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COVER: MARIKA KRAJNIEWSKA (HUNGER, POLAND, 2015)

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Contents 04

Cannes Film Festival...…………. Nour Wazzi’s Up On The Roof

13

The Power of Imagination …….. Julie Bohem’s fairy tales

20

The Holomodor on screen…..…… Marika Krajniewska’s Hunger

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42

As The Days Went By……….……. The world of Filipa Ruiz

50

London Film School’s talents.…. Christine Sherwood’s Lashes

58

Cinemakers meets FAMU……….. Viktoria Rampal Dzurenko

60

Cinema meets Dance……………… Jennifer Drotz Ruhn’s Tofino

Offscreen I…………………………… Wazzi/Ruhn. Part I

35

68

The Revenge of S16mm…..………. Interview with Sally F. Barleycorn

Offscreen. New Directors……….... Barleycorn/Sheerwood. Part II


04

Nour Wazzi

A selection of short films from the prestigious French festival


review

Inspired by true events, is a story about Marcus, a 12-year-old kid who’s been abandoned by his mother and left with his hardnosed grandfather. Resigned to hiding out on a rooftop, Marcus’s life takes a turn when Trish, a girl he’s always liked, comes looking for his help. I was immediately drawn to this story of innocence lost. These kids emulate a youthful feeling of joy and a carefree view of the world but beneath it all they are riddled with so much heartache, fear and disappointment. This character-driven narrative took inspiration from the poetic and existential ideas of Italian cinema, and Bertolucci in particular, who was focused on the individuality of people dealing with changes in their lives and no straightforward solution. Even though these kids are both in difficult situations, I was adamant to capture a certain lightness of spirit. This was achieved with subtle and nuanced performances from Michael Matias (who I discovered in the west end play ‘The Bodyguard) and Maisie Williams (‘Game of Thrones’), and a decision to use dramatic close-ups sparingly. The music’s intricacy which represents Marcus’s journey and the light-handed touch of the bouzouki’s plucked strings, complimented by the fluid style of shooting were also key in setting the desired tone. When Trish spontaneously arrives, Marcus’s world immediately becomes more whimsical, graceful and dreamlike. Reflecting Marcus’ seemingly carefree existence, the rooftop is a character in itself, symbolizing tranquility and a sense of being on top of the world. In contrast, when we follow Marcus to his granddad's shabby flat the look and feel of the film shifts. Illuminated by discreet shafts of light, the flat is dark, dusty and neglected – as if frozen in time. Tension builds as it is revealed that Trish’s boyfriend Darren and his crew are looking for Marcus. My intention was to move away from typical heavy-handed depictions and

Interview•by•Yasmine Mahet (France) cinemakers // 11


openspace


Nour Wazzi Cinematographic majesty within the everyday disheartening stories about council estate youths in the UK – at its core is a bittersweet tale of love between two neglected kids. The film aims to capture something of the poetry and charm in life and relationships. It strikes a balance between the lyrical and the gritty, interweaving moments of stillness with the spontaneity and disarray of youth.

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CRAMMED WITH GRACE AND INVENTIVENESS,

Little did I know life had other plans for me, and when I moved to London in 2003 everything changed for me. The first time I directed a film, it's like everything finally made sense. Bringing stories to life brought me to life. I'd finally found my calling. Up on the Roof is a rare example of true film poetry, a work of astonishing intimacy and tenderness. Can you tell us what attracted you to this particular story?

UP At the time I was on the hunt for a thriller or science fiction ROOF IS A BRILLIANT FILM THAT COMES story as that is direction I intend to be going in the features and TV shows I'm developing as a producer/director. I was AT THE VIEWER IN A TORRENT OF BEAUTIFUL , NOSTALGIC introduced to the writer at a friend's birthday and he pitched FEELING. ESCHEWING ANY DIRECT APPEALS me the story based on TO SENTIMENTALITY, NOUR WAZZI IMBUES “One of the main things I love about his experiences as a THE FILM WITH AN ASTONISHING VERITÉ anamorphic in a character-driven film is youth worker. It was QUALITY REMINESCENT OF S HARUNAS that you use much longer lenses than you only when I read the B ARTAS ' S EARLY WORK . M OVING IN ITS would use in a spherical format, and that script and the• subtleties SIMPLICITY AND GRITTY IN ITS TEXTURES, UP gives you more control of the background.” embedded within that I something touched me ON THE ROOF DISCOVERS CINEMATOGRAPHIC and I saw the true potential of the story. I think what drew MAJESTY AND MYSTERY WITHIN THE EVERYDAY. NOUR, WHAT to me in was approaching the loss of innocence in a delicate INSPIRED YOU TO EXPRESS YOURSELF IN THIS MEDIUM? and graceful manner, seen through the lens of a young boy who is in love with an older girl in an abusive relationship. Thank you for the beautiful words about my short, I'm very touched and humbled. I have always loved film - from birth Based on real stories, these kids live in• difficult situations my mother would put me in front of the TV screen behind a with absent parents and take on so much responsibility at couch to distract me from the sounds of the bombs and such a• young age. It’s sad and terrifying but I wanted to bullets outside. I grew up as a film addict and as a result steer away from typical dark depictions of council estate had a vivid imagination and loved telling stories. As a kid I youths in the UK.• I• have always wanted to tell a story used to direct my friends in little plays we'd perform to our through a child’s eyes and there is something deeply families. At the time I had no idea you could actually do this profound about• their seemingly carefree existence that is for a living, and while I wrote short stories in my free time, in fact riddled with so much pain and disappointment. I I grew up believing I'd become a surgeon or biochemist and could• immediately visualise how I would be able to translate do something worthy with my life like find a cure for cancer! ON THE


Up On The Roof

that dualism on the screen to create a perceptive• and compelling film that does not try to be preachy or melodramatic. Ultimately, I wanted the film to capture something of the poetry and charm in life and relationships - striking a balance between the• lyrical and the gritty, interweaving moments of stillness with the spontaneity and disarray of youth. The plot of Up on the Roof is simple, yet the implications of its characters’ emotions are profound. How did you develop the script of your film? Throughout development, it was always about• subtly; i.e. less is more. I believe in showing not telling. The film’s strength lies in its inference,• where we load moments that we’re also• throwing away.• Through nuanced performances, I wanted the film• to come alive in the powerful moments• the characters share with each other.

Michael Matias and Maisie Williams (from ‘Game of Thrones’) were excellent in this film. Can you explain the director/actor relationship during the shooting? I• was extremely blessed to find such talented young actors to bring the story to life. I spent a very long time casting the lead but casting truly is 80% of the process, and once I found the right actors who understood their characters we built a relationship of trust and they nailed it. We had a day of rehearsals and on set it was just a matter of small tweaks here and there to ensure I was getting the emotional beats I was after. They both took direction so well and we• really just had a laugh• throughout• shooting -• it was so much fun working with young people with so much energy who were also very professional and committed. It• certainly helped that we were shooting on a rooftop in the sunshine, which is rare for the UK!


You shot Up on the Roof on cinemascope, can you comment on this aesthetic choice? Cinemascope is always my preferred aesthetic choice for my films. For me, it just gives it the maximum scale possible a truly big-screen feel. It

Camilla Ruczika

just felt• right for a film set on a rooftop - it affords amazing opportunities for creative and• cinematic framing and composition. I can see how it might be a questionable choice for a film shot in a very fluid, handheld manner with few characters but one of the great things about anamorphic is you don’t have to cut as much and• you can give actors a larger field• across the frame to work in.• One of the main things I love about anamorphic in a character-driven film is that you use much longer lenses than you’d use in a spherical format, and that gives you more control of the background. Being able to throw the background out of focus really helps you be present with the actor. I really wanted to concentrate on the intimacy of the performances and anamorphic is perfect for that. The only issue I had with• the Hawk V-plus• anamorphic lenses we used was the distortion• of the image in focus pulls which I really hated, I have since been using master prime• anamorphics which are far superior for my preferred style of shooting. Can you tell us something about the shooting of Up on the Roof? What was the most challenging thing about making this film? The biggest challenge I had with this film, as with all the others is time. That’s the one thing I never have enough of! On this particular film we had a massive issue between the insurance company and the equipment company so on the first day of shooting everyone was there at 7a.m but the camera and lighting equipment didn’t arrive until 4.30pm! Working with kids has its limitations time-wise so that day we literally had 2 hours to get 25 shots! It was certainly a challenge - particularly as that was the day I was working with a group of teenagers, a young kid and a 97-year-old actor (Earl Cameron from ’The Interpreter’) - happy to say we managed to pretty much get it all :) We had an insane number of logistical issues overall such as our main rooftop location falling through the day before shooting - so I certainly learnt to be calm and positive in the face of a lot of adversity!

interview by Claire•Auvray•(France-Italy) cinemakers // 23

review

My filmmaking style is constantly evolving and every film I have done is quite• different aesthetically and narratively – for me the story always dictates style. I have tackled a multitude of genres and it is a constant• struggle to find the right balance between saying too much or saying too little - particularly in terms of shot choices and how much to draw attention to something. Clarity is as essential as subtlety.• Every film teaches me something new and I think the one thing I carry with me is to keep things simple, and as I said before less is more. As long as I have done my prep work, I’ve learnt to let go, to• trust my instincts• and to trust my actors to bring the emotional depth I’m after. So much can be said with a simple look…

interview

Up on the Roof depicts emotions in places where dialogue could not even scratch the surface. How did you develop your filmmaking style?


review

Can you tell us your biggest influences and how they have affected your work? 'Up on the Roof' was its own unique film in my body of work - it had its own style determined by the kind of story I was telling that drew inspiration from Bernando Bertolucci, Guiseppe Tornatore and Fernando Meirelles’s works. But as a Director my biggest• influences are David Fincher, Christopher Nolan, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu and most recently Denis Villeneuve.• Fincher in particular has really shaped me as a filmmaker and how I approach visual storytelling.• I’m inspired by the way these filmmakers have managed to find the balance of telling• challenging, gripping stories that touch you emotionally and are also accessible to a commercial audience. What do you hope viewers will take away from Up on the Roof? 'Up on the Roof’ has a• bittersweet ending; there is hope in that our protagonist will no longer hide away but will face• the• world he is stronger than where he started but ultimately he is still a child in a world where nothing is in his control, and his mother may never come back for him. All I ever hope for is for my films to resonate• emotionally with my audience - if you• have connected to my protagonist and have felt something for him then I have succeeded. We want to use this opportunity to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera. What's your view on the future of women in cinema?

Interview•by•Yasmine Mahet (France) cinemakers // 11


panorama


openspace

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Julie Boehm Fairy tales, or the power of imagination Julie Boehm is a multimedial artist for paintings on canvas, digital compositings, body paintings and film. After her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, “Die Graphische” (Diploma of Multimedia) , 2 Years at the “Babelsberg Filmschool” and “Orthovita Fitnesstrainer Academy” in Berlin she is now at the Filmacademy Baden Württemberg in Ludwigsburg (west Germany).

your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? First of all I studied art in the different disciplins: painting, animation, photography, concept art, film and dancing. The film is, without any doubt, the best medium by which all those approaches can be demonstrated. It is my aim to achieve a certain positive influence on people that they will become individuals who may contemplate their lifes after having seen my work. They should be inspired to support those humans who want to improve our living conditions and turn our world into a humanitarian place.

