One of our continually favorite aspects of the film fest is the Queer Youth Media Project hosted by the Austin School of Film. Students from all backgrounds and lifestyles participate in not only the shooting of a short film but also in the producing, casting, editing: the whole shebang. The aspiring young filmmakers trudge out in the Texas heat and shoot amazingly crafted scenes that are put together in ways we are ever-so-proud of! One such filmmaker last year crafted an outstanding short more focused on the B in LGBT, an area of the spectrum that doesn’t always get the attention it deserves (see it here!). Every year we’re constantly amazed by the creativity and standards these youths continue to raise and we are eagerly biting our nails with anticipation over what to view this year! To help celebrate our 28th year, we reached out and were incredibly lucky to land local Austinite Janet Jensen as our instructor for the camp. Janet is a film professional and pretty rad girl that isn’t afraid to do the heavy lifting on sets, show those boys who’s boss. I was absolutely thrilled to take some time to get to know Janet and I would be remiss if I didn’t share a little more about our instructor!
How did you first start getting involved in film?
I shot and directed a film with my friends right after graduating from UT. The trailer from that movie got me a job at the Hallmark Channel in LA.
What was your first exposure to LGBT / Queer cinema?
The first queer movie I remember seeing was Personal Best with Mariel Hemingway.
You’re filmography is very impressive dude! What was one of your favorite sets to work on or people to work with?
My favorite set was definitely Tree of Life because of Terrance Malick’s unique approach to filmmaking. It was like no other set I’ve ever been on!
Does it bother you that the position is called best boy and not best girl?
I like that this best boy is a girl!
As we enter our 28th year, we want to ensure this year’s QYMP is absolutely awesome. What are you anticipating changing up, if anything, to make these kids really dig being involved in film?
I am going to focus on homemade/DIT/one-man-band sort of filmmaking. I think very often people don’t produce their ideas because of limited funds and resources, so I want to show the kids they can make great movies by themselves!
On a scale of 1 to throwing glitter in the air, how excited are you to be the instructor this year? ‘Cause we know we’re excited to have ya!
Super excited and looking greatly foreword to it!
I noticed you just wrapped on what appears to be your first big directing gig Formerly Known As. What inspired you to follow the transitions of several local Austinites and how was that experience getting to document so much emotion and change?
It was an amazing experience. I feel blessed that my subjects opened their lives and experiences up to me to document. I learned a lot and met some amazing and brave people.
And lastly, being from Austin I have to ask: favorite taco?
Migas on corn!
Spoken like a true Austinite Janet! We are beyond thrilled to have such a fun and qualified instructor and cannot wait to see the amazing work these kids do!