FILIPA RUIZ DIANA OJEDA SUAREZ DIANA ZAHARIEVA MARÍA PAPI ANWEN EDWARDS CLAUDIA ARAYA LÓPEZ CAROLINE FARRELL MARIE-VALERIE JEANTELOT ALEXANDRA HARGREAVES KATIE FOURNELL
CINEMA DOC THEATRE VIDEO ART DANCE
Building on the success of the fourth edition, CinéWomen continues showcasing video practice from around the world. As the ultimate mirror-medium of our times, video is all around us. Despite the proliferation of mainstream cinema, independent films continue to be made –radical, poetic, and dreamlike films, whose directors work on the edge of the mainstream film industry, never restricting themself to any single field, yet inviting the eye and the mind to travel further. Cinema is no longer the monolithic system based on large capital investiment: in the last decade the technological advances have dramatically changed the economic conditions of cinema production. Revolutions arise from obstinacy. It is not by chance that today one of the protagonists of the digital revolution in cinema is a talented and courageous woman director, Elle Schneider, co-founder along with Joe Rubinstein of the Digital Bolex Project, who after developing a cult-camera harking back to 16mm film aesthetic -a significant leap towards the democratization of technology- is now promoting an application process for a grant for producers employing women in their camera troupes. Only eight percent of 2015's top-grossing films were directed by women: it's time to reverse this trend. However, cinema is not only technology, but ideas, experimentation, and above all dialogue, networking, interaction. Creating and supporting a fertile ground for innovation and dialogue does not necessarily require compromise. Honoring the influence of women in video art and cinema, our womenartconnect.com editorial board is proud to present a selection of powerful and surreal visions from seven uncompromising outsiders.
In these pages you will encounter details on a new wave of filmmakers marching away from the Hollywood stereotype, with films like Three Candles by Diana Zaharieva; the visionary cinema of Filipa Ruiz; the magical atmospheres of I Got You a Ballon by Katie Fornell, and much more.
wac TOP Still from As The Days Went By, Filipa Ruiz
COVER Still from As The Days Went By, Filipa Ruiz LEFT Still from , Mengxi Rao
wac* VIDEO ART CINEMA THEATRE DANCE
filipa ruiz As The Days Went By (Portugal, 2015)
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is a psychologically complex portrayal of the dynamics 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 camera, 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 CinéWomen 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’s through paintings, 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 wayâ€Ś 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 compositions... 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
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 himâ€Ś 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 itâ€Ś and so on. It became this one whole installation, which I believe that reflects both his soul and the world he is in.
is a poetic and immersive film. What attracted you to this project?
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’s 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’s the people who inspire me. I grew up listening to Hans Christian Anderson’s 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 to complete my vision. I am a visual person… and I need to “see” or fully understand the character I am building in order to write it. 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 Château 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 Château 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: “In 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’s 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’s the make-up 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 downstairs. 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: “Give 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’re 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’s where my work lays on, setting the tone and giving soul and texture to the characters. The staging of is elegantly simple, as if the play were a Greek tragedy. Your narration-bysubtraction no doubt owes something to Víctor 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 important 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 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 extremely efficient way: “less is more” and “show, don’t 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 “dirty” one, trying to show how each character sees the other… those are all storytelling tools and knowing that, each scene needs it’s own time, it HAS it’s own time.
When I write, I need to “see” 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 environment around them. This was my thesis project and I remember telling the School’s Coordinator I would rather not shoot, than shooting with someone that wouldn’t 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 déjà 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 “Hans”. Now, I only needed to find a way - how to approach and present him the project.
How did you conceive the character of Hans?
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 “Jenny”). We sat down at a café 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 no obstacle as she had all the qualities needed to play this character, and even more! On that meeting I learnt she had just given birth to a beautiful little girl… and I knew we would be using that, as the relationship Jenny has with Hans is pretty much maternal. During the shoot, I would set the mood of each character on a specific scene, and we would do two to three takes with slight adjustments. It was such a pleasure to work with both Dimitri and Caroline! In the meeting sessions we had in pre-
production, we made sure all the questions were answered – to the point both Dimitri and Caroline knew as much of Hans and Jenny as I did. I believe it is all a matter of trust, in which we share all we know and, together, we bring the characters to live. We have deeply appreciated your peculiar use of close-ups reminiscent of Robert Bresson's early cinema. How did you conceive the visual style of your film? Building each shot is like painting a canvas for me. I work with colors, images, and textures; I do mood-boards and collect references that later I discuss with both the DoP and the Production Designer. Filmmaking is teamwork. And I was so lucky (and pleased!) to work with Joel San Juan and Sophia Jacques. They are both extremely talented and artistically I believe we all connected very well together. Visually it all comes out of an
