Carol Brandt: Filmmaker

My NativeAdVantage:


A Wisconsin native, Carol Brandt wrote and directed her first feature, Things Found on the Ground, at the age of 20. The film had its world premiere at the New Orleans Film Festival in 2013. Her fourth feature, Pet Names, premiered at the 2018 SXSW Film Festival. Sheri Linden has compared Brandt's work to Kelly Reinhardt in Her off-center, minimalist approach to narrative.

What do I do best?

I organize. Be it plot points, props, locations, emails, paperwork, most production logistics, I love putting things in order. As a kid I would organize my legos by color and size. I am fastidious to a fault. It comes in handy on set though!

What makes me the best version of myself?

I wouldn’t call myself a workaholic per se, but I am the best version of me when working. Creating new things and doing labor make me feel like a whole person. When I feel like a whole person, I am a better human to those around me. It’s been a challenge to have the ‘off’ periods, where the calendar is finally clear and my brain is whizzing at 1,000 miles per hour. Then I have to try a lot harder to be a better version of me.

What are my aspirations?

My aspirations are simple. I want to make movies for a long time. I want a cozy home to come back to when I need to unwind. I want good friends and good food and laughter over tables to be something I encounter often.

My Biggest Success?

I’ve been asking people that I think are stereotypically successful what they think their version of success is, and all of their answers have been different. They range from ‘having a group of people around you you can trust’, to ‘being close to family’, to ‘the act of making films’, to ‘security.’

My biggest success, I think, has been the ability to call myself a filmmaker without needing to apologize to myself or anyone for using the term.

My Most Challenging Moment?

I feel like I’m in the middle of a few of those challenging moments right now. Trying to find the right path. Figuring out which road will take me to the place where I’ll be able to continue making work without alienating those I love. So… right now!

My Motto?

Keep your head down and do your work. Be nice to people.

My Favorite People/Role Models?

Kelly Reichardt. I want to be her. She is such a genius.

My favorite person is someone who picks up something someone dropped and gives it back to them. I wish the world was full of those people.

My Favorite Places/Destinations?

My favorite place on earth is the Badlands National Park in South Dakota. It is alien, quiet, serene, and my happy place.

My Favorite Products/Objects?

I have bluetooth headphones that cancel out all noise. They are a godsend and my favorite items to put on my head.

My Current Passions?

I love doing menial tasks while listening to true crime podcasts. I used to have a job where I would paint murals at a petting zoo and listen to music or audio books all day while painting in the sun. It was paradise.