INTERVIEW WITH Barbara Becker Holstein - FILMMAKER

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In private practice in Long Branch, New Jersey, as a licensed psychologist, I'm also deeply immersed in filmmaking. In the last four years I have made a series of selfie film, based on one nameless 'girl' as we watch her come of age with different problems and solutions as she moves through her teens. These films are based on my two books: The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween and Secrets, Diary of a Gutsy Teen. An innovator in film work, I have made a specialty of combining smart phone technology with conventional film crews. I'm thrilled to add to the film work not only a new way of asking actors to act, but also being able to share psychological wisdom and education with audiences via good drama.

Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a filmmaker? 

 

I started out as an elementary school teacher. I went back for my Doctorate in Education and then became a learning consultant, then a school psychologist and then a clinician in private practice with my husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein. Four years ago I had the chance to make a short film based on one of the books I have written for girls: The Truth, Diary of a Gutsy Tween. The film 'The Truth, A Short Film' ended up being the turning point in my career. I was so happy making the film and so thrilled with the results. I knew my life was entering a new stage as a filmmaker! 


Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker? 


I've always enjoyed films and found myself mesmerized again and again. But what really inspired me were not typical films but the 'Selfies' that one could now do a smart phone. Suddenly, it seemed like what I had waited for all my life was here. Now anyone could make a video! When I asked Cassidy Terracciano to make her own videos of each of the 18 scenes in 'The Truth, A Short Film' using my script and directions as the base, I was amazed to see what a teen given freedom in developing a character could produce. I knew I was on the cusp of something very new in filmmaking and that eventually selfies as film would be another angle of art form in film making. 


Who is your biggest influence? 


My biggest influence has been the two teen girls, Cassidy and Megan Brown who have been my stars in my selfie films. They have proved to me again and again that if you give kids a chance amazing art can be created. 


What were some of the challenges you had to face in making your films? 


At first my films were criticized by some film festivals for not always having the best lighting or sound control. I was very saddened that they didn't understand what I was doing to bring coming of age issues into films that had depth and meaning and could be so valuable as educational and psychological experiences. I think my press releases, website: Selfiesasfilm.com, my major website: Enchantedself.com and other efforts to explain my films have been successful. My films have been selected or won awards at over 80 festivals and competitions as of now. I'm so excited ! 


Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite? 


A combination of Selfie filming on smart phones, by the actors and/or crew/ combined with crews using traditional cameras. 


What’s your all-time favorite movie and why? 

  

Probably 'The Man Who Knew Too Much'. Hitchcock was a genius. I loved this film, saw it twice and never forgot the excitement I felt watching it. 

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If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be? 


Stephen Spielberg 


Tell us something most people don't know about you. 


Magic fascinates me. I saw a magician cut up someone's tie and then give him back his tie in perfect shape. How did he do that? 


The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career. 


My dad Dr. Harry A. Becker, who passed away, but always believed in me. I just wish he could have seen my films. I know he would be pleased. 


What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker? 


It's a learning curve. Be gracious about it. 


Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either? 


I think the hardest thing is finding a way to bring my films to the public. That's where the discouragement can set. So for me, I had to conquer not taking personally disappointments and just to keep going. I even started doing Podcasts to make people aware of what I am doing with psychology and filmmaking. 


What keeps you motivated? 


All the plots in my head and the excitement of bringing characters to life that have such important messages to share! I get a rush of emotion that stimulates and humbles me as I see what I and the cast, crew, producer, editor create! 

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How has your style evolved? 


I'm more sure of myself as I realize I can bring all of my skills as an educator and psychologist and author into this knew amazing setting! 


On set, the most important thing is: 


Manners, staying good natured, and cheering everyone on. 


The project(s) you’re most proud of: 

  

I'm really equally proud of all my Selfie films. That said, I fell in love with two of them, they are: 'Falling in Love, A Coming of Age, Selfie Film' and its companion film: 'Secrets, A Coming of Age, Selfie Film'. And of course I am thrilled with my latest film, 'Truth can be Stranger Than Fiction, A Coming of Age, Selfie Film'. 


The most challenging project you worked on. And why? 


'The Truth, A Short Film' as I didn't know anything about film work and only the thrill that one actress, and one camera person were willing to work with me, kept me going in the beginning. 


What are your short term and long term career goals? 


My short term goal is my next film: 'Life is Complicated' in which the girl in the last few films is now in her 30's in a bad marriage and it is her selfies that help her remember her true self and to have the courage to work on her marriage. My long term career goal is to continue filmmaking into the sunset of my life! Also continue writing the books that will often be the backbone of the films. 


Your next projects? 


As mentioned above 


Please share with us where people can find you on social media, so our readers could keep track of your career 


Barbara.Holstein@gmail.com, enchantedself.com selfiesasfilm.com thetruthforgirls.com on Facebook: Barbara Becker Holstein Instagram: Enchantedself twitter: drbholstein