Jessica Silvetti modestly and fluidly transitions from actress to writer to producer, and everything in between. With a rare effortlessness, she brings passion, dedication, and brilliance to every project she sets out to do, in whatever capacity. To celebrate the film “Problem of Evil” (which is currently available for purchase through Yekra, on our site) we bring the other half of Light and Shadow Productions, Jessica Silvetti.
WMM: Where are you from, what is your background, and how do you think that informs what you do as a filmmaker?
JS: I was born in Mexico City and my family is Spanish. I grew up in a household of artists and was exposed to theater and music from the start. English is my second language, so I had to learn to listen and pay close attention from a very young age. I use those skills in my acting.
WMM: When did you know you wanted to pursue your craft as a career? Were you supported in your dreams?
JS: As a kid I’d go watch my aunt perform in theater and on film sets. I knew I wanted to pursue a career in entertainment the first time I stepped on stage and performed a dance number to Michael Jackson’s “Speed Demon”, with my jazz dance class. The applause at the end – that was it for me.
WMM: Did you study anywhere in your field? Where? Any notable stories / experiences / peers / teachers?
JS: I studied Theatre at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. I’m still friends with a lot of my peers. I loved my time at NYU… so many great memories hard to choose one. Loved living in NYC and miss it sometimes.
WMM: What else do you do besides your craft? Day job?
JS: I also write and produce – it is another avenue that allows me the opportunity to do more of what I love: filmmaking and acting. I’ve had other gigs in various aspects of production, including stage managing for theater; I’ve also put my bilingual skills to good use here and there.
WMM: What is the lowest budget you have worked with? Highest?
JS: I think it was $10, on a spoof promo we produced.
WMM: What was your first foray into professional film making/acting? First screening? First show?
JS: My first professional job that got me into SAG, was a Volkswagen commercial in NY.
WMM: What is the most stressful situation you have found yourself in as an artist? Most rewarding? Most memorable?
JS: Our first feature film, “Problem of Evil”.
WMM: What are your current project(s)?
JS: Right now we have two short films in the film festival circuit, one is HAPPY FOR NOTHING which just premieried at the Carmel International Film Festival. Currently, we’re developing an anthology series for the web, as well as a feature length documentary.
WMM: How has WMM influenced / shaped / supported you with this process/project?
JS: WMM has been very supportive of our feature, “Problem of Evil”. The WMM community provides an environment for artists to bring projects at different stages of development, and receive valuable feedback from their peers. It’s great to sit in and listen to what others are working on. It’s an inspiring group of people.
WMM: Who are your biggest influences? (actors … whomever)
JS: My grandfather, Bebu Silvetti, has been one of my greatest influences; he was a musician and composer. The way he approached his craft and life taught me immensely.
WMM: Who are your top 5 actors? What are your top 5 films? Top 5 directors? Books?
JS: FILMS: Cinema Paradiso / Como Agua para Chocolate / The Matrix / Romancing the Stone / Braveheart
ACTORS: Kevin Kline / Meryl Streep / Judy Dench / Robin Wright / Jessica Chastain
DIRECTORS: Alice Guy Blaché / Tim Burton / Coen Brothers / Steven Spielberg / Wes Anderson
LITERATURE: East of Eden / The Great Gatsby / The Alchemist / Memoirs of a Geisha / Shutterbabe
WMM: What is your favorite project you have worked on and why?
JS: Starting our company, Light and Shadow Pictures. This one is still in progress, but the future of this company excites me.
WMM: What would you change if you could, about your career trajectory?
JS: Finding an easier path to get funding to make the projects I’m passionate about.
WMM: Any advice for filmmakers, actors…?
JS: Keep doing it, be open to different opportunities, enjoy it, and don’t forget it’s a business; learn the business.
WMM: What is your favorite thing about WMM?
JS: The people and energy.
WMM: If you were stranded on an island for 6 months, what 5 items would you wish you had on your person?
JS: Matches. A knife. A small fishing net. Blanket. Paper & Pens (can that count as one?).
WMM: If you were not doing what you do now, what would you want to be doing?
JS: I’d be a singer songwriter, who plays the guitar and violin.
WMM: What’s next for you now?
JS: Continuing to develop various projects through Light and Shadow Pictures.
WMM: Describe yourself with 3 adjectives.
JS: Passionate. Persistent. Dedicated.
WMM: What, other than your craft, brings you joy?
JS: My family, friends, my doggy, cooking and dancing.