Kind, positive and ambitious. Impatient and fun. With these five words actress and film producer Sandra Seeling Lipski describes herself when asking about her character traits. The power woman is the founder of the Evolution Mallorca International Film Festival, an independent film festival that bridges cultures and people. Get to know her better.
About Sandra Seeling Lipski
Sandra Seeling Lipski was born in Berlin and moved to Mallorca with her parents when she was nine years old. Sandra calls the island her home but also lives part-time in Los Angeles. She dedicates herself to acting, filmmaking and directing the Evolution Mallorca Film Festival (EMIFF).
What are your main interests and hobbies?
My main interest are movies and everything that is attached to making them such as story development, writing, production, acting and art. I also love to be outdoors. In Los Angeles, my husband and I go hiking. There are endless trails in incredible nature and stunning views. When time allows I go horseback riding once a week in the Malibu mountains. Furthermore I like to listen to my favorite music and catch up on podcasts, usually interviews with independent filmmakers, actors and comedians. Whereas in Mallorca I do yoga and go running to balance the busy film festival schedule. Yoga by myself ocean front is heaven on earth for me. I don’t know if it qualifies as a hobby, but I meditate every day. For me it has become a necessity because it keeps me centered and helps me stay focused on the positive things.
How did your career as an actress and filmmaker start?
My career as an actress started in 1999 in Mallorca, when I got a role in a German TV show. For about a year I spent half my time on set acting and the other half in school finishing my high school degree. After graduating I moved to New York City to study at the Lee Strasberg Theatre School. I graduated from it with a degree in Theatre/Dramatic Arts and later got a degree in Directing and Film Production from the Los Angeles Film School. I moved there to pursue my acting career. And it was going well but I wasn’t quite happy. I wanted more control, I had ideas and stories I wanted to tell. Thus I went back to film school, studied directing and production and started making my own films. It was a very liberating process.
Why did you found the EMIFF?
I founded the festival to create an annual meeting point for international filmmakers to come and enjoy Mallorca, good independent films and networking. As well as to encourage the production of new films on our beautiful island. Film is a huge part of my life and so is Mallorca. After having been to countless film festivals I noticed that Mallorca didn’t have one. I was surprised and started talking to the local filmmakers. That’s when I saw an opportunity to combine my two passions, film and Mallorca. I did not have a masterplan or anything figured out, I simply thought “Let’s try it and see what happens”. Now after six festivals and deep into preparations for the 7th edition I am so proud of what the EMIFF team has created. The festival is finding its place in the international cultural calendar and attracts more people every year.
What do you love most about your job?
I love connecting with people. EMIFF was created with the core mission to bridge cultures. So to say bring people from different backgrounds together, create a save platform to share stories and ideas. To inspire and learn from each other and ultimately team up to create new projects (films etc.) together. I love it when our audience leaves a movie screening in shock or provoked. When they are inspired to do something new and move out of their comfort zone.
EMIFF itself is a super collaborative entity. The team is small but mighty with people contributing from Mallorca, Berlin, Los Angeles, Toulouse and many more places. It’s an international melting pot of cultures and languages coming together to create an event that has exactly that mission to bridge cultures.
What fascinates you about the cinematographic world?
I’m fascinated by peoples’ stories. I love the universal power movies have to share stories from all around the world. I also love the fact that it’s such a collaborative medium. You can’t make a film by yourself. To find a writer who gets your story, a director who shares your vision, actors who understand the characters…. when it all comes together it’s magic. Then, sharing your story with an audience and seeing their reactions is an incredibly vulnerable process. It’s exhilarating and fun. The chance to impact an audience, inspire them or even change their views on things. For me, that human connection is what it’s all about.
Where do you see yourself in the future?
My goal for EMIFF is to grow our audience, produce innovative and interesting programmes and keep creating excellent networking opportunities for our filmmakers. I want to grow the Evolution! brand. I have so many ideas I want to develop around the film festival. For example the Evolution! Lab, a mentorship programme for screenwriters, directors and producers. Here they could bring their scripts and workshop them for a week with industry professionals (similar to the Sundance Lab that Robert Redford created).
Personally I see myself spending more time in Europe, maybe moving to Berlin and splitting my time between Berlin and Mallorca. I feel that I need to be closer to EMIFF year round. Future plans include making more films and starting a family. I see my husband and I as a nomad family, always travelling, always exploring… I am a citizen of the world but my heart is always in Mallorca.
Photos by Pernilla Danielsson