SxSW 2021 Interview – METAMORPHISM director Kate Saltel

METAMORPHISM is a short animated experimental film about the tie between metamorphism and humans. Metamorphism is the change in a rock due to heat or pressure. Similar to rocks, humans change due to intense pressure or heat. For humans, these pressures may include family, school, wealth and so forth. I was inspired when recognizing how the pressures in my life have formed me to be who I am today.

Screening as part of the Texas High School Shorts program at SxSW Online, we speak with METAMORPHISM director Kate Saltel.

Welcome to SxSW and congratulations! Is this your first SxSW experience?

This is my first SXSW experience! I am so grateful for this opportunity and honor. I have lived in Austin for around 10 years and have always appreciated what SXSW has done for Austin. I am beyond excited for my film METAMORPHISM to screen at the festival this year. 

How did you first hear about SxSW and wishing to send your project into the festival?

Growing up in Austin, Texas SXSW has always been on my radar. It was so exciting to see my favorite actors, musicians, directors, and celebrities arrive in the city that I lived in. I always fangirled pretty hard. 

Tell me about the idea behind your project and getting it made!

I felt compelled to understand my anxiety disorder and how pressure affected my life while on an RV trip to Lajitas, Texas. In Lajitas, the huge rock structures were explained to me by my rock obsessed sister. 

The rocks made me think about the pressures in my life and how similar to the process of metamorphism, I am constantly changing and forming due to my stresses.

Who are some of your creative inspirations? Any particular filmmaking talent or movie that inspired you for this project?

My creative inspirations are mainly music and photography but a filmmaker that constantly inspires me is Terrence Malick. I envy how he incorporates experimental aspects into his narrative feature work. His cinematography angles have also inspired me to rethink how to use the camera.

How did you put this together from a technical viewpoint? What sort of cameras/lenses did you use and/or did you have any creative challenges in making it?

I first shot the footage of the rocks in Lajitas on a Sony camcorder. I then shot the claymation with a Canon 80d. I first shot the Lajitas footage without the intention of creating an experimental film. But, after wanting to try out claymation, I utilized the footage as a backdrop and driving point for the film.

Being all virtual this year, what do you hope to get out of the virtual SxSW experience? And where is your project going next?

I hope to watch as many films as possible! There are so many great films playing this year that I am so excited about. It is an honor to be included in a lineup with so many talented filmmakers.

What would you suggest to film festivals as a way to show more short films or make them more accessible to audiences across the country?

As a high schooler, I would recommend that more film festivals include a high school category. There are many high schoolers making films and wanting to show them to the world. SXSW is a great example of a film festival highlighting these talented creators. 

If you had one piece of advice to offer someone to get their start as a creator or filmmaker in the industry, what would you suggest?

You don’t need a crew to make a film.

And finally, what is your favourite short film of all time?

THE CUB by Riley Stearns!

This film and many others like it will be showing at the virtual South By Southwest taking place March 16-20th. For more information and to register for the festival, point your browser to!

Leave a Reply