Interview with

Hannah Mitchell

Director/Writer of

Hannah Mitchell

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

I really wanted to make a coming-of-age moment showing how power dynamics and issues brought from mainly parents can reside in children’s play and can show up early in language, body language, possessiveness, and dominancy. When I was growing up, as a young girl, there were always kid friends fighting, kid foes fighting, siblings fighting; you name it. I felt that it was important to show frenemies at a young age and how, usually, beyond stupid what it is that they are bickering about. I felt it especially important to reveal this in a woman’s childhood journey as, from personal experience, we can be brutal to one another for absolutely “no reason” when, if looking from the outside, we can asses the motivations.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

I lost my first location, my school’s insurance was a battle, and I definitely lost my director’s vision a bit via wearing too much of a producer’s hat, and transformed the film’s order completely in post. It was hell but I truly like the way Mother of Pearl came out versus my original intent. I felt in shambles after shooting and feeling like, “oh, people are focusing way too much on the plot, this scene wasn’t shot the way I intended, this is HORRIBLE.” I sat on this film for, I don’t know, 6 months or so not knowing what to act on. One morning I woke up, had the idea of rearranging the film in a new, certain order and adding b roll I shot, so I went on Premiere messing around and had the film’s main edit done in 2 hours. Dropping the original idea I had and accepting the “lemons” I did have to puzzle together, Mother of Pearl came out with more of a tonal-feel of the story than ever before and I just love it now.

How has the short film been received?

So far, I have gotten 2 responses: 1. “I don’t get it.” 2. “Holy crap, that reminded me of X when I was little” etc. My focus was for this film to be relatable to how and possibly why adults remember insignificant power-dynamic instances, (in Mother of Pearl’s case, a childhood friend), during their childhood. The memory resides of a probably “forgettable” moment, but you remember the nuggets of it for some reason as it was defining, somehow, in your life.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Currently, I am learning guitar, vocals and piano and plan to make an album, with videos of course. That felt too ambitious to type but I did it.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

I think first-time filmmakers worry so hard about if they will regret the project, if they are burrowed in a lack of experience, if too many mistakes show up on screen because you don’t know everything yet etc. but that’s the point. Don’t put pressure on the first things you make; casualize it. Get embarrassed! Yes, the content you make for other platforms, for yourself or other content you might find not related what you have—those are already building blocks. Fail good. Fail a lot. You’re gonna have to fail, and you have to get past that. I also believe the most important advice I can give to filmmakers wanting to make their first film is to actually watch and study films.

Recently Featured

Interview with

Hannah Mitchell

Director/Writer of

Hannah Mitchell

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

I really wanted to make a coming-of-age moment showing how power dynamics and issues brought from mainly parents can reside in children’s play and can show up early in language, body language, possessiveness, and dominancy. When I was growing up, as a young girl, there were always kid friends fighting, kid foes fighting, siblings fighting; you name it. I felt that it was important to show frenemies at a young age and how, usually, beyond stupid what it is that they are bickering about. I felt it especially important to reveal this in a woman’s childhood journey as, from personal experience, we can be brutal to one another for absolutely “no reason” when, if looking from the outside, we can asses the motivations.

Was there any particular challenges you had to go through to make the short film happen?

I lost my first location, my school’s insurance was a battle, and I definitely lost my director’s vision a bit via wearing too much of a producer’s hat, and transformed the film’s order completely in post. It was hell but I truly like the way Mother of Pearl came out versus my original intent. I felt in shambles after shooting and feeling like, “oh, people are focusing way too much on the plot, this scene wasn’t shot the way I intended, this is HORRIBLE.” I sat on this film for, I don’t know, 6 months or so not knowing what to act on. One morning I woke up, had the idea of rearranging the film in a new, certain order and adding b roll I shot, so I went on Premiere messing around and had the film’s main edit done in 2 hours. Dropping the original idea I had and accepting the “lemons” I did have to puzzle together, Mother of Pearl came out with more of a tonal-feel of the story than ever before and I just love it now.

How has the short film been received?

So far, I have gotten 2 responses: 1. “I don’t get it.” 2. “Holy crap, that reminded me of X when I was little” etc. My focus was for this film to be relatable to how and possibly why adults remember insignificant power-dynamic instances, (in Mother of Pearl’s case, a childhood friend), during their childhood. The memory resides of a probably “forgettable” moment, but you remember the nuggets of it for some reason as it was defining, somehow, in your life.

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Currently, I am learning guitar, vocals and piano and plan to make an album, with videos of course. That felt too ambitious to type but I did it.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to make their first short film?

I think first-time filmmakers worry so hard about if they will regret the project, if they are burrowed in a lack of experience, if too many mistakes show up on screen because you don’t know everything yet etc. but that’s the point. Don’t put pressure on the first things you make; casualize it. Get embarrassed! Yes, the content you make for other platforms, for yourself or other content you might find not related what you have—those are already building blocks. Fail good. Fail a lot. You’re gonna have to fail, and you have to get past that. I also believe the most important advice I can give to filmmakers wanting to make their first film is to actually watch and study films.

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