idea. You need to know the story you’re telling and you’ll know where the camera needs to be. Then the shot can be more or less interesting depending on what you place in front of it. We knew we would be portraying Hans’ world, as it is his own journey. We needed to be on his “eyes”. That’s why Jenny’s close ups and single shots are clean as opposed to his shorts that always have “her” presence in the foreground when she’s around. That also helps depicting and shaping the characters psychologically, in one side, and placing the audience in the world we are portraying, in the other. As The Days Went By was elegantly shot on a RED camera. Can you tell us something about your cinematography? Joel was one of the first people getting to the project. We worked very closely on the mood-board and shot-list that later we would follow quite closely in
terms of the looks of the film. The visuals developed the theme of solitude and reflection. In my very broad understanding of the character, I wanted to portray him as a fish in a fish bowl. That’s why it made so much sense to me that the whole film would happen inside this one room, with big windows… with the exception of the one scene in which he tries to change the course of his life, and walks outside. We spent a good amount of time working out colors for both production design and costume, as we wanted to do as little as possible with the light. Being a period film, we wanted to keep a natural feel to it. It doesn’t necessarily mean using less light, but it should be motivated from natural sources (daylight and candlelight). It is true that both lighting and camera packages were rather small, so we used flares and light spills to embrace it wholeheartedly. We worked with the RED Scarlet MX pushed to the limit of its latitude as
many scenes stretched the advertised dynamic range. In order not to get so noisy in the shadows, we shot it slightly overexposed. We wanted hard shadows shaping Hans, as sort of a visual metaphor for his condition (to help amplify his state of mind), contrasting a more vibrant fill that would define Jenny. We had an old set of Zeiss Speed Primes to help taking the edge of the HD sharpness, and the circular bokeh made the images feel more organic and natural. We shot through different variations of clear tape and glass to distort some foreground and, whenever we felt appropriate, we would turn the light around to flare them too! This way, we believe, one can quietly sense the themes of solitude and reflection that we explored throughout the film. From the first time we watched your film we fell in love with its clear-eyed
mix of realism and allegory, as well as its masterful use of temps mort: in absence is as palpable as presence, like in Antonioni's . What was the most challenging thing about ? making As a writer and director, the biggest challenge for me in this film was to be in the shoes of a male protagonist. I was always aware that it was a women’s interpretation or point of view on what might be men’s reaction on a “break-up”. But in another hand, I wrote Hans inspired in an author that is part of everyone’s imagination! Therefore, reality vs dream was a motive that we explored very intensely in this film. In one side, we wanted to shape the world in which Hans’ lives and in another, his point of view (which became the “dreamy sequences”, his visions on Jenny). He thinks so fondly on her that it becomes very hard to define the thin line between reality and fantasy.
Subsequently, one immerses in his world – a world where it doesn’t matter if the moment “really” happened or if it is only playing on his imagination. This way we could build and grow the story into the climax in which Hans is forced to accept the reality but doesn’t necessarily give away his world of fantasies and allegories. He overcomes that encounter to become someone stronger, artistically. Eventually the person or figure we know and can so easily relate to. Throughout the film different fictional registers blend, featuring a perfect amalgam of psychological realism and fantasy. How did you develop your filmmaking style? Whether it is a historical piece or a SciFi exploration, I think every film should report the audience to their own reality, something they can relate to, a familiar place or situation. Neverthe-
less, films are fictional. They are a product of someone’s interpretation… I like to think of them as a world in which everything is possible. A world of dreams. Fantasy? Yes, you can call it that way. We have previously mentioned Victor Erice, who among international directors influenced your work? Terrence Malick, Roy Andersson, Sofia Coppola are some of the directors who’s work I follow very closely. However, every time I am getting ready for another shoot I look for very specific references and to what comes to “As The Days Went By” it was “El Árbol” (The Tree) from Julie Bertucelli and “Les Adoptés” (The Adopted) the debut feature from Mélanie Laurent that I found more connected to. For more than half a century women
have been discouraged from getting into filmmaking, however in the last decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in cinema? It’s about time! We have been watching movies written and directed by men, through the eyes of men over and over again. Men do have their own way of seeing and knowing the world that is absolutely different from the women’s perspective and understanding. We have been following stories and even women characters that are written by men! And I find it an absolute thrill to see women’s perspective on the big screen. Future wise, I believe there will be more and more interest on letting it happen. We, as humans, as individuals,
will become so much richer. It will bring out new discussions, new topics, and certainly new themes too. Women have always been telling stories. We had women writing aside men throughout history: novelists, poetess... I don’t see a reason why there would be no space for women to keep sharing their stories, this time in the film format. Thanks for your time and thought, Filipa. We wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Filipa Ruiz? Have you a particular film in mind? Yes, I have already written my next project, which I had the opportunity to present at the FEST Pitching Forum, in Espinho. It’s called “Man at Sea” and won the Jury Prize for best pitched film at that same festival. I am now working on getting the right funding to continue into production.
