Hello, my name is Selena Leoni, and I am a producer and storyteller from Italy and China. I recently graduated from UCLA's prestigious MFA Producers Program and currently work as an independent producer. I have several projects currently in development and pre-production, and my most recent credits include Wayfarer Studios' feature film Smile or Hug.
The idea for The Follower came from a weird incident that happened when I was living in an apartment building with shared laundry facilities two years ago. After a few months of living there, I began to notice that some items of my clothing have been disappearing. Having just moved to LA with only two suitcases, I was very aware of how many clothes I had. To investigate this mysterious incident, I set up a camera in my room to see if anyone entered when I wasn't home. But I didn't find anything. Eventually, I realized that the only way someone could steal them is when I'm doing my laundry. The whole investigation process and the paranoia this incident provoked inspired The Follower. I wanted to show how easy it is to lose your privacy in this modern world.
The Follower was shoot in one day with a very minimum crew. Because some of the scenes include partial nudity, I decided early on to keep the team small so that the actress would feel comfortable. Although many of us had to multi-tasks because of this decision (for example, I was also the Sound mixer for the shoot), I think in this particular case, having a small team made everything more manageable as we also had a small location.
So far we have received really positive feedback from friends and family, and they are usually surprised by the unexpected twists and turns throughout the film. In the first few minutes, they expected the film to be about a young social media influencer's life. By the mid-point, they thought it's about how famous people are just the same as everyone else. But then they get the unforeseen ending, and that's when they finally get it. Most people state they love the mix of dark comedy and thriller elements in the film, which give it a unique characteristic.
I'm currently in post-production for my first feature film Smile or Hug, by Wayfarer studio and am also in pre-production for one other feature and two shorts set to film later this year. In the future, I hope to work as a television producer and continue to develop globalized character-driven stories that give underrepresented groups a platform and a voice.