A girl in a deserted house during the night: She follows the shine of a magic light that leads her to a mystic excellent• fabric. The cloth awakes to life and elopes the girl into a fairy-tale world JAB Camouflage is a “ After having watched my film I of dreams. These marvellous fabrics singular experience, want the spectators look behind show the new home fabric line of both illogical and their curtains, unfolding their JAB Anstoetz 2015 - to induce their grandly existential. imagination of creative power. ” customers into a fairy tale of textiles How did the idea for . this short film came to your mind? With its visionary imagery, JAB Camouflage is a compelling movie experiment. Julie Boehm freely traverse the line between reality and fantasy, using unconventional and nonlinear structures which immediately reminded us of Sergej Parajanov's early work. JAB Camouflage plays as a visual treat for those willing to experience a break in the laws of cinema and dance. With one startling, painterly composition after another, Julie Boehm creates an intense, suspended atmosphere. Julie, tell us about

Since my childhood I have loved fairy tales. I used to read them nearly each night in my bed. So this story is deeply inspired by Hans Christian Andersen`s story of the match-box seller. It is a sad and a fine story reminding us of the genuine truth of life. We want to have immortality, because there may be moments which are like prescious jewelry. That´s why you should protect and beware them! We have been deeply impressed by your elegant approach to narrative, how did you develop the


JAB Camouflage (short film) structure of the film?

interview

Everything starts with a mere deception of fair impression, a kind of camouflage. In my first attempt there was a magic creature, a girl who could transform from a chair into a curtain or even to a bed sheet. She incorporated the soul of the fabric that seemed to be alive. There are miracles in our world, hardly to be understood, wonders that were created by magic power in our imagination.The fairytale transforms the old creepy house into a warm, beautiful heaven of fabrics, a real dreamland. After having watched my film I want the spectators look behind their curtains, unfolding their imagination of creative power.

friends is a ballett dancer and she helped me to cope with the choreography. I was training and preparing at least two hours a day in the month before the filmcasting. JAB Camouflage brilliantly uses image and sound to lead audiences into a terrifying subjectivity. We have appreciated the way you render the film through a game of silences and looks. How did you develop your filmmaking style? It is the look of a dark fairy tale and was inspired by the new collection of fabric. That`s to say JAB Anstoetz dark, golden but very rich in appearance.

Your film features outstanding performances. What is your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal?

What was the most challenging thing about making JAB Camouflage?

We had to go ahead on a long preparation of casting in order to find the suited actress who could adopt the role of Mia. For children there won`t be very much to learn. They could get their role of acting unembarrassingly or they won`t make it at all. I played the role of the fairy. One of my

We had to get to terms with the high quality filmlook, having a low budget at the same time. Moreover there was just the gap of one filming day. We had to cut down my original idea. Initially, my story had three bodypaintings and one studio setting in surreal rooms as being

cinemakers // 18

Yasmine Mahet (France)


interview planned. The role of the fairy to act like the white rabbit of Alice in Wonderland led the little girl into paradise.The fairy should transform as a camouflage dancer from a chair into a curtain and then into a paravan. She is the phantastic creature, the soul of the fabric who transforms our world into heaven. I even had to paint a whole ancestral gallery of the filmcrew. With the budget that was available for us we could make it in one day of filming action only. Why did you choose the widescreen format for this project? We wanted to create a cinematic look. You know fairytales don`t happen every day! For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in cinema and animation?

I`m convinced what Leni Riefenstahl started will be continued. Being a director as a woman is still a challenge the boss of a big crew. On my part I prefer to cooperate with men as my producers. The director of photography, and a lot more they have different minds and the view of things. But it´s true they are mostly fair and views can be successfully achieved. Thanks for your time and thought, Julie. We wish you all the best with your career. What's next for Julie Boehm? Have you a particular film in mind? I recently made a parfume commercial with the dancing "Black Widow". Since the last two dancefilms I became aware that I will have to continue this interesting way. My next film will be a trailer of the "International Trickfilm Festival". Can you tell us about your experience at the WBF?

cinemakers // 19


Artist’s State ment English// German

Since my first time in 2009 I have been there every year and with every year the sparkling jewels of my treasure box of amazing people are getting more and more. It is so amazing to see all those artists (painters, dancers, musicians) coming together for one week of the year creating an artwork together that it is so amazing. This spirit of living art, that lives in you, in your soul and becomes reality when you see the model walking on stage! Each year is so different as same as special experience to me that I don't

want to miss it for future. Can you explain what other aspects of the Bodypainting world you are active in, during the festival and the rest of the year? When I observed the other models at the festival, sometimes some cray stoy comes to my mind. I started creating composings for those magic creatures. I am looking for stories behind a painting..A whole world where this alien comes from. That's why I now get started with film and animation: I want to let other


The first feature film by young Latvian director Aik Kara petian, People out there, offers quite an interesting look at working class society. The story depicts the life of Jan, a young struggling lower class young man who is at the edge of a personality break down. After seeing a beautiful upper class woman, Sabina, he starts wondering about personal changes. He wants to get into that attractive world, but to do that, he has to lose his friend and the environment that shapes his character. The main characters are shown in such a real way that members of the audience may even wander if the actors might actually have real connections to the world they are portraying. They create a lifestyle that is recognisable in every society, so everyone can find something familiar to themselves inside this movie.

review

Seit ich im Jahr 2009 zum ersten Mal dort war -seit dem jedes Jahr -wird die Zahlan Juwelen in meiner Schatziste für besondere Personen jedes Jahr mehr und mehr. Es ist so inspirerend zu sehen wie all diese grossartigen Kunstler (Bodypainter, Tänzer, Musiker ..) für eine Woche im Jahr zusammenkommen und gemeinsam neue Kunstwerke entsteben lassen. Die Seele dieser lebendigen Kunstform, die einem schlät und erst durch das Modell erwacht ist etwas ganz besonderes. Das Festival ist für mich jedes Jahr eine so spezielle aber auch in Zunkunft kein Jahr auslassen möhte.

gespräch

Erzäl uns über Deine Erfahrungen am WBF?

interview

people feel my world as close as possible: makes them dreaming, hiding a message of magical thoughts of life.

One of the most interesting parts of the plot is its religious aspect. At one point, Jan tries to find the way out his criminal life through this source, but not only is he not ready for such a change, the new world is also not welcoming him neither. Discovering the true nature behind this God-worshiping group Jan`s attempts slow down or turns into an opposite direction. Aik Karapetian`s vision shows us real life and characters, he doesn’t create a fairy tale as it is clearly seen through the film´s ending. Even though Jan´s lifestyle is barely changed, we can’t say that there aren’t any changes at all. Jan grows up emotionally, his relationship with his friend Craker becomes tighter, yet at the same time he is no longer afraid to stand against him. The visual composition work plays a big part in this unique realism as well. I was pleased to see dark shadows and different angles making the story even more realistic. The main idea that Aik Karapetian is sharing in his awardwinning movie is that there are people out there living their lives. Some of them are good-looking and richly dressed in expensive coats; others just steal them and try to hide all the past and all the bad things revolving around them. And in all of them there people inside, just waiting to be revealed in the way that is possible to them.

Aik Karapetian

review by Ugne Cesnaviciute (Lithuania) interview by Zowi Vermeire (The Netherlands) nisimazine kaunas // 27


panorama Exibitions


Wenn ich die anderen Modelle so beobachte fallen mir manchmal verrükte Geshichten ein. Ich begann Kompositionen für diese magischen Kreaturen zu entwerfen und achte dabei auf die Geschichten, die dahinter stecken... Eine ganz eigene Welt aus der diese Ausserirdischen kommen. Das ist auch der Grund warum ich nun mit Film und Animation angefangen babe. Ich möhte die Menschen so nah wie möglich an meime ganz eigene Welt ber über das Leben verstecken. 2016 “Goldensun Short Film Festival” Malta, Black Widow Official Selection 2016 March 11/12th “Drunken Zombie Film Festival”“Black Widow Official Selection 2016 April 9th “Festival de Cine de Lanzarote“ Black Widow Official Selection 2016 April 3rd 2nd Place: 1st French Facepainting Award, Paris, “Street Life” 2016 April 22th and 23th “BOKEH Mercedes Benz Fashion Film Festival”, Capetown Black Widow Official Selection 2016 April 29th “Bad Film Fest” New York, Black Widow Winning Award: “Excellence in Freaking Out the Audience” 2016 May 3rd -8th Kurzfilmnacht, „filmkunstfest M-V”, Schwerin 2016 Mai 5th JAB Camouflage in Official Selection @Southeasternfilmfestival Tennessee 2016 May 9th-10th JAB Camouflage “Official Selection” 12th Annual 60 Seconds or Less Video Festival, Washington 2016 May 23rd-29th Madrid International Fantastic Film Festival, Nocturna 2016 Black Widow Official Selection 2016 May 26-29th “International Vampire Film and Arts Festival”, Transilvania – BlackWidow Winning Award: Silver Stake Award 2016 June 3rd – 12th TrèsCourt FilmFestival, Paris – Black Widow Official Selection 2016 June 4th European International Film Festival – St. Petersburg – Black Widow in Official Selection 2016 June 11th & 12th Horror Con Caligary, Alberta, Canada , Screening of Black Widow 2016 June 17th-19th Comicpalooza, Houston, Texas, Screening of Black Widow 2016 June 24th Love Horror Short Film Festival 2016, Sacramento , California – Official Selection of Black Widow 2016 July 14th Black Widow Highlights Screening Filmakademie BadenWürttemberg 2016 July 14th Black Widow Official Selection at the “Open Eye Filmfestival”, Marburg 2016 Sept 8th-10th Mousse Film Festival, , Screening of Black Widow 2016 3.-6. July Black Widow “Official Selection” at the MULTIFEST VI International Exhibition of Cinema – Guadalajara, Mexico 2016 Sept 12th- 18th Black Widow Official Selection at the Splat!FilmFest – Polish International Horror Film Festival, Lublin 2016 Sept Champion “Living Art America” Bodypainting Championship, Category Professional Artists , Team South Korea (Hyun Yong Jin) 2016 Oct 14.-16th Black Widow Official Selection at the Brooklyn Horror Film Fest 2017 Official Online Selection New York Film Week Black Widow

Exhibitions:

•interview•by•Solveig Kiel cinemakers // 11

review

Kannst du kurz erklären in welchen Bereichen der Kunst du aktiv bist? Sowohl am Festival als auch während des Jahres?


openspace


Marika Krajniewska The pathos and loneliness of a life in an occupied country yourself in this medium? It was cold. Snow was covering the pavements. The wind was blowing into a face a frozen little girl who was walking down the street barefoot and hungry. The sun Since several years I have been deeply involved in writing. I am an author of several books published in Poland. I write was slowly hiding behind the horizon, it was getting about people, their fate and lives. A large part of my artistic darker and darker… Ukraine, 1932-1933. Hunger. Back portfolio is devoted to the historical events, particularly in the 1930's, the Ukrainian territory has been a place those related to the World War II – however, that’s not for a drama which involved millions of people. It all everything. My books, despite the tough nature of covered happenned because of a single person, praised by miltopics, bring me a lot of joy and satisfaction. The writing lions. Mother with her children is left in the country. process itself is very important to me. I create my works with the use of images. This means that it is my imagination Ukrainian Holodomor starts. Woman finds herself in an where I see the scene which I am focused on first. extreme situation, observing her dying child, hopeless, without any option of help. The film is a perfect psyThen I describe that chological case study of an individual, scene, as if I was “II wanted the movie to be relatively free. showing what happens in the mind of redrawing the thing I the employment of static have already seen. the mother, who is, without any effect, Hence trying to save her children from dying characters, which thanks to lack of the Through constant of starvation. It is also a very suggestive proper dynamics, expose their inner self search for the new ways of development lesson of history of the Eastern state, in front of us.” and shaping my art, I which is as valid today, as it has ever have started to write film scripts. I may say it without any been. doubt – I love this activity. It is very joyful for me. I have many topics planned to cover. When I have written the With its masterfully executed scenes and expressive “Hunger” script, I had shown it to my friends and they said: do this movie! How? I asked – I am not a filmmaker. And camera work, Hunger is a psycholo gically acute how did you become a writer – as my friends replied to my meditation on the horror of Ukrainian Faminedoubts with another question. Genocide. With her characteristic, intimate Tarkovskyan style, Marika Krajniewska captures with And this is how my first movie-related adventure stated. It harrowing authenticity the pathos and loneliness of a was a successful and satisfactory adventure, throughout life in a occupied country. We are honored to present which I was able to gain a lot of experience. All of the above the talented Marika Krajniewska for this year's was possible thanks to the team gathered around the WomenCinemakers Edition. Marika, tell us about your movie. Not only did these people, mainly with cinematic trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express experience, help me to realize the movie, they also taught


Holomodor meets cinema me how to be a director. Of course, this is still a steep learning curve. I am still developing myself. Only hard-work and constant learning may give you the best effect. Creating a movie is magic – and all of the above was realized by a team of enthusiasts. Without passion and enthusiasm, good effects are unachievable. And I have some passion in me, and I like the sorcery.