alexandra hargreaves Thinker (New Zealand, 2015)
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goes to her really, because it wasn’t easy. The eye speculums seen in the actors’ eyes are real, because there really isn't any good way of faking it. And they aren't often seen in films as there can be severe complications such as blinding the actors. Which almost happened in Stanley Kubrick’s Clockwork Orange. That was our worst nightmare really so Caitlin had to find three eye surgeons who were willing to be on set to administer anaesthetic into the actors’ eyes, insert the eye speculums and also watch over the actors as we shot, to ensure that there were no complications. Before Thinker, Caitlin and I had done a few projects together so we were kind of used to working with each other. What was really great was she fully understood my vision for the film and did her best to make it happen. Everyone that helped to make the film was really passionate about the concept from the very beginning and they were very supportive and I guess that helped me a lot to know that there were other people who were also as determined as I was to make it work. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for Thinker? I’m lucky enough to have a father who has a great passion for science fiction. He has always read a lot of books by writers such as Phillip K Dick and has always talked about strange ideas
with me. And I guess I have always been worried about death and thought about the meaning of life and what life would be if it was eternal. I also met a screen writer at film school who told me to write about what keeps you awake at night, and that idea really resonated with me, so that is what I did. Thinker features a peculiar sense of time and rhythm, reminiscent of Tsukamoto's films. Can you tell us something about this distinctive aspect of your cinema? I think that a film should, with both sound and image, transport the viewer to a place they havenâ€™t been before, from what they can see and hear, they should almost be able to smell the place. And that should interweave with the story that you have to tell. Thinker is a story that raises some monumental questions about humanity, and because of that I didnâ€™t want to hold the viewers hand the whole way through the film. So I made the decision that the film would be more effective if the person watching it is allowed to come to their own conclusion and think for themselves. Therefore there is not a lot of dialogue throughout the film and it is fairly fast paced for the same reason. You would
be surprised the amount you can understand just from a brief facial expression. A great example of narration-bysubtraction, Thinker is at once strikingly surreal and hauntingly mystical. The film ceaselessly interweave the personal and the political, offering a provocative rumination on time and civilization. How did you develop the script of Thinker? The script was actually developed over a long period of time. A lot of people were initially very sceptical about if it could work and thought that much more dialogue was necessary for people to be able to understand it. And all of this critique was great because it meant that I kept working on it, making it better and stronger. But there was a point where I just had to take a leap of faith and believe in the idea, because I felt that great big scenes full of dialogue just werenâ€™t necessary to tell the story and might weaken the intensity. When you make a film there are always things that you think that you could have done better but looking at it now I am glad that I took the approach that I did. Did the overall structure unfold before the
camera, or were you already aware of these various pieces of the puzzle? Everything in the film was planned meticulously but I think where the film’s structure and pace were actually fully revealed was in post. I knew from the beginning that I wanted to include fast jumpy cuts to emphasise the disorientation that the main character is experiencing, but when you are standing on set watching the action it appears very differently and at a far slower pace than how it is seen in the final cut. So working with Ash Stewart the editor in post was really when all of the puzzle pieces came together. From the first time we watched Thinker we thought of Tsukamoto's cinema. What were some of your aesthetic decisions for this film? One of the main ones was that the ground is wet in every scene of the film; this was done to put more light and colour in the shot and to add atmosphere. Which was a difficult task because of course the weather didn’t want to cooperate. We had to maintain a specific level of water and had the entire crew taking buckets up and down roads syphoning water from hosepipes before
we shot each exterior scene; not super convenient, but a good team building exercise. Because the entire film is set in one night we had to think very carefully about how we were going to light each location. The choice to set the film at night time was for mood but also to strengthen the colour scheme of the film. I like how at night everything is a different colour to how you see it in daylight. For example park lights shining on a row of trees turn them bright yellow and make unusual shadows. So we used this to add to the off-kilter vibe of the film. Another decision was to set dress each scene with a mixture of Art Deco and 60’s technology and furniture, mixed with some modern items. This helped to create the dystopian world that Thinker is set in. I really only wanted to show old technology such as retro television sets, however the technology in this world has been developed to do things far past its time, to create a sort of awkward juxtaposition between the old technology and its new capabilities. What was the most challenging thing about making Thinker? Well… there certainly were a lot of challenging aspects to making this film. The main worries
were safety because of the eye speculums, however another issue was finding the right locations. One of the scenes was set in a dug out pit underneath someone’s house, so we needed to clear enough room under the house to fit everyone in there. That location worked really well, but we came back a day after it had rained and water had seeped through the mud and created a pool in there, so we had to drain as much of it out as possible and work very carefully around that.
from the film?
We have previously mentioned Tsukamoto, who among international artists and directors influenced your work?
Thinker reveals a cinematic style that honours spontaneity and improvisation. How did you develop your filmmaking style?
I really love the work of Giuseppe Bassan the production designer and Dario Argento the director of the 1977 film Suspiria which is a stunningly beautiful and dark film. I also really love the minimalist set designs by Edward Gordon Craig in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. These inspired me a lot, obviously I have never been able to see one of his sets, however his sketches alone are so incredible they are worth taking a look at. All of these works are so simple yet so dramatic and use basic lighting to create an immense amount of atmosphere. What do you hope viewers will take away
I really hope it challenges people to think. I don’t care what they take from it or what conclusion they come to, as long as they are thinking for themselves. There is no right answer really, but humanity as a whole spends too much time trying to avoid the big issues in the world, but it is important to know ourselves and what we stand for, otherwise what’s the point?
I attended South Seas Film and Television school in New Zealand and met some amazing people and was lucky enough to learn from a lot of very experienced directors so I am very grateful for that. I think that you always learn a little from all of the people that you meet and when you are working on film sets you pick up things from other people and you really just develop your own style from picking out the things that you like from other people’s works and trying new things, which is really important. When we edited Thinker we started off with a really basic, smooth, traditional cut with great continuity that showed whole
actions. Then we experimented with it to see how much of each action you needed to see to get the point and we ended up cutting about half of the film out. On set I think it is important to give actors really detailed information about the scene and then just to see what their natural reaction is to the situation. When what you are shooting is mostly a person’s reaction to a situation, a lot of the time the first take will actually be the best and the most real so I did find it important when shooting Thinker to create a real atmosphere for the actors so that they could really respond to that.
gender you are. You still get men who don’t want you to lift heavy equipment and who are shocked that you are capable of lifting, but that is really the worst discrimination I have experienced so far. When I think about what women had to go through in fairly recent history to attempt to get a job in the industry that wasn’t in hair and make up it really reminds me how lucky I am. I think the increasing number of females working in perviously male dominated departments is a really positive thing and it points towards a really great future for women working in film.
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?
Thanks for your time and thought, Alexandra. We wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Alexandra Hargreaves and Caitlin Shinnick?
