The Matador Messenger Featured Article

Libby Blood:  Award Winning El Dorado Filmmaker

“I have always loved the movies and being creative.  This is mostly because I grew up in a movie theater, so I was constantly around it.  My dad ran a small chain of movie theaters called Captain Blood’s.  He is the ultimate fan of the movies and opened our eyes, and always supported his kid’s possible futures in cinema,” explained Libby Blood, award-winning filmmaker. 

Libby had always known she loved films and filmmaking. However, she did not decide to act on her love for films until 6th grade, when she found that her middle school, Yorba Linda Middle, did a daily broadcast during second period. She ‘thought it was amazing what kids her age could do, so from then on she was in every film class she could get her hands on.’

When it was time for Libby to attend high school, she decided to go to the school specializing in visual and performing arts, El Dorado High.

“The film program at El Dorado changed my life.  I was in it for four years and tried to take advantage of every opportunity available to me,” explained Libby. At the beginning of Libby’s freshman year, she went to the annual and prestigious Orange County Film Festival.

“When I managed to get nominated and saw what people in high school could do, I was determined to learn as much as I could,” explained Libby. “Mark Switzer and Dave Junker of FilmEdAcademy of the Arts, taught me everything I know and I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and this class.  It was so hands on and personal that it was better than film school itself,“ she continued.

Soon, Libby was honored with 12 awards from Orange County Film Festival over the next 4 years as well as 50 other awards from festivals all over the world. She eventually became a professional film editor just one year out of high school and is working on her own feature film.

In addition, she has her own wedding videography business and is working for Nick Cannon, MTV, Glamour Magazine, and is also a free-lance cinematographer/ editor for Sony Pictures ‘all thanks to her CTE media production class at El Dorado.’ Libby also did free-lance work for Oprah Winfrey’s Network (OWN) while still in her senior year.

Libby’s short film, Lucy, which she created in high school, was accepted into the famous Festival de Cannes in France as well as other festivals in New York, LA, Canada, Poland, Dubai, and South Korea just by word of mouth.

When Libby decided to make, Lucy, Libby and her older sister had been brainstorming about doing something a little ‘whimsical’ and ‘different’. They had taken small inspirations from a couple of student short films and movies they had seen when it came to production design. To watch Lucy click here.To watch the making of Lucy click here.

However, Libby feels that the main spark for the film came from her younger brother Luke. “He is autistic just like Lucy, and I felt the life long friendship and insight I shared with him was important to share,” said Libby.

“Although I owe a lot to my dad for being such an advocate for filmmaking I can’t ignore everyone else in my family.  My mom, dad, brother, and sisters are my biggest supporters and will help me on any project I decide to embark on,” Libby said.

“My high school media teacher and friend, Mark Switzer, was with me for my entire high school career and helped me grow as a filmmaker and person. Him and Dave Junker, my mentor at FilmEdAcademy of the Arts, taught me everything I know and continue to teach me even today.  Their support and critic will stay with me forever. All these people have taught and helped shape me into who I am today and that shows in every project.  They are all my role models,” Libby continued.

Libby feels that her role models and friends she had a pleasure to work with have helped her make her filmmaking career a success, in addition to all the filmmakers she has competed against at film festivals.

These filmmakers ‘helped her push her limits and reach places she didn’t know was possible for a student filmmaker.’ She also feels that younger filmmakers that have come after her ‘have helped her so much by asking questions and making films of their own.'

Libby feels inspired by the student films that she has seen. “It’s incredible what students your age can accomplish and if you are as competitive as I am,  it was a huge inspiration to see where the bar was set and push myself to go above and beyond what I thought I could do in order to raise that bar to the next level.” Libby said.

“As that happened everyone would do the same thing so all of our work got better and better with each project,” Libby continued.

Some of Libby’s favorite storytellers are Charlie Chaplin, James Cameron, Wes Anderson, John Lasseter, Robert Zemeckis, Gore Verbinski, Tom Hooper, and Megan Ellison.

“I love to take inspiration from all kinds of different people and their films and mold it into a story told through my heart.  In the words of one of my favorites, Guillermo Del Toro ‘Every story has already been told before. But what makes your movie original is that this story has never been told by you.’ – spoken at the Harvard Westlake Film Festival in 2011,” said Libby.

To aspiring filmmakers, Libby suggests to keep making and watching films. “At my time at El Dorado and going back and seeing most of the high school and middle school film programs in Orange County, most student filmmakers starting out get stuck on what to make or worrying that it wont be good enough.  Don’t worry about it, just do it. Your first couple of films will suck, I know mine did!” exclaimed Libby.

“It’s all about learning the craft and yourself more.  As each project goes by you will learn SO much more than if you hadn’t done it at all.  If I could go back and do it one more time, I would make a TON more films!” Libby continued.

“Once you have something you are proud of, submit it to as many festivals as you can.  Even if you don’t get in, go to the festivals that really interest you.  It’s so important to learn from other filmmakers your age and older to see what’s out there. Plus meet as many people as you can.  The people you meet at festivals or events might one day help you with your next picture or your first job in the industry.”

Currently, Libby is working at DreamWorks Animation Television and writing a couple of short films, one live action and another stop-motion animation. Her big project at the moment is a present day live action feature film, involving Charlie Chaplin. 

  The Matador Messenger:  Libby Blood Award Winning El Dorado Filmmaker