interview

We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Hunger? The Holodomor stories have been with me since the early childhood. I was born in St. Petersburg (which had been known earlier as Leningrad). I was lucky enough to have lived there until I was twelve. During the summer holidays I used to visit my grandparents in Ukraine. I have never treated the two countries as separate organisms – culturally, politically and militarily. After the fall of the Soviet Union I moved to Poland – and this is where I live today. I left my two motherlands behind – Russia and Ukraine – when I was 12 years old. I was too young to understand some things. However, once I changed my place of stay, I did not change my mentality – I never forgot. And memory is important – at least for me. I often

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think that even though I was born in 1979, I am still a war-child. Why? Well, I was raised hearing the stories told by my grandparents, who tried hard to save themselves, in the times of omnipresent annihilation. Here I mean 1930’s and 1940’s. My portfolio includes a volume of short stories, entitled “Five”, including the stories of the people living in those tough times. And the volume includes a story which was used to create the screenplay for Hunger. We have appreciated your reflective, interior style of filmmaking. Hunger features an elegantly structured storytelling: each shot is carefully orchestrated to work within the overall structure. How did you develop the script for this film? My film tells a story of a woman who was left alone, and had to face the hunger herself. I do not care about the reasons for her situation. However, I care about the world in which the protagonist lives and in which she must take decisions, she would not even have thought of. The script is indeed, very thoroughly thought-over. So are the shots. I wanted to tell a simple story, in order to reveal an important truth, which I have known from the stories told by my grand parents. The truth which touched me, subjective truth, truth of my own. I

Yasmine Mahet (France)


intervie immediately knew that the story should include some fairy-tale elements. I was thinking of The Little Matchstick Girl, a short story which now is very often forgotten. Tomek Walasek, my camera operator, decided to include, beside the screenplay shots, some shots that would come straight from a fairy tale, so that we could explore the inner world of the protagonists. Can you describe the shooting of Hunger? First and foremost – this was my first time. However – I want more. Looking back – and production of the movie covered a wide time-span – I may state that I was quite brave to have started the whole project. At the time I had no budget nor connections, nor knowledge. What did I have? I had a ready story written in a form of a script, and deep belief that I would be able to transform it into a movie. I have just realized how determined I had to be, and how convinced I had to be, to execute the whole project.

Yes, I really believed in that story. And the Universe seemed to believe in that story with me – it provided me with a proper team of helpful people. Actors, contractors, family, friends, companies which provided us with the equipment, catering, accommodation and many other tools of trade, required to finalize the work. The whole movie was shot in ca. 7 days.. I even remember that we were full of food after the lunch-break, and that during the shooting process, some sounds were coming straight from our digestive tracts. Thanks to the cooperation with a young team of talented filmmakers, I had a feeling that I am in right place, at the right time. It is those people who let me feel like a film director. Thanks to the team, I believed in myself on the set. The only tough moment on the set was related to the fact that I had to fuse the role of a mother, with the role of a film director. I wanted my daughter to star in the movie, thus there were some situations in which I had to make decisions of prolonging the work on set as a director, however – as a mother, I wanted to let my child get some rest. This is a valuable experience too. Now it turns out

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that Maja, my daughter, perfectly copes with acting. The scenes we have recorded were very emotional. Everybody felt the serious atmosphere of the set. Hunger features a brilliant cinematography, marked by a sapient use of cold tones and static figures. How did you conceive the visual style of this film? I wanted the movie to be relatively free. Hence the employment of static characters, which thanks to lack of the proper dynamics, expose their inner self in front of us. Cold tones were to replicate the raw and tragic character of the Ukrainian 1930’s. The weather was not favorable most of the time. Most of the shots were recorded during the summer, not in the winter. The operator and the lightning engineer worked really hard to create winter, in the middle of the summer. Your film is clever and well-built. What technical aspects did you focus on in your work? I love films in which the dialogues are quantitatively limited. When I was writing the script I knew that dialogue would be almost absent in my movie. The concept of a Little Matchstick Girl is self-explanatory. Image speaks for itself. There is nothing to add. Composition was very crucial for me. We have recorded a lot of material, half of which did not make it to the final movie. The material we had would be sufficient to create at least three variants of the movie – and each one of these would be completely different. We have even created one alternative version. However – it was not my story. I wanted to faithfully transfer the script’s assumptions into the movie. I’ve made it. Hunger is a mind-bending meditation on war. What do you want people to remember after seeing your movie? Only the fact that it is worth to remember our ancestry – people, thanks to whom we are here. And the fact

•interview•by•Solveig Kiel cinemakers // 11


Dance cinema

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Jennifer Drotz Ruhn, When Cinema meets Dance A look at Jennifer Drotz Ruhn ’s Tofino

lost in a conventional stage room. ”

I find that dance has the ability to express a rawness that otherwise can be difficult to get to the core of. Bodies and movement are so fascinatingly individual and I like to embrace that. Therefore, when finding your own stripped down physical language it is equally vulnerable as it is powerful; there is nothing to hide behind. Those kind of portraits intrigue me and that is what I aim to explore when I choreograph. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your short film: how did you come up with the idea for Tofino? The film was originally intended to be part of a greater

How did you collaborate with Brian and Stuart on this film? Tofino was our first project together and we didn really interfere too much in each other work but trusted in the skill of one another. The key part in this project was an open mindedness and not having any prestige or pressure to create something extraordinary which made the whole process very relaxed. Maybe if there had been a pressure we would have created something different, maybe better maybe worse, but for this piece I think it turned out to be the right approach. Since Tofino we have worked together on two more occasions and each time we get a better

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scale project of Brian Vass inspired by Chris Jordan work on mass consumption and its impact on TOFINO IS ANIMATED BY DYNAMIC CAMERAWORK the environment. After a first photoshoot on the topic THAT GIVES A FIERCE ENERGY AND RAW BEAUTY Brian wanted to explore it further through film and TO J ENNIFER D ROTZ R UHN ’ S DANCE . A STUNNING movement, and that when he contacted me on the COLLABORATION BETWEEN S WEDISH CHOREOGRAPHER possibility of a collaboration. He shared the AND DANCER J ENNIFER D ROTZ R UHN , B RIAN V ASS background of the project and suggested we make a new interpretation of the original photoshoot with the ( PHOTOGRAPHER ) AND • S TUART DOCHERTY TV being a symbol of modern distractions, lies and (COMPOSER ), THIS EXPERIMENTAL STOP MOTION DANCE disillusionment. Our plan was then to create a stop FILM PUSHES J ENNIFER ’S INTEREST IN TEXTURE , SOUND motion dance film delving deeper into the idea of AND MOTION TO AN EXPRESSIVE EXTREME , GIVING WAY coming out of an oblivious trance and realising where TO A SENSORIAL RICHNESS RARE IN CINEMA TODAY. W E the world is heading. However, once we started filming ARE PLEASED TO PRESENT JENNIFER D ROTZ R UHN FOR I think Tofino was progressively starting to take its own THIS YEAR ' S WOMENCINEMAKERS E DITION. shape and throughout the process it became increasingly clear that J ENNIFER, TELL US ABOUT YOUR “I have always had a love for detailed and Tofino had developed TRAJECTORY AS A CHOREOGRAPHER AND intricate movement and through a camera into an independent lens you can offer the audience an intimacy DANCER. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO EXPRESS film. with the dancer that can otherwise be easily YOURSELF IN THIS MEDIUM? EAUTIFULLY SHOT IN CRISP BLACK- AND- WHITE ,


Jennifer Drotz Ruhn Tofino

understanding of what we are all after and the collaboration process becomes more and more efficient, which is great - evolving our artistry individually yet together. From the first time we watched your film, we were deeply fascinated by its poetics of closeup and gestures, its articulation of sound, image, and performance. You e a contemporary dancer and choreographer, how did you prepare for this shoot? What you see in the video is

fundamentally a directed improvisation. I didn’ want to create a set choreography as I figured the setting of the film, having all of these elements surrounding me, would have a huge impact and I didn’ want to limit my physical interaction with the space through too much set movement. So beforehand I had a couple improvisation sessions in the studio just to play around with ideas and ended up creating short movement phrases that could trigger ideas when on set. I have always had a love for detailed and intricate movement and through a camera lens you can


Your visual imagery seems to be close to Pina Bausch's• Die Klage der Kaiserin. Can you tell us your biggest influences and how they have affected your work? Choreographically my biggest influence has through the years been the Netherland based duo Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon and in more recent years Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman. They have a few things in common that I think resonates with me: humour, unpredictability, musicality and a way of

seeing the space as a whole, something I also think translates well into film. Other than that I try to expose myself to as many artistic inputs as possible, always seeking inspiration in unexpected places. How did you approach editing this film? There wasn a planned narrative beforehand so in my head it really was a blank canvas when I first started piecing the film together. I wanted to see what scenes spoke to me and I really fell for the more abstract shots where I believe Brian managed to capture a sense of ambivalence. Unusually for me the editing process was quite smooth and only took a couple of days to finish, when normally I tend to sit for weeks, if not months, on projects going over the smallest of details. Your work have been already acclaimed following screenings at film festivals around the world -just to name a few, the prestigious Athens Video Dance Project and ScreenDance. What do you hope viewers will take away from• Tofino? I think it is a film very open to interpretation. Of course I have my ideas of what the film signifies but regularly that seems to change for me too. There was an unintentional emotional vagueness that through the editing process and in the composing of the score became a deliberate ebb and flow of elusiveness and ambiguity, and in that there is room to read your own meaning. Or the lack of it.

Yevgeny•Pashkevich

interview with Jennifer Rozt Druhn cinemakers // 9

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offer the audience an intimacy with the dancer that can otherwise be easily lost in a conventional stage room. This potential for closeness was something I wanted to capitalise on and on set Brian experimented with angles and focus further which, in the finished film, I believe to be some of the strongest shots.

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We would like now to explore your recent project• Magna Mater.• Can you tell us something about this amazing film? Following on from my staged piece Grandesan, which explored matriarchal societies, I wanted to delve deeper into female leadership. When women with authority are portrayed not only in dance but in media, film and society as a whole she often becomes a lonely, bitter woman incapable of working with others. These negative portrayals persist despite all the positive results from studies on female leadership. In a world where leaders in politics, religion and media are overwhelmingly male it is intriguing that when civilization first took form, the highest entity was a• woman. Archaeological evidence shows us that the earth was once viewed and• worshipped as a living, female being: the Great Mother. Across the world this primary goddess took different names and shapes but was never limited to the sole quality of motherhood: she was a• warrior, the creator of life and death, nurturing yet terrifying, in control of the forces around her with the Yoni as a

interview•by•Bonnie Curtis cinemakers // 11

Irene Gomez Emilsson

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In the Director's statement for Magna Mater, you say There is a lack of honest, positive portraits of women with power so with• Magna Mater• I wanted to explore complex female characters where the dynamic and powerful group• they create is a given, not an exception.


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Dance Cinema’s Corner

common symbol of her powers, free from any of today's stigma. I knew I needed to research this part of mankind history further and together with four dancers we explored the geographical and characteristic depth and width of this goddess. Magna Mater was then shot by Brian Vass in the woods of Northern Scotland and with Stuart Docherty once again composing the score. We want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women

have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in cinema? I have only recently started off in this industry and my perception of the dance film community is that it is very inclusive and encouraging, as well as full of women. However, generally the arts world tends to be more progressive than its more commercial counterpart, which can be rather reluctant to embrace change. The male perspective is so conventional


Do you have any advice for filmmakers who have their own stories they e burning to tell although they lack the funding or infrastructure to do so? I think it was an important realisation for me that I am part of the next generation and so, instead of aiming to work with people who have been in the industry for decades, I

wanted to explore what other undiscovered talent is out there. Emerging artists have one thing in common and that is the eagerness to create. Tofino was made on a 0 budget, we were simply three independent artists keen to create and collaborate and now we e done three projects together. So therefore, I would say surround yourself with people who have a different creative field than yourself: people who can see far beyond what you can imagine, such as directors, composers, photographers and designers. Build a network of people who can push and challenge your artistry, bringing out the best in you as you can in them. And the better you get, the more work you get in that portfolio, the more likely it will be to also get that funding. Thanks for your time and thought, Jennifer. What's next for you? I am currently in post-production on my latest film Barren, another collaboration with Brian Vass and Stuart Docherty which will hopefully be released in Autumn. Thank you for an interesting interview and I hope to share my future work with WomenCinemakers again soon!