I think women have always played an important role in cinema. All of the early editors were women, because they were good at it and it was seen as a woman’s job. I think that the gender imbalance is changing; you step onto a film set today and although you are usually largely outnumbered by men the numbers of females is definitely increasing. I think that I am very lucky because I have come into the industry at a time where it really doesn’t matter what
We are currently working together on another film that will be shot this year and both of us will be working on other projects as well. I’m looking forward to shooting this new film because we have been in pre production for a while now and I have been working on it practically from the moment we wrapped Thinker. We are also hoping to travel to a few of the international festivals that Thinker has made selection to, so this should be a good year.
diana zahareva Titolo inizia Scars per from the Balkan Wars THREE che CANDLES:
Diana Zacharieva's debut film is an authentic, incisive portrait of the causes of the Two Balkan Wars. Shot and edited with exquisite control, Three Candles merges documentary style with metaphor to expand its interrogation of media and politics. We are pleased to present Diana Zakharieva for this year's CinéWomen Edition. Diana, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? I would like to thank you for your interest in me and in thе film “Three Candles: Scars from the Balkan Wars”. To be honest- giving an interview is something that takes me out of my “zone of comfort”. When I was in the beginning of my professional education I choose film editing as a specialization because I judged that this profession is not public and won't be necessary to present my production by myself, to talk about myself these are skills expected to be owned by the directors. I graduated Film and TV Editing at South-West University "Neofit Rilski" in Bulgaria. In the last 15 years I have been working as TV editor in the Bulgarian National Television (BNT) – the Bulgarian Public TV Channel. My work for Bulgarian National Television gave me the chance to participate in the creation of broadcast production with a great diversity of genres, with a different orientation and addresses. In one point there is a genres variety – news, feature films, and on the other point is the possibility to work with many directors – everyone with different sensibility, expression and creative
potential. I learned to follow the point of view of the director. So it is not an accident that the gained experience brought me to my debut film. I wanted to tell a personal story and I realized that it is only me that could share the feelings that exited me and that embed in the film “Three Candles”. The main fillip to work as a director gave me Dido – the producer of the film Gospodin Nedelchev. He convinced me that the right thing is to make the film as a director. He told me: “The idea is yours, the grandfather is yours, feelings are yours! This is your director's film and nobody but you could make it your way!”. And if it is necessary to give you an objective answer of the question what inspired me to make this film, the answer is: professional experience, a family legend and especially – the confidence of the producer. Three Candles is work of meticulous journalism and gripping drama. What attracted you to this film? There is a legend in my family about one of our grand-grandfathers who lived in the beginning of the 20 century and fell in the Balkan Wars in 1913. Everyone of my relatives – along with the family pride – has his own version about how he died. The most popular was that his life path ended as a prisoner of war at Crete Island. In the very beginning I had only the idea to find out what happened with my grand-grandfather and where is his grave. That's why I went to Greece in 2008. I have a friend who lives on Crete Island and she agreed to help me in my search for the grave of my grandfather. I've expected that I will find there memorials and military cemeteries of Bulgarian
soldiers. I was provoked by the hatred I felt there when I start talking about the Balkan Wars and about Bulgarian soldiers. Then for the first time I've asked myself: â€œWhy these people hate Bulgarians?â€?. Crete is on more than 1300km. from Bulgaria, but at the moment I start talking about Bulgarian soldiers I was met with hatred. I came back in Bulgaria and started to search and gather materials about the historical events. Then for the first time I have heard about Trikeri and understand about an enormous tragedy happened there. A tragedy about almost nothing is known in Bulgaria. This was indeed the reason to start thinking and to work on a documentary. It took me three years to make the research and to collect the documents and the evidences, because I wanted to put in order the events. They forced me to think over the historical facts, about the reasons and the course of Balkan Wars. And the fate of my
grandfather outspread on the background of the historical events, personal and national tragedies. The most difficult was to draw my personal story in the common history. In the first three years I've only collected materials and the script was written in 2013. Three Candles is marked by an original and clear storytelling. How did you develop the structure of this film? Did the overall structure unfold before the camera, or were you already aware of these various pieces of the puzzle? When we started shooting I already had a clear idea about the beginning and the end of the film. I was sure also that I will follow the path of the regiment in which my grandfather served in order to try to reconstruct the events and what exactly had happened. I followed the
geographical positions of the soldiers of 14th Regiment. The other line was to follow the supposed places of death of grandpa Nikola. I knew where we shall go but I didn't know what exactly I will find on this place, what information we shall gather and what will happen in front of the camera. So we found ourselves at the city of Nafplio, Ithaca and Trikeri islands – a places where then were based the prisoners of war camps. According to the documents I found in the archives grandpa Nikola died in three different villages. I visited all of them because I wanted to find the truth. As from the beginning Triekri was for me a symbol of a tragedy and madness. The most helpless were gathered there – soldiers and civilians, people without any weapons – all of
them were victims of the war, victims of the policies, victims of the propaganda of those times. My final purpose was to create not classical documentary, I wanted to show the places as they looks today and to alternate them with evidences about historical remembrance. To show the beautiful places where this awful historical tragedy had happened was deliberately creative decision. All parts of the puzzle were finally assembled during the editing. Many documents were left out of film, many episodes stayed behind the camera. But our main goal, which we followed from the very beginning till the end, was to search not the hatred, but to look for awareness and forgiveness. To light a candle. And the candles are three, because the warring nations were three… and because the Greek name of the island – Trikeri – means “three candles”.
