Showcase Filmmaker Spotlight: Kenny Wooten
By Travis Trew, Programming Manager
Maryland-born filmmaker Kenny Wooten attended UArts to pursue an interest in film as well as the urban environment of Philly. Among his latest works is It’s Time To Get Lost, which follows sister and brother Teresa and Anthony as they go on a journey to return a valuable postcard.
PFS: Teresa and Anthony both show off their personalities over the course of It’s Time To Get Lost. Everything from the color scheme of their clothing to the way they move shows how different the two are. How did you use production design and costuming to capture the look and feel in the film?
KW: I knew from the beginning that production design would be the biggest part of this project. I worked with a designer to fine-tune the look and feel of the characters and locations. Anthony represents the average person whereas Teresa represents a person who is heavily inspired by retro themes and 80s culture.
PFS: What were you looking for when casting, and what traits did your actors Briana and Dominic Gause bring that stood out to you the most?
KW: Teresa was inspired by my sister, Kyndra. So finding somebody who I felt had a similar personality and a kind of unique charm was difficult. When I met Briana, I had complete confidence that she would be able to portray my sister in this film. The character of Anthony didn’t evolve until we had already shot multiple scenes. We thought it would add to the story if Teresa had a partner for the journey. Dominic, Briana’s actual brother, was interested in being apart of the film and their natural chemistry made filming much easier.
PFS: How did your experience and connections at UArts influence the direction of your work?
KW: The professors at UArts were crucial to the success of this film. They teach that a good story and a strong creative process are far more important than fancy equipment and elaborate scripts. I took that advice and just made a film. The hardest part was letting go of the pressure I put on myself. Everything was shot in Philadelphia or just outside the city. Philly has great locations and hidden gems everywhere you look which made location scouting easier.
PFS: It’s Time To Get Lost was completed during your senior year. Do you have plans to stay in Philly or take your work anywhere else?
KW: After graduation, I decided to move back to Maryland. I love Philly and I am extremely grateful to have lived there. My plan is to save money, buy a lot of equipment, do freelance projects, and continue to make short films. I’ll definitely be back in Philly often for projects and to see my friends.
PFS: Are there any elements from It’s Time To Get Lost that you hope to carry over into future projects?
KW: With each film I make, I learn so much about myself and my process. In the future, I want to keep that low-pressure mentality and just create. The other element that I have been practicing and will continue to do is creating a fun environment. Making films is super fun! Too often we make filmmaking so serious that the fun gets taken out of it. I never want that to happen. I find that when the cast and crew are having fun that the film feels fun.
PFS: Do you have any other recent projects or projects in the works?
KW: I do. I have been asked to work on a documentary on busking in Philadelphia. It should be finished later this winter. As far as personal films go, I have tons of ideas. I have been enjoying a short break before I get back into directing another film. I need to save up a budget for my next project, but I can’t wait to create again.
It’s Time To Get Lost will be screening on Thursday, August 8 at the Roxy Theater as part of Philly Film Showcase, an exhibition supporting new work by talented, up-and-coming local filmmakers.