Jennifer Smith served in the USAF for twenty years as a judge advocate, deploying to Saudi Arabia in 2003, then continued as a federal contracts attorney for the VA. Creative projects called. Dwelling in possibility, she found a voice in writing and filmmaking. Finding My Edge is her debut film. The script for her next film, Soft Hands, was recently named a quarterfinalist in both the 2022 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards as well as the Vail Film Festival.
Your project has entered in our festival. What is your project about?
Why does a person set out to run more than 200 miles in the mountains? One young woman, Sara Morris, replied, "To ride the line, to find my edge." The cinematic beauty of the Tahoe 200 Ultramarathon trail illuminates the physical, mental, and spiritual journey to "the edge." Sometimes the journey you take is to find yourself. What are your ambitions with your project? To inspire individuals to find out more about themselves. Beyond that, I hope it has a great festival run and that I will sell it to a good distributor. I hope this project will get me started on a bigger platform of directing and producing several other projects I have been working on writing.
Tell us something about your shooting? What pleasantly surprised you? The collaborative nature of filmmaking was more exciting than I could have imagined. When a group of people are working together to achieve one vision the sum is much greater than the parts working alone. The high standards of each individual pushed everyone to do their best.
For what group of spectators is your film targeted? To anyone trying to find out about testing their limits in any aspect of their lives.
Why should distributors buy your film? It takes the viewer on a journey that is physical, mental, and spiritual and goes to a place not expected.
How would you specify your work? What characterizes your film? My work is personal and introspective. This film is an exploration of the self.
Why did you decided to become a filmmaker? After a 31-year career as a lawyer and military officer, I found out that I had stories to tell.
Who is your role model? Sarah Polley and Maggie Gyllenhaal are the type of directors that have an introspective vision of people and how they interact with the world. They’ve given me a humanistic guide for how to conduct myself and my work in film. Which movies are your favorites? Why? I have many favorites. One current favorite is the 1983 film Tender Mercies for the way that it maximizes using context of setting and fully developed characters to evoke the human condition. The Banshees of Inishirn does something similar. Where do you look for inspiration for your films? I look anywhere and everywhere that human connection and the human condition come through.
Which topics interest you the most? Why do we make the individual choices that we do in life? How do we care for others? How do we heal our pain?
What do you consider your greatest achievement in your career? Getting my first film made and having it bring the story I envisioned to life.
What do you consider most important about filming? Active collaboration and bravery in telling a true story.
Which film technique of shooting do you consider the best? All are critical, but I consider editing to be especially important. How would you rate/What is your opinion about current filmmaking? Current filmmaking is more inclusive than ever before. It has a ways to go.
What can disappoint you in a movie? When I become bored.
Who supports you in your film career? My family and friends who I still learn from