, who deserves a massive shout out. Not only is their location gorgeous and incredibly diverse, their employees could not have been more accommodating and kind. Secondly, casting. I wanted actors that could do comedy, but with a grounded energy. I didn’t have my Daisy till we were a little under three weeks from shooting, but I remember the moment I saw Grace Spencer’s headshot on Backstage, I knew I found Daisy. Last but not least, LOOK. I had ambitious visions for the film and that’s where Adam Hirst (the Director of Photography) came in. Not only was he a wealth of technical knowledge and able to capture the style of all the genres, he had an earnest want to collaborate and had an amazing ability to listen to what I wanted tonally and then put it into practical action.

5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
Answer: It was extremely validating. Making films is so hard just in general and it takes so much work from a lot of people, so it was so rewarding to hear people respond so positively to something that you care about deeply and know a lot of people put their time and energy into. It’s also fun to hear people “getting it”; when you work on something for a long time, I think it’s easy for doubt to creep and make you second guess yourself. So when I listened to people pointing small moments and visuals, it’s really satisfying to know “they do get it! It makes sense!”

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
Answer: I don’t know if it was ever a conscious decision; growing up I was constantly making things in any medium and film just became one of those mediums. I will say I love the community that comes with film and the idea that you and a group of people are making something that potentially gets to be an escape, an opportunity for reflection, or even just a conversation starter for someone, is very gratifying.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Answer: It’s not a film, but I’ve probably watched every season of I Love Lucy over seven times. Lucille Ball played a huge roll in shaping my voice as an artist and certainly a role model when it comes to a woman in the entertainment industry.

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

Answer: Just continue to spread the word!

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

Answer: Very straightforward, directions were clear and the organization of the website is helpful.

10. What is your favorite meal?
Answer: Anything my Mom makes.

11. What is next for you? A new film?
Answer: Oh boy, well! I am in pre-production to film a concept pilot for my comedy tv show I wrote called Hometeached: A troubled public schooler gets suspended from her school and has to finish her school year with a handful of bizarre but sweet homeschoolers, all in an attempt to get a “recommendation of improved behavior” so she can return to her “real school”. It’s a coming of age show that peeks behind the curtain of homeschooling.
I’m also writing a queer romcom short about a woman who is left at the alter by her high school sweetheart and goes on a journey of self discovery by free falling into the dating world, joined and supported by her wild best friend, but when their favorite part of their dates become running back to each other and curling up on a couch, things get sticky. I’m also producing a DePaul student’s final thesis film called The Mobley Test: if there was a test that told you what you were meant to be in life, would you take it? Lastly, I am script supervising an independent feature this May.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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