- Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?
Yes it was when I had a chance to play around with a video camera and basic editing software and was inspired by Live Visuals and creating atmospheric loops to project in clubs. I had a chance to create some of it and that really draw me into the moving image work. I was already shooting Stills and had ambition to become a Photographer, but I felt this way of expression by using moving images and creating clips are stronger for me. Of course I already loved Cinema at the time, but what I really wanted to do then is moving images combined with music and express emotions through it.
- Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?
I don’t think it is important nowadays. Maybe the environment can be supportive and meeting other people with similar interest can be crucial for some. It really depends. Certainly can be helpful if someone moves to a different country or city and wants to connect with people there. But there are also other ways to do it. It is really hard question, but hence it is so expensive normally it really depends on many factors. It definitely is not the key for success though in my opinion. If someone has no links to the film world or cannot find a link in maybe a film school can help.
- Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?
For me to get started was very hard, to believe that I have talent in visual arts. It came through responses from work I uploaded and some supportive friends. I always had a preference to be a musician and took a while to convince myself that I am actually not bad in Photography and have a very strong interest in Visual Arts, such as paintings and films etc. With Photography I loved street photography, but it was also hard to find ways to take pictures of strangers. That was very difficult. To keep going was also very hard for me and sometimes still is as it is a hard and expensive medium and for me personally it is difficult to also be a business man/ freelancer and keep doing personal work and finding people to work with. I think these hardships partly are coming from living in such an expensive and crazy competitive city as London. So I can only talk about this personal experience of course. Perhaps starting in my case was harder. Discovering the talent/artist in me.
- What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?
To shoot this film was tricky as I had a more ambitious idea then what we managed to do. I actually only wanted to shoot on location for example. However with limitations it became something else and eventually I am very happy with it. I was trying to do a narrative story that is more articulated then how it is in the film, but in post-production I came up with these inner monologues idea, the voices in our head and I think it works very well. It became a very different film from what I first envisioned! It is a good lesson, that for a more articulated vision much more preparation needs to be done and even then there can be problems. Especially when there is no budget.
- What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?
I partly answered this question previously. Working with New Faces models in busy times is always tricky as you might end up someone else then who you wanted originally. It is understandable as if anybody gets a paid jobs then they will do that instead of a low budget film. Also models might be a bit tired or not extremely motivated when they don’t know where the results will eventually go and they are not paid for their efforts, etc. It is obviously can be challenging already, but communication is key and I learn it again and again, that how important it is! I think I resolved many problems with creativity in post-production in this particular case. I was happy with the shots I had, but I am quite a perfectionist that I want to make a better film then the previous one. Which is a good drive, but also a way to drive yourself mad 🙂
On editing it is always a big challenge to achieve a certain look. I think it’s always hard at the beginning and once you have the concept it gets easier. Another surprise was with the music as because of no budget I had to find additional music track and not having a track what I had in mind originally. So I had to motivate or ask more then one musician for their music which was not that hard, but again it is communication the right way. I approached the look of the film in a fetishistic way towards formats used in film and photography, but deliberately make it fake looking as a comment on style over meaning which can be the case in Fashion/Beauty Industry.
- What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?
For me it’s always the hardest choice to “kill your darlings” that I have more good stuff then what I can fit in a film. Cutting is almost always a good idea, but I am still struggling with embracing “less is more”. I think it is a natural fight and part of growing as an artist.
- You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?
Well this is something I need to improve as I write, shoot, direct and edit many of my films. I am not very good in keeping up relationships unfortunately. Partly because of hectic, busy London, partly because of personal things I am trying to improve. I am working on a short film idea now and feels like a good way to keep relationships is to meet regularly and keep up the communication of the journey. Scripted film is a longer journey of course when a producer is involved, but then he/she can also help keeping the team together. In general I don’t think I have found my long term team yet, but working on it!
- What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?
I think it’s a good idea to keep an audience in mind with any art you create. Just feels human thing to do as well. I usually try to make things that I actually would be interested to watch. The good thing with film, that it does go through transformation and feedback on the way, so it is not that isolated process as with some other art forms. Definitely needs a more flexible personality to keep doing it.
- What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?
I gained a lot from film festivals and they actually make a film’s life way longer then social media can ever do. So I am very positive about film festivals! They also validate you as a talent and helps you to keep going. Much recommended. Although I am a bad case of not able to attend many film festivals that I have screened, but it is of course depending on money as so many things. It is always good to show up and network! I think the best way is to communicate about them on Social, support them by tagging and also going physically to them. As a personal relationship can also lead to more screenings and meeting new people is always helpful in filmmaking.
- Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?
I always try to be fresh, but myself at the same time. I don’t like perfection, which can be a trend, but every creator’s journey is different and of course it is important to be able to carry on making films. Classic can help to get more work and to show taste and talent. Fresh and experimental ways can show creativity and openness. I think it’s good to be versatile instead of just sticking to the exact same style and hoping to be discovered as the next Van Gogh. Even David Lynch said he learned a lot from every commercial he did. I agree and can say the same. I think balance is a very good (and hard) thing to achieve.