Discovering Encuentrate

Sundance season has kicked off 2012 for the independent film world but CinemATL is looking ahead with a local production that will be making noise in the near future.

Encuentrate is a film about a young woman, Anais, who alienates herself from her family, her culture and her grandfather’s spiritual teachings because of issues she has with her mother. However, The death of her grandfather brings her face to face with everything she ran away from resulting in Anais discovering a secret.
Michelle Rivera-Huckaby wrote and produced this short film in Georgia and Jessica Imoto Harney served as Co-Producer on the project.
I was able to speak with both of them about their project. 


Michelle Rivera-Huckaby

 What made you want to make this film?

I've wanted to write a screenplay for a while and officially said it out loud in April 2009, a couple of months after my youngest was born. I had been a single mother for 10 years, got married and had another baby. Became super domesticated and felt like I was forgetting my dreams which I hear many mothers/wives can relate to. So I started planning time to write a screenplay and outlined tons of ideas until the one that hit closest to home stood out to me.

 How long have you been planning to make this project?

I first started planning about 12 years ago but was overwhelmed with 2 jobs, raising twins with only my mom's help so I put it aside and put my family first.  In April of 2009, I made the decision to make a go at it but it wasn't until late Aug./Sept. of 2009 that I really started a timeline and working with someone to hold me accountable so from that time until we actually shot it - I'd say a couple of months shy of 2 years of actual planning. 

 You reached out to many mentors during this process, how did that impact the project?

In so many ways - from length it should be (short or feature), to financing, hiring the right crew, direct it or be in it, when it was shot as it was originally planned to be shot early 2011 as opposed to late July of 2011. 

What are you plans for Encuentrate?

To do the 2012 film festival circuit and win in our category at an Oscar qualifying festival and also be an inspiration to people. I'm a woman who grew up in Brooklyn, NY with all the odds against her and everyone was quick to remind me of that when I was pregnant with twins at 19 (sophmore in college) and all I ever heard even after having the twins was how I wouldn't get anywhere and I look back and can only count my blessings.  I want to inspire my children and set an example that there is nothing they can't do. I want to inspire young people who don't feel they are entitled to be great. I want to inspire single mothers who are so overwhelmed that they just want to give up. I want to inspire wives/mothers who have dreams but think they can't purse them because they give everything they have to their household.  I can only hope that Encuentrate will be the beginning and allow me to share with and inspire others.

What was the most challenging aspect of making the film?

There were a lot of challenges but I think the biggest one was funding the project. We created an indiegogo campaign and raised some funds but not even close to what we needed and even going to family and friends was difficult because you got to see who really believed in you but it also made me stop and ask myself do I believe in this that much and without hesitation we plowed forward.

Do you have plans for any new projects? 

Yes, currently working on a few things: a feature which I hope to have in pre-production by the Fall of this year, a comedy series and a drama.

Jessica Imoto Harney

Tell me a little bit about your production company Captain Crazy. What projects other than Encuentrate have you been involved with?

In 2011 we also helped produce "Altered", a horror film by Kely McClung, shot primarily in Chicago , IL and the infamous Gary , IN (a location all filmmakers should use). We worked on Dave Quay's "Night on the Lam", a handful of Atlanta artist's music videos, Sam Carter's "Good Grief Suicide Hotline", and an assortment of other Atlanta based productions.  We definitely stay busy helping friends and peers in the community create their projects in any aspect possible because we love doing matter what. Viva Indie Filmmaking!!

What brought you to the project?
Michelle's go-getter personality and work ethic! Michelle contacted me looking for a Director of Photography, but through discussion we realized I would ultimately take a larger role in the production of "Encúentrate" and actually co-produce the film. So I brought in the Crazy crew, with limits, and we collaborated with a fun lil' crew imported from Puerto Rico to help create Michelle's vision. It was an awesome experience... AND I learned lots of Spanish! Ultimately working with Michelle Rivera-Huckaby has been one of the best decisions of 2011, and we're already starting to conspire her next project together.


What’s your take on the film scene in Atlanta ?

We're... growing. In a productive way. It's exciting to see so many people collaborating to share stories and entertainment. Because of the nature of our community, so many of us can actually call each other 'filmmakers' instead of 'a singular union created role'... and I think that's awesome advantage we have here in Atlanta . Ultimately, I have high hopes for our future, AND with the growth of the Atlanta Film Festival, we're really making huge steps in having everyone take us seriously as a community and as an industry of professionals. 

What do you have on tap in terms of future projects?

In 2012 we'll be focusing a lot of our energy on, our interactive magazine that shares stories of Atlanta filmmakers, musicians, and artists of all mediums. is lead by my awesome brother Ace and Captain Crazy TV helps out with creating visual content for all our articles. As a non-profit organization, we strive to help spread word of the Atlanta scene and inspire our readers to get out there and experience their lives to the fullest. We're like cyber hippies minus the petruli.


To learn more about the film, please visit the film’s website here: