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Unprompted: An Interview with Lena Louise Streitwieser

Tell us about yourself. How did you become an artist?

In some way or another, I have always been an artist. When I was little, I would make iMovies with my friends using my iPad mini, and from then on, I became interested in doing summer camps on short film making, acting, and theater. It wasn’t until later, when I was in high school, that I put the pieces together and realized I wanted to pursue my passion as a career.

What was your first job in the art field?

I worked as an intern / production assistant on the PBS show A Capitol Fourth in Washington, D.C. last summer.

What makes you want to tell stories? In other words, what are the themes/issues you want to incorporate into your work?

My ultimate goal and burning aspiration, as I’m sure I share with many other filmmakers, is to make films that connect with people and have an impact on the way they see the world. I personally am passionate about various social issues, including women’s rights, climate change, and racism, so making a film which encompasses some of those themes would be ideal. On a slightly more focused scale, I would love to create films that explore sibling dynamics, loneliness in growing up, and overindulging in fantasy, to name a few.

Please tell us about your vision and your method of approaching a new project?

I find I struggle most with the scriptwriting and idea conception process when making a film, so oftentimes if I want to create something, I will dedicate myself to sitting down in one place at one time and not getting up until I have an idea. Once the script is written, the rest usually comes to me naturally, as I can clearly visualize in my head the way I want the film to look while shooting. Another difficult yet exciting part comes in editing, when I have to put the individual parts together coherently. As daunting as that tends to be, it is often the most exciting part, because the vision then becomes complete.

Who are your filmmaking influencers? What are the films that were influential for you?

I am not necessarily strongly influenced by one filmmaker in particular, but rather I have seen some individual films that have changed the way I view the art of filmmaking and utterly mesmerized me. These films include Wonderstruck (2017); Rocketman (2019); Moonage Daydream (2022), Psycho (1961), and Eighth Grade (2018).

How do you think the industry is changing? How has COVID affected independent filmmaking/creation?

It definitely seems to me that films are increasingly going straight to streaming services instead of movie theaters, and limited series are becoming more popular. The COVID-19 pandemic certainly has stunted growth in the film industry in terms of production schedules for films that were set to be made during 2020 and 2021. However, it has also forced filmmakers to find clever solutions to keep filming, which I feel has inspired many people to take up the art.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists? What are some of the things they must follow/avoid?

I would advise aspiring artists not to get discouraged. It’s easier said than done, of course, and it can seem overwhelming to think about the amount of people trying to make films and put their work out there. That being said, the world constantly needs more stories, and the right film reaching the right person at the right time can change their life forever.

Do you think films/stories can bring about a change in the world?

Absolutely. Filmmaking, to me, is one of the most powerful art forms, because it encompasses music, theater, and photography, and has the power to last forever. I truly believe that films can bring positive change to not only a person’s life, but also to the world as a whole.

What do you think people like to watch these days? Has the pandemic changed people's taste?

It seems to me that comedies were very much in demand during the beginning of the pandemic, as everyone was stuck inside their homes while stressed and alone. Now, however, I have noticed a fascination with true crime documentaries, and remakes or sequels (like West Side Story last year, or Top Gun: Maverick). I don’t think the pandemic has changed people’s general tastes, necessarily, but maybe made people take more time to learn who they are and what they like.

Please tell us about your upcoming projects.

As of right now, I am focusing mostly on college, but I did shoot a short film recently with a friend of mine, which is now in the post-production process. I am alsoaiming to film another short film this summer when I have more time.


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