Jennifer Sheridan is an award winning director and editor from London, England. She has honed her skills as a storyteller through her work as an editor for the last ten years. As well as editing Rose d’Or winning & BAFTA nominated television, Jen has also edited a number of low budget features and shorts. Her first voyage into directing was her short film Rocket which went on to win the grand prize at the Virgin Media Shorts competition in 2012. Since then she has completed four more award-winning short films. She also directs music videos with her husband Matthew as a directing duo called AFLOAT (www.weareafloat.com).
Sheridan attended the 2015 Heartland Film Festival to promote the World Premiere of her short film Acoustic Kitty with the film’s writer/producer Adam Shakinovsky. Her film Set Adrift was an Official Selection at the 2016 Heartland Film Festival. Currently, Jennifer is working to raise the funds to produce her latest project The Super Recogniser.
We spoke with Jennifer Sheridan about her filmmaking career, her latest project and her experience with the Heartland Film Festival:
HF: Over the last two years, you had two short films hold their World Premiere at the Heartland Film Festival. Can you tell us a bit about your short films Acoustic Kitty and Set Adrift: What are the films about and how did the projects come to be??
JS: The first film that premiered at Heartland was Acoustic Kitty, it was my take on the true ‘tail’ involving the CIA’s use of cats as espionage equipment during the Cold War. It’s a dark comedy cat caper and it was a thrill to bring it to Indianapolis. Set Adrift is a supernatural drama about loss from a dog’s perspective. I had read stories about dog’s who had stayed by the grave of an owner long after they had passed away and was fascinated. I lost my own father when I was nineteen, and it wasn’t until I looked back that I began to see how I had dealt (or not dealt) with his death. I think grief is a very personal process and everyone experiences it differently… even dogs.
HF: What was your role in the production?
JS: I was the director of both, but I also wrote Set Adrift.
HF: What was your experience like at the 2015 Heartland Film Festival? Had you been to the Festival before?
JS: I had never even been to an international festival before Heartland. I’d only ever been to festivals in the UK. It was amazing! I met incredible filmmakers, saw brilliant films and left feeling inspired. Everyone who works with the festival is so nice, I’ll never forget it. I want to come back!
HF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?
JS: As a child I memorized every shot of The Goonies and used to play it through in my head whenever I got bored or couldn’t sleep. I became obsessed with stories, (I read The Lord of The Rings every year for ten years). Stories are consuming, they take you out of your life and carry you somewhere else. I just want to make the kind of films that stay with people, in the same way that certain films have stayed with me. I carry stories around in my head and unless I can find an outlet for them, I think I’ll go a bit crazy.
HF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now, but you weren’t told when you started your career?
JS: That it’s okay if you don’t make the short film equivalent of Back To The Future on your first go, or even your second, third etc. You’re always learning and deciding what your voice is, but it’s trial and error, you don’t have to know all of that straight away. It’s about the journey not the destination, and you have to go into it believing in yourself and knowing that you’ll face a lot of rejection along the way.
HF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?
JS: I love anything with Jim Carrey in it. Two of my favorite films of all time are Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and The Truman Show, but I also love Ace Ventura and The Cable Guy. He’s been exciting and entertaining me my whole life.
HF: Can you tell us more about your latest project The Super Recogniser and what excites you most about the film?
JS: The Super Recogniser is a sci-fi that combines a lot of the subjects I’ve loved exploring in my previous films, like espionage and how humans connect with nature. In this case the main character, (played by Jacob Anderson from Game of Thrones), has lost his connection to humanity and the outside world. He spends his days in a dark room with no windows, watching CCTV screens looking for terrorists and escaped criminals. He was born with the incredible ability to recognise 90% of the faces he sees and so was recruited by the government for this purpose; but when he begins to question what happens to the suspects he identifies, things begin to unravel for him. It’s a bit of a reflection of my life as an editor, spending long hours in dark rooms and missing the outdoors; but it’s also about what happens to a society that becomes ever more suspicious and fearful of others.
HF: What’s the best way for people to support your next project?
JS: I would love it if you would sign up to the website (www.superrec.co.uk) and get involved with the film. This might be by sending us a photo of you to use as a mugshot on the screens or there are lots of other ways you can help. Please get in touch with me through the website, I love meeting and talking to people who are as passionate about films as I am.
Support Jennifer’s latest project: The Super Recogniser
Jennifer is currently raising the funds to support the production of her latest short film titled The Super Recogniser. There is one week left in the campaign! If you’d like to contribute to Jennifer’s Indiegogo crowdfunding page, click the button below.Support Jennifer’s film