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

Hi Emma, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. I can show you the door, but only you can walk through it.” When searching for insight into the deeper questions of existence, I regularly turn the magic of cinema. You could say my personal philosophy is a colorful mosaic of all my favorite movies and the authors who inspired them. While studying film in college, I began to discover how the greatest fictional masterpieces could offer the most authentic insights into the trials and tribulations of the human experience. Science fiction and fantasy/adventure have been my favorite genre of films for as long as I can remember. The settings of a sci-fi story – be it film, written, or artwork – allow for endless possibilities when it comes to the point of conflict, characters and the details of the narrative. Regardless of whether the story centers around artificial intelligence (Blade Runner), or a guild of saber-wielding Jedi (Star Wars), the emotions, lessons, and interpersonal conflicts in these stories have guided generations. In the process of combining science with fiction, the creators of these works have been able to capture both the realistic and creative sides of the imagination. One film that has been particularly prolific in terms of philosophy, and its place within the genre of science-fiction, is the Academy Award winning film, The Matrix (1999). Without going into a full analysis and review of this multifaceted film, I would argue that one of the greatest appeals of the film is the way in which it seamlessly transcends the line between science and fiction. One minute you’re following the narrative of an everyday computer hacker, next thing you know he’s jumping over buildings and freezing bullets. “I didn’t say it would be easy,” Morpheus says, “I just said it would be the truth.” Though this film is packed with mind benders, the main message is simple: wake up and live, or stay asleep and surrender control of your destiny. According to the wisdom of Morpheus, in order to “free your mind,” you must let go of fear, doubt, and disbelief,” but never forget, “There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” Morpheus gives the main character Neo a choice, emphasizing that he must be personally accountable in his actions if he truly wants a chance at realizing his potential. The Matrix inspires us all to step outside of our comfort zone and imagine what lies beyond it. Above all, the Matrix is a narrative that is meant to challenge your ways of thinking, and to break out of the molds, patterns and ruts we trap ourselves in. Movies like The Matrix have reassured me throughout my life that each of us possess a great power within us, and the key to unlock it – so long as we are willing to walk through the door.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
For quite some time I have tried to become an “artist of life.” I guess what I mean by that is that I strive to live, breathe, and think in a creative frame of mind. It’s like an itch you can’t scratch, or a bug in your ear. For an artist, the impulse to create is irresistible. It often consumes a great deal of your attention, and some days you wonder why you do it. I think every artist has this unspoken faith in their work, and that many of us follow our intuition to create simply because it feels right. I think many artists use art as a way to figure out who we really are, and what is meaningful in this world. Creating is one part of the reward, but sharing artwork is perhaps the most rewarding for me. Collaboration is a huge part of the craft and it’s fulfilling to be able to help people see a new beauty in themselves. The very process of working with others to bring an idea to life is pure magic. For a brief period of time you are able to step away from the banality of everyday life, into a realm where anything is possible. Photography and film allow us to manipulate reality in a way that often provides greater insight into the meanings of everyday life. One thing I love most about videography and filmmaking is also one of the most daunting tasks: editing. Though the process can be an exhausting one, the process of “finding” the story in a mass of chaos is a rewarding one. I have learned a great deal over the years from my own trials and tribulations with any number of editing project. The longer projects have especially challenged my endurance and organizational skills, but I have certainly become a better editor because of it. Looking back on past projects from when I first started in 2018, I’ve seen a great deal of growth in my shooting and editing skills. Having a diverse array of projects challenges you to be a well-rounded techie who can troubleshoot just about anything. A great final video requires patience, an eye for detail and good communication to ensure that the client, organization, or artist you are working with feels well represented. I am a firm believer that good work will speak for itself, and the greatest reward of all is seeing the impact it has on others. As for the some lessons I’ve learned along the way, one saying that I’ve held near and dear to my heart was a line I heard in a speech at my college orientation: “Keep track of the things you lose track of time doing, because those are the things that are important.” Another thing I greatly value is the input of my family, friends and fellow artists. Before releasing a video or photo, I often share demos and drafts with anyone who will give it a serious look. Whether they offer a small correction or some thoughtful insight, I always take my collaborators’ input very seriously. I believe art is the greatest conduit through which humans can connect. Any photographer or videographer who has done a project that affected their life in a meaningful way knows that being a photographer is a privilege. We are magical beings who get to freeze moments in time, and to capture the essence of our subjects for a brief moment. We create stories that will long outlive us and inspire generations. Film defies space, time and personal boundaries in a way that only film can, and that’s why it’s an important discipline that must be preserved. Film does not simply entertain, it transforms; and our work is never done.