Can you tell us something about the shooting of your film? Honestly we met many difficulties and even prohibitions during the shootings. They came from the officials and also from the local people. So some of the episodes are filmed almost illegal. Till today we still don't have answers for some of the locations for which we asked permissions for shooting. However the documents reveal the sufferings not only of the prisoners of war, but also the civil population. What happened there was beyond any ideas – the people were deliberately infected with typhus, teared, drowned with a stone on the neck, forsaken on a deserted island without any water! The fate of my grandfather delineated to be tragic. As I started to dig deeper and deeper in these disclosures I already didn't want to find how exactly he died – it couldn't be the other way than very, very tragic. The so called “Carnegie Report” (Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars), initiated by the
French philanthropist Paul Henri d'Estournelles de Constant, in order to find the truth about the events, was an invaluable with its power and objectivity document. At the “Report” pages were gathered and published many testimonies, witness evidences, letters arrested and authentic picture material. I will mention only one of the photos – it pictured a man with a necklace of human ears and holding two human heads in his hands. I didn’t allow myself to show such a photo in the film… Three Candles is your first feature. Throughout the film you interweave the personal and the political, using a stunning mix of dramatic and documentary techniques. How did you develop your filmmaking style? The film was filmed at three countries – Bulgaria, Greece and the newly created (1991) Macedonia. In the beginning I planned to shoot interviews with priests who in the Orthodox world are heralds of sermon, conscience and light. Christian nations entered First Balkan
War with the purpose to liberate their brothers who remained under the Ottoman rule. They were led by the patriotic pathos of the people and the common Christian idea of the Orthodoxy. I couldn't achieve this because the Greek priests refused to stand in front of the camera.
purpose to balance and explain the differences in the interpretation of the History given by the different sides participated in one and the same event. In the same way we wanted to show how the facts are interpreted but in the same time – to line them with documents which will give the basis for the truth.
The other general idea was to seek for the different points of view of the three participating in the Second Balkan War countries, because the reasons for this war were controversies about the newly liberated territories. Sides in these arguments were Bulgaria, Greece. Serbia and Montenegro – in this time follower of the Serbian politics. Till today – more than 100 years after these events – every one of these countries has its own interpretation of the history. That’s why we asked representatives of the official historical theses for their opinion. As far as I know the French Annales School created in the 60ies with the participation of the great French historian and researcher of the cinema as historical document - Marc Ferro – has as main
Throughout the film you manage to brilliantly balance dramatic and documentary techniques, your resourcefulness transforms obstacles into opportunities. What was the most challenging thing about making Three Candles? My task was to interweave personal moment – the fate of my grandfather – with the common Balkan history. To understand what had happened with him and what had happened with the people of the Balkans. On my opinion the documentaries has to be based on documents and real facts. Documents from the same time the film is about. I'm trying
to be sure that the participants are realistic, I'm trying to avoid restorations. I'm looking for the real, vivid person. As for instance in one of the interviews colonel Zafirov – one of the participants on the film - has been talking aridly, stiffly, officially. But I had to shoot this interview as namely this arid colonel for the first time in 2003 – after 90 years oblivion has started to talk about Trikeri in Bulgarian public space. And it was correct to have him in the film. I asked him one and the same question several times... I made him nervous, but at the end he was brought out of his pose, I succeeded to take him to forget about the camera and to talk freely, genuinely. So I'm trying to avoid reconstructions, I'm interested in the living person.
independent witness of the events. And the Carnegie Report was exactly what I needed – a powerful document, created by humanists who were not on anyone's side.
When I'm searching and collecting documents I always compare information from at least three sources. A lot of documents were declined as I was not able to confirm them by different sources. I used the “Carnegie Report” because except the different positions of the states in war I needed an independent source,
And my personal legend unfolded and gained flesh. I find a piece of paper signed by the hand of grandpa Nikola. I don't know who of these soldiers watching me from the photo is my grandfather Nikola but it seems to me that all of them are my grandfathers.
The events presented are taken from Bulgarian, Serbian and Greek sources and I tried to eliminate propaganda and to extract what is useful. This is my understanding about the work with documents. The Greeks for instance denied about the tragedy that happened in Trikeri. They claim that the number of people sent there is less. But in the Greek newspapers from this time the captives from the different cities are listed – to raise the spirit of the Greeks or for something else I don't know – but the exact number of the captives is given.
From the first time we watched your film we thought of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's early work. Who among international directors influenced your work? If I had to find something in common with Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet's works - this is the professional starting point which starts from the editing. In the French cinema I like the most the “New Wave”. If I wanted to learn from someone – probably it would be the classics created cinema language - Sergei Eizenshtein, Dziga Vertov, and Marcel Martin. I will quote my professor at the University Veselin Branev: “All methods were created in the dawn of the cinema. We could only freely steal, to interpret what we have stolen through our own vision, sense perception and feelings and to create our own product.” From now on I could only pursuit to be in step with the new technical possibilities for cinema making. And if I had to name my favorite director - this is Luis Bunuel. What do you hope viewers will take away from Three Candles? The film is difficult. Because it is about the suffering. I hope that the viewers will sense that the aim of the film is not to dig in the History in order to awake the hatred again. Rather I hope that they will take a look back in the History, that they will know the History and will try to get know the other better. I don't know – may be the message is that we have to understand the other – with his differences – and to learn to live together. To forgive each other. Because the forgiveness is one of Christian virtues. Because we are three Orthodox nations. That's why at the end we light three candles. That's why the title of the film is “Three candles” - it appeared at the very beginning of the development of the idea and was my guiding light in my work till the end. 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?