E

IGHTENED SENSORY EXPERIENCE,

EXPLORING THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN BODY, MATTER, TIME, AND SPACE. "FLUX OF SOUNDS IN THE BODY IS MANIFESTED IN MOTION. MOTION OF THE BODY IS THE THOUGHT OF SOUND", ALEKSANDRA SAYS. HER POETIC AND EMOTIONALLY POWERFUL WORK VARIATION ON BLACK CREATES STARTLING METAPHORS FOR THE CLASSIC MIND-BODY

review by Francis Quettier (France) Guan Xi Yevgeny•Pashkevich cinemakers // 9

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that even for me, as a woman, I am used to seeing film through a man eyes. Therefore, I am intrigued to see how the increasing amount of women behind the camera will actually change how movies are being made: what movies have I been missing out on? What genres will be opened up to me through female filmmakers? What happens when the industry realises the value in its female audience members? That I am looking forward to.


A moody film that delicately weaves personal pain and public anguish, Skinhearts explores a world where the sexual act has become an irre ve rent act of rebellion. An emotio nally complex portrait of human aliena tion, Sally Fenaux Barley corn's film raises disturbing que stions, reveal ing a psychological penetrating exploration of love and freedom reminding us of Yorgos Lanthimos's early work. We are proud to present Sally Fenaux Barleycorn for this year's WomenCinemakers Edition. Sally, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? I’ve always been really curious about everything that is visual. At the age I was suppose to be finishing high school and then attending college, I was jumping from one discipline to another, doing short and non formal education on photography, dance, theatre, video and graphic design. I started working in the film industry and commercial shoots in 2008 by chance. But when I think back, I can see how all my different experiences were actually a great preparation for the “Total Art” that cinema is. That is one of the things that inspires me the most about this medium and also, the high level of collaboration. Which means that you are constantly sharing influences and being affected by your collaborator’s ideas, life experiences and own influences. Working profes sionally in feature film and commercial productions has given me the training, since I didn’t attend film school and also the humility. I know first hand how hard it is to make things happen in this industry, how hard the people involved usually work and to respect that and prepare myself to meet their needs, don’t waste anyone’s time and achieve a piece of work worth their efforts, dedication and mine. But it isn’t until a couple of years ago that I started to feel that I wanted to direct. While I was still working in the costume department, I had an accident on set that obliged me to take a break. I had the time to think

Interview•by•Dora Tennant cinemakers // 11


Skinhearts France, 2015

about my future, about who I really was and what it was that I really wanted to do. I had to deal with some personal issues related to my race that had made me someone afraid to be center stage. And also overcome the gender stereotypes: I had never thought about directing as a career for me, no one had ever told me I could do it nor that I couldn’t neither… But it is something very unconscious, it is deeply accepted in our society and we don’t talk about it enough. I have no regrets, but I wish no other girls and women would feel that they haven’t started their careers earlier because of that. So after working on my level of self-esteem, I realised I had plenty of things I wanted to say, to talk about, to transmit and that film was the medium, no matter how scared I was of taking full responsibility of the outcome of a film production. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Skinhearts?

I’ve always thought that being very sensitive was a curse! And now I can see how it is the birthplace of my unique experience of this world. And that is where Skinhearts comes from, my experience living in Amsterdam and the average touch behaviour of the Dutch. I had been living almost 2 years in Amsterdam at that time and feeling as if I was getting colder and colder in my inside or something was getting heavier to live with, but could not point to what that feeling was exactly. One day I met someone who talked to me about a script with a lot of sex in it and about why he wanted to do that project and his own ideas of sexual freedom and stuff like that. When I left this meeting I had a horrible feeling. I was almost shocked not by the sex itself or the lack of any love involved in it, but more by the objectification of it. Because of the lack of care and how it felt as a tool, just like a hammer to place a nail on a wall. Right after this meeting I was cycling home and I saw the end scene of Skinhearts


When someone touches you there is a message that goes direct ly and deeply into your unconscious: “ I accept you” and vice versa, avoiding touch contributes to a low self-esteem, which is the birthplace of violence, addiction and mental disorders. In Skinhearts, most people are born already in the “untouchable society” and don’t know what it is to feel someone else's skin on theirs. But Zoe, the main character, having received caring and loving touch as a kid (by rebel parents), is looking for that same feeling, without really remem bering what was the source or how to get it again. It seems rational to think that going as deeper as possible into someone else's body would be the solution but it isn’t. Just as much as one night stands can’t cover for the needs of loving touch we all need and many people are seeking in the wrong place. The more I got into the research, the more I shaped the characters to my discoveries and finished writing the rest of the short film. We have been deeply impressed with your enigmatic approach to narrative and characters. How did you develop your filmmaking style? Well, thank you! This is my first film so it might be too soon to speak about having a filmmaking style of my own. I think my approach to narrative and characters has been very personal, and that might be the only reason why it looks rare. One of the things that I was determined to stick to was to make the film I wanted to make even if that would mean making mistakes in narrative or storytelling. And I listened to inputs from others and looked for tips from more experienced professionals, I love collaboration! But I was very careful to find the line between a good correction that I fully agreed with and a tip that would have made my film just by the rules and average. I don’t know that much, I’m just starting out, but I do know that that is the only way to make something worth watching and some thing that would look and sound like me therefore tell the story in a way I can only tell it.

Stills from Skinhearts (Frnace, 2015) Kleber Mendoça Filho

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Most people have no idea how incredi bly important quality, caring touch is in their lives as human beings. Through my research I learned that it is our most basic sense and primal way of commu nication. It is crucial for babies to survive and for adults to have a healthy body and mind.

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playing in my head, I saw Zoe looking for something, using sex as a tool to find something else and not finding it. That end scene was the center of the film and then I wrote the rest of the short and created the characters to reach that scene. When I started analysing that scene to know what it was that I wanted to say, to speak about, is when I started my research on touch deprivation in the western society. And that was it. That was what my heavy feeling was about, why I felt so shocked about that conver sation and the reason why I wanted to do this film. Then I also realised that I knew on my own skin what Zoe would feel and what it was she was looking for.


Sally F. Barleycorn The potential of shooting S16mm in the digital age I think that in filmmaking we just lie too much to only entertain or to maintain a system already established, stereotypes, just to please or create a certain effect. But the truth is that the only stories that really touches us humans, entertain us and bring something valuable to the world are those that are sincere and authentic. And I don’t know if that will show as a filmmaking style but it definitely is my working style and I hope it always will. That is actually one of the few things I’m sure I can do well.

status, limited budget and my fear to not be a good leader. I won’t forget how I felt after each shooting day that it had been the most difficult and the most exciting work day I had ever had in my life. You have shot Skinhearts both in digital and 16mm film. Can you explain this peculiar aesthetic choice?

We basically turned technical limita tions into an interesting aesthetic experiment. Skinhearts is a technically audacious and emotionally I wanted to shoot the entire film in 16mm because I wanted gripping work. What was the most challen ging thing to make a futuristic film with an old film look, to really focus about making this film? on the futuristic behaviour of the people living in that time, rather than getting distracted by any The most challenging for me was holding “Most people have no idea how incredibly special effects or too many hats at once writer-director- important quality, caring touch is in their gadgets. But it became producer. Not only it is difficult to do, it is lives as human beings. Through my research obvious that we would also a too lonely place to be when you I learned that it is our most basic sense and not be able to shoot in have to manage such a complicated film primal way of communication.” film the night scene, and not being very experienced in any of because there isn’t those jobs. Also maintaining that vision and keep feeling 16mm film stocks with the needed speed anymore and we the story and the characters while working in a highly didn’t have the budget to have the lighting of a football technical environ ment, not so artistic place, that a film set camp! Instead of witching the whole film to digital, we is. But having a great director of photography and amazing decided that to make a contrast between the two parts of actors asking you questions and suggesting new the film would be very interesting and would also elevate approaches always helps to get your head back to where it the final scene which is the narrative center of the short film needs to be. Because we had a limited amount of film rolls because you suddenly can see it sharper, crispier and we also had to make sure every thing was absolutely ready more shiny. to be perfect on the first or second take maximum. I’ve been a very active listener of all the discussions related to Film vs Digital in the past years and for me Skinhearts And I didn’t have any way to see with my own eyes what shows how beautiful both can be. Used in the same film it exactly Jakub Giza (DoP) was going to shoot. So it took a makes such a contrast that you can really notice it and lot of time and a lot of trust! Since it is my first film, the most enjoy it, which is something that most non-film-professional chal lenging parts were mostly related to my first-timer audiences never have the chance to do.


Celluloid: memories of the future There is obviously a romantic side of making such choice too… I studied analog photography, I had my grandfather’s Bolex available to use and I come from the traditional side of big production film making, so for me, wanting to become a film director, I will always carry with me the joyful memory that I shot my first film using actual film rolls, rolling inside of a camera, making the most beautiful noise.

interview

What is your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal? I am quite old school in my filmmaking process… which includes as much rehearsal time and meeting with actors as possible. It is not so common nowadays, maybe even less for short films, but how limited would the experience of filmmaking be if you don’t have the time to rehearse, investigate, chat and play with the actors? I might feel quite comfortable doing that because it involves a lot of improvisation but it is also a process for which I have huge respect. After shooting Skinhearts, I have been studying a lot more about working with actors because it is incredibly interesting and fun, but also they are the people who most deeply affect you while making a film. For Skinhearts, I offered the role of Zoe directly to Zoëvan

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Weert (and was lucky enough that she accepted), met Max Croes for the role of Sky a couple of times and we did a couple of improvisations as auditions (We kept on meeting and working on the character while I forgot to tell him that he was selected for the role already!) and we did an open audi tion for the extras and the Skin hearts roles to which Selma Copijn arrived late and did a jaw dropping audition on the corridor (and got the role right there). Then we did rehear sals in couples with ZoëMax and Selma-Max, more around improvisa tions experien cing the characters rather than specific scenes of the script. I am so grateful that they gave me the opportunity of having that time with them because I learned so much and I was so inspired by the different ways in which each of them work. The first time we watched your film we thought of Yorgos Lanthimos's cinema. Can you tell us your biggest influences in cinema and how they have affected your work? I am actually very influenced by photography so it isn’t strange that my biggest reference while making Skinhearts was Chris Marker’s short film “La Jeté” (1962). Also the photography of Anton Corbijn and his first film Control are among my main

Yasmine Mahet (France)


intervie influences. But I look to a lot of things, many things visual and sensory experiences influence me. I have a full unconscious library of things that I’ve seen, heard and felt which suddenly come up while working and I have no idea where exactly I saw them on the first place.

view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in cinema?

I’ve studied dance and physical improvisation, so I feel much more comfortable with the language of the body which is the language of the soul rather than with words, which come from the structured classification that the rational brain makes of the world around us. So I am always more directed towards having characters do more and talk less. I very often feel something, one of those overwhelming feelings that we all sometimes have of happiness, fear, loneliness or connection and hope, and I tend to think: How would that look like? Which setting? What body gesture? What back story? And in this search the work of the dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch also has a very big influence on me.

I think it is very encouraging for us starting to direct now to see that there is so much in the media about the inequalities of the industry and so many platforms like Cinéomen, festivals and funding opportunities focusing on women filmmakers. But there is still so much to do. There are plenty of people, male white professionals, both young and older, in the film industry that are convinced that such a problem doesn’t exist, cos they personally don’t make any difference between male and female when they pick who to work with. And even if they think that is true and they are not influenced by the stereotypes, denying that this problem exists, makes them part of the problem.

