Discover the world's best short films

Discover the world's best short films

Interview with Zenon Samuels

Director/Writer of

Zenon Samuels

What was the inspiration behind making this short film?

‘Survive; was inspired by the political climate of the US in 2017, with its depiction of border walls, refugees, and racism. I wanted to show this through a sci-fi story about “campers lost in the woods,” having three people with no relation being forced to work together to escape a mysterious threat, and needing to trust each other despite their differences. What bothers me often is the divisiveness of the world, the fact that people are so quick to judge others and outwardly reject other people’s opinions without analysing their situations. It seems the only way that we as a species are gonna get through tough times, is by not fighting with each other, but by being considerate and thoughtful of all types of people…because ultimately we all bleed the same blood…and ultimately we are all just trying to survive…

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

It was shot so long ago… but I think the biggest challenge is always going to be time! You just need more time to do things and improve things! We had two days to shoot and we were incredibly lucky to have Haddie (and her mom) fly in from St. Louis to be a part of the project in such a short amount of time! I’ll be forever grateful to them, as well as the rest of the cast and crew for giving up their time for this film!

How has the short film been received?

I think it’s been received fairly well. We had a chance to screen at DTLA Film Festival and I did a Q&A with some other great short film makers! It’s most rewarding when people share their ideas and opinions on the film and explore what certain things mean to them. The film medium is best when it prompts questions, especially if you as an audience member walk away thinking about how the story may have impacted your life…so I hope that ‘Survive’ has that affect on people…

Do you have any other projects in the pipeline?

Since I’ve been back in my home country of Australia during the pandemic I’ve been working on a few projects to shoot mid 2021. One of them is a mumblecore film set in 1990s Australia; another is an anthology film about different lives affected by a major crime; and another is an indigenous sci-fi, drama called ‘Outsiders’. Plus my cousin and I are always working on our acoustic, comedy, rock duo Zenon & Isaac!

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

Best advice is to just get out there and do it! Personally, I’ve always made a habit of shooting something on weekends, be it while in high school in Australia, to when I was studying in LA! My friends and I would keep busy shooting each weekend, either making a film, some demo reels, music videos, camera tests, whatever it was! We even managed to put together a 90 minute mumblecore improv feature with this idea! This “just keep shooting” attitude encouraged me to just keep getting out there to make stuff, regardless of budget, time, or fear of failure. The best thing is that these days we have access to so much simple gear, editing software, and our minds can create the stories using what we have available! Anything you imagine you can make happen! It’s all growth and it’s all part of the journey…so what are you waiting for…get started!

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