Young Guns 17: Sandra Winther
By Brett McKenzie Posted on Nov 04, 2019
Shining a light on the amazing class of Young Guns 17
What happens when you take a jury of 60+ respected creatives, more than 500 entries from all over the globe, and mix them all together for two months of serious consideration, debate and decision-making? Eventually you get the winners of Young Guns 17! This year, The One Club for Creativity is honoring a creatively diverse class of 28 winners, including animators, designers, photographers, illustrators, film directors and editors, all of whom came out of this process as true champions of their craft.
Ahead of the Young Guns 17 Ceremony + Party taking place on November 20, we are featuring the various superstars who will be taking the stage that evening.
New York, NY
First of all, congratulations! Now how did you first discover Young Guns?
I first heard about Young Guns as a film student at Copenhagen University. At the time, I would've never imagined I'd ever be in a place to win, so this is pretty cool.
You're winning Young Guns on your first attempt. What made you decide to finally give it a go?
I was talking to some friends in the industry who were submitting their applications. It reminded me that this was my last shot before turning 30, and so I got my application together just before the deadline. I'm really happy that I did.
Which of the projects that you entered is your personal favorite and why?
That would be 'Lowland Kids', a short documentary about the last two teenagers on a sinking island in Louisiana. From the production itself to the positive reception it's had at festivals, it's been a blast. I'm grateful for the team that helped me make it, and I feel honored to have given the chance to tell this story. The film made me discover things about myself as a filmmaker, and it's made me surer than ever, of where I want to go next.
One of the highlights of entering Young Guns is the ability to submit passion projects alongside professional ones. I understand you took advantage of this...
'Lowland Kids' and 'Shadow of a Hurricane' are two passion projects that deal with U.S. communities living with the effects of climate change — a topic that has always been important to me, and with our current political climate, more relevant than ever. I'd say the reason why I made them was out of love, for these places and the people. I wanted to capture that resilience and spirit that I was so struck by, and I hope I succeeded.
What was it like to discover that you won YG17?
I was very happy! I called my boyfriend Emmett who said: "I have no idea what a Young Gun is, but if you say it's cool then it's cool."
How would you describe your creative style?
I think my style is born out of my interests — a deep fascination with the youth and their struggles, themes of identity and belonging. I aim to always have a rich layer of story in anything I do, yet the cinematography should never falter. It's a fine balance between realness and beauty, and I'm developing the language further on every project.
What is your favorite tool when it comes to making what you do, something you’d feel naked without?
I need lots of pockets in my clothes when on-set. I'm notorious for losing my shot list, script, camera, phone, pens and so forth, so I've learned to just have enough pockets for everything, and multiple copies... that kind of works.
What do you do when you hit a creative wall, when you are stuck for ideas and solutions?
As a commercial director, it's easy to get caught up in just shooting and shooting, which is great. Yet I've learned, especially this last year, that taking time off can inspire ideas you'd never thought of otherwise. I try to surf whenever I can, that really helps me. And I try to spend as much time in Puerto Rico as possible, which I consider my little safe place.
Who are some of the biggest influences on your work and career?
There are lots of influences around me at every given moment, but it changes all the time. I watch a lot of movies. Girlhood by Céline Sciamma, American Honey by Andrea Arnold, Moonlight by Barry Jenkins, Florida Project by Sean Baker, the recent Waves by Trey Edward Shults. Those are some modern films whose storytelling and social commentary really got me.
Name a creative dream that you have yet to fulfill.
In terms of commercials, there are a lot of athletes that I look up to and have yet to work with. If we're talking filmmaking as a whole, making movies, of course!
Any final thoughts for the Young Guns community?
WORDS FROM THE JURY
“Sandra juxtaposes the intimacy of a documentary with an artful and painterly direction through her moving images. Her work is truthful, compelling and human. She shows confidence in her ability to tell a story with a contemporary lens while still maintaining an emotional core making her work creatively powerful.”
Partner & Creative Director
The Young Guns 17 Ceremony & Party takes place on Thursday, November 20 in New York City.