Khalid Seña

“Concrete Rose” (excerpt from short film)

Khalid Seña


What was your first professionally directed work and when was it?
My first professionally directed work was for the School of Visual Arts , I was a student in the MPS (Masters Of Professional Studies) program and back in March I was able to professionally direct my first short Film.

How did you get into directing?
What got me into directing was watching the DVD special features on old movies and listening to the directors commentary on how certain scenes were shot and how long it took. This was my first film school cause it opened my eyes to all the departments on a production that work together to a single work of art.

What is your most recent project?​
My most recent project is Concrete Rose, a story about a recently released ex con named Marcus who has difficulties integrating back into society . IT isn’t until he meets a older woman in a garden that he begins to find some inner peace

What is the best part of being a director?
The best part of being a director is working through the scenes with the actors , I feel like there is a common misconception that a director is there to impose their will on set and I believe in discovering the characters with the actors thus empowering and giving ownership of the story and characters to the actors . As a director I am there to guide and adjust and make sure things flow seamlessly.

What is the worst part of being a director?
The worst part of being a director is time. I fully believe time can’t be your best friend or greatest enemy. More often then not time ends up being your worst enemy because you never have enough of it. Its a whirlwind mad dash but its important to find the peace in the midst of the hurricane.

What is your current career focus: commercials and branded content, television, movies? Do you plan to specialize in a particular genre–comedy, drama, visual effects, etc.?
I would say my current career focus would be to get into any and all forms of content , whether it be branded content, commercials or film and television. If I had to say what genre in particular I would say drama with a sci-fi twist. I would love to be able to tell very human relatable stories with a larger then life setting or backdrop.

Have you a mentor and if so, who is that person (or persons) and what has been the lesson learned from that mentoring which resonates with you?
Someone who I would say really mentored me is Bob Giraldi. Bob Giraldi is a filmmaker, restaurateur and chair of the MPS Directing Program at SVA. I would say a lesson he taught me that sticks with me most is to trust in your instincts, believe in yourself and trust that you can get the job done always.

Who is your favorite director and why?
This is always a hard one for me but a couple of my favorites would be Ryan Coogler, Christopher Nolan, Spike Lee, JJ Abrams and Guillermo del Toro. These are filmmakers who put their personal stamp on everything they direct, no matter what film you can tell it belongs to them because of their distinct visual style .

What is your favorite movie? Your favorite television/online program? Your favorite commercial or branded content?
One of my favorite movies is Watermelon Man directed by the late Melvin Van Peebles. It’s a comedy film where a Black actor plays a white man who wakes up one morning to find that he has turned into a Black man. The film released in 1970 is way ahead of its time and dealt with issues such a race equality in America while packaged in comedic wrapping.

Tell us about your background (i.e., where did you grow up? Past jobs?)
I grew up in the Lower East Side New York City, I love my neighborhood because of the various different ethnicities I was exposed to as a kid. It allowed to me to interact with others from different walks of life and viewpoints different from mine. This is something I carried with me in my previous jobs working as a production assistant on many sets throughout NYC.

How has the pandemic impacted your career, art, craft, shaped your attitudes and reflections on life which in turn may influence your work, approach, spirit, mindset?
Entering the world as a filmmaker has been difficult post pandemic, Getting my film into festivals has been fun but where things get frustrating is getting the facetime as a filmmaker at these festivals. The majority of festivals Concrete Rose has gotten into have been virtual. So while my film has been getting seen all over the country, me as the director and co-writer haven’t gotten any facetime. With everything being virtual you miss those Q and A’s and those mixers to network.


Unaffiliated: Contact Khalid Seña via email