We had the good fortune of connecting with Ella Vance and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Ella, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Risks are vital in the pursuit of any dream. It is human nature to enjoy feeling comfortable and safe, and there is certainly an inherent fear in the unknown. But prioritizing that comfort over opportunities for growth is when I find myself getting stuck. It’s a constant internal struggle that is so easily triggered by bouts of perfectionism or self doubt, but I have never once regretted taking a risk, especially when that risk presents an opportunity that aligns with my goals as an artist. It is easy to only think of the big risks, but I think the daily practice of taking small risks is where the true change lies. A small risk with enormous benefits is sharing work with others. It is a small but hugely significant way to see the way my work can move people and although I’m usually anxiously awaiting feedback or scanning the expressions of the audience, I am overwhelmed with validation and am filled with inspiration just seeing the way an audience engages with my film. It is incredibly rewarding and fills me with the confidence and drive for the next project.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Growing up with immigrant parents, I learned early on that time with the people you love can be fleeting. With the majority of my extended family thousands of miles away, our immediate family unit became a precious haven. It was my two sisters, my parents and I against the world. We missed years of each others’ lives trying to make up as many special moments and holidays as we could in the few weeks we had together every 3-4 years. Because of this, some of the most special moments of my life became ephemeral vignettes. When I finally got to see the people I loved so dearly, I tried to burn every tiny moment into my memory: the touch of a hand, the way she plays with her hair when she reads, how the light hits his eyes when he laughs. It was vivid and intimate, a warehouse full of memories available to recall when the real thing was too far away.

This is how I’ve always made films. These tiny moments, these dreamlike memories became my way of seeing the world. I hold onto very specific images, sometimes the most seemingly insignificant pieces and I feel their power to tell not only my truths, but human truths. Universal feelings transcribed into images. Synesthesia is when you see music, I’m not sure if there’s a word for when you see feelings, but that’s how I feel when I make films.

My early experimentation with moving images, helped me to discover the unique connection between film and dreams. The oneiric quality of film remains its most magnetic draw, and has been a reoccurring style in both the subject matter and aesthetic of my work. Film is a medium that allows us to transcend reality both as viewers and creators, which spurred in me an overwhelming desire to represent suppressed perspectives and challenge traditional viewpoints.

My creative process starts with a feeling that transforms into an image and develops into a story. I embrace the fluidity of creative energy to make room for spontaneity and experimentation, but my loyalty is always to the original feeling: a blueprint for each film to blossom from and a guidepost for each phase of development. I love working with a fearless creative team and strong actors, partnerships that inevitably reveal an even greater beauty from the new and unique perspectives they offer to the vision. Through all creative collaboration, I see clearly what honors the vision and what doesn’t fully align. As director, I see it as my responsibility to make those discernments confidently while still providing space for that creative collaboration, where so much of the magic happens.

I want to create work that focuses on the reflective nature of the human experience and the complex interplay between our outer and inner worlds. Film is a medium that allows us to transcend reality both as viewers and creators. In my work I try to take advantage of the omniscient quality of film, making visual space for thoughts, dreams, and feelings. As I continue to grow as a director and filmmaker, I want to reveal and build upon the interior worlds of complex characters to help people uncover hidden parts of themselves and create deeper connections to the world around them. In the divided world we live in, art that drives empathy and focuses on our shared human experiences is more important than ever. In writing and directing thoughtful, character driven stories, I hope to move people and incite change, no matter how small.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Crema is hands down my favorite place for coffee and breakfast. Not only is the coffee delicious, I’m addicted to their homemade granola bars. They also have the most magical back patio, the perfect place to sip coffee and write or work on something creative.

For a fancy dinner out I’d have to say El Five has the best paella I’ve probably ever had. Combine that with a high end cocktail and sweeping city views, you can’t go wrong. The Work and Class chef counter is also one of the best places to eat in the cit.y. Super fresh and unique shareable plates with a few added treats from the chef!

In the relatively short time it has been open in Denver, Meow Wolf has become an institution in the arts and culture scene. It is definitely top of the list when anyone comes to visit. Nothing like exploring a full world from many different imaginations for some creative inspiration. As adults we don’t have opportunities to play enough, Meow Wolf is that opportunity.

River is a relatively new art bar in RiNo, featuring work from many artists around the community. It’s such a cool environment to have a drink and mingle with other artists. They also have great events and unique drink specials… combine that with great art, what more can you ask for a fun night out?

If you love an exotic snack you HAVE to check out It’s A Bodega on South Broadway. They have snacks and drinks from all over the world for a great price.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My grandmother, Joanne Rowe has always been my inspiration as a filmmaker. She was out there making films long before it was an accepted profession for women, yet with six children she somehow found time to blaze a trail for women filmmakers in Australia. She taught my sisters and I all the ins and outs of filmmaking on a Hi-8 camcorder. From honing in on a vision, to screenwriting, to framing a shot, to editing… it felt like she had taught us a new language that we could then use to bring the worlds from our imaginations to life. The freedom of creating something from nothing but a strong vision was a feeling that stayed with me throughout my childhood and adolescence. I have Joey to thank for the defining inspiration that sticks with me in my filmmaking to this day.

Website: https://www.ellavancefilm.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ellavancefilm/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ellavance/

Image Credits
All the film stills were directed by me. Set photos were mostly taken by my husband on cell phone / no credit needed.

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