Meet the Filmmakers: Amanda E.K. & Jesse Livingston, “Second Surface”

Q: Why did you become a filmmaker?
AMANDA: As a synesthete, I’m drawn to filmmaking because it gives me an opportunity to express my cross-sensory experiences in ways that aren’t possible to convey in writing alone. I love how so many different artistic elements come together in filmmaking.
JESSE: I’ve been obsessed with movies for years. The entire process is fascinating to me. When we were kids, my brother and I would make short films using our stuffed animals.

Q: What are we going to see at the EFP? Has it screened elsewhere and what are your plans for it?
AMANDA: Our first short film, Second Surface, will be screening at the EFP. This will be its first live screening. We’ve been submitting it to local and international film fests.
JESSE: Second Surface is a surreal journey through a dreamlike landscape inspired by Maya Deren’s Meshes of the Afternoon. During the pandemic we needed something we could shoot outdoors with as few actors as possible, so we wrote a story in which a character’s environment mirrors their interior journey.

Q: What else are you working on?
AMANDA: I have four more episodes of The Pandemic in Pollyville web series in the works (of 14 total; Episode 1: The Supermarket screened at EFP last July), as well as a TV show I’m writing and pitching with Jesse. Individually, I’m also pitching a memoir about the impact of growing up in evangelical purity culture, promoting my queer erotica short story collection, and offering one-on-one creative coaching & Reiki sessions.
JESSE: The TV series we’re writing is called Hazelwood. It’s a supernatural mystery inspired by Amanda’s hometown of Storm Lake, Iowa. Other than that, I’m always working on music with The Far Stairs.

Q: Tell us one weird thing about you and/or your movies?
AMANDA: The diary featured in Second Surface was my actual diary from the year 2000, which is filled with a lot of tragic-comic commentary on my life in fundamentalist evangelical Christianity.
JESSE: The mirror we used in Second Surface came from my childhood home. I used to pretend it was a doorway to another world.

Q: Where can people go to find out more about you and your work?
AMANDA: Check out my website AmandaEKwriter.com, or find me on instagram @amanda.ek.writer and @glasscactus_prods. You can watch all of our films on our Glass Cactus YouTube channel.
JESSE: You can check out thefarstairs.com/jesse-livingston to see my previous film projects, music, and writing.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to say about The Emerging Filmmakers Project?
AMANDA: I’m excited to get to know other local filmmakers via the EFP as I seek to expand my community of like-minded creatives.
JESSE: I’m grateful that there are people in Denver who care about film this much and put their energy into spotlighting new talent. Thanks for all your hard work!

Second Surface will screen during The Emerging Filmmakers Project 20th Anniversary Celebration on Thursday, June 16th, 2022 at The Bug Theatre.