We want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your

There are more women than men in this planet, almost no woman is forced to stay at home anymore in western societies,

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The World of Filipa Ruiz

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DIRECTOR

SHE HAS BEEN WORKING AS ASSISTANT DIRECTOR IN BOTH

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AND SCRIPTWRITER , 2012 WITH THE A LBERT R. BROCCOLI AWARD. IN 2011 SHE DIRECTED HER FIRST SHORT FILM, MK SPITFIRE, AND IN 2012, HER SECOND , A S THE D AYS W ENT B Y . H ER FILMS HAVE BEEN SCREENED AROUND THE WORLD IN USA, F RANCE , PORTUGAL, POLAND , KAZAKHSTAN, THAILAND, GHANA AND B RAZIL – INCLUDING THE OFFICIAL SELECTION AT CAMERIMAGE F ILM F ESTIVAL 2013. IN THE MEANWHILE, ORTUGUESE

PRESENTED IN

NIGHT TRAIN L ISBON, DIRECTED BY B ILLE A UGUST – THAT HAD ITS PREMIERE AT BERLIN I NTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL -, AND THE 26 EPISODE SERIES ENTITLED O S FILHOS DO ROCK, DIRECTED BY PEDRO VARELA AND STREAMED AT THE PORTUGUESE NATIONAL TV, RTP . WHILE AS THE D AYS W ENT B Y IS GOING AROUND THE FESTIVALS CIRCUIT , F ILIPA IS ALREADY WORKING ON HER NEXT PROJECT . TV AND CINEMA INCLUDING THE FEATURE TO

With its beauty and melancholy, As The Days Went By is a psychologically complex portrayal of the dyna mics of love. Keeping dialogue to a wonderful minimum, Filipa Ruiz closely follows the intimate details and rhythms of her characters' daily life. The story of Hans, a writer seeking for inspiration, and his unconfessed love for Jenny is told with a mixture of naturalism and magic realism that infuses everyday life with a special vibrancy. And behind the came ra, the talented director uses an energetic narrative structure to inject unexpected images and fresh emotions into the film. We are pleased to present Filipa Ruiz for this year's WomenCinemakers Edition. Filipa, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? I understand Arts as the medium that human beings found to preserve their memory through time. It

Interview•by•Dora Tennant cinemakers // 11


Interview Filipa Ruiz

through pain tings, photographs, sculptures, writings even music and architecture that we are able to know and study the human being from pre-historical times till modern times. Art is a cultural record, and people have always fascinated me.

absolutely. And my will is to instill hope.

My trajectory into filmmaking happened in such a natural way I always loved painting, writing, and photography has always been with me as well. I attended the Fine Arts University for my Bachelor degree in Lisbon, and soon I flew to Finland where I wanted to continue my studies. Cinema is known as the Seventh Art as it synthetizes all the traditional arts together (the spatial arts and the temporal arts). When one thinks that to make a film one has to go from a written script into drawing shots, building sets, developing characters, music composi tions... being an Art lover, I easily found this being the medium I would like to express myself in. My inspiration is People,

At the time I was making some studies on the essence of where the artists get their inspiration from. I went to visit a friend of mine in Barcelona. He collects everything he might find interesting from the street or objects that people give him and he builds his own pieces out of it. Every item in his house is unique, and has his handprint on it. The lights built with nets shading the rooms in different textures, his bed built over long wooden structures which allows you to walk under it, he places canvas over walls that he covered with pages from his favorite musical orchestrations and projects images over it and so on. It became this one whole installation, which I believe that reflects both

As The Days Went By is a poetic and immersive film. What attracted you to this project?


For me, the way artists think they are seen by the society and how the society gets reflected on them plays a major role in the art they produce. Artists are observers by nature. But it was only when I visited my sister, she was living in Denmark by then, that the story took form. I visited Hans Christian Anderson house in Odense and it was there that I had the opportunity to read some of his diary notes. I was surprised to find out that they fit exactly in the line of thoughts I was developing I felt I got to know the person behind the writer and that was the last motivation I needed to write the first draft. Once again it the people who inspire me. I grew up listening to Hans Christian Anderson stories but it was the complexity of his thoughts that attracted me now, as an adult. This worked as the last missing key that I needed to find - in order

interview

his soul and the world he is in. I wrote some notes down and started building my own character.

to complete my vision. I am a visual person and I need to ee or fully understand the character I am building in order to write it. As The Days Went By is an immersive film: mixing humor and emotional depth, the character of Hans is rendered through a sapient game of silences and looks. Can you tell us something about the shooting of your film? We had five shooting days. And we were shooting right outside of Paris, in a town called Marcoussis. It was the perfect setting for a short film crew. We rented out a three-storage Ch eau in which we could all stay in. Our set was on the ground floor (we shot both interiors and exteriors there). Then, on the first floor, we had our basecamp (with make up room, costume, production base and on the last floor the dormitories. For such few shooting days, staying all together in the same place and away from the big town really brought everyone together. I remember we all arrived at the location the night before, with the exception of the Art department that was obviously there before everyone else - building and dressing the set. Dimitri Michelsen (the actor who plays Hans) really wanted to stay with the crew at the Ch eau and so, when he arrived, we all had our first dinner together. It was only after that, that we walked him in the room that the production designer, Sophia Jacques, together with her assistant, Martina Bragadin, have meticulously prepared for him. It was dark, all lit by candles. The bookshelves filled with novels, poetry the papercuts all laying down on his desk, the fish swimming in the bowl, the dried out leaves over the fireplace, the bedsheets roughly placed as if he had just been laying there a minute ago Dimitri walks in the room and becomes speech less. Walks around in silence. Then, he sits down on the bed with a tear in his eyes and is only able to say: n my mind, I had an idea of how this room would be but it is so much better than I could ever imagine. Thank you. This all makes so much sense!

Stills from Punctum (Poland, 2014) Kleber Mendoรงa Filho cinemakers// 13


As The Days Went By, Filipa Ruiz

interview

The next day we had our extras coming in, and it the day in which we would be shooting all the scenes where Hans plays alone. We are confronted with the first unexpected situation The phone rings, and it the makeup artist who got a flat tire on her way to the set and needs to take her car back to Paris It is the 1st AD who brings me the news while the electricians and camera crew were already setting the equipment down stairs. I knew that whatever we would capture on the first take, would be our reference for the rest of the shots. And being on a short film, we could not afford to wait half a day or a full day even to get someone else on set. Therefore I remem ber turning to the 1st AD and saying: ive me one hour. and that moment I was so glad to have attended drawing classes at the University! I had that in common with my 2nd AD. So I went to talk to Dimitri while Lauren Brown (the 2nd AD) went to collect all the make up available in the house a couple of eyeliners, different colors (so great to have girls on set!). I wanted Dimitri to look pale, sick and needed to emphasize the wrinkles in his face to make him look a bit aged too. So I sat with Dimitri and Lauren in the Make Up room and one hour later we were ready to shoot. The humor and emotional drive, was possible through an immense sense of trust that we have built with the actors and the crew from day one. Everyone was aware of the film we were doing, and the intensity is built with every single

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choice that we make along the line. If you e talking to a friend, or someone you just met, and you look in their eyes They might be trying to persuade you to believe last night they had a blast at a party they went to, for example. But their eyes tell me more than that, the way they stand, a slide look away... Their eyes will tell you the truth. They might bring you more intensity to the enthusiasm, more depth, or they might just give it away. If you give the right keys to an actor, he/she will suggest you things. That where my work lays on, setting the tone and giving soul and texture to the characters. The staging of As The Days Went By is elegantly simple, as if the play were a Greek tragedy.• • Your narration-bysubtraction no doubt owes something to Vitor Erice.• How did you develop the time structure of this film? I wrote the script as well as directed it, and I had a very clear idea of the hitting marks nevertheless, I think it is impor tant to leave some room to editing be cause one can never predict everything what might happen during a shoot. And that is where the magic lays on you start with an idea, and you bring it to life. Whether it is a short or a feature film, the ultimate goal is that you, as a director, tell a story. That is what the audience will relate to. And to make that happen, it doesn’t need to be a

Nicole Arcalli (Italy)


interview very complex one, especially on a short format, but it needs to work! There are two sayings that can summarize what I just said in an extre mely efficient way: ess is more and how, don tell The blocking took a very important role in the narration of the scenes - like the proximity or the physical distance between the characters, the use of a clean shot or a irty one, trying to show how each character sees the other those are all storytelling tools and knowing that, each scene needs it own time, it HAS it own time. How did you conceive the character of Hans? When I write, I need to ee the characters, in my head. I need to feel them alive See how they move, how they dress, how they speak. Know how they relate to others and to the environ ment around them. This was my thesis project and I remember telling the School Coordinator I would rather not shoot, than shooting with someone that wouldn fit the part (we were talking about the main character, precisely). To some extend, you know the

characters you write as if they would be someone you know for real. And then, the casting process, almost feels like a d vu when you meet the actor you know you will be working with. I was visiting another set when I saw Dimitri for the first time. I saw him acting out one scene and that was enough for me. I knew, straight away, he was ans Now, I only needed to find a way how to approach and present him the project. The actors in As The Days Went By did an excellent job, how did you collaborate with them? We met for a couple of sessions before the shoot in which we read the script and discussed several aspects of it. I remember the first time I met Caroline Filipek (who plays enny . We sat down at a caf and we spent one or two hours, just getting to know each other. I had contacted her agent and the meeting was set. This was the first time she would be acting in English but I knew that would be

cinemakers // 19


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Christine Scherwood Filmmaking at the London Film School explore and learn and find herself in more chaos, but Lashes is my graduation film from London Film in this one day she learns a little bit more. School. I had been working on another script when I came across the short story “Feathers and Cigarettes” It was very important for me to portray Ashley as who by Andrew Lloyd-Jones, which won an award with she is. To capture her raw feelings. The moments Fish Publishing, and knew instantly I had to adapt it, when she refrains from saying anything to the times and share this cinematically. The protagonist, whom that she lashes out. Too often women are not I named Ashley was so raw, disturbed and in a place represented authentically. We come with scars, and and time in her life where she is figuring out who she bruises. Some visible, some not. Each one represents is. Her journey has her transforming from trying to a journey, a story, and discoveries. Real raw emotions; fit in to figuring out that she needs to walk away from regardless of gender, or genre is where I find the truly all that nonsense and be herself. I loved that she interesting stories to be. wasn't a good girl caught up in something bad. To me, that’s not real. Ashley is a real girl. “In my films I touch the subject of body and She’s flawed. She has a foul mouth, an motion embedded in a determinate context. I Based on the short attitude problem, and until she stands am interested in mutual dependency and interactions between sound, body and nature. story “Feathers and up for her self can sometimes be a Variation on Black is an attempt to explore Cigarettes” by pushover. That is when she’s not doing an ideal synergy of a man and an instrument.” Andrew Lloyd-Jones, the pushing herself. Lashes is an arousing cinematic experience, one that deserves repeated and Exploring Ashley in her own world, in her own life, in in-depth viewings. Christine Sherwood's talent as this one-day, where she has come to a realisation that director shows itself in the balance the act of the road she was on, was a false one for her. Even if narration: she hares with Yorgos Lanthimos the desire you’re a young, directionless, foul mouthed kid, to look at the world in new ways following a close figuring out who you are is what everyone is trying examination of reality, reminding us of Maya Deren's to figure out. Sometimes well past their teens, which words "It is not the way anything is at a given is why I think everyone can relate to Ashley. Her moment that is important in film, it's what is is doing, journey goes from being messed over to emerging how it's becoming". We are pleased to present from the chaos with a better understanding of who Christine Sherwood for this year's CinéWomen she was. That's not to say she won't continue to


New Directors Edition. Christine, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium?

