Jill Carter on Inspiration and Moviemaking

As a filmmaker you are always looking for inspiration, and it can be found in the most obvious or the strangest of places. I am constantly motivated and inspired by what I see, read and hear.

In short, I am stimulated by the diversity of everyday life and curious about why movie making and viewing is so special. The best answer I can give is that it encompasses all the disciplines of the arts.

Below are examples that draw upon the five elements of film–defined for me as production design, fashion, music, story, and photography–that inspire me.

Jill Carter is Toronto-based filmmaker whose new short, Little Larry, premieres at the Newport Beach Film Festival this month. Her first feature, Nellcott Is My Darling, based on the Golda Fried novel, is in development. Follow her @jillcarter

1. Production design: Angel Dormer

In film the setting can provide clues to characters being portrayed and their lives: be it Colin Firth’s suffocated Duke/King in The King’s Speech, Mark Ruffalo’s laid-back restaurant owner in The Kids Are Alright or Jennifer Lawrence’s fierce family protector in Winter’s Bone. Our impressions of all of these characters are shaped in part by brilliant production design and clear vision. I like Angel Dormer’s New York apartment because it presents a structured yet eclectic and spirited feel. It’s decorated with care but lived in.

2. Fashion: Garance Doré

Garance Doré never fails to inspire with her take on fashion from her honest commentary, her whimsical illustrations to her naturalistic street-style photography. I was particularity drawn to her posting of Costanza Pascolato of Brazilian Vogue. She is obviously a woman who is not afraid to make a statement with dress, at once fashion forward and age appropriate. Again drawing on the theme–you can imagine if you didn’t already know with one glance the type of woman Costanza is and how she might live. Actors often say that once they step into their costume a transformation begins.

3. Music: Armistice

Music plays an essential role in setting the tone of a film. I used Beatrice Martin, aka Coeur de pirate’s, song “Comme Des Enfants” in my film ninety-one. Vapor Music, music supervisors on a number of my films, alerted me to Armistice, Martin’s new collaboration with Jay Malinowski of Bedouin Soundclash. “Mission Bells” is a modern song with an old romantic feel.

4. Story: Five Dials

Five Dials is an online magazine I stumbled across that offers stories from both established and rising stars in the literary world. The key to a successful film is a good story well told. I love to discover debut novels by emerging authors who share my interest in stories that reflect humanity, commonality and connection.

5. Photography: JR

The message found in graffiti artist JR’s Women Are Heroes documentary and its stunning imagery stopped me in my tracks. A visual connection is at the root of every film. You can be moved by the harsh reality of images that are all too real or be lost in the fantasy of a life imagined.