100 Creatives

100 Creatives 2014: Courtney Sandifer, Filmmaker, Actor, Writer

What She Does: It might actually be easier to list what Courtney Sandifer doesn't do. The short answer is that she makes films, but the long answer is that she has been involved in damn near every aspect of filmmaking you could possibly imagine. Houston horror fans will probably know her best as the producer of The Haunted Trailer, but her IMDB page reads like she never sleeps. She's been a producer, a writer, a director, an actress, worked make-up, managed locations, props... see what I mean? She does everything but craft services, and probably only because no one asked.

She's also a documentarian, and her latest film in definitely outside the box. Called, So, My Mom Is an Armwrestler, the movie follows Sandifer's mom, who inexplicably took up arm-wrestling when Sandifer was in high school. Her mother even ended up traveling to Russia in 1999 to become a World Champion. After a 13-year hiatus she took up the sport again, and Sandifer is looking to celebrate her mother's talents on film.

Also be on the look out for Kids vs. Zombies, a film she wrote for her own two kids. It's about a brother and sister who work with their friends to save their parents and town from a bunch of strangely infected, green-gooey zombies. Sandifer is in discussions with a former cast member from The Walking Dead to play a major role, and plans to make some casting announcements early this summer. She's a busy lady.

Why She Likes It: "As a producer, I really love helping colleagues bring their visions to life. Finding just the right people and resources to pull something off - it's like the ultimate problem solving exercise. I love a challenge, and that's the name of the game in producing low-budget indie movies!

Writing/directing on the other hand, is the part of me that has been around since I was a little girl. I am a storyteller. It's cathartic, and a way to connect with the world around me. When someone reads or watches something I wrote, and they tear up or laugh (in the appropriate places), it's the best feeling in the world. It's darn near a spiritual experience watching your movie with an audience."

What Inspires Her: Sabdifer draws from all the world around her for her inspirations, but family is one of the biggest. She's a big admirer of Robert Rodriguez and his producer Elizabeth Avellan. Her biggest hero is Michelle Mower, who wrote/produced/directed The Preacher's Mistress. Sandifer says she's a wonderful person to learn from and an asset to Houston filmmaking.

If Not This, Then What: "Well, technically I don't work full-time only in the film industry. I have a 'day job', too, like most indie filmmakers I know. I actually studied social services and non-profit management in my bachelor's and master's degrees, and I still dream of running a big non-profit organization someday. If I can do both - make movies and run a successful non-profit- I will find a way."

If Not Here, Then Where: Sandifer loves Houston and so do her kids. She doesn't really have any plans to leave, but she is glad to see her home state of Louisiana starting to really build a great film industry. If she had to go she would probably head to Shreveport or New Orleans.

What's Next: You mean besides a documentary and a light-hearted zombie flick aimed at kids? OK, well, Sandifer is preparing for the official release of The Haunted Trailer, and is helping Chuck Norfolk finish for his tribute to '80s horror movies, Getting Schooled. That one should be available later this year. She also got a short film coming up based on her own life that focuses on a family dealing with autism.

More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page). Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer

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Jef Rouner (not cis, he/him) is a contributing writer who covers politics, pop culture, social justice, video games, and online behavior. He is often a professional annoyance to the ignorant and hurtful.
Contact: Jef Rouner