In Bulgaria there are a lot of women directors. One of the best contemporary documentary directors is a woman – her name is Adela Peeva. I have never felt myself discriminated. May be the reason is in our socialist society before the changes in 1989 - we were a society of equal working men and women. I like this and I hope it will not change. The truth is that for a very long time the cinema was considered as male profession. The men had the right to interpret the serious, important issues, and for the women who dared to make movies were left romance, family and children growing. But we must not forget that even in the dawn of the cinema next to Vertov and Eizenshtein is standing Esfir Shub – the magician of the film editing table. Examples for the equal and valuable participation of both men and women could be found. But I think that the women must to be encouraged. After one of the screenings of “Three candles” an excited woman came to me and said: “Thank you for this film. I'm glad it was made by woman, because if it was made by man we would watch only battles and heroism”. May be it is true that the women in some way ennobles the interpretations in the cinema. The role of the woman in life is to support it. That's why her voice in the cinema is important and necessary. And as I already told – I was supported and encouraged by my producer who - I'm will not hide this - is also my partner in life. Thanks for your time and thought, Diana. We wish you all the best with your filmmaker career! What's next for Diana Zacharieva? I'm grateful to you too – for really interesting questions and I wish you and your readers Peaceful and prosperous 2016. In the center of my future projects again is an ordinary man in a violent situation. For the moment I will keep the exact topic in secret. But in any case I'm intending to continue of the already documentary launched line. I'm gathering materials for a new documentary project about the history, present day and humanity.
marie-valerie jeantelot caroline farrell In Ribbons (Ireland, 2015)
Subtly expressive performances and expressive cinematography make In Ribbons an emotionally ravaging journey to the darkest corners of Irelandâ€™s social history. With grit and sensitivity, Marie-Valerie Jeantelot and Caroline Farrell evoke both the complex feelings of childhood and the struggles of a nation emerging from the shadows. In Ribbons is a work of both great beauty and vivid darkness. We are pleased to present Marie-Valerie Jeantelot and Caroline Farrell for this year's CinĂŠWomen Edition. Marie-Valerie and Caroline, can you talk about your creative relationship and how it has evolved through your work together? Caroline: As a writer, I was open to collaborating with other filmmakers, and when a mutual friend of ours, also a filmmaker, suggested that Marie-Valerie and I should meet, it was one of those serendipitous moments when all the components lock into place. I had a script, In Ribbons, which was [and still is] a project close to my heart, and I dearly wanted to make it. I knew almost
immediately on meeting her that MarieValerie had the talent, sensitivity and artistry to make a beautiful film. Creatively, we shared the same vision for the work. Marie-Valerie: Caroline and I clicked instantly, I remember meeting her in person for the first time at the Irish Film Institute over a cup of tea. We got to know each other and as Caroline told me the story of Laurie I started getting vivid visuals followed by a strong desire to help her bring In Ribbons to the screen. Things came into place quite quickly from that point and we put together a core crew to begin mapping out the next steps. Our relationship has deepened throughout our journey from creating an online presence and campaign, applying for funding, production meetings, test shoots, the production stages and still now as we enter the festival circuit. Caroline is a wonderful person with incredible gifts and I consider myself lucky to have met her and shared such a special project. Can you tell us what attracted you to this particular story?
Caroline: I wrote the story as a glimpse of social history that captures the zeitgeist of a shameful time in our collective past. It is essentially Irish, and yet, it is the story of many children, from many walks of life and cultures. I always felt it would make a compelling short film, though it was never going to be an easy concept to sell, and being fiercely proud and protective of it, I knew I would have to drive its development myself. I wanted to make it insightful yet nonjudgemental. I hope it does both. And the thing is, Laurie’s experience is from an era not that long past. There are a lot of adults out there who know this story intimately. Resilience is the spine from which a lot of my stories are built, and resilience keeps the wounded walking. Some speak up, others choose not to, but for each and every one, Laurie’s
experience is theirs too. It is in their DNA. Marie-Valerie: I was deeply moved when I read Caroline’s script, the style in which it was written suggested an evocative landscape for me as a reader. As a film written without dialogue, Laurie’s world conveyed the simple joys and innocence of childhood, abandonment, paralysing fear and the innate ability we all have to stay connected to ourselves when everything else gets stripped away; all of these themes powerfully expressed in the unsaid. It became clear early on that whatever challenges might lay ahead, it would ultimately be worth all of our creative energy. In Ribbons features a gorgeous cinematography which immediately
reminded us of Victor Erice's films. How did you develop your visual style? Marie-Valerie: I find Victor Erice’s style emotional and haunting which in essence is what we hoped to bring out in showing Laurie’s memories. I didn’t really set out with too many expectations of what the film should be, I just wanted to do the script justice. I really wanted to capture the feeling behind the interactions that Laurie has on her journey especially to her father and the mother superior at the orphanage (portrayed by the wonderfully accomplished Patrick O’Donnell and Geraldine MacAlinden). We set out to explore her world through both visually evocative shots but in equal measure through the construction of a visceral soundscape. Our proficient and gifted
cinematographer and camera operator, Basil Al-Rawi, helped me to think about the different approaches to filming and as time went on it became obvious that POV would certainly have its own set of challenges. We test shot as much as we could and went over the storyboards mapping out Laurie’s journey in terms of camera movements, lenses and lighting concepts. I had the utmost confidence in Basil’s abilities and vision and was keen for him to follow his intuition. Later on in the edit, I found I had so much material to play around with which was particularly important to me and helped in piecing together sensuous, sometimes fragmented sequences that mirrored my initial vision of the film. The next step was to record and layer on the sound. Neil Horner’s phenomenal sound design was instrumental in adding dimension to
the visual aspects of Laurie’s story, as well as the changes made to the colours and transitions which were shot later using projected reflections of light in water. We have found really stimulating the way you are able to show the events of your film from the point of view of a five year old child. Can you introduce our readers to this peculiar aspect of In Ribbons? Caroline: It was always going to be from Laurie’s point of view as I wanted the viewer to go on that journey of discovery and ultimate fate exactly as she does. Seeing what she sees, feeling what she feels, her joy, her curiosity, her confusion, her fear. I knew that dialogue would interfere with all of that. The adults don’t talk to her, no-one explains, which I believe, conveys the helplessness of her situation, and also magnifies the
visual and sensual nature of her journey through her heightened awareness. Marie-Valerie: Undoubtedly the story is entirely based from our protagonist’s perspective. During the first stages of development, following a conversation I had with Neil (who created the film’s incredible score as well as its sound design), he suggested a particular shot would work well as POV. This then lead me to wanting to shoot the entire film this way. In Ribbons recounts Laurie’s memories of her last day with her father; I felt it would be truer to capture her sense of bewilderment, playfulness and the rawness of emotion by allowing the audience direct access to her mind’s eye (and ear!). A combination of elements contributed to achieving this. Intimate sounds, visuals and editing played equally important roles in creating her world and showing it start to break down as her memories become more upsetting.
