The Heart of Heart On: A chat w/ Elisia Mirabelli

Posted by Stacie Ant, May 15, 2017
Heart On

Meet Elisia Mirabelli, the founder of Heart On - a screening series that celebrates the works of female filmmakers and artists.
PS - We're super excited to have a Heart On party, EARTH ANGEL, in the Drake Underground on May 22nd! Join us for an evening of film and art fashioned by a posse of heavenly babes whose work is nothing short of magic. Get your tickets in advance!


What is your background in arts?

I graduated from Ryerson’s Film program in 2012 (sometimes I lie and say 2014) with a focus on directing and production design. I worked with a team of collaborators, co-directing a couple shorts after graduating and currently work as a set-designer when I’m not dreaming up ideas for films or Heart On.

Heart On

How did Heart On come to be? Where did the idea come from?

I don’t want to use this question as a therapy session and run on for too long, but Heart On was born during a time when I was feeling pretty down. I was at a standstill in my own creative endeavors and was feeling immune to new ideas and inspirations. The best thing to do when you’re feeling shitty is to leave your house and the last thing I wanted to do was go to a film event. I have great admiration for the filmmaking community in Toronto but I personally feel very isolated at their events. It’s intimidating and I was sick of answering questions like ‘so, what cha working on?’ and usually leave feeling shitty. Most often than not, they’re a sausage fest, bring out the same crowd, and the programming is like week old bread.

I forced myself out of bed one evening and attended a Rookie event with my friend (and Heart On’s backbone) Miriam and we were both totally taken aback by the atmosphere. The room was full of women I’d never seen before, sitting cross-legged on the floor chatting feverishly about their favorite books, art and films. The whole evening felt like that rush you get when the credits of a film that you were living in fully for an hour and a half pop up. It was such a high.

Immediately after that I knew we had to try and replicate that experience of sisterhood, playfulness and balls-out joy for the arts in Toronto’s film community.

Heart On

What is the focus of your events? What can one expect from a Heart On party?

Our events are a mix between a film screening and a gallery exhibition. We want to bring those two worlds together with the hope that visual artists and filmmakers collaborate and cross mediums together. So! Our evening starts out with a pop-up gallery showcasing the work of six female-identified visual artists, in varying practices, continues with a surprise of sorts (in the past we’ve had cheerleaders from the Toronto Cheer Athletic Squad, opera and blues singers) and concludes with our film presentation, always female directed and always a new release.

Every event feels like a party we’re throwing for our best friends. It’s a celebration. We infuse our venues with site-specific installations, pump out a super sweet playlist and pack the night with a ton of surprises. You won’t regret leaving your room for a Heart On event!

Heart On

How do you select participants and featured artists?

A mix of things. My sister Adria’s an artist so she’s an incredible resource when putting together our posse of visual artists. Instagram is a God send, DM'ing people is my religion. Word of mouth is wonderful. With each event we throw, more and more people are recommending their friends or shooting us cold-emails. With our film programming, we scan festival lineups, check in on directors we love and screen work by our friends. This show is pretty selfishly programmed; it’s everything we’re dying to see.

Heart On

What can we expect at Earth Angel on May 22nd?
Earth Angel is a love letter to the women who move us, whose art we fucking praise, whose work lift our feet up off the ground.

We’ll be showcasing the work of artists Lily Watson, Maddie Alexander, Courtney Gee, Carly Hunt, Chantelle Blagrove and my sis, Adria Mirabelli. These ladies all work in different mediums but their pieces all share an incomparable sense of vulnerability and fearlessness. Bringing them together is a dream.

We’re thrilled (and still kind of in shock) to be screening a selection of short films from Refinery 29’s radical ‘Shatterbox Anthology’ with films by Chloë Sevigny, Jessica Dimmock and Anu Valia.

Toronto native, Alicia Harris, will be screening her short film, Maybe If It Were a Nice Room. Alicia is a director we’ve been lightly stalking since we caught her thesis film at Ryerson so we’re #blessed to present her latest film.

Heart On

What’s next for Heart On?
We are super excited to usher in our second year of programming with the launch of our workshops which will help provide women with the knowledge, confidence and tools they need to produce their own work. Aimed at demystifying the practice of filmmaking, our series of intimate discussions, q&a’s and classes unite female-identified creatives with professional filmmakers, screenwriters, actors, producers and production designers.

We strive to minimize the space between a film and their audience, an artist’s work and its viewer. We want our guests to feel inspired to create their own work and become artists whose work we’ll feature at future events. It’s kinda like a beautiful little circle of creativity. Inspire, educate, nurture, create, inspire.

Posted in: Art

Tags: art  film  heart on