Seventeen of the 25 filmmakers competing in Renton FilmFrenzy V are locals; of the 25 only four competitors are women.
Stefeny Anderson would like to see that change.
Anderson was one of those four competitors who produced a four-minute film last weekend for the Renton’s 50-hour filmmaking competition now in its fifth year.
“Film exists to tell a story that we feel is important and can also change the world or entertain. I believe that we are created to create and women need to be encouraged to use and develop the skills they are given and be brave and jump into the creative pool. The community needs to support anyone as they create and encourage them to share their stories,” she said.
Anderson is crazy about movies. It’s something that runs in the family. Her brother, Bob Anderson, and his good friend Sam Graydon competed in the first four Renton FilmFrenzies, winning first prize for “Finger of God” and “Cliché & Carter.”
Anderson says her brother has been an inspiration, as have other talented filmmakers who have competed in FilmFrenzy.
Anderson was involved with FilmFrenzy behind the scenes, as coordinator of promotions for three years. She produced informational videos and spent a year in Los Angeles where she tried making movies full time.
“I loved LA, but it was too expensive,” she said.
Now, in Renton she said she’s “in it to win it.
Whether that’s first prize or making a film that has a great story — she’s already won.
This year it’s Stefeny’s turn at the directorial helm.
“It’s really exciting this year to be a part of FilmFrenzy. As the coordinator, I was on the side lines. But I never got to participate in the actual filming. This is the first year that I’ll be directing my own film,” said Anderson this past Saturday as she and her crew headed off to another location in Renton.
It was mid afternoon and Anderson and crew were in front of Dionisios parking lot in downtown Renton. It was surprisingly low key. Her cameramen, Caleb Mayberry and Nate Koryanta, were simply equipped with a Cannon Rebel T3I DSLR and a Nikon 5100 DSLR.
According to Anderson, neither of her cameramen had shot many videos before, but they did an amazing job.
Anderson directed her actors into position, demonstrating a confident leadership and inspiring a relaxed “go with the flow” attitude that her crew responded to. There was an air of excitement and playfulness.
That is until Anderson commanded the three familiar words that sets her apart from everyone else.
Anderson’s short film (Frenzy entrants are limited to four minutes) is titled “Oblivious.”
Without giving away too much of the story, it features a guy, his cell phone and the world going on around him. In this case, a scene involving a woman (actress Leslie Anderson, who also happens to be Mom to the director) warding off would-be mugger, Mike Moskowitz, local owner of Liberty Café with her purse.
“How’d it look for you?” Anderson hollered across the Dionisios’s parking lot as she walked toward one of her two cameramen.
Meanwhile the two actors recovered from the last scene.
“Mike, you’re a real trooper,” Leslie Anderson says, lending her fellow actor Mike a hand up. Only moments before she had pummeled him into submission with her prodigious and heavy looking red satchel.
“He’s so sweet,” Leslie calls over to her director-daughter. “I don’t want to hurt him.”
The director, surrounded by her crew, band together in front of the digital camera perched on a large tripod. They view their creation amid smiles and nods, collaborate and refine for the third and final take.
This was a familiar process: descend upon a location, vet the site for lighting, etc., decide how the scene would unfold, film, tweak, film again and hoof over on foot to the next Renton location.
“Yeah, Mom, you’ve got to keep it up hitting Mike — I need PAIN!” Anderson directs, wearing a huge grin. “One more take and we’re moving on to Liberty Café for the final scene!”
Welcome to a day in the life of the Renton FilmFrenzy.