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Festival Interview: Elenoir

Melissa J. Kosmaczewski discusses the deep emotions that inspired her short film Elenoir.

6 Oct , 2016  

Written by Harry Nichols | Posted by:

Vermont filmmaker Melissa J. Kosmaczewski explains why emotions like grief, love, and lust aren’t just reserved for the young with her short film Elenoir. Originally screened at the Green Mountain Film Festival, it is now playing here through October 15 as part of the 2016 Online New England Film Festival.

In Melissa J. Kosmaczewski’s Elenoir, a seventy-eight-year-old woman wanders through her home while experiencing nostalgic delusions of her past. Her delusions in this heartbreaking short film serve an important purpose — they force this elderly woman to confront the painful trauma that has caused her to lose her mind.

Originally screened at the Green Mountain Film Festival, Elenoir is now playing through October 15 as part of the 2016 Online New England Film Festival. In this interview with NewEnglandFilm.com, Vermont-based writer/director, Melissa J. Kosmaczewski shares what motivated her short film and expresses her desire to see more women filmmakers.

NEFilm: When did you decide to pursue film?

Kosmaczewski: When I was about six or seven I found my first video camera. My sister and I would spend hours running around making short stories. One Thanksgiving, myself, my sister and our cousins ran around their South Jersey neighborhood doing investigative journalism on cases of bad Thanksgiving dinners. The neighbors really got a kick out of it. That thrill I got from holding a camera as a child never left. I went from studying film in high school to earning my BAS from Drexel University in Film and Video in 2014.

NEFilm: How did you recruit a cast and crew for Elenoir?

Kosmaczewski: My crew for this film was made up entirely of classmates from Drexel University. The leading lady in Elenoir is my husband’s grandmother Betsy Jiorle. It was her first time acting in a film and she did an amazing job. Ally and David who played young Elenoir and young Arthur are two very good friends of mine who were thrilled to be part of the project. The role of Arthur was played by Mark Karen who is a family friend. Shooting with a cast and crew who were so tight and familiar with one another created an amazing energy.

NEFilm: What was your reason for creating this film?

Kosmaczewski: When you are in your later years in life, society desensitizes you. I created Elenoir to show that deep emotions such as lust, love and grief are not reserved for the young.

NEFilm: Where has the film been screened?

Kosmaczewski: The film has screened in the 2016 Green Mountain Film Festival’s Vermont Shorts Program. After the films had been screened there was a Q&A with the filmmakers. Out of about 8 or 9 filmmakers I was the only woman to have a film screened, which was pointed out by one of the audience members. While I was proud to be the only woman filmmaker represented, I hope that more women filmmakers find a voice to represent themselves in the years to come.

NEFilm: What drives you to create films in general?

Kosmaczewski: I have a passion for creating films that change the viewer’s perspective on the world, if only for a moment. Filmmaking is an amazing way to put empathy into the hearts of those who are unaware of other walks of life. As a filmmaker I strive to tell stories that showcase the underrepresented in a beautiful way.

NEFilm: Do you have any new projects you are working on?

Kosmaczewski: I am currently writing a script for my next short film tentatively titled Sisters. I plan on shooting the film in central Vermont in the spring of 2017.

NEFilm: What sort of advice would you give to aspiring filmmakers?

Kosmaczewski: Don’t give up. With every failure and every triumph there is growth. While you may not be accepted to the festivals you dream of, it does not devalue the art you have created.

Watch Elenoir on NewEnglandFilm.com through October 15 as part of the 2016 Online New England Film Festival.