Christine Scherwood Lashes (UK, 2015)

To wrap someone up into a new world, to a new story in just a few moments is rather exciting. I always liked the idea that it's not the length of time you're in someone's life that can have the most impact, it's what you do with your time that matters. Pound for pound, some of the most impactful films I've seen have been short films. The short film format has been a great vehicle to develop a discipline for storytelling. Very much looking forward to continuing that drive, discipline, and passion into feature films. When did you get in touch with Andrew Lloyd-Jones's short story for the first time? In Autumn of 2012 is when I came across 'Feathers and Cigarettes' by Andrew LloydJones on Fish Publishing's site. The story instantly spoke to me and I knew I had to bring it to life. Andrew and I met around Christmas time. I had just recovered from the flu, and with

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my voice barely audible, I pitched my vision. Luckily, even through my raspiness we shared the same vision and 'Lashes' is the result. The characters in Lashes neither want to nor can represent anyone but themselves. You refuse the traditional kinds of dramatization of contemporary cinema: throughout your film you find the most direct way to capture Ashes's raw feelings. Can you introduce our readers to the way you conceive your characters? Adapting a short story, I did look to the wonderful characters Andrew created as the main framework. Ashley is trying to find herself as many of us had at sixteen years old. No matter how hard she tries however, her authentic self kept shining through. Finding clear, distinctive personalities for each of the characters was crucial for me, and one of the first things when structuring the adaptation was creating my own backstories for each of the characters. These helped create the blueprint of each of their


Ashley is here marvellously interpreted by Charlie Lewington. Can you describe your experience directing her? Charlie has the brilliant capacity for sitting into a performance. Simply "being" without pushing. She doesn't seek out the emotions. She steps into the world and allows the situations and interactions flow organically. Lashes, being a realism comingof-age needed actors that were capable of organically being part of that world. Teenage angst is so easily over exaggerated. Following her character Ashley on this one day, it was important the audience really stayed with her and felt the depths of her emotion. Any exaggeration would haveruined that connection the audience feels. The first time I saw Charlie perform, was in another London Film School production. I called up the Director of the other production, got her contact details, emailed her and fortunately she loved the script. She had dyed her hair red for another production, so I had to have her dye it back blonde and

cut her hair shorter so Ashley's change in our film would be more noticeable. Without hesitation she was willing to do what was needed for the film.We were so fortunate to have the most lovely, talented, driven cast on this film. Directing Charlie Lewington, Scarlett Byrne, Jack Brett Anderson, and Charlie Clarke play off each other was a real pleasure as they were all so brilliantly talented and collaborated well in this journey. Sonia 's striking use of light andcolor depicts emotions and feelings in places where dialogue could not even scratch the surface. We were impressed by your use of tight shots in interior settings, reminding us of Jean-Yves Escoffier's cinematography in Mauvais sang (Leos Carax, 1986). How did you collaborate for this film?

It was imperative that we maintained a realism look and feel to the film. We wanted to go on a journey with Ashley in this one day in her life. Every choice we made had to keep us connected to her and in her world. The key element with lighting was to maintain a natural realistic look. However we did address some of the intricacies. When she was inside was when things were slightly cooler in colour. She was being disappointed by someone. When she was outside, we experienced a more honest true to herself Ashley. The use of natural sunlight helped heighten those moments. And finally in the bathroom scene where she goes from not only dealing with betrayal from both her friend and her boyfriend, but makes the decision to reclaim her true self, we went for a darker, more intimate feel while still maintaining a level of realistic lighting tones. Jean-Yves Escoffier's cinematography in Mauvais sang (Leos Carax, 1986) help

review

personalities which flowed through their behaviours, their dialogue, and in their reactions to what is happening around them. I did however create the character Pete. Pete represented a reminder of who she really was and provided a balance to the two worlds she was straddling.

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The era of imperfect memory

interview

you stay tight and intimate with the characters. Which is exactly what we were looking to do with Lashes. However, we wanted to maintain that intimacy with Ashley the entire way through. There's only one shot in the film that is either not from Ashley's POV or has a at least a little bit of her in the frame. Even that one shot was still capturing the fallout from when Ashley lashed out and we saw the potential consequences of her actions, maintaining that link to Ashley. Pre-production took 6 months. Sonia and I agreed that before we did casting, before location scouting, before the majority of what needed to be done, we had to establish the look an the tone of the film. That would be the soul of the project which everything would work around. And it did. Sonia and I actually had a sleepover at her where we got into our pyjamas, ate lots of food, had a few beers, then proceeded to watch and discuss every film that helped express what we were each looking to achieve or in some way influenced some of our thoughts on what we wanted with this film. Really helped us get into each others head. Did any specific director appeal to you? When we saw Lashes we immediately thought of Vera Chitilova, her

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playful yet utterly subversive sensibility. Another film that came to mind was Polanski's Repulsion, especially for its expressive camerawork. As filmmakers, Chitilova and Polanski are very inspiring. To notice the nuances we took so much time to craft and explore in Lashes and then to think of their work, is quite an honour, and I thank you. In Lashes, Ashley is a teenager, full of angst and trying to discover herself. However, I wanted to make sure we always caught a bit of lightness to her. A sense of brevity, and playfulness. That's what reality is after all...multifaceted. The cinematography was crucial in presenting that, and every shot very specifically chosen to express Ashley's emotional journey. How long was the project? The films length is 20 minutes. Found the short story at the end of 2012, filmed May 2013, submitted a nearly finished version of the film for my MA in Filmmaking at London Film School in July 2013, however, due to time and monies, completed the film beginning of 2014. We filmed 6 locations, some of them exteriors in 4.5 days, never once running over in time. Fantastic cast and crew.

Yasmine Mahet (France)


interview Can you describe your experience of studying filmmaking at the London Film School? London Film School has a strong exploration for world cinema and a great practical and comprehensive approach to the craft. Developing the skills and discipline, working together in a collaborative process, while exploring our own sense of individuality is what drew me to the programme. We started off filming Black and White on a 16mm Aaton, to 35mm SuperAmerica, and more recently they've incorporated the Arri ALEXA. We learned to build studio sets, production design, sound design, and editing. Narrative to documentary. I've worked on films throughout my time at LFS in every capacity. Name it, I've done it. London Film School has played a huge part in the development of some of cinema's greats worldwide. From Mike Leigh, Michael Mann, and Duncan Jones, to Cinematographers Roger Pratt, and Tak Fujimoto and many more. When you work every aspect behind the camera, whether being the director or being

the spark, you not only gain a huge appreciation for the amount of work and collaboration that each position plays a part in, but knowing the capabilities of each of those departments I feel can make you an even stronger Director if that's your path. We would like to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera for decades, however in the last decaded there are signs that something is changing. What is your view on the future of women filmmakers? Strong women, from the beginning fought hard to find their place in filmmaking from Alice Guy-BlachĂŠ to today's pioneers. It's a really exciting time for women. Not only is societal changes occurring, but with the continued development in digital filmmaking. Digital filmmaking is providing greater access to those who may not have had the means to pursue

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Talents from FAMU The visionary universe of Viktoria Rampal Dzurenko

U

JO

V IKTOR

IS AN EXTRAORDINARY PORTRAYAL OF

THE TIES THAT BIND US .

T HE

FILM’S DELICATE

BALANCE OF HUMANISM AND PSYCHOLOGICAL

INTROSPECTION UNDERSCORES ITS POWERFUL SOCIAL MESSAGE.

V IKTORIA R AMPAL D ZURENKO 'S

REMARKABLE

DIRECTORIAL DEBUT CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES HER STRONG COMMAND OF FLEET CINEMATIC STORYTELLING. DIALOGUE

TO

EXPLORES

THE

A

K EEPING MINIMUM , V IKTORIA

WONDERFUL EMOTIONAL

DEPTH

CHARACTERS’ HARD- ROCK EXTERIORS.

inspiration and I love to observe it as well as I am trying to understand it too. And as now I am also mother I can see things again from more different perspective. Parenthood and married life brought new colorful flavours to my life and I am very much thankful for that.

BENEATH

FILMED

THE

WITH AN

Ujo Viktor is your final master directing project at FAMU, one of the most prestigious film school in Europe. How has your experience at FAMU contributed to your artistic and professional growth?

EXQUISITE DETACHMENT ,

U JO V IKTOR STUNNING WORK Viktoria: The experience was simply amazing. I studied W E ARE PLEASED TO and shot my films PRESENT V IKTORIA R AMPAL D ZURENKO “For me to shoot film means to dedicate under very inspirative FOR THIS YEAR'S C INÉ W OMEN EDITION . part of life time. Same like when you are guindance of such V IKTORIA , HOW DID YOU GET INTO carrying a baby. You give him directors like  Věra FILMMAKING ? everything. Your own blood, your own Chytilová, Jan Němec, ABOUT SOCIAL ESTRANGEMENT .

energy, your own time, your own love. ” Viktoria: It was a destiny. I always loved to paint and I admired any kind of art. Before I started my studies of film direction at FAMU, Prague, Czech republic, I completed my master degree studies in painting and teaching of painting in Slovakia. After that I felt desire to start storytelling with moving images. My inspiration is simple - life around me. And my family which is completely multicultural - my father is from Slovakia, mother from Lithuania and Ukraine, my husband Ranjan Rampal and his family are from India and we live mainly in Prague. So thanks to all that I can see many approaches towards life and I believe I became more tolerant. World around me is simply my strong

Drahomíra Vihanová, Lubor Dohnal - who are world famous as "czech new wave" directors and filmmakers. I ll forever remember unique attitude of Věra Chytilova and her provoking question: Why? She was always searching for exact meanings and reasons for each scene our student films. She was teaching us as upcoming directors to always know what we want to express by each scene and why. Till now when I am making film, her face with this question "WHY?" appears in my head. Why I want to shoot this kind of film and what is it really all about for me? Why this and this scene is there? Why this subtext of the scene and what it will bring  to  the  whole  film.  Constant  questioning  of  Věra Chytilova tought me not to waste too many creative, but


not concentrated ideas and my time and time whole film crew. Its very important for true filmmaker to know what he really want to express and WHY. Eastern European Directors address questions of cultural identity in a way Americans and Western Europeans rarely do. What attracted you to this topic and how did you come up with the idea for Ujo Viktor? Viktoria: Why Eastern European Directors address questions of cultural identity in a way Americans and Western Europeans rarely do? Its is really difficult question and I just can try to answer it from my point of view. Maybe because of different

pressures and also specific roots and influences of our society. And also because of physical location of our countries too. Slovakia and Czech republic are situated in the heart of Europe, in between "west" and "east". Our nations are very small and bigger nations during whole history were trying to occupy us and force us their cultural and political influence. There were many many forbidden topics in art as well as later in film for a long time... But strong filmmakers were not afraid to speak and to open up these hidden topics.. My idea of Ujo Viktor was very much natural as it is a story from history of my multicultural family.. The whole film story is actually based on true events and the pain, passion and fear of characters are also real.

Ujo Viktor uses an energetic narrative structure. How did you collaborate with Marek Grajciar? Viktoria: Marek Grajciar is a very talented writer and scripwriter, who was able to rewrite story of Ujo Viktor based on real incidents of my real Uncle Viktor and other family into a beautiful and exciting film script. He did it in very sensitive, smart and creative way, as he was able to keep professional distance from the characters. I really appreciated our cooperation very much and recently we are preparing new film story, called Eternal memory. The story about dark sins in family and forgiveness is again based on real incidents but creatively transformed into a catching film story.


were working with full concentration and whole the time perfectly in the characters... I ll tell you, with some of actors I even don´t know their real characters as whole shoot they were so concentrated on the character whom they represented.. I called them not with their real names but with the names of the characters... Gorgously shot on RED, Ujo Viktor uses an elegant, simple camera style which favors a restrained naturalism that is by turns handsome and melancholic, reminding us of Šar nas Bartas'cinema. What were some of your aesthetic decisions? Viktoria: My aesthetic decisions were very much simple. I wanted to shoot story of Ujo Viktor - of my real uncle Viktor and whole my family as realistic and true as possible. We even shot in the same hotel where the real incident in between my family some time back happened. I wanted to make kind of personal intimate and natural cinema, not any stylized artificial show of. That was  my  intention  and  my  DOP  Jan  Skriečka really did his best in this matter. What do you hope viewers will take away from the film? Viktoria: I just believe that film will find its way towards the audience and it will share its true message. Any time and anywhere as time and space for art doesn´t matter. We have previously mentioned Šar nas Bartas, who among international directors influenced your work? Viktoria: For me the great personal inspiration are directors and my teachers from Czech new wave as I  mentioned  before   Věra  Chytilová,  Jan  Němec,

Still from Ujo Victor (Prague) interview by Melissa Duncan(Belgium) cinemakers // 23

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Viktoria: I enjoyed whole process itself very much. From very beginning till the end. It was really amazing and challenging experience, and I learned a lot. It took us whole tree years to make this movie. From the first draft of the story till the final version of the edit and sound... For me to shoot film means to dedicate part of life time. Same like when you are carrying a baby. You give him everything. Your own blood, your own energy, your own time, your own love. I was also lucky I had really amazing crew without whom this shoot might not be impossible. I am very much  thankful  to  my  DOP  Jan  Skriečka, who was not afraid to shoot with me sometimes even around 20 hours per day, as we had very much tight budget and we had to shoot so many scenes. Actors also did their great job - they

interview

Can you tell us something about the shooting of your film? What did you enjoy about working on this project?


