Interview With Jennifer Scully-Thurston Winner of Cinefern Film Award and Competition

After The Reign: Confusion a Film Written, Directed and Produced by Jennifer Scully-Thurston won Best One Minute Short Film award at Cinefern Film Award and Competition's June 2020.

After The Reign: Confusion Poster

The Film is about This is a one minute dance film interpretation of a woman experiencing the confusing and schizophrenic nature of loss.

Confronting many versions of herself and the beginning of the healing process.


Jennifer Scully-Thurston has meandered her way in and out of Dance, Movement and the Arts her whole life. She has traveled the world in Off-Broadway shows, small contemporary companies, taught in higher education and found her voice again as "Dancer With An Attitude" writing Dance, Theater and Book reviews. Her work caught the attention of the Dance Critics Association and received their "Emerging Writer Award". She brought her movement expertise to the world of animation and film with Grasshorse Studios. Continued honing her administrative chops with Core Dance, a prolific internationally touring dance co. based in Houston and Atlanta. Today she teaches life skills to children through dance and music in the NC public school system with NC Arts in Action, whose program is active in 18 Title 1 schools across NC. Helping under-served children reach their full potential. In 2019 she rolled out FilmFest by Rogue Dancer, a monthly thematic on-line Film Festival devoted exclusively to Dance.

She is a dance filmmaker, curator and video installation artist. Her works have been featured at ADF Movies by Movers, DepicT!, Frame X Frame, Mad Monster Party Film Festival, Mysticon Independent Film Festival,Colorado International SciFi & Fantasy Film Festival, Tarheel Shorties Film Festival, ScreenDance Festival, FilmFest by Rogue Dancer, Orlando Edge Film Festival, MicroActs Artist Film Screening, 919 Noise, Direct Monthly Online Film Festival, FAD Festival: Film-Art-Dance on Screen, Fieldwork, James River Filmmakers Forum, EYEDRUM, EnCORE: Dance on Film, Dans Kamera Istanbul, Alternate Roots, Movies by Movers, Love/d & Sex/ed & dOORS cAN dANCE, Skwhirlhaus, 3 Minute Film Festival, Avalonia Festival, Small Wonders Exhibition and Festival, Ozark Shorts, Cinematica Festival, Wiper Film Festival & African Smartphone International Film Festival.

Her ongoing collaborations include works with her husband Christopher Scully-Thurston (Composer), HyMettus Woods, Dustin Glasco (Editor), Robert Epps (Sequential Artist) & Shadowbox Studios

Today... Momentum is growing in combining all her disparate dance endeavors through Rogue Dancer Productions. As Director of FilmFest by Rogue Dancer, she is committed to serving the global DANCE community. Jennifer is building a disruptive force so DANCE can be seen by all.

In the meantime, the work is happening and in full swing. Keep an eye out for all the current and future DANCE happenings!

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Interview With Jennifer Scully-Thurston

Q: What is the basic Idea Behind the film?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: My protagonist is a woman experiencing a significant loss. She is in the moment before she can accept the reality of that loss, processing the heaviness of it and attempting to appear “normal”. She can’t keep the facade up, the cracks exist and she finds herself losing her composure. She feels the 2 forces pulling at her.


Q: How do you handle the Pre-Production, and Post Production?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: I make low to no budget films generally. I do most of the Pre-production myself, I spend a lot of time absorbing my surroundings and creating the style of the film. This evolves and becomes clear the longer I spend in rehearsals. The most important thing I do is surround myself with incredible dancers (Sharon Carelock) & engage in conversation with a team of collaborators; my Editor (Dustin Glasco), StoryBoard Artist (Robert Epps), DP (in this case, was myself) and Composer (Christopher Scully-Thurston). Honestly, I also spend a lot of time in Thrift stores and rehearsals.

For Post Production, on bigger projects, I work with Dustin long distance. At the time I was in Atlanta and he was in Richmond. We decide what kinds of effects we want to try and what the big movement ideas are for each project. I usually go through the RAW files and tell him exactly which moments we want to grab. He gets the first pass at laying everything down and then we pass the film back and forth, pulling it apart second by second. For this film, I had the fun opportunity to sit with him IRL for an afternoon and work side by side.


Q: What do you do to stay calm during Production of the film?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: I try to be as prepared as I can going into a production and always early, so we never have to rush. I am very good at making last minute decisions when it is my own work and really enjoy embracing the “happy accidents” that occur on set. These quirky, impromptu moments bring a delightful unexpected element to my work. So to really answer your question... I can be anxious in anticipation of production day but really enjoy being on set, making it all happen and checking things off the list when we are in the process.

A proper night’s sleep helps too.


Q: What sort of stories excites you?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: Stories about the Woman’s experience, across all borders, cultures & genre excite me. I find myself drawn to and exploring cyclical behavior, family dynamics and social problems.


Q: Do you think all the good stories have already been made into a movie?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: Not at all. I think we are in a time of invention with new beauty, new and old problems. There are a lot of voices, perspectives and a lot to say.


Q: While casting for your film you prefer to cast a well known face or any new face which fit the character?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: New faces are always preferred by me. I predominantly work with dancers. I love dancers with a lot of life experiences. Mature movers.


Q: What is the most enjoyable thing about Production of the film?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: When I was dancing I did it because I loved being in the studio with other dancers and choreographers, doing solo work on myself was not of interest to me. So when I make a film like “After The Reign: Confusion”, I really enjoy the collaboration and allowing everyone to have a voice in the vision. The end product is always much deeper, interesting and thoughtful.

It is thrilling that technology has made movie making less daunting and I can come from a “what can we try?” perspective. Time permitting, I can build a team and create a bigger Dance Film relatively easily OR I can just make something small all by myself.


Q: What is the best possible way to promote your film when you are on a tight budget?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: I really enjoy getting my films on the festival circuit and then using social media to promote.


Q: When your next film is coming and what is it about?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: I am working on an Installation Dance Film Project, commissioned by Core Dance, https://www.coredance.org/. It is called The Quiet Con•triv•ance. In literary terms, a “contrivance” is something that causes things to happen in a story in a way that does not seem natural or believable. It can also be used as; the use of skill to bring something about or create something, a mechanical device used to make something work more efficiently, a machine or piece of equipment made with skill and cleverness and/ or an artificial arrangement or development.

I am looking at how these definitions apply to the idea of “women’s work”. A human created, artificial arrangement or a contrived construct. In a novel, the level of female multi-tasking and the mountain of daily responsibility would seem unreal, but it is... These quietly assumed, unprocessed & unspoken societal obligations of women, make the world function more efficiently. The home care, child care, chauffeur duties, schedule infrastructure & party planning could be spread evenly across the gender spectrum instead. Not to mention that many women are left behind with the children, don’t have a second adult’s income have to find ways of making money around societies requirements. then there is the pressure of trying not to age...

The plot twist was created at the beginning of time, and today it is taken for granted that the management of all these responsibilities still lay in the hands of modern women. What is the toll these burdens take on the female body & mind. The insidiousness of what women do just to get to the end of each day.


Q: What advice do you want to give to the new and upcoming filmmakers?

Jennifer Scully-Thurston: There is no reason why you shouldn’t make work, and surround yourself with other artists you trust and admire. Just get the ball rolling.

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