An Interview With Esabella Strickland


How did you start making films and what was the first film project you worked on?

I first started making films when I signed up for the Young Movie Makers Summer camp at SFU when I was 12. it was a great experience, The Short FIlm we made was Called My Red Ball which has gone on to become a festival favorite with over 50 film festival appearances, winning at 9 of them, which motivated me to make more films so i signed up again with Young Movie Makers the following summer.


What genre of filmmaking are you looking to work on and why?

I love telling Scary Urban Legend stories because they are not boring and have a story within a story. There is an aspect of urban legends that are partially true which makes you think anything is possible.


What is the most challenging aspect of being an independent filmmaker?

For me, I feel it is finding advanced filmmaking training for Teens. Especially for girls but i am lucky because I live in a city where there are so many talented filmmakers and programs


How challenging is it to fund indie films for youth filmmakers?

It is tough but it is the reason why I focus on doing short films and getting support from the filmmaking camps I attend. Young Movie Makes and Cinelab at The Cineamateue have been so supportive, providing amazing mentorship and training. Also, You don't need to have a lot of money to tell a good story, you need an awesome script and a film crew that loves what there doing. Always ask for help the worse thing they can say is no

Please name three of your most favorite directors. How have they been influential in your work?

Oh, i Love Michael Grais because he wrote the Poltergeist series and I Loved the original which was scary but also mysterious.


Patti Jenkins, she is awesome for making wonder woman so epic, and the fact she is a woman is inspiring for future female filmmakers.


I also love the Soska Twins, Jen and Sylvia Soska because they are into horror and thriller. it is also cool that they are Canadian, they are sisters and women filmmakers Their company is twisted twins productions which sound so cool. I would love to collaborate with them on a project together one day.


Even though she is not a Director I want to add Ellen Goldsmith-Ven the founder of the Gotham Group, She started her business out of the bedroom with a focus on animation, I want to become an animator but her story has motivated me to want to own my own animation studio which is why i am now learning about scripts, storyboards and other aspects of filmmaking which i can transfer over to animation


What is your next film project and what are you currently working on?

I just wrote A short film called A dialogue with Pandora which is about grief and forgiveness but in a mythical/mystery way. It has a cool twist to it. I had the help from Cinelab at The Cinenematquie who provided the Filmmaking equipment and also Paul Greene from Hallmark who was the director and actor in the short


What inspired you to work on films that have supernatural or mythological themes?

I have always loved spooky stories, my dad will tell me scary campfire stories when we went camping and I love Coroline and A Nightmare before Xmas when I was younger. I also loved Scobby Doo when I was a kid and I felt that influenced me too


How did you find the cast and the crew of the film?

I find the cast from either short films I have acted in or actors I have met when I was in acting programs, same with the crew, I find them at filmmaking camps. so it is easy for me to tap into the film industry because I have been exposed to both sides of the lens. There are so many talented people in Vancouver who love to make films.

What is the distribution plan of the film and did the film receive any screenings or was it featured in festivals?

Oh my, I have been so surprised as I mentioned My Red Ball has been huge at film festivals, my second one The Notebook has appeared in over 20 international film festivals. The recent one I did at the 3-week filmmaking intensive at Cinelab this summer called A Conversation with E has just got started on the film festival circuit and has already been accepted at the Cannes Short Film Festival. I also wrote a feature film Screenplay which is based on my novel (it is being published march 2nd 2021 through GenZ Publishing) has already won the best script at the Montreal Independent Film Festival, and a finalist at the 2021 Canadian Cinematography Awards in Toronto. This gave me the courage to keep writing which I wrote the Short-A Dialogue with Pandora, which is my first independent film so I am hoping to get in on Amazon Prime one day.


Why do you make films and what kind of impact would your work have on the world?

I have dyslexia, ADHD, and social anxiety so I want to show everybody that you can do what you want, don't let your limitations hold you back. I love telling stories but also stories like my feature film screenplay which has the first heroine with a learning disability, So don't be afraid of what others will think just follow your passion and always reach out and ask for support and advice because having a mentor/teacher to guide you is important. Don't give up.

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© Toronto Film Mag I 2020