From the cameraâ€™s fluidity as Laurie excitedly runs across to a mirror to see the new ribbons her father has tied in her hair, to the sound of a bee buzzing around her while she plays amidst flowering dandelions as the two make their way to the orphanage. In Ribbons is marked by a clear storytelling, each shot is carefully orchestrated to work within the overall structure. How did you develop the script of the film? Caroline: I write quite sparsely, and appreciate the white space for a director to bring their own vision to the work. Myself and Marie-Valerie discussed a lot about how it would look before we even began, and also, sound being vitally important, we also talked a lot with Neil Horner in relation to how things might sound to Laurie right from the beginning
of her known environment and all the way through to that place of fear, right down to the swish of the nunâ€™s habit and the squeak of her boots on the polished floor as Laurie follows meekly behind her. Then Marie-Valerie began to construct the most beautiful storyboards and I knew for sure she was tuned in to my vision too. Marie-Valerie: Caroline gave me the freedom to explore the story and go with my instincts. I actually allowed the shots to build up in my head for some time before I began storyboarding. In my experience, I have found it especially vital to allocate enough time for daydreaming before making major decisions in planning. I found myself thinking about Laurie and how she might be taking in the world around her. Even just walking around Dublin became an opportunity to try to remember what the
world felt like as a child. Looking up in wonder at the leaves of a tree as they blow in the wind by some force of magic.. Actually I think there is something so beautiful about the act of daydreaming itself, we incorporated that into Laurieâ€™s memories also. Did you rehearse a lot with the shots you prepared in advance? Marie-Valerie: In the year leading up to our shoot we arranged several test shoots, staggered between production meetings and brainstorming sessions. It is inevitable that when you make an independent film that you will face having to fit things around work schedules and the pressures of daily life. Nevertheless, we managed to all meet up and prepare for the shoot one step at a time. With the help of our brilliant production manager Tom Dowling, we arranged location recces and test shoots
which were illuminating. They helped us to determine that we would have to record all sound independently of the three days we planned. It also became clear that in our case it would be impractical to use a Steadicam rig which we spent some time testing thanks to the extremely talented Keith Durham. Our wonderful little actors, Rebecca Waldron who played the part of Laurie on set was an absolute joy to work with as was Tara Maher who lent Laurie her voice. The tests were vital and enabled us to feel more prepared, but ultimately nothing ever goes completely to plan. I am very grateful to Elga Hick who came on board just one week prior to shooting and whose relentless dedication helped us address costume and set design issues that needed attention. Among other challenges, as well as being faced with having to change our main location one day before we were set to shoot and deal
with major time constraints generally, we all managed to adapt to the situation and keep a positive energy going. The entire team’s approach was very progressive both in tests and on the shoot itself which reflects their strong professionalism.
many years. I was stunned to see that its opening sequence bares remarkable similarities to that of In Ribbons! I guess this confirms to me that films which move us in early life resound somewhere in our subconscious and continue to inspire us.
We have previously mentioned Victor Erice, can you say your biggest influences in cinema?
Caroline: Marie mentioned To Kill a Mockingbird and I remember being moved on a level that I couldn’t articulate when I first saw that film at a young age, the same feeling when I first saw The Innocents; so many layers of meaning folded into a well-crafted ghost story. I’ve always been drawn to exploring the darker side of human nature through story, and films like Night of the Hunter, Cape Fear and all of the Hitchcock classics are still favourites, and from the macabre and supernatural, John Logan, Guillermo del Toro, Tim Burton, and Alan Parker for Angel Heart. I also admire Iñárritu for Biutiful. John Cassevetes was a later
Marie-Valerie: I have from a very young age been deeply affected by films. I remember especially loving Return to Oz, which I found out later was the only film directed by the great Walter Murch who happens to have edited one of my favourite films as an adult, The English Patient. My fascination grew over time but I do remember feeling a shift in my appreciation for film when I watched Magnolia. To Kill a Mockingbird was a classic I had seen growing up which I revisited recently for the first time in
influence in terms of his attitude and approach; a maverick. There is a real sense of freedom and personal kudos in not following trends. Caroline and Marie-Valerie, what's your view on the future of women in cinema? Caroline: Lack of funding can hold any of us back, certainly, but to gain the respect of our peers, and any possible funders, we have to prove that we can do it. So at least in the early stages of our careers, I do think itâ€™s a matter of how much skin we are prepared to put in the game. I know some powerful women who are making strides by doing just that, so to my mind, the future is filled with possibilities. And youâ€™ve got to work with the best creative minds you can find, and learn from the best creative talent you can attract, regardless of gender, as we did with In Ribbons. Find your tribe and
make art. Your gender is your asset, not your obstacle. Marie-Valerie: I couldnâ€™t agree more. Something I have a hard time getting my head around is inequality. The world would be a better place to live in if people came together and were more inclusive of others regardless of their circumstance, sexual orientation, race, religious background or gender. I feel it is crucial for people in this industry, as with any other, to exercise more kindness and more evolved ways of dealing with such issues. There is real potential with filmmaking. It has become a fundamental medium in sharing our diverse experience of life with one another. As long as someone is driven, passionate and knowledgeable in their area, they should be afforded the equal opportunity to project their dreams onto the screen. Nothing but attitude ultimately separates us.
