Jilann was recently interviewed by Dan Schneider for Cosmoetica.com. Dan interviews artists and thinkers of our time. In these excerpts, get insight into Jilann and Hank's documentary filmmaking process and Jilann's philosophies on the medium.
DS: In the last few years I have discovered a bevy of young and beginning documentary filmmakers that I believe are deserving of and in need of greater exposure for their often neglected art form. With this in mind, this DSI is with not only a film director, but a film producer named Jilann Spitzmiller. I discovered her work when I picked up a DVD copy of her and her director husband Hank Rogerson's 2006 BBC documentary film Shakespeare Behind Bars. Before I go into more detail on that film, and forthcoming documentaries or feature films, let me first welcome you, Jilann, and give you an opportunity to tell the readers a bit more about yourself: who you are, what you've done in your life, what your goals are (and if you feel you've achieved them), and also your place in the film world, etc.
JS: Thank you so much for this opportunity for deep reflection. It comes at a really fortuitous time in my life.
I am basically an artist, and always have been. The media I'm working in change, shift, evolve, but storytelling is always at the core of my work, whether it is writing, web site creation, painting or filmmaking. Another thing that is always at the core of my work, whether I was conscious of it or not, is spiritual exploration. Looking back, all the stories I've elected to tell (most of them with Hank), involve a deep level of searching for the human connection to a higher power and a questioning of what that means to us and how it impacts us. And I'm not talking religious or organized spirituality. And it might not be obvious on the surface, but it is a guiding force in my work.
As for achieving goals, I think that's a "constantly shifting sand", to quote Ben Steinfeld from our new film in the works, STILL DREAMING. I experienced a dark night of the soul recently, when confronted with some health issues, and from that darkness, I gained a lot of clarity about some immediate future goals, and hopefully the big picture of where I might be going as a filmmaker/artist. Luckily, the health issues have resolved, but the clarity has remained.