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.
There is no shortage of amazing places to eat, drink and explore in Denver. When my bestie and I are looking to plan a fun weekend or treat ourselves to something a little extra special, we often take a trip to downtown Denver to get a healthy dose of the exciting and colorful energy. One of my favorite places to take newcomers is a well-known local area called “RiNo.” Driving into RiNo, everywhere you look is technicolor street art of a massive scale. E-scooters line the busy street, which is usually bustling with local businesses, brewery enthusiasts and people eating at a variety of restaurants. Sushi-Rama is a fun place for a date night, complete with a sushi conveyor belt that you can help yourself to! Right next door is one of my all time favorite places, The Denver Central Market. Great for lunch, dinner, meats, and seafood, in addition to offering a bakery, coffee shop, and bar, this place truly has it all! The ambience is great for any variety of purposes and caters to a group of people with different tastes. Just up the street from there is an absolute MUST if you have an interest in extraordinary cocktails. The Welton Room has quickly become an online and local sensation since locals discovered their amazing variety of cocktails, including a deliciously balanced cotton candy martini and my personal favorite, a lychee flavored beverage. The bartenders and owners are an absolute delight, and clearly have a passion for what they do, making for an “above and beyond,” night-out experience. Keep heading towards Capitol Hill and you will be in a vibrant part of Denver, with historic music venues such as the Ogden and the Filmore and the amazing 21+ arcade, the 1UP. When looking for a late night snack, Fat Sully’s Pizza and Voodoo Doughnuts reign supreme in this area. Last but not least, if you’re looking to brunch the next day, the local favorites are Pete’s Kitchen and Jelly (RIP Tom’s Diner)! On my own personal list for cool places I would like to visit: Milk Bar’s Acoma St. Project Art Exhibit, and the Denver Selfie Museum! Denver throws some of the nation’s greatest concerts, festivals, shows; Though, sadly, most everything has been put on hold this year due to COVID-19. I have no doubt in my mind that the artistic community will rise stronger than ever after this pandemic, but only if we get the support we need NOW. Look for ways to donate to local venues and artists in need, check out #REDALERT #SAVEOURSTAGES and local websites for more information. www.saveourstages.com

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I am extremely grateful to live in a place such as Fort Collins, where the support and love for art is a huge part of the community. It’s inspiring and humbling to be surrounded by such a diverse group of unique artists with passion, ambition and dedication to their craft. I have been blessed to have had my life touched by so many beautiful souls who helped shape me into the person I am today. One organization that has been incredibly supportive – particularly during these tough times we’ve found ourselves in as of late – is the Bohemian Foundation. The Bohemian Foundation has personally supported me by offering pandemic financial assistance, but they have also done this for countless musicians, artists, and industry workers throughout Colorado. They have gone above and beyond to provide real relief to those whose lifeblood is the creative industry. In addition to providing financial relief, they have also continued to offer engaging, top-of-the-line digital content and resources for artists so that they may continue collaborating and networking. If you are not familiar with the Bohemian Foundation, Washington’s FoCo, The Armory, New West Fest, or the Music District, I highly encourage you to show some love for this amazing organization and offer them your support on social media. They have made a real positive impact in the community and I am eternally grateful for their support of myself and my dear friends who make this community such a cool place to be an artist! For those who are interested, their website can be found here: https://www.bohemianfoundation.org/.

Website: www.interstellarilluminations.com
Instagram: @interstellar_illumimations
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/interstellarilluminations/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/interstellarilluminations
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCUjCzD6OpG7OhPD_5jzv67Q?

Image Credits
All photography credit to Emma Holt at Interstellar Illuminations.

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDenver is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.