Noelle Joy Sorenson
Can you tell us about your latest film project and the process you went through in bringing it to life?
HeArT started off in a very practical manner. I knew I wanted to make a film, direct it, write it, produce it, so I started off with something small, an 8 page short with production in mind. I knew I wanted it to be in one location, 2 actors, all about relationship. A one day shoot. From there it just went step by step, taking the next right action.
What inspired you to become a filmmaker and pursue a career in the film industry?
I love story telling. I love the idea of being able to tell people things that maybe they didn’t know, to reveal more truth somehow and maybe heal-find healing for myself, for others. I loved being on film sets in any capacity, no matter how small. I felt at home there. Watching the crew, the directors, the cast, how everything comes together. I fell completely in love with film. As far as creating, I remember a bunch of actors I knew were having these short film challenges and I went to one, watched other people’s films and thought, I can do that. I want to do that. I also attended a lot of master classes at the Tribeca Film Festival
What challenges did you encounter during the filmmaking process and how did you overcome them?
Well, it was a small space. No lighting. I had to switch gears from heated acting scenes to directing, seeing if we got it. I also wanted the crew to get out early,I really respect and value the crew so I wanted them to feel valued and to feel good about working with me, especially as a first time female filmmaker. I had no hair or makeup person and I was pretty busy with everything else so if my makeup was smudged I had no idea. I was too busy working. Also being the line producer-I wish I would have done better with the meals for the crew. Luckily they were great, there were just a few of us so they didn’t mind me ordering pizza.
What was the most memorable moment for you during the production of your film? Can you share?
any interesting anecdotes or behind-the-scenes stories from the making of your film? The most memorable?
I asked my crew and cast if they were ok with having a prayer circle right before shooting. I wanted the energy to be as Good as possible. Also, I think the very first moment was memorable for me. I was nervous. It was the kissing scene, I felt vulnerable, in such a beautiful way. That was memorable. An interesting anecdote, Josh Berresford, my costar and I really loved the fight scene. We had a great time doing that-maybe I had too Good of a time because I remember at one point in the scene I had to throw beer cans at Josh, then he had to aggressively grab me and stop me, grabbing my arms and throwing me down on the bed. Of course it was a serious moment and we had to just stay there till we cut. I don’t know I found that part hysterical for some reason. I had to forcé myself not to laugh-but at one point when we cut I was softly laughing, I thought I was hiding my amusement but Josh asked in a somewhat incredulous manner, “Are you laughing?” I couldn’t deny it at that point. It just felt so funny and wonderful. Also I loved that Josh told me to really throw those beer cans at him, full forcé, that was pretty great.
How do you approach storytelling in your films? What themes or messages do you try to convey?
I want it to be truthful, emotional, passionate if that makes sense and ideally universal. Film can be healing. I like the idea of healing through story telling. Story telling is what ties us together as a human race so I guess I write from that aspect. Maybe show the audience something they didn’t expect about a character? I think in real life we misjudge people and situations all the time. Writing gives me an opportunity to hopefully tell something in a way where we can see more sides of the prism of a person.
What is your preferred genre of filmmaking and why? Are there any specific directors or filmmakers who have influenced your work?
Genres. I like comedy, drama, fantasy. I like dark comedy. I love Tarantino, Scorsese, Spielberg, I also love Hitchcock, David O’Russell, Catherine Hardwicke. John Ford, Billy Wilder, Frank Capra, Woody Allen, George Cukor. I”ve already listed too many -I’ll stop now. I love film and I love great directors.
How do you select your cast and crew for your film projects? What qualities do you look for in collaborators?
I think each Project is going to have it’s own thing. That’s part of the excitement, the magic, that mystery. It’s intuitive to a certain extent, a feeling. You can think someone is right then they read and it’s not. Or someone you didn’t expect is. HeArT was intuitive. For HeArT, I met my co-star, Josh Berresford in a profesional Actors Workshop/class. We worked together and I had an Aha moment. I knew he was Shane, I never auditioned anyone, never asked anyone else. As for my team I researched, made calls, did a lot of homework during pre production and felt really Good about this collaboration in production as well as post---Toru Nishikubo, Zach Travis, Steve Boghossian, and Jack Straton were invaluable in getting the visión, . David Pultz came a bit later for color grading.
How important do you think film festivals are for independent filmmakers, and what has been your experience with film festivals so far?
I think it’s imperative and it’s been a fantastic experience so far. I’m extremely appreciative of the festivals and the work they do. It gives independnt fimamkers a home, a jump off or landing strip of some sort. Me personally, I feel connected as a filmmaker because of them.
Can you tell us about any awards or recognition your films have received and how they have impacted your career?
HeArT has been fortunate. There have been many selections and awards including, 13 wins thus far for best short, best director, best actor and best teaser as well as nearly 40 selections worldwide. . I love feeling connected to so many countries, so many film lovers and filmmakers. There have been some really nice opportunities. This has given me more confidence and courage to do what I love and what I’ve always wanted to do. I don’t always feel so connected in life but with filmmaking I do. I don’t have much family either. It’s really been great to feel connected to so many people around the world. I’m very grateful for that.
How do you handle feedback and criticism of your films? How do you use it to improve your craft?
If it’s legitimate criticism I love it. It’s information. I actually ask for it and I honestly love learning, I love improving. I think I just want to be a better filmmaker to give audiences something better. It really is about connection for me and doing Good work that I can be proud of,, have something to offer others. Tell stories that inspire, heal, provoke thought. I think HeArT allows the viewer to walk away with their own interpretaion. I like that. Take what you need from it, it’s there for you if you want it.
What do you enjoy most about the process of filmmaking? Is there anything you find particularly challenging?
I love writing, I love working on a character and those moments in acting when I’m not there anymore. I love editing-choosing the selections, weaving the story together. I love everything about film, about all the layers that we can créate from all the different facets of how a movie is made. I love the crew and the family that can evolve on a set long term. I actually love everything about film. The most challenging thing is that I’m working all the time. I have multiple careers and I’m very independent in every way so, I wish I had more time. I generally get up early and work before I go to work and then I work on the weekends, and evenings if I have any energy left. I appreciate everything and I love all the people I help in my different avenues of work but yeah-time. Having time, even just having time for myself, that has been the most challenging.
How do you approach the distribution of your films? What strategies do you employ to reach a wider audience?
So far, I’m just loving connecting with as many countries all around the world as possible through these festivals. I am tenaciously going at new Projects at the moment though. I’ve met a lot of new people this year and I continue to learn and grow in that área, distribution, there’s more for me to learn and work on every day, so thanks for this question!
What advice do you have for aspiring filmmakers who are just starting their journey in the film industry?
Do your homework. Work really hard, make things as easy as possible for you crew, both production and post. Respect and value everyone. Be truthful, be passionate, love your work beyond measure, trust that small still voice within and leave room for that mysterious thing that’s bigger than all of it.
Finally, can you share with us your future plans and upcoming projects as a filmmaker?
Sure- I have a series, I’ve actually already let someone I know and value in the business read the pilot, currently creating the pitch deck at the moment , there’s the feature that I’ve started writing, acting classes, improving audition techniques, I created a new self tape studio in my home, and I’m doing my best to learn everything I can about the business.
Thank you so much for this opportunity. I appreciate you-War of Films! These were truly wonderful questions-AWESOME questions! Thank you!!