Interview with Jenna Kanell [Actress, Writer, Director.]


Once we came back from our journey in Berlin for the Berlinale 2019, we had the pleasure to interview actress, writer & director Jenna Kanell. She’s written and directed short films, commercials, and call to action videos. She’s a union actor (in films such as “The Front Runner”, “Terrifier”, & “The Bye Bye Man”) . She is also the director of our
own movie “Boys Club”!


What does the current industry landscape look like in terms of opportunities for women filmmakers today? And what can we do to improve this?
The industry has taken leaps and bounds towards equity, but there’s still quite a bit of work to do. The most immediate ways to address it are through on-screen representation, and further diversity in hiring behind the scenes.
What is it like working with MitchSmithMedia? 
I feel lucky to contract work with a variety of companies and individuals. And though our professional relationship is relatively new, the MSM team has been communicative, open, driven, and enthusiastic. I don’t take for granted their trust in their writers and directors.
You seem to like expressing yourself on different sociopolitical matters, as many of us are nowadays. Do you think you would like to get involved with projects of such a nature in the future?
I’ve worked on a number of cause-driven pieces in various capacities; from fiction to fundraising videos, about anything from a work program for people on the autism spectrum to building a library in Liberia. Though it’s not always possible to entirely pay rent that way, it’s rewarding to collaborate with organizations to communicate what matters.
I’ve got my hands in some projects as we speak! Animal welfare and behavior is one thing in particular which lives incredibly close to my heart; I’m looking forward to its inevitable intersection with filmmaking for me down the road.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years? More in acting, directing, or both combined?
I’m not sure where I see myself in six months! But I’ll ideally continue doing both as I have been. Though freelancing doesn’t necessarily promise stability, it provides room to bounce between job titles. I become a better director when I act, and vise versa.
Any advice for up-and-coming female filmmakers? Anything that you wish someone told you when you were just starting out?
One tidbit I’ve gleaned (for aspiring filmmakers of any identity) is the importance of collecting experience from a variety of angles. I used to 1st assistant direct regularly, and learned a great deal about the logistical side of running a set and how best to communicate with different departments. I know directors with backgrounds in sound department, SFX, what have you. The big picture often makes more sense after seeing the many small ones it’s made up of.
INTERNSHIP
A fundamental principle that MitchSmithMedia was founded upon is to encourage and empower those with a desire to explore the world of film, television and comic book production to explore and expand their love of storytelling and creating art by offering them real, hands-on experience working in the field.

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