Short Film Fatales: Once Witchy and Bitchy Actresses, Hart and Thiessen Sit in the Director’s Chair

“But what I really want to do is direct!” You’ve heard the Hollywood cliché before, from everyone from the A-list actor waxing to Premiere magazine to the waiter grinding pepper on your salad at the Ivy. But only a handful of the folks who’ve uttered that phrase have the talent, the skill, the contacts and, frankly, the chutzpah it takes to step behind the camera and commit their vision to celluloid…and even fewer of them are women.

But this year actresses Tiffani Thiessen and Melissa Joan Hart individually marshaled their talents, called in all their contacts and figured out the financial to make their dream projects happen, and the result were two entries in September’s 2005 Palm Springs Short Film Festival from the famous faces. Melissa‘s 15-minute short Mute is a darkly humorous tale of sibling rivalry in which a jilted younger sister (played by MHJ’s sib Emily) plots to disrupt the wedding of her older sibling to her former suitor.

Meanwhile, Tiffani‘s 22-minute film Just Pray tells the tale of a young boy wise beyond his years dealing with the realities of life in the rural South–Tiffani‘s project was so well-received it won second place in the category of Best Live Action Film Over 15 Minutes. caught each of the lovely ladies in the land of the hot springs and learned exactly how and why they moved behind the camera (and don’t worry-neither one of the talented beauties has totally given up acting).

From Teen Witch to Hitchcock? Melissa Joan Hart Directs a Darkly Funny Short Film

by Scott Huver
Melissa Joan Hart You’re a filmmaker now! What was the inspiration or spark that got you on that track?
Hart: “I have always been told in everything I’ve ever acted in, ‘When are you going to direct?’ I guess that’s because I’m kind of bossy on the set. On Clarissa, I had directors showing me how to make shot lists and they’d let me call the shots sometimes. I’d go up to the booth, and since it was video, I’d get to do all the snapping and cutting to this or that camera and all that sort of stuff. It was fun and I enjoyed it. Then I did the movie Drive Me Crazy for Fox back and I remember the director saying, ‘When you direct, I want to be an extra in it.’ About a year later they let me have a shot at Sabrina and of course I called everyone that had said that to me and asked, ‘Do you want to come and be an extra?’ (Read full interview) Tiffany Thiessen

90210 Vixen Tiffani Thiessen Goes From Short Skirts to Short Films

by Scott Huver
How exciting is it to get your film Just Pray out there and finally have people see it in the theater?
Thiessen: “The first time was really quite amazing–to have an audience react to it for me and [screenwriter] Dean [Johnson]. To see it come to life on the big screen first of all, and then to have people react to certain scenes and the characters and the writing for Dean–that is the most rewarding aspect of it. We’ve been at eight festivals and it just doesn’t get old at all. It’s different being behind the camera…” (Read full interview)