The Hero’s Journey of Courtney Sell

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

Being an independent Filmmaker, I absolutely love the freedom I have to explore and document so many different subject matters. My career in the filmmaking world has begun to strictly center around the documentary genre in the last few years, so it’s been such a beautiful way to learn more about subject matter and themes I didn’t know much about before. That is a huge benefit to this craft. 

What is my idea of happiness?

When I hear my baby Nieces laugh. 

What is my greatest fear?

As far as I can remember, I have been making films. The idea of not being able to make my work, is most certainly my greatest fear. I can’t think of life without cinema. I can’t imagine a life without my creative drive or imagination. 

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

Maybe I sleep too much. 

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire?

I believe Isabel Sandoval is one of the greatest filmmakers ever and I am absolutely in awe of her and her work. I also think the Documentary Filmmaker and my dear friend Ondi Timoner is one of the greatest in the entire documentary genre. I also deeply and sincerely admire my dear friend, Author Maja D’Aoust for all of her writing, art work, guidance and brilliance.

What is my greatest extravagance?


On what occasion would I lie?

Never. That is a bad habit that one should break immediately. Be truthful always and you’ll be a happier person. 

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

That’s an interesting question. It seems I always like the project I am working on at the moment best and always see faults in my past work, even though I know I’m being too self critical. So perhaps it would be whatever flaw I discover in my previous work. However, this work of being a truly independent filmmaker is a journey and we learn from our mistakes, so I should be easier on myself at times. 

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

When I’m in the process of making a film, I am at my happiest. Nothing can top that joy. 

If I could, what would I change about myself?

Being a perfectionist is pretty difficult to deal with at times. I’d probably try to deal with that first and foremost. 

What is my greatest achievement in work?

That’s probably for the public to decide. I simply enjoy understanding and learning about other peoples stories and journeys. If I make a film that inspires anyone who sees it, that is my greatest achievement. 

Where would I most like to live?

Anywhere where I am with someone I love. 

What is my most treasured possession?

My passport. 

What is my most marked characteristic?


What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Griffith Park in Hollywood. 

What is my favorite place to eat and drink, in my city?

Frolic Room. To eat, anywhere with good pizza. 

What books influenced my life and how?

Demian by Herman Hesse is, to me, the greatest book ever written and taught me so much about life – especially during the formative years of growing up. I even have an Abraxas tattoo on my right arm because of it. Trailer Park by Russell Banks is another huge favorite of mine. The way he was able to connect all the stories of each character together really inspired by writing. 

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

The music of Gesualdo. 

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

Emil Sinclair from “Demian”

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Manly P. Hall, Mitch Horowitz, Maya Deren, Stan Brakhage, Jack Smith, Annie Hardy, George and Mike Kuchar, Agnes Varda, Isabel Sandoval, Meg Myers, Zeena Schreck and so many others. 

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime?

Boy’s Don’t Cry 

What role play stories in my life and work?

My Father’s religious ideas and my spiritual beliefs. 

What do the words ‘You are the storyteller of your own life’ to me?

The words mean nothing to me however I believe that is a true privilege and you should create a story that helps to inspire, educate and enlighten others. That is the responsibility of being a storyteller. 

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Marc Slanger. The best friend someone could ever have. 

Which people or companies would I like to work with?

Factory25, Glass Eye Pix, Gaia TV, Steven Spielberg, David Lynch

What project am I looking forward to work on?

The documentary I am currently in post production on “Breaking the Egregore”. 

Where can you see me or my work?

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

That’s the truth. It doesn’t. Not even after we die. Passionate energy continues on. 

Which creative professionals should Peter invite to tell their story?

Mitch Horowitz, Annie Hardy, Maja D’Aoust, Ondi Timoner

How can you contact me? 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s