We had the good fortune of connecting with Asher Jelinsky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Asher, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
Risk is an inherent part of the film industry and filmmaking process. There is always some level of uncertainty when trying to get a project off the ground and striving to create a film that resonates. Films would not exist without risk. As a writer/director, the risk is worth it when I have a deep inner drive to tell the story. This drive sustains and motivates me when projects inevitably run into obstacles. I like to be as prepared as possible, and I also welcome the unexpected revelations that can come in the face of risk. Some of the most beautiful moments on set arise out of great challenges as long as you’re willing to stay present. Unpredictability can be terrifying, but there are ways to mitigate risk in prep and approach obstacles as opportunities to grow. To me, directing is about communicating a clarity of vision, but also being willing to recognize when something isn’t working and pivot toward a more authentic choice.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a writer/director, I am drawn to nuanced, character driven stories. I tend to gravitate toward protagonists who are outsiders in some way; people grappling with breaking free of societal expectations. I’m also interested in stories about characters desperately trying to connect who end up missing each other despite good intentions. Stylistically, I love exploring what’s communicating through silences, what characters are too afraid to say out loud or don’t know how to articulate. I’m currently developing my first feature, a coming-of-age love story about a young nonbinary person who falls for an older transman. The project recently received the SFFILM Rainin Grant, and I’m working on polishing the script.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I love Trails Cafe in Griffith Park; their scones are amazing. There are so many great places to hike in Southern California as well. I’ve been making a point of escaping the city (or my apartment these days during Covid) and heading to Angeles National Forest, Malibu Creek State Park, or Joshua Tree.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
So many! I’d like to give a special shout out to Omer Ben-Shachar, Shu Zhu, Angela Chen, and Robert Aguirre who have offered great advice and feedback on my projects in the early stages of development. Getting notes from trusted friends and fellow artists has been incredibly valuable.