Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
My personal filmmaking journey began in 2016 as I created a few micro-short films for the Miniature Film Festival and the 15-Second Horror Film Challenge, both Canadian film events. I’m a fast learner and pretty soon I began entering more international film festivals, resulting in nominations and wins in a few of them.
Now, I myself is the founder of the annual 300 Seconds Short Film Festival, 6ix Screams International Horror Film Festival, and Minute Madness Toronto. I am also the director of the quarterly Alternative Film Festival and the Couch Film Festival. I enjoy watching the submissions before they get passed on to the judges and the jury. I enjoy putting together our live events and getting to meet filmmakers and our film-loving audience!
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
One of the films I made during quarantine (from March 16, 2020, onward) is called That’s Garbage! It uses no actors, just two garbage bins found in my local park. And because the city is on lockdown, I was able to film by myself during my isolation walks. Good thing not many people were around because I was laughing on my own so much while filming it.
It’s currently doing its own festival run and has been accepted in 5 international fests, and it even won an Outstanding Achievement Award at one of them!
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Shoot what’s important to you. Be unique about it. Some stories have been told a million times but the difference lies in how you tell it. Try to make people laugh, even when the subject is serious! As a festival curator, I look for unique stories as well as unique perspectives of common subjects. Explore your emotions! Holding them back will create a mental battle that will take a toll on you. Let it go – through your art.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I must say that Robert David Duncan is one of the people I am grateful for. He has written a book called Micro Short Filmmaking: A Guided Learning Journey and it has been a tremendous help to me as I got started. His film festival is one of the first that accepted my films!
He is a talented filmmaker and creates such unique styles and narratives. I see his submissions in some of the festivals that I curate. He puts together films that may be experimental in nature but is relatable.
He has become a great mentor and is one of the most supportive people I know. I am proud to call him a colleague and friend, even though we have never met in person!
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I try to encourage others to create more, especially during challenging times. It doesn’t have to cost money! I also appear in a lot of my friend’s projects and offer guidance, feedback, and assistance when needed.
I believe in the power of art, the power of creating things, and the power of filmmaking. It will not only help spread your message to those who need to hear it but it can also provide you with mental clarity.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
I love Paulo Coehlo’s The Alchemist and my favourite quote from the book is “And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
When I was a child I wanted to travel to ancient sites around the world. It kind of got lost in me as I got older and adult life got me worried and busy – but then it resurfaced strongly in 2012, as I changed my way of life. And so I made it a goal to travel solo to the New Seven Wonders of the World – Roman Colosseum, Chichen Itza, Machu Picchu, Petra, Great Wall of China, Christ the Redeemer and Taj Mahal. I completed this feat in 2016. It is a dream that the universe definitely helped me to achieve.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
I’m on Instagram “@_.jenell”.