Story is everything: Susan Johnston and New Media Film Festival
Telling a story is a big deal. But it’s how you tell the story that truly affects how people respond to it. Susan Johnston has learned how to tell a story across multiple mediums, so it’s no surprise she brought them all together for the New Media Film Festival.
Looking at the life Johnston has lived as an actress, producer, model, musician, and tech whiz kid, all she’s done is tell stories. From an early age, she picked up on the power words had, spoken and unspoken. A marital dispute between her parents she witnessed as a toddler was one of her first lessons on the power of words.
Front and center from day one
Maybe it was just fate, but when Johnston was flung into the spotlight during a school play, when her prop she hid behind fell and she had to expose herself to the audience. To her relief, the flower falling and her reaction had everyone laughing and that set her off on a journey to be a performer.
Upgrading to beauty pageants and a magazine and TV model, Johnston and her mother helped her work her way into the world of performing. Not only that, but she continued to inspire her creativity with trips to live theater shows whenever they could.
But as high school raged on, Johnston lost her mother at 16, and her support that came with it. Supporting herself through her remaining high school years, she learned how to weather any storm coming her way.
Getting dad and friends’ attention
On the other end, her father was a promoter, getting some small, indie artists like Bruce Springsteen, Robert Redford, Joe Frasier, and Richard Chamberlain in his vicinity. Johnston spoke with these talented artists about anything and everything, even getting an insider’s look at the industry.
Springsteen, Redford, and Chamberlain in particular really helped her shape her vision of the future, giving her a truthful look at the industry. Of note, Springsteen warned her of the “lonely path ahead”, reminding her to keep those close to her tight.
In 2000, right amid the commercial actors strike, Johnston took the dive and moved to the city of stars. Taking any job under the sun, Johnston worked to refine her skills and learn how to do a little bit of everything. In her words, “I’m not going to ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself.”
Once the WGA strike of 2007 hit, Johnston knew she had to do something to make a difference. Going to bed one night, she thought of what she could bring to the table to help the community she’s identified herself with for years. The next morning, the New Media Film Festival was born.
Inspiring change in every medium
Combining her technological expertise, her business prowess, and her positive outlook, Johnston created the New Media Film Festival, right at a time when new media still wasn’t vocabulary people were familiar with. Bringing new, emerging technology together with inspiring stories, Johnston pushed filmmakers to their max with these new pieces of art.
Between screening a film created by AI, a music video collection pitched as an episodic series, and distributing micro content, Johnston has accomplished a lot just with the festival. Add on getting an Italian knighthood for her work with the arts, and it’s clear she’s a king among royalty.
When you submit your work to the New Media Film Festival, a true champion of the arts is watching over you. No matter what opportunity you’re seeking, Johnston will help you connect with those who will push your work in the right direction. The 2021 film festival will be held June 2nd and 3rd in LA, and submissions are open now on FilmFreeway.