Editor’s note - In the next few weeks, I will share some ‘insider’ information on the Kanab Film Festival. With film festivals growing in popularity, last year a local group dedicated to start one right here in Kanab.

Kanab is an obvious natural for an event such as this, with its own rich history in past movie making. The event will be held April 16-18 in the new Kanab Center.

This week we are featuring Jeff Sanders – his movie won last year’s best short film.

Jeff Sanders, a winner of the 2019 Kanab Film Festival.

 

1) What got you involved in the Kanab Film Festival?

Last year, I entered my and Laci Fay’s short film, “How to be a Good Housewife” into the Kanab Film Festival. Not only did we get in, we won best Utah Short! It was a real honor.

There were a lot of spectacular films in that category, although, every category was that way. The whole fest was amazing!

 

2) Do you start with an idea, or find a script or specific writer?

Every film is different. This film was based on a real article The Good Housewife’s Guide, published in 1955 (https://www.littlethings.com/1950s-good-housewife-guide/6.

This article brought many vivid ideas to our mind, as to what we would want to do to turn it on its head and say a little something about its implications. Some of the rules listed aren’t necessarily bad, but some of them let us in on a very dark side of the time period.

 

3) How do you go from idea to beginning of filming?

We went through several drafts. There are five writers on the film. In the end, Laci and I stripped it away to the core and leaned heavily on a retelling of the article from the perspective of someone who is going through abuse, and not allowed to have a voice, which is why most of the film is completely free of dialogue. 

 

4) How do you select the actors and locations?

Haha, Laci IS a real life 1950s lady. She has a YouTube Channel, Laci Fay The Vintage Girl Next Door https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdHUj7HD3t5AZ2OTO43Qiaw. So in the film, that is Laci and her husband Dayne (who also did the effects and co-everything), and that is their house. As much as this film looks like a location, it’s for real.

 

5) How do you finance your ideas?

This film was done out of pocket. We had the locations, the actors, most props. We had to rig a few things for the effects shots, which were done by Dayne, so the cost was little there.

We got some of the props from a boutique vintage shop here in Cedar City, Betty’s Antiques.Laci had purchased so much from Betty, she only made us pay a small fee to rent a bunch of props.

Also, I made the rat poison box in Photoshop and printed the template on card stock. I’m pretty proud of that one.

 

6) Was ‘How to be a Good Housewife’ one of your first, or have you been doing this awhile?

I’ve been making movies for over 10 years. That being said, I still learn new things every film. Filmmaking is an evolving process that I think very few completely master. I certainly haven’t.

 

7) Where do you live, and what’s your education or work background?

I live in Cedar City, Utah. I went to SUU and studied English and Art. I worked in the movie theatre business for 12 years before doing film mostly full time. My main work is conventions and editing currently. I still make a movie or two a year, however.

I have recently got into making YouTube tutorials mainly dealing with cameras and lenses. My channel is Jeff Sanders Films on YouTube. It’s a great little resource for people just getting into filmmaking on a budget. 

 

8) Will you be entering another film in this year’s festival?

I already have, “Shiny Shiny.” It is a comedy set in a horrific situation, involving an evil man forcing a young woman to watch his... well, you will see at the festival (hopefully). Don’t worry, it’s not gross. I think it will get some big laughs.

 

9) What are a few of your career goals?

Become a full time filmmaker, of course.

 

10) What’s your favorite genre?

I like everything. Horror films have always been a favorite. I like ones that feel like the road less traveled. I love quirky things. I prefer they have an emotional honesty, whether it feels fair or not. So only happy endings if you earned it. That being said, I love when an ending resonates.

 

11) How would one get started in filming, if they were inclined?

I would say, start with what you have, use free software (Davinci Resolve for editing, Gimp for Photoshop, Blender for 3D Effects).

If you have an iPhone, use a little app called Filmic Pro so you can manually control your camera to create more Cinematic Images.

Gaming laptops and computers are great for editing. (Some kid in your neighborhood will surely have one.) Watch tutorials on YouTube. If it is your first movie, try to make it dialogue free.

Use your camera to tell the story. That is called Cinematic Language, and it is the most important thing to understand in filmmaking.

Most importantly, JUST DO IT. Try. Fail. It is fine.

Start small and try to make a perfect one minute movie. Then two minutes. Then five minutes. Did you know your best chance of getting into a film festival is with a movie five minutes or under? It’s true!

Don’t be afraid of rejection and naysayers, because you will get a lot of it. If you love it, you will find your way.