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Cut Short Interview with Jaanelle Yee

Saturday, November 30, 2019 | Short Films

Jaanelle Yee’s short film Sell Your Body takes a well-known tale and mixes it up a bit by having us follow the villain.  What’s more, she really messes with us by making us kinda want to root for her.  In today’s Cut Short interview, I get a bit of insight from Yee about what made her take this particular approach to the story and how things came together the way that they did.

You lean into a particular urban legend for Sell Your Body.  What attracted you to that particular story?
Mythology is always my inspiration. Anything from ancient Greek legends or an urban legend I heard in fourth grade.

You’ve written a story that is pretty twisted yet very sweet.  Did you always have that balance in mind?
Nope! First draft was darker, but the couple were flat characters. In fleshing them out and giving them inner worlds for the protagonist to glimpse, the sweetness came out.

Nadira Foster-Williams is amazing in this film.  Did you always have her in mind for the role?
No, we met in the auditions.

If you had the technical ability, how much money would someone need to offer you to harvest a stranger’s kidney?
The exact budget for a feature film.

What made you get into film making?
Music videos. 

Who (or what) is your biggest influence in film and why?
I look up to Jen & Sylvia Soska’s work and take every word of their advice.

What’s your favorite movie?
Jurassic Park.

What are some underlooked films that you think more people should see?
Short films! Recent faves are Agent of the Month and Short Cut.

What scares you the most?
The size of the universe.

What scares other people that doesn’t scare you?
Open sea.

Up next, Yee is working on her follow-up short film, Sweet Erebus, a sentimental horror story about being comforted by the dark. For updates follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Bryan Christopher