-Who is Jennifer East?
I am a mom, wife, sister, friend, and a creative. I went to school for graphic design and photography. I was happy with this career choice, as a freelance designer and photographer for many years. Then my daughter and I spent nearly 5 years in Los Angeles, CA, (L.A.) in front of and behind the camera. I shot hundreds of headshot sessions, was a talent agent, an art director, and a stand-in on nearly all the backlots in L.A. In 2018, I joined two other talented women to create the charitable organization, bUneke (pronounced be Unique), where I’ve been honored to put my skills as a director, videographer and editor to work to help other charities.
-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
Working with many directors in L.A., I watched and learned from the top directors. It was the best exposure a person could get. Talent and crew grumbled about the long hours on set, while I smiled, took notes, and studied. When I returned to Florida, I knew I needed to try filmmaking for myself.
-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in society?
I definitely do. The film you are honoring with Best Editing, Forgotten Enchantress, was the catalyst that brought in more than $250,000, of which 100% went to the nonprofit, and moved the hearts of an entire community and outside the community to come, visit, and donate to the cause. That nonprofit had been working toward for more than 10 years before the film came along. Within months after the film was first shown, they had the necessary funds to apply for a matching grant to save the home from demolition. The nonprofit I helped create and manage is all about helping others, which got us involved in the first place.
-What would you change in the world?
Hearts. I’d change the hearts of people so there is more positivity. I’d like to see more vegans and more people learning about a low-waste, sustainable lifestyle. I think everyone should learn about saving our earth and climate change. Again, these are all things our nonprofit teaches and advocates. I would also love to help encourage more females to be involved in production, in all the roles behind the camera. I love to mentor young women who may not have realized they actually prefer being behind the camera and I help them understand that it’s natural and good for them to be there.
-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?
The film industry has changed so much in the last 50 or even 20 years. Big, funded projects will probably persist, but the low and no budget filmmakers will continue finding ways to use their craft to help others and nature, which I think is a great idea. The industry will probably continue to open up with affordable streaming options so unknown filmmakers and screenwriters will continue to make wonderful contributions to the art form. Critically acclaimed low-budget films will continue to be offered screenings at notable film festivals, such as yours, and they will experience a prosperous award season. My dream is that low and no budget films will receive the necessary attention for funding opportunities. The budget for Forgotten Enchantress was donated craft, borrowed wardrobe, and volunteers’ personal equipment. Some of our volunteers drove long distances just to be involved in the project.