fiction

Metaphorically seeing: Ujo Viktor DrahomĂ­ra VihanovĂĄ, Lubor Dohnal, except of them directors from different countries like Michael Haneke, Ulrich Seidl, Mani Kaul, Ritwik Ghatak, Sanal Kumar Sasidharan, Babusenan brothers, Jim Jarmusch, David Lynch, John Cassavetes and many others. What is your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal?

interview

Viktoria: I am very much fascinated with work of actors in general. I admire actors very much. With all their sensitivity and emotionality. Every actor is completely different and needs also different approach while directing him. One needs more rehearsals and practice, another prefers improvisation and fresh approach without much rehearsing. The most important facts about work with any actor is communication and trust. All is really about that. If you as director are able to comunicate properly your vision and intention, the subtext - what is each scene about, than you are able to shoot your film.Generally I prefer to combine non actors with actors, what for me matters is true in his eyes and

the unforgetable face which speaks even without any words. Ujo Viktor is your first feature film, what did you learn and what were some of the challenges? Viktoria: While creating my first full length film Ujo Viktor I learned to be more humble but in the same time more exact in what I really want as a filmmaker. Direct comunication and pure intentions are the most important for me. I learned about value of time and energy of people who are working for you with full trust. Film shooting is a live chain of inspirative relations in which every one matters and you as a director should never underestimate it. Can you tell us something about relationship with Ranjan Rampal?

your

creative

Viktoria: My beloved husband, poet and film editor Ranjan Rampal is from India. We met in Film and television institute FTII in Pune almost six years ago and this our meeting was one of the most important in my whole life. The most

cinemakers// 18

Patricia Curtis (France)


interview interesting and funny fact about this whole thing is that I had never planned to visit India, but FAMU sent me there for four days for film festival in FTII. I had never expected that these four days will completely change my life. So it was simply destiny. Since that time we made together with Ranjan many projects, we have our son Vincent, we live partly in Prague as well as in India and we are starting our own production company - all details you can see our website viktori.cz. We would love to create kind of intercultural bridge between filmmakers and artist from India and Europe and for their cooperation. We want to catch this occasion to ask you to express your view on the future of women in cinema. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the

future of women in cinema? Viktoria: Frankly speaking I am very much sure that many many women are ready to became great filmmakers. It just depends from each to each case if we are able to reach our dreams or not, sex doesn´t matter I hope. What does matter is individual talent, dedication, belief and hard work and also kind of stubbornness. Personally, I also got into many unpleasant situations while studying film direction because I am woman, but also in the same time for same reason I got many advantages too.. I see future of women in cinema in very bright lights and I wish to whole women all around the world not to be afraid to express themselves and to go for their dreams. All your acts good or bad anyways will come back to you in return, just remember that..

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Off Screen

I tried to find a language for the film - not just telling stories. I picked the Picasso painting because it said more than I could explain. I need images, I need representation which deals in other means than reality. We have to use reality but get out of it. That's what I try to do all the time.

Agnes Varda

In the photo:

Sally Fenaux Barleycorn


.…..NOUR.WAZZI…………………………………………. Inspired by true events, UP ON THE ROOF is a story about Marcus, a 12-year-old kid who’s been abandoned by his mother and left with his hard-nosed grandfather. Resigned to hiding out on a rooftop, Marcus’s life takes a turn when Trish, a girl he’s always liked, comes looking for his help. I was immediately drawn to this story of innocence lost. These kids emulate a youthful feeling of joy and a carefree view of the world but beneath it all they are riddled with so much heartache, fear and disappointment. This characterdriven narrative took inspiration from the poetic and existential ideas of Italian cinema, and Bertolucci in particular, who was focused on the individuality of people dealing with changes in their lives and no straightforward solution. Even though these kids are both in difficult situations, I was adamant to capture a certain lightness of spirit. This was achieved with subtle and nuanced performances from Michael Matias (who I discovered in the west end play ‘The Bodyguard) and Maisie Williams (‘Game of Thrones’), and a decision to use dramatic closeups sparingly. The music’s intricacy which represents Marcus’s journey and the light-handed touch of the bouzouki’s plucked strings, complimented by the fluid style of shooting were also key in setting the desired tone. When Trish spontaneously arrives, Marcus’s

world immediately becomes more whimsical, graceful and dreamlike. Reflecting Marcus’ seemingly carefree existence, the rooftop is a character in itself, symbolizing tranquility and a sense of being on top of the world.

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In contrast, when we follow Marcus to his granddad's shabby flat the look and feel of the film shifts. Illuminated by discreet shafts of light, the flat is dark, dusty and neglected – as if frozen in time. Tension builds as it is revealed that Trish’s boyfriend Darren and his crew are looking for Marcus. My intention was to move away from typical heavy-handed depictions and disheartening stories about council estate youths in the UK – at its core is a bittersweet tale of love between two neglected kids. The film aims to capture something of the poetry and charm in life and relationships. It strikes a balance between the lyrical and the gritty, interweaving moments of stillness with the spontaneity and disarray of youth.

Thank you for the beautiful words about my short, I'm very touched and humbled. I have always loved film - from birth my mother would put me in front of the TV screen behind a couch to distract me from the sounds of the bombs and bullets outside. I grew up as a film addict and as a result had a vivid imagination and loved telling stories. As a kid I used to direct my friends in little plays we'd perform to our families. At the time I had no idea you could actually do this for a living, and while I wrote short stories in my free time, I grew up believing I'd become a surgeon or biochemist and do something worthy with my life like find a cure for cancer! Little did I know life had other plans for me, and when I moved to London in 2003 everything changed for me. The first time I directed a film, it's like everything finally made sense. Bringing stories to life brought me to life. I'd finally found my calling.

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Up on the Roof is a rare example of true film poetry, a work of astonishing intimacy and tenderness. Can you tell us what attracted you to this particular story?

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At the time I was on the hunt for a thriller or science fiction story as that is direction I intend to be going in the features and TV shows I'm developing as a producer/director. I was introduced


..................................MARIKA.KRAJNIEWSKA......

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With its beauty and melancholy, As The Days Went By is a psychologically complex portrayal of the dyna mics of love. Keeping dialogue to a wonderful minimum, Filipa Ruiz closely follows the intimate details and rhythms of her characters' daily life. The story of Hans, a writer seeking for inspiration, and his unconfessed love for Jenny is told with a mixture of naturalism and magic realism that infuses everyday life with a special vibrancy. And behind the came ra, the talented

director uses an energetic narrative structure to inject unexpected images and fresh emotions into the film. We are pleased to present Filipa Ruiz for this year's WomenCinemakers Edition. Filipa, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? I understand Arts as the medium that human beings found to preserve their memory through time. It   through pain tings, photographs, sculptures, writings even music and architecture that we are able to know and study the human being from pre-historical times till modern times. Art is a cultural record, and people have always fascinated me. My trajectory into filmmaking happened in  such  a  natural  way  I  always  loved painting, writing, and photography has always been with me as well. I attended the Fine Arts University for my Bachelor degree in Lisbon, and soon I flew to Finland where I wanted to continue my studies. Cinema is known as the Seventh Art as it synthetizes all the traditional arts together (the spatial arts and the temporal arts). When one thinks that to make a film one has to go from a written script into drawing shots, building sets, developing characters, music composi tions... being an Art lover, I easily found this being the medium I would like to express myself in. My inspiration is People, absolutely. And my will is to instill hope. As The Days Went By is a poetic and immersive film. What attracted

you to this project? At the time I was making some studies on the essence of where the artists get their inspiration from. I went to visit a friend of mine in Barcelona. He collects everything he might find interesting from the street or objects that people give him  and he builds his own pieces out of it. Every item in his house is unique, and has his handprint on it. The lights built with nets shading the rooms in different textures, his bed built over long wooden structures which allows you to walk under it, he places canvas over walls that he covered with pages from his favorite musical orchestrations and projects images over it  and so on. It became this one whole installation, which I believe that reflects both his soul and the world he is in. I wrote some notes down and started building my own character. For me, the way artists think they are seen by the society and how the society gets reflected on them plays a major role in the art they produce. Artists are observers by nature. But it was only when I visited my sister, she was living in Denmark by then, that the story took form. I visited Hans Christian Anderson    house  in  Odense  and  it was there that I had the opportunity to read some of his diary notes. I was surprised to find out that they fit exactly in the line of thoughts I was developing  I  felt  I  got  to  know  the person behind the writer and that was the last motivation I needed to write the first draft. Once again it the people who inspire me. I grew up listening to Hans Christian Anderson stories but it was the complexity of his thoughts that


……FILIPA.RUIZ…………………………………………… attracted me now, as an adult. This worked as the last missing key that I needed to find - in order to complete my vision. I am a visual person  and I need  to    ee  or  fully  understand  the character I am building in order to write it. As The Days Went By is an immersive film: mixing humor and emotional depth, the character of Hans is rendered through a sapient game of silences and looks. Can you tell us something about the shooting of your film? We had five shooting days. And we were shooting right outside of Paris, in a town called Marcoussis. It was the perfect setting for a short film crew. We rented out a three-storage Ch  eau in which we could all stay in. Our set was on the ground floor (we shot both interiors and exteriors there). Then, on the first floor, we had our basecamp (with make up room, costume, production base   and on the last floor the dormitories. For such few shooting days, staying all together in the same place and away from the big town really brought everyone together. I remember we all arrived at the location the night before, with the exception of the Art department that was obviously there before everyone else - building and dressing the set. Dimitri Michelsen (the actor who plays Hans) really wanted to stay with the crew at the Ch  eau and so, when he arrived, we all had our first dinner together. It was only after that, that we walked him in the room that the production designer, Sophia Jacques,

together with her assistant, Martina Bragadin, have meticulously prepared for him. It was dark, all lit by candles. The bookshelves filled with novels, poetry the  papercuts  all  laying  down on his desk, the fish swimming in the bowl, the dried out leaves over the fireplace, the bedsheets roughly placed as if he had just been laying there a minute  ago  Dimitri  walks  in  the  room and becomes speech less. Walks around in silence. Then, he sits down on the bed with a tear in his eyes and is only able to say:   n my mind, I had an idea of how this room would be  but it is so much better than I could ever imagine.  Thank  you.  This  all  makes so much sense!  The next day we had our extras coming in, and it   the day in which we would be shooting all the scenes where Hans plays alone. We are confronted with the  first  unexpected  situation  The phone rings, and it   the make­up artist who got a flat tire on her way to the set and needs to take her car back to Paris  It  is  the  1st  AD  who  brings  me the news while the electricians and camera crew were already setting the equipment down stairs. I knew that whatever we would capture on the first take, would be our reference for the rest of the shots. And being on a short film, we could not afford to wait half a day or a full day even to get someone else on set. Therefore I remem ber turning to the 1st AD and saying:   ive me one hour.  and that moment I was so glad to have attended drawing classes at the University! I had that in common with my 2nd AD. So I went to talk to Dimitri while Lauren Brown (the 2nd AD) went to collect all the make up available  in  the  house  a  couple  of

eyeliners, different colors  (so great to have girls on set!). I wanted Dimitri to look  pale,  sick  and  needed  to emphasize the wrinkles in his face to make him look a bit aged too. So I sat with Dimitri and Lauren in the Make Up room and one hour later we were ready to shoot. The humor and emotional drive, was possible through an immense sense of trust that we have built with the actors and the crew from day one. Everyone was aware of the film we were doing, and the intensity is built with every single choice that we make along the line. If you  e talking to a friend, or someone you just met, and you  look  in  their  eyes  They  might  be trying to persuade you to believe last night they had a blast at a party they went to, for example. But their eyes tell me more than that, the way they stand, a slide look away... Their eyes will tell you the truth. They might bring you more intensity to the enthusiasm, more depth, or they might just give it away. If you give the right keys to an actor, he/she  will  suggest  you  things.  That  where my work lays on, setting the tone and giving soul and texture to the characters. The staging of As The Days Went By is elegantly simple, as if the play were a Greek tragedy. Your narration-by-subtraction no doubt owes something to Vitor Erice. How did you develop the time structure of this film? I wrote the script as well as directed it, and I had a very clear idea of the hitting marks    nevertheless,  I  think  it  is impor tant to leave some room to editing be cause one can never predict


..................................JENNIFER.DROTZ.RUHN.... A moody film that delicately weaves personal pain and public anguish, Skinhearts explores a world where the sexual act has become an irre ve rent act of rebellion. An emotio nally complex portrait of human aliena tion, Sally Fenaux Barley corn's film raises disturbing que stions, reveal ing a psychological penetrating exploration of love and freedom reminding us of Yorgos Lanthimos's early work. We are proud to present Sally Fenaux Barleycorn for this year's WomenCinemakers Edition. Sally, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium?

since I didn’t attend film school and also the humility. I know first hand how hard it is to make things happen in this industry, how hard the people involved usually work and to respect that and prepare myself to meet their needs, don’t waste anyone’s time and achieve a piece of work worth their efforts, dedication and mine.

costume department, I had an accident on set that obliged me to take a break. I had the time to think about my future, about who I really was and what it was that I really wanted to do. I had to deal with some personal issues related to my race that had made me someone afraid to be center stage.

