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15th BFI FUTURE FILM FESTIVAL 2022 
17-20 February 
Interview

Kate Saltel 
Metamorphism

Section: Citizens of Earth
katesaltel.com

Under great pressure, humans undergo similar steps of metamorphism.

Hey Kate, thank you for talking to The New Current, how have you been holding up during these very strange times?

Hello! I’m doing alright. Being a university freshman has been interesting, to say the least.

Has this time offered you any new creative inspiration or opportunities?

For sure. The time I’ve had to reflect and be away from societal pressure has been very influential. In addition, attending virtual film festivals has allowed me to meet so many people and watch a lot of amazing films while staying safe at home.

What does it mean to be screening Metamorphism at the 15th BFI Future Film Festival?

 

It’s an honour. I would love to travel to London one day.

You won the Audience Award at the National Film Festival for Talented Youth and screened at SXSW last year, did you imagine you would get this type of response to your short animation?

I always hope for the best. It may be cringe but I believe staying positive help make great things will happen. Screening at these amazing film festivals for emerging story- tellers was a goal of mine before graduating high school. I worked hard creating but also hoping and believing in myself and my creative abilities.

Metamorphism is going to be in the Citizens of Earth Section of the festival, are there any nerves ahead of the festival?

Not necessarily. I’m excited for Metamorphism to be screened to the British public among other talented young filmmakers. I would certainly be nervous if I was traveling to London during these times, however, I’m staying here in Los Angeles so I feel much more relaxed.

Can you tell me a little bit how Metamorphism came about, what was the inspiration be- hind your animation?

I was traveling around Terlingua, Texas and the large rock structures caught my attention. They were beautiful and ancient. The immense amounts of pressure these rocks have been able to surpass inspired me to make this film as well as live my life. We adapt and change under pressure as these rocks do during the process of metamorphism. Sometimes the stress is too much and these structures collapse as humans do.

When working on an animated short how close where you able to keep to your screenplay once you started shooting, did you allow yourself much flexibility?

Because Metamorphism was an experimental film I didn’t necessarily create a screenplay. Metamorphism was my first attempt at animation so I tested a variety of styles and materials when filming. When editing I did what felt right and never stuck to a rigid idea. However, I did know I wanted to express the similarities between the process of metamorphism and how humans deal with stress.

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"Everyone hates the art they make, to be honest, but that’s because we are always learning."

What has been the biggest challenge you've faced bringing Metamorphism to life?

In a way, I feel as though Metamorphism led me to mature. It had a successful festival circuit so I wanted to do justice to these prestigious film festivals by promoting them on my social media. Although I was still in high school, I had to learn how to promote my- self like how adults do. Advertising was something I become not scared of. I was always too shy to share my accomplishments with others growing up but Metamorphism’s journey challenged me to do so.

Since making Metamorphism what has been the most valuable lesson you have taken from this experience?

I feel confident in myself more than I have ever. I’m excited about the future and feel capable to make something great. Metamorphism has inspired me to incorporate mental health in more of my art as well as allowed me to better understand my pressures. I hope my next project leads me to discover more about myself.

Where did you passion for filmmaking and animation come from?

My parents. I very am fortunate to have such supportive and creative parents. They have always created with me growing up and pushed me to enrol in art classes. It’s also extremely important to thank them for their financial support. Filmmaking is not cheap at all. I am beyond thankful for being able to pursue such a costly endeavour and be support- ed every step of the way.

How important to you is the collaborative process of filmmaking to you?

It’s the most important thing. Even when making Metamorphism during a time of isolation I spoke with others about the idea and received advice from my family during the editing process. Initially, my sister was going to perform the VoiceOver.

Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the stories they want to tell?

How could I say no? Great art comes from those who push boundaries and create new genres, styles, and redefine the meaning of cinema.

For anyone out there thinking about making their first film do you have any tips or advice you would offer them?

It’s not going to be good. Frankly, it’s going to be bad and that’s okay. Everyone hates the art they make, to be honest, but that’s because we are always learning. Filmmaking is a process of progression. Everyone’s first grasp at it will be like a baby learning how to swim. No baby will know how to swim the first dip in the pool.

And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Metamorphism?


We all experience pressure in a variety of ways. Stress changes us, it moulds us, but it doesn’t have to be who we are. We are strong and can get through the hard times— rocks extremely old have done it. We can, too.