We are delighted to welcome director Sage Bennett to our roster of directors.
Sage Bennett’s childhood, in New York City, Newburyport, and downtown Chicago, shaped her expansive curiosity, as did her art-obsessed family’s road trips, criss-crossing the USA summer after summer to visit every art museum they could find. This early exposure to visually stunning and unfiltered artwork fuelled her imagination and her need to create. She began to channel this creative energy into short films, music videos and photography from a very young age, developing and honing her style.
She continued to develop her skills through film courses at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Film and Media Arts program at the University of Utah. Sage’s work is emotional, evocative, and taps into universal truths from a feminine perspective. Sage is passionate about using filmmaking as a tool to help us empathise with others we may not otherwise understand.
We had a quick chat with Sage on all things filmmaking:
MindsEye: If you’re meeting someone for the first time, how do you describe what you do?
Sage: I’m a commercial director and photographer. If I was talking to a little kid I would say I make tiny movies and bring ideas to life.
MindsEye: Where do you go for inspiration?
Sage: I find most of my inspiration in my everyday life. When I can take a step back and look at my life as an observer, there is almost always something inspiring. For example, I've been training with my grandma and her ping-pong coach on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. My grandma Kitty, and her coach, Thach, have been training at the same time and place for over 15 years. I felt inspired by their relationship, her dedication to ping pong, and decided to make a short about it. I like to pull inspiration from very specific, seemingly mundane occurrences. This attitude pushes me to look at my life curiously, always finding a new perspective, and finding the beauty in the simple things.
MindsEye: Someone has just discovered your work - where do you suggest they start?
Sage: One of my favorite pieces I've done is a commercial, Sisters. I often create narrative work that centers womxn and that feels down to earth.
MindsEye: Could you tell us what the starting point was for 'Permission To Feel'?
Sage: I listened to a podcast that talked about an exercise where you lie down and repeat out loud “I give myself permission to feel.” I was skeptical at first, but I eventually let go and screamed and cried and laughed for about three hours. It was a very cathartic and powerful experience. I wanted to share the experience in a way that wouldn't scare people away, knowing not everyone is down for a three-hour cry-laugh-scream-session, and my first thought was a film.
MindsEye: Could you tell us something about 'Right to Vote' we wouldn't know by watching it?
Sage: I didn’t know what voice over I wanted over the directors cut when I started editing it, all I knew is that I wanted to say something empowering but also not too cheesy. I went through ted talks, interviews, famous quotes, and eventually came across an interview with Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama that really resonated with me. Michelle states, “understand that what’s in your brain is really useful: do not hide it, don’t dumb it down. Just put it on the table, and let people deal with it.” I reworked the cut to make it fit with that voice over because I loved it so much.
MindsEye: If you could go back in time and visit the set of any film, which would you choose?
Sage: I would go back in time and visit the set of Michel Gondry’s film, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. I’d love to see up close all the clever and playful Lo-fi ways he stretched his creativity to make that film, from the practical effects to the innovative editing.