Introducing Filmmaker Lisanne Sartor and her film “SIX LETTER WORD”

November 4, 2015

How did you get inspired to become a filmmaker?

When I was a little kid, we spent every Sunday, the entire Sunday, at my grandmother’s house, where the adults would sit around the downstairs kitchen table all day drinking, playing cards and socializing, all of which bored my sister and me. Who wanted to hang out with grown ups? So we spent the day upstairs watching old movies, Judy Garland singing, Humphrey Bogart glowering, Fred and Ginger dancing. And boom. I was hooked on movies, especially by musicals. Then my fourth grade teacher let me direct my class for a day in disastrous version of “The Sound of Music.” I didn’t care that we didn’t end up doing a real production. I never forgot what it was like to have a vision and try to execute it with other people. That’s when I got hooked on actually making movies.



What is your favorite part about the short film form?

I love the challenge of telling an impactful story in less than twenty minutes. It forces me to focus on telling the story as visually and succinctly as possible, and to choose a story that packs a punch in a way that a feature doesn’t because of it’s length.

Who were the people that supported the making of this film?

I made this film through the AFI Directing Workshop for Women and was incredibly grateful for their guidance and support. I also ran an Indiegogo campaign through which friends, family, complete strangers and even people I hadn’t seen in twenty years donated because the film is about autism. Many of them had someone in their lives who has autism, just as I do.

What resources do you use as a filmmaker? Music, locations, props, editing, crew, etc.

When I made my first two shorts before I was in the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, I found crew members through friends. Now that I’ve made a movie through AFI, I work with a lot of AFI filmmakers for editing, crew, etc. They’re an incredibly tight knit, talented group who have a real vision that I respect and admire. I feel lucky to have met them all.

What is your next project?

I’m directing the feature version of SIX LETTER WORD in the next year or so. While we raise money and prep for that film, I’m writing another feature and two shorts that I’ll direct.

Still from "SIX LETTER WORD"

Still from “SIX LETTER WORD”

Which filmmakers, artists or individuals have most influenced your work?

Sophia Coppola, Nicole Holofcener, Lisa Cholodenko, Jill Solloway, Debora Granik, Francis Ford Coppola, Bernardo Bertolucci, Philippe Claudel, and Noah Baumbach.

What advice would you give new filmmakers?

Don’t wait for someone to buy your script or distribute your short. Make more movies. Write more scripts. Hone your craft. Be the best filmmaker you can be and take charge of your career.

You can watch The Six Letter Word trailer here.

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