When did Alan Mehanna start film-making? Ask his parents, and you might hear stories of making short films on an old VHS Camcorder as a child. “I think I’d always to a certain degree known that I wanted to tell stories visually.” However, Alan didn’t start taking it seriously until joining a film-making class during junior year of high school. “I directed my first one-minute horror film and fell hopelessly in love with the craft.” he says. From there, it was “a mix of watching a lot of Behind the Scenes Featurettes on DVD’s and actually going to film school.” that taught him what he knows today.
Alan grew up watching films with his parents. He recalls the classic hand-drawn Disney animations, and films such as Gone with the Wind as being some of his biggest sources of inspiration. Mehanna tells us his favorite genre is Drama. “As a writer, I am drawn to character driven stories, and no genre does it better.” Though, he has grown to love and admire Science Fiction.
Bedsheets & Cigarettes is his second short film. However, this isn’t his first time having a film screened. His first film, One Last Stand, was screened at Cannes Short Film Corner in 2009. It was also awarded Travolta Family Inspiration Award from the Sunscreen Film Festival the same year. Mahenna says his biggest obstacle has been staying true to himself and his voice – something he feels all artists are challenged with throughout their careers. Although, Bedsheets & Cigarettes was a project that he believes has steered him in the right direction.
“I screened Bedsheets & Cigarettes during one of my screenwriting courses,” he says, “and once the film ended one of my students who normally is quite talkative and participates, fell very silent.” She later told him that the film helped show her that she is not alone and thanked him for it. “This for me is worth a million awards.” His advice for anyone who is getting into film-making: never allow your voice to be silenced. “This industry is becoming so much harder…” he tells us. “You have to want it badly enough…” When asked for any last words he’d like to share during our interview, he had this to say:
“We are living in very trying times, and as filmmakers we have the power to give people hope and remind them that the only thing that matters in this world is Love. That is what I tried to do when I wrote Bedsheets & Cigarettes.”
You can follow him on Instagram and Vimeo via @alanmehannaofficial, or view his website: www.alanmehanna.com
See Bedsheets & Cigarettes at Cosmic Film Festival