But it isn’t until a couple of years ago that I started to feel that I wanted to direct. While I was still working in the

And also overcome the gender stereotypes: I had never thought about directing as a career for me, no one

I’ve always been really curious about everything that is visual. At the age I was suppose to be finishing high school and then attending college, I was jumping from one discipline to another, doing short and non formal education on photography, dance, theatre, video and graphic design. I started working in the film industry and commercial shoots in 2008 by chance. But when I think back, I can see how all my different experiences were actually a great preparation for the “Total Art” that cinema is. That is one of the things that inspires me the most about this medium and also, the high level of collaboration. Which means that you are constantly sharing influences and being affected by your collaborator’s ideas, life experiences and own influences. Working profes sionally in feature film and commercial productions has given me the training,


……SALLY F. BARLEYCORN…………………………… had ever told me I could do it nor that I couldn’t neither… But it is something very unconscious, it is deeply accepted in our society and we don’t talk about it enough. I have no regrets, but I wish no other girls and women would feel that they haven’t started their careers earlier because of that. So after working on my level of self-esteem, I realised I had plenty of things I wanted to say, to talk about, to transmit and that film was the medium, no matter how scared I was of taking full responsibility of the outcome of a film production. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Skinhearts? I’ve always thought that being very sensitive was a curse! And now I can see how it is the birthplace of my unique experience of this world. And that is where Skinhearts comes from, my experience living in Amsterdam and the average touch behaviour of the Dutch. I had been living almost 2 years in Amsterdam at that time and feeling as if I was getting colder and colder in my inside or something was getting heavier to live with, but could not point to what that feeling was exactly. One day I met someone who talked to me about a script with a lot of sex in it and about why he wanted to do that project and his own ideas of sexual freedom and stuff like that. When I left this meeting I had a horrible feeling. I was almost shocked not by the sex itself or the lack of any love involved in it, but more by the objectification of it. Because of the lack of care and how it

felt as a tool, just like a hammer to place a nail on a wall. Right after this meeting I was cycling home and I saw the end scene of Skinhearts playing in my head, I saw Zoe looking for something, using sex as a tool to find something else and not finding it. That end scene was the center of the film and then I wrote the rest of the short and created the characters to reach that scene. When I started analysing that scene to know what it was that I wanted to say, to speak about, is when I started my research on touch deprivation in the western society. And that was it. That was what my heavy feeling was about, why I felt so shocked about that conver sation and the reason why I wanted to do this film. Then I also realised that I knew on my own skin what Zoe would feel and what it was she was looking for.

Most people have no idea how incredi bly important quality, caring touch is in their lives as human beings. Through my research I learned that it is our most basic sense and primal way of commu nication. It is crucial for babies to survive and for adults to have a healthy body and mind. When someone touches you there is a message that goes direct ly and deeply into your unconscious: “ I accept you” and vice versa, avoiding touch contributes to a low self-esteem, which is the birthplace of violence, addiction and mental disorders. In Skinhearts, most people are born already in the “untouchable society” and don’t know what it is to feel someone else's skin on theirs. But Zoe, the main character, having

received caring and loving touch as a kid (by rebel parents), is looking for that same feeling, without really remem bering what was the source or how to get it again. It seems rational to think that going as deeper as possible into someone else's body would be the solution but it isn’t. Just as much as one night stands can’t cover for the needs of loving touch we all need and many people are seeking in the wrong place. The more I got into the research, the more I shaped the characters to my discoveries and finished writing the rest of the short film. We have been deeply impressed with your enigmatic approach to narrative and characters. How did you develop your filmmaking style? Well, thank you! This is my first film so it might be too soon to speak about having a filmmaking style of my own. I think my approach to narrative and characters has been very personal, and that might be the only reason why it looks rare. One of the things that I was determined to stick to was to make the film I wanted to make even if that would mean making mistakes in narrative or storytelling. And I listened to inputs from others and looked for tips from more experienced professionals, I love collaboration! But I was very careful to find the line between a good correction that I fully agreed with and a tip that would have made my film just by the rules and average. I don’t know that much, I’m just starting out, but I do know that that is the only way to make something worth watching and some thing that would look and sound like me therefore tell the story in a way I can only tell it.


….........................………………………………………… I think that in filmmaking we just lie too much to only entertain or to maintain a system already established, stereotypes, just to please or create a certain effect. But the truth is that the only stories that really touches us humans, entertain us and bring something valuable to the world are those that are sincere and authentic. And I don’t know if that will show as a filmmaking style but it definitely is my working style and I hope it always will.

That is actually one of the few things I’m sure I can do well. Skinhearts is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping work. What was the most challen ging thing about making this film? The most challenging for me was holding too many hats at once writerdirector-producer. Not only it is difficult to do, it is also a too lonely place to be when you have to manage such a

complicated film and not being very experienced in any of those jobs. Also maintaining that vision and keep feeling the story and the characters while working in a highly technical environ ment, not so artistic place, that a film set is. But having a great director of photography and amazing actors asking you questions and suggesting new approaches always helps to get your head back to where it needs to be. Because we had a limited amount of film rolls we also had to make sure


....SALLY F. BARLEYCORN……………………………. every thing was absolutely ready to be perfect on the first or second take maximum. And I didn’t have any way to see with my own eyes what exactly Jakub Giza (DoP) was going to shoot. So it took a lot of time and a lot of trust! Since it is my first film, the most chal lenging parts were mostly related to my first-timer status, limited budget and my fear to not be a good leader. I won’t forget how I felt after each shooting day that it had been the most difficult and the most exciting work day I had ever had in my life. You have shot Skinhearts both in digital and 16mm film. Can you explain this peculiar aesthetic choice? We basically turned technical limita tions into an interesting aesthetic experiment. I wanted to shoot the entire film in 16mm because I wanted to make a futuristic film with an old film look, to really focus on the futuristic behaviour of the people living in that time, rather than getting distracted by any special effects or gadgets. But it became obvious that we would not be able to shoot in film the night scene, because there isn’t 16mm film stocks with the needed speed anymore and we didn’t have the budget to have the lighting of a football camp! Instead of witching the whole film to digital, we decided that to make a contrast between the two parts of the film would be very interesting and would also elevate the final scene which is the narrative center of the short film because you suddenly can

see it sharper, crispier and more shiny. I’ve been a very active listener of all the discussions related to Film vs Digital in the past years and for me Skinhearts shows how beautiful both can be. Used in the same film it makes such a contrast that you can really notice it and enjoy it, which is something that most non-film-professional audiences never have the chance to do. There is obviously a romantic side of making such choice too… I studied analog photography, I had my grandfather’s Bolex available to use and I come from the traditional side of big production film making, so for me, wanting to become a film director, I will always carry with me the joyful memory that I shot my first film using actual film rolls, rolling inside of a camera, making the most beautiful noise. What is your preparation with actors in terms of rehearsal? I am quite old school in my filmmaking process… which includes as much rehearsal time and meeting with actors as possible. It is not so common nowadays, maybe even less for short films, but how limited would the experience of filmmaking be if you don’t have the time to rehearse, investigate, chat and play with the actors? I might feel quite comfortable doing that because it involves a lot of improvisation but it is also a process for which I have huge respect. After shooting Skinhearts, I have been studying a lot more about working with actors because it is incredibly interesting and fun, but also they are the people who most deeply affect you

while making a film. For Skinhearts, I offered the role of Zoe directly to Zoëvan Weert (and was lucky enough that she accepted), met Max Croes for the role of Sky a couple of times and we did a couple of improvisations as auditions . We kept on meeting and working on the character while I forgot to tell him that he was selected for the role already!) and we did an open audi tion for the extras and the Skin hearts roles to which Selma Copijn arrived late and did a jaw dropping audition on the corridor (and got the role right there). Then we did rehear sals in couples with ZoëMax and Selma-Max, more around improvisa tions experien cing the characters rather than specific scenes of the script. I am so grateful that they gave me the opportunity of having that time with them because I learned so much and I was so inspired by the different ways in which each of them work. The first time we watched your film we thought of Yorgos Lanthimos's cinema. Can you tell us your biggest influences in cinema and how they have affected your work? I am actually very influenced by photography so it isn’t strange that my biggest reference while making Skinhearts was Chris Marker’s short film “La Jeté” (1962). Also the photography of Anton Corbijn and his first film Control are among my main influences. But I look to a lot of things, many things visual and sensory experiences influence me. I have a full


……………………….…CHRISTINE.SHEERWOOD…… Lashes is my graduation film from London Film School. I had been working on another script when I came across the short story “Feathers and Cigarettes” by Andrew Lloyd-Jones, which won an award with Fish Publishing, and knew instantly I had to adapt it, and share this cinematically. The protagonist, whom I named Ashley was so raw, disturbed and in a place and time in her life where she is figuring out who she is. Her journey has her transforming from trying to fit in to figuring out that she needs to walk away from all that nonsense and be herself. I loved that she wasn't a good girl caught up in something bad. To me, that’s not real. Ashley is a real girl. She’s flawed. She has a foul mouth, an attitude problem, and until she stands up for her self can sometimes be a pushover. That is when she’s not doing the pushing herself. Exploring Ashley in her own world, in her own life, in this one-day, where she has come to a realisation that the road she was on, was a false one for her. Even if you’re a young, directionless, foul mouthed kid, figuring out who you are is what everyone is trying to figure out. Sometimes well past their teens, which is why I think everyone can relate to Ashley. Her journey goes from being messed over to emerging from the chaos with a better understanding of who she was. That's not to say she

won't continue to explore and learn and find herself in more chaos, but in this one day she learns a little bit more. It was very important for me to portray Ashley as who she is. To capture her raw feelings. The moments when she refrains from saying anything to the times that she lashes out. Too often women are not represented authentically. We come with scars, and bruises. Some visible, some not. Each one represents a journey, a story, and discoveries. Real raw emotions; regardless of gender, or genre is where I find the truly interesting stories to be. Based on the short story “Feathers and Cigarettes” by Andrew LloydJones, Lashes is an arousing cinematic experience, one that deserves repeated and in-depth viewings. Christine Sherwood's talent as director shows itself in the balance the act of narration: she hares with Yorgos Lanthimos the desire to look at the world in new ways following a close examination of reality, reminding us of Maya Deren's words "It is not the way anything is at a given moment that is important in film, it's what is is doing, how it's becoming". We are pleased to present Christine Sherwood for this year's WomenCinemakers edition. Christine, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker.

What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? To wrap someone up into a new world, to a new story in just a few moments is rather exciting. I always liked the idea that it's not the length of time you're in someone's life that can have the most impact, it's what you do with your time that matters. Pound for pound, some of the most impactful films I've seen have been short films. The short film format has been a great vehicle to develop a discipline for storytelling. Very much looking forward to continuing that drive, discipline, and passion into feature films. Ashley is here marvellously interpreted by Charlie Lewington. Can you describe your experience directing her? Charlie has the brilliant capacity for sitting into a performance. Simply "being" without pushing. She doesn't seek out the emotions. She steps into the world and allows the situations and interactions flow organically. age needed actors that were capable of organically being part of that world. Teenage angst is so easily over exaggerated. Following her character Ashley on this one day, it was important the audience really stayed with her and felt the depths of her emotion. Any exaggeration would haveruined that connection the audience feels. The first time I saw Charlie perform,


CAHIERS


Photo by courtesy of Aleksandra Chciulk ©

Women CineMakers, Special Edition, Vol.9  
Women CineMakers, Special Edition, Vol.9  
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