Moment Invitational | How This Was Shot | Sonora Mindwerl

Sonora Mindwerl's magical short stirred audiences in ways we didn't know were possible. Check out how she shot her film & what ultimately drove her inspiration.

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We launched a film festival dedicated to the mobile creative, “The Moment Invitational”. 11 filmmakers made heartfelt, visually juicy short films with their phones. They each proved you can create incredible work with the devices we use everyday and got to sit down with each filmmaker to learn just how they did it.

Metanoia (n.) the journey of changing one's mind, heart, self, or way of life.

Sonora’s exceptionally intriguing film, “Metanoia”, discovers the metaphor for human discovery outside the everyday mundane. It’s whimsical, exciting, and a sentiment to our heart’s desire. As a fiercely talented woman, Sonora is no doubt the Jane of all trades — infinitely talented amongst multiple areas of artistic design. We were stoked to pick her brain on her creative process and how she was able to tell such a tender story on mobile.


Sonora Mindwerl | How I Shot This
Sonora Mindwerl | How I Shot This

1. The moths played a huge role in your film, what drew you to using that imagery?

I wanted to use them because I was always interested with the way that moths are drawn to light. It seemed like the right kind of symbol to have my character follow on her journey. 

2. How did you go about selecting your locations? 

All of the locations I shot at where places that are around the town I grew up in or places that I found adventuring when I was a teenager- when I myself was in this really lost place in my life I would spend all day driving around back roads just looking for interesting places, just wanting to be moving and finding precious little moments of peace in these beautiful spots. 

3. Does “metanoia” have a specific meaning in your own life? Does this piece reflect any personal emotions or desires?

I actually came across the word “metanoia” on Pinterest, defined as “a journey to change one’s mind, heart, self, or way of life” the idea for the movie came to me before the title, but when I was looking through my lists of interesting words that one fit perfectly. The idea for the film itself I think inevitably ties into my own photography journey - going from a high school valedictorian planning on being a environmental biologist to taking a gap year - moving out and working full time and hating it - to realizing I had to get out and buying a one way ticket to Europe, then traveling mostly alone for 8 weeks and through that (as well becoming friends with Andrew Kearns) I discovered this wonderful alternative path of following my own passion. So I guess this film is a simplified and more symbolic reflection of my own journey. 

4. The contrast in song choices(s) were night and day — what inspired your film’s soundtrack?

I had a rough cut of the film done, and basically I just played different songs while watching through it until I found one that gave me goosebumps when they were out together.

Sonora Mindwerl | How I Shot This
Sonora Mindwerl | How I Shot This

5. Your film holds an exciting, on-the-edge-of-your-seat sort of vibe. What daily tasks during shoot would you do to keep the energy going?

It was pretty easy to keep the energy up mostly since much of the filming consisted of me and my sister jumping in the car and zooming up into the mountains to find spots to shoot, which is always fun. Other than that I kept us well supplied with Guayaki Yerba maté to keep the hype levels strong!

6. Seeing you dive deep into other mediums of art, design, and illustration - what is the one thing that connects all aspects of your visual storytelling?

What connects them all - at least I hope - is a combination of unusual ideas and concepts paired with my own unique style of creation and illustration. I have a pretty strong tendency toward botanical and natural imagery as well as a love for powerful, interesting female characters in my artwork etc.  

7. Who do you find as the most important or influential person in your field right now and why?

This is a hard one, because I am part of a lot of fields and can’t really consider myself belonging to just the photography world or just the art world or just the Instagram world. In my personal world, the people that always inspire me the most are the ones who are really in tune with themselves and their own growth in their art, whatever that may be. Andrew is always a huge inspiration for me. 

8. When you feel creatively drained, what do you do? How do you stay fresh?

Travel and Nature are my go to’s whenever I feel really drained. As I write this I’m in Peru, at the end of a 17 week (mostly solo) journey around South America, which came about because of a deep stagnation of my creative process. Travel is the thing I can always go back to re-ignite that creative fire, and otherwise I try to get out in nature as much as possible, as well as keeping other creative bright shining people in my close circle of friends. 

9. How has filming on your smartphone impacted your work for Moment’s Invitational? Do you expect to more of people’s use of  accessible technologies, like phones, in this industry?

I absolutely loved filming on the smartphone. The moment lenses and the rest of the gear elevated the iPhone filming to such a polished and professional level, I think it’s really a game changer in terms of what can be done in the filming industry - and in terms of who can do it! You no longer need expensive camera equipment to have your work be considered on a professional level, I think it really opens the door to a lot more people! 

Sonora Mindwerl | How I Shot This
Sonora Mindwerl | How I Shot This

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