Meet filmmaker Tarryn Crossman, winner of 2014 Fusion Doc Challenge

May 21, 2015

Was this your first Doc Challenge? What has been your favorite part about Fusion Doc Challenge?

Yeah it was. The pressure of the time constraints and working within a theme really made me realize that if you can just find a good idea, you can make a film in a lot less time than what you think you need.

Still from Tarryn Crossman's "I am Juli"

Still from Tarryn Crossman’s “I am Juli”

How did you take the theme for the 2014 Doc Challenge “I have a bad feeling about this,” and use it in your film?

It was such good timing. The Ebola crises in Africa was at its peak and I had been wanting to do something around Ebola, but I just didn’t know what. A friend of mine was invited to a press conference with the doctors from Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) who were going back to the frontline of Ebola. As soon as we heard about these doctors going to fight a virus that has no cure, in some of the most difficult conditions, we were like, that is the perfect fit!

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I wanted to tell stories that told the truth basically.

What is your favorite part about the short film form?

Juli, the character. She is amazing! She is compassionate and brave and has such a big heart for what she is doing. She is a doctor that cares more about the people than the money. And she is totally quirky for a doctor, which I loved.

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

I have an amazing crew that I work with regularly, Craig Maarschalk as my DOP and Joe Dlamini as Sound Engineer. Then Nikki Comninos and Alastair Thomas edited it together.

What is your next project?

We are busy on our next feature documentary. It is about a 19-year-old girl, Kaileigh Fryer, who died in a car accident and left behind a bucket list that went viral. We are currently raising funds to finish the post production, on indiegogo.

We can do with all the help possible! Everyone can go and watch the trailer, here.

The independent film business is growing. What keeps you motivated? Where do you see the industry going in the future?

I love telling stories. I love traveling. I love meeting new people and experiencing totally foreign worlds. My job as a filmmaker allows me to do this everyday! It’s pretty perfect, but making independent films is so much harder than you can ever imagine. Before you embark on the mission, you have to know that you believe in this project so much, that even when there is no money and no one cares, you can still make it work and get it out into the world.

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

Menna Laura Meijer and Nina Davenport are filmmakers whose style and honesty I love.

What advice would you give new filmmakers?

Believe in what you are doing, be confident, learn and learn and learn. Never let what other people say make you feel like you can’t do it. This really is a game of confidence. There are a lot of people with a lot of talent who will never make it because they just don’t believe in themselves. And just do it. Make your film for love, not money.

View Tarryn Crossman’s film “I am Juli” competing in the Fusion Doc Challenge, and follow her career on The Audience Awards.

The Audience Awards is film’s social network connecting audiences to films, filmmakers, film schools and film festivals. The Audience Awards hosts short film competitions where the audience chooses the best films.

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