HFF 2015 Interview: The Gnomist Director Sharon Liese

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2015 Heartland Film Festival Official Selection, Documentary Short The Gnomist tells the true story of the mysterious appearance of fairy homes on a suburban walking trail and the magic that it creates for three women.


We spoke with Director Sharon Liese about her film:

HF: What is your film about, and how did the project come to be?

SL: The Gnomist proves that magic is real. Even in this world of tragedy, anxiety, and grief, the kindness of strangers still exists and helps us retain our childlike wonder in the world around us. I saw a news story about the mysterious fairy homes popping up on a trail near my house and thought it would be great to capture the mystery. My associate producer and myself went out with a camera and started capturing what was happening – not knowing what the story would ultimately become.

HF: What was your role in the production?

SL: I directed and produced the film.

HF: Why did you submit to the Heartland Film Festival? Have you been to the Festival before?

SL: I submitted to the Heartland Film Festival because it is a festival that other filmmakers always recommend to me and, of course, because it’s the HEARTLAND film festival and I am also in the heartland in Kansas City.

HF: This year’s tagline is “Movies That Stay with You” – what lasting effect will your film have on moviegoers?

SL: After people see this film, they will walk out of the theatre believing in magic.

HF: What has inspired you to become a filmmaker?

SL: I have always been a storyteller first and foremost and telling those stories through film allows me to share real stories of amazing people with audiences that would never have the chance to meet these subjects in real life.

HF: What is something that you know about filmmaking now, but you weren’t told when you started your career?

SL: I never knew how hard filmmaking can be.

HF: What are some of your favorite movies? What’s your favorite worst movie (you know it’s bad, but still love it)?

SL: I love Broadcast News, Mad Hot Ballroom and CitizenFour. I don’t know that I would say it’s bad but maybe not high-brow…but I can’t get enough of the original National Lampoon’s Vegas Vacation. It makes me laugh every time.

HF: How many film festivals has your film been a part of? What do you like the most about the festival experience?

SL: We have been delighted that The Gnomist has screened in 12 festivals and is set to screen at 6 others as of today. The best thing about the festival experience is of course seeing all the amazing films! It leaves you buzzing with inspiration.

HF: Heartland Film Festival moviegoers love filmmaker Q&As. Let’s say a Festival attendee wants to earn some brownie points—what is a question that you’d love to answer, but haven’t yet been asked?

SL: I’ve always wanted to be asked if I ever thought about making the short into a feature film.


See The Gnomist in Shorts Program 7: Art Appreciation

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