Published on February 22nd, 2019 | by Biz Books

Crazy8s2019: Director Spotlight – Nessa Aref is pleased to support Crazy8s2019.

In this interview, we talked to Nessa Aref about writing and directing this year’s Crazy8s film, The Mirror.


Can you tell us about how the idea for your film came to be and what your creative process was like in making it come to life?

The story began as antidote to the cynical messaging I received as a teenager; that friendship is trivial and finite. That everyone grows up, moves away, and forgets about you. So The Mirror became a love letter to the enduring friendships I’ve had with the women around me, a story of flawed young people learning and growing with one another, even when our biggest fears push us to try to run and hide. I wrote and developed the idea with my writing partner Alysson Hall, and we’ve been friends since we were 6 years old, so our friendship and our shared experiences over the last 22 years really influenced the story and style.

What was the most memorable moment for you in the Crazy8s process?

Working with our amazing cast and crew. Everything we do is on a voluntary basis and all these wonderful, talented people donate their time and their years of experience to make your film come to life. Everyone’s generosity really blew me away.

What would your advice be for filmmakers considering Crazy8s?

Remember you have 3 days to film your story, and then 4 days for the post process. It’s a great chance to challenge yourself artistically but build your project with those parameters in mind. And put together a solid team as soon as you can, crewing up is half of prep.

When pitching, remember it’s your job to clearly communicate your vision. Figure out the best way to do that. I lean heavily on layers and layers of references, visual or otherwise to paint a picture of what I hope to achieve.

What books would be valuable for a filmmaker to have read before participating in Crazy8s?

Totally depends on the filmmaker. I didn’t go to film school – I’ve mostly learnt while working on the job in the film industry for the past 5 years or on my own projects. I’d advise figuring out your personal weak spots and reading up on those areas.

Creativity Inc (by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull) has really influenced my development/writing process and I’m reading In The Blink of An Eye (by Walter Murch) next.  But again – it’s not just about “film books”. My degree is in anthropology so I draw much of my approach to the collaborative approach to production and storytelling from what I learned there.

I’d suggest figuring out your personal strengths, even if they’re unconventional and embrace them, and then fill in the gaps.

What other projects are you working on and where can we find out more about you?

In April I’m shooting  “Decomposing”  short dark comedy written by Jillian Buchanan about 4 friends who find a decomposing body in the woods while on an annual hike. After that I’m developing “Human Resources” a a modern noir series Alysson and I wrote about an HR rep at a Tech firm who stumbles across evidence of a serial killer. It was originally written and shortlisted for The Sundance New Voices Lab. Lots of fun stuff ahead 🙂

You can find me on Twitter or Instagram @nessingabout or on my website


Thanks to Nessa Aref for speaking with us!

You can check out The Mirror and the rest of the Crazy8s films on February 23rd as part of the Crazy8s2019 gala.

For more information, please visit

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