Presenting Fusion Doc Challenge top 20 finalist, Filmmaker Stefanie Malone and “Trust”

December 24, 2015

What’s your Fusion Doc Challenge film about?

In 2005, Kurt Geissel opened Cafe Racer in Seattle, which has become a community for artists and creatives to gather and feel a sense of belonging. But this was all disrupted when a tragedy occurred, changing Kurt’s life and the lives of those at the cafe.

Stefanie Malone "Trust"

Kurt Geissel in Stefanie Malone’s “Trust”

How did you choose your subject?

Kurt had recently been in the news, participating in an art installation piece. His presence in the news reminded me of the tragedy at Cafe Racer. When the topic and genre were announced in the challenge, Kurt seemed like a perfect fit, and I reached out to him.

What was the hardest thing about the challenge?

The hardest part of the challenge is the time constraint. Obviously. To go from concept to shooting and editing your film in five days is stressful and leaves little room for error. Also given the weight of the subject that we took on, we also felt (due to the time constraints) that we were not able do justice to the story in the way that we could accomplish if we had more time. As a documentary filmmaker, I want to do right by my subjects, and I was really sensitive to that about Kurt.

Stefanie Malone "Trust"

Stefanie Malone “Trust”

What was the best thing about the challenge?

Ironically, the best part of the challenge is digging in and committing to completing a film in a short period of time. Having a film that is under your belt in five days is extremely satisfying.

For me, this was also a subject that I may not have pursued outside of this challenge. I have so many other things going on at the moment that it’s hard to carve out time to tell each story that I think is interesting and compelling. I am grateful and thrilled to have had the chance to interview Kurt and get to know the people at Cafe Racer.

What’s your biggest take away from the challenge?

There is so much to learn when you participate in a challenge like this. It’s a way to learn a lot about yourself as a filmmaker – what are you strong points and your weak ones and how you work as part of a team.

What is on the docket now for your film career/What are you working on?

I recently finished shooting a short documentary with my husband called “Last Refuge of the Troublemaker” that is on an artist in the Pacific Northwest. It’ll be premiering at a film festival later this winter. I’m also in pre-production for a full-length feature documentary.

Outside of filmmaking, I am preparing for a film festival that I direct called NFFTY. NFFTY is a festival for young filmmakers 24 years and under, and we’re entering our tenth year this spring.

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