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Fri Feb 25, 2022 – 7:30 pm | Bagels & More
Sat Feb 26, 2022 – 5:00 pm | Bagels & More

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Directed by Justin Johnson
Narrative Short
USA | 6 min | 2019

Mittens is the heartfelt journey of a pair of red mittens, created by grandmother and gifted to granddaughter.

“Manasanamaha” roughly translates to ‘Salutations to the mind’ in Sanskrit. The film is an ode to the process of making memories and how they define our perspective. In order to communicate this to the audience, I chose to narrate this story in the first person perspective over the usual third person perspective. Of course it would be biased, but I felt it would also make it more human, full of errors and emotions.

When I started visualizing the film, I wanted it to have its own language, be it the structure, compositions, colours, cinematography, editing or even the narrative. A lot of work went into the cinematographic and sound editing techniques to evoke the sense of nostalgia the character feels while reminiscing. Use of a custom-made helmet rig for the POV shots helped set the tone, as did the fluid watercolour shots to bookend the different chapters of the story.

The idea at the heart of this film is that the endings of love stories can be happy or sad but the beginnings are always happy. With this in mind, I decided to literally narrate a story in backwards to end it on a happy note.

Mittens - poster

Mittens - Justin JohnsonJustin Johnson

After discovering his passion for movies, Justin decided to attend UW Oshkosh and major in Radio-TV-Film where his theories on filmmaking and storytelling were further developed. He believes it’s character, our understanding of them, our empathy for them, that elicits an emotion. And it’s emotion that keeps us watching and makes it linger in our minds.

He has a passion for storytelling and the foundation of effective storytelling, character, whether it be a living, breathing person or a fictional creation. Delivering a story that entertains, moves, educates, or informs is incredibly rewarding. Justin loves studying, examining, and participating in that process.

Film Information

Director: Justin Johnson
Country: USA
Year: 2019
Language: English
Runtime: 6 min.
Rated: G


Producers:  Joseph Lefeber, Amanda Lefeber, Justin Johnson
Director of Photography: Joseph Lefeber
Editor: Justin Johnson
Music By: David Obaniyi
Key Cast: Gretta Kumrow, Joey Larsen

Connect With This Film

BIFF - Beloit International Film Festival
BIFF | Beloit International Film Festival