Chelsea Babcock “is a wonderful filmmaker,” said Jatin Setia, executive director of the Twin Cities Film Fest. “She actually used to intern and be one of our festival support [staffers]. Then she moved to L.A. and is doing some great work. It’s always wonderful to bring back, I suppose, a local filmmaker who worked with us and had aspirations of making her own films. We just loved her film, ‘The Cookie Job,’ a short film, and her eye and her direction.”
Tickets for the shorts, playing Saturday at 11:45 a.m. at the ShowPlace Icon theaters at West End in St. Louis Park, may be sold out by the time you read this.
A 2013 Asbury University graduate with a degree in media communications, emphasis: film studies, Babcock decided it was time to chase her dream Feb. 1, 2016. She had informed her mom, former KARE 11 anchor Diana Pierce, that she had booked an Airbnb and was moving to Los Angeles. “Let’s do this,” Pierce said. “I’m driving you out there.”
Babcock tells me she has been working steadily on the sets of a few shows and movies: “Jane the Virgin,” “Station 19,” “Brooklyn 99” “Angie Tribeca” “Baskets” “Arrested Development” “@Midnight with Chris Hardwick” and new release “Bad Times at the El Royale.”
Q: What is it you are trying to do in Hollywood?
A: I’m trying to work my way up in the film and TV industry. I want to produce movies. I’ve got a couple ideas. I want to start a production company someday with the intention of producing the movies I want to make. That, and I still want to work on “Star Wars.” [Snickers] Thirty years from now I want to be a junior Kathleen Kennedy [president of Lucasfilms]. She’s so cool. It really doesn’t hurt that my parents are who they are. [Laughs. Her dad is theater producer Dennis Babcock.] I grew up around a different side of the business. I would go with my mom to work all the time. I’d sit in the chairs at the morning set [which was in studio with the evening news set] and watch my mom on air. This business just makes sense to me.
Q: You don’t want to be on TV?
A: I definitely knew I didn’t want to be a news anchor. I’m not interested in being in front of the camera. I get camera shy and am a little self conscious. My mom’s a pro. I don’t think she gets nervous now. She said the only time she has been super nervous is interviewing Meryl Streep, which I understand. Yeah, Meryl Streep is really cool. I’m much more interested in behind the camera.
Q: You got behind the camera with your short, “The Cookie Job”?
A: I’m so excited. It’s my first short film since college. I wanted to make it because I was just coming off a show that had been canceled [“@Midnight”] so I had some time off and went home for a week. I needed to make something. I came up with the idea and I wrote it and that took maybe a day and a half. I shot it at my sister’s [Bri Hvidsten] house in one day and it was basically just me. My friend Justin Ayd helped me for most of the day but he had a hard out at 8 [p.m. ] because he had work; we didn’t finish until 1:30 [a.m.] It was a fun time. I was happy to share what I do, what I want to do, with my nieces [Kaelyn Hvidsten, 12, and Lauren Hvidsten, 10] in a very low-stakes environment.
Q: Is it normal for the idea to crystallize and be written in a day and a half?
A: For me, yes. It kind of felt like I wasn’t in control of the idea. [Soft laughter] The story took over and suddenly I had a script. It’s only four minutes and I think perfect for a short film. I think a lot of short films are too long. [Laughter]
Q: Name a short film you thought was too long?
A: Oh, any I saw in college. INCLUDING MY OWN! Full disclosure.
Q: Celebrity encounters?
A: (1) Ummm, I did the entire Season 3 of “Baskets.” I was a production assistant [for the show, not Louie Anderson]. When I introduced myself, I said “I’m also from Minnesota and my mom has interviewed you.” He said Who’s your mom? I said “Diana Pierce” and he said Oh, I remember her. (2) My mom and I saw Kanye. We happened to see him at the movie theater; I’m not really into Kanye. People were coming up and getting selfies. Stone-faced, he wasn’t interacting with anybody.
Q: Have you noticed a change post MeToo movement?
A: I don’t have a comparison; I only got out here 2½ years ago. I’ve had situations where something has happened that made me feel awkward and I’ve told somebody about it and it has been immediately taken care of; I feel very blessed to have started my career when I did. I know it wasn’t easy for people before me.
C.J. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and seen on Fox 9’s “Buzz.” E-mailers, please state a subject; “Hello” does not count.