Thanks for your time and thought, Marie-Valerie and Caroline. We wish you all the best with your career. What's next for you? Have you a particular collaboration in mind? Caroline: One way or another, I think that we will always find a medium to collaborate. In Ribbons was a long process and a deeply experiential learning curve, and so it is also important that we both take that experience to move ahead with other projects that excite us. Refresh and refill! To that end, I am working on a novel, some feature screenplay projects, and I will direct a short film early in 2016. After that, who knows! Marie-Valerie: I’ve just majored in editing at the National Film School, an intense year that has made me stronger in myself. This is in large part due to the people that supported me as I put the finishing touches to our film, with
further encouragement and feedback from prolific editor Gráinne Gavigan. I have especially loved editing two short documentaries this year with exceptional people, Threads by Dylan Hennessy and Diving Within by Hanan Dirya (who I believe is also featured in this edition!) My mission now is to work on developing Benevola Media (a nonprofit production company) and grow as an editor before taking on my next directing project. To me, editing is also a passion and a real education on how films are constructed. Caroline has written an amazing piece and entrusted me with it. It exists now as a shared vision the whole team is proud of. Working with the crew and cast was an invaluable experience, and I owe a debt of gratitude to them as well as to my family, my friends and our supporters. I hope in good time to embrace other projects that will enrich my life as much as making In Ribbons has.
katie fournell I Got You a Balloon (Canada, 2015)
is a film full of charm and atmospheric. Stylistically, the film owes more to the world of Jean Cocteau than to the joyfulness of Jacques Tati. We are glad to present Katie Fournell for this year's CinéWomen Edition. Katie, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? I guess my interest in film starts with my interest in the performing arts in general. When I was very young theatre was a big part of my life; my parents were wonderful in making sure I saw lots of local theatre. When I was nearing my teenage years my mother took up the post of General Manager for Rapid Fire Theatre, an improv company in Edmonton, Alberta. While her job was purely administration I was suddenly deep in the Edmonton theatre community. I
spent my evenings backstage in theatres, being asked how plays at school were going, and hearing about workshops I could attend, constantly. It became more and more clear that I wanted to be an actor and tell stories any way I could; what’s more I had family and friends who would support it with everything they had. When I graduated it was a no-brainer that I needed to go to theatre school. I chose Red Deer College and after I finished two years there two things happened; I decided to take two more years of film school at RDC and I liked directing as much as, if not more, than acting. As I dove into the world of filmmaking I began to leave theatre behind…NOT COMPLETELY, and I never will. I love both mediums for very different reasons and I feel as a storyteller I need to be able to jump back and forth to do justice to every
story. Theatre comes along with the energy an audience provides driving the story. The inspiration for film-making for me comes from the specifics that can be used, short films especially. I love using pictures to make people feel something. I love working through a scene thinking: “What shot do I need? What would an audience need to see next to understand?” The idea of show it, don’t say it is what drew me in and continues to fascinate me. Film-making is puzzlesolving and the outcome is entertaining or inspiring an audience. I love that. As an independent filmmaker, you love to keep the control of numerous aspects of your creation. Do you have any advice for filmmakers who have their own stories they’re burning to tell although they lack the funding or infrastructure to do so?
The most important things when making a film are a good team, and passion for the project. It can seem incredibly daunting to approach a film with no money but it is possible. I Got You a Balloon had next to no funding…I recall our budget being blown on the balloon. We made it with just a group of people, a camera and a clear, simple story. If everyone involved in the project believes in it than the shoot will be fun, educational, and productive. Obviously, your film is not going to be a multi-million dollar project. Film-makers should shoot within their means. If you and your team are a group of young adults with a farm than make a film about a group of young adults on a farm. The tried and tested adage for writers “Write what you know” goes further for independent film makers; it becomes
“shoot what you have”. But a single simple idea is shootable. Emerging artist need to start filming. Somewhere is a film festival that is looking for your obscure film. I have submitted a few times to the Gotta Minute Film Festival in Edmonton, they require a completely silent 60-second film. The more films you shoot the more you realize you can, and therefore the bigger and better the next one will be. Another tip: Have you tried asking? I am serious, if you need a space ship and you know the science center has one ask if you can use it. What is the worst that will happen? They will say no and you are in the same place you are now. Explain what you need and why, be honest, and then be respectful. Asking for favors is part of making art so get used to it.
Which areas of filmmaking do you like the most and which do you like the least? There are many answers, I guess. I really enjoy coming up with the stories and shots with whomever I am bouncing ideas off. There is a momentum that we will fall into where everything is working, we are on the same page, and we all see it. I find myself get way too excited when this starts happening. I am jumping around, I can’t sit still and I am yelling…in a good way. It is hard to put a finger on it but the jive and click that can happen while filming, I love. I am also a huge fan of casting. I have created these characters and they live in my head. In casting I get to meet the character I have created. Sometimes
someone does just what I was thinking, sometimes actors see something more than I did. Where I struggle with film-making is waiting. In post-production I struggle to keep my momentum going. Post is not my area of expertise, so I rely heavily on the amazing people I have working for me. During the area of waiting for a color correction to come back, or a piece of music, I get antsy. I am always very appreciative of what comes back but the motivation through post, especially if no one is getting paid, I often see falter. During pre-production and production everyone is so “Do, Do, DO.” When we slow down, sometimes I won’t see any new cut for a couple of weeks, you lose the magic. As an independent film maker this hurtle can be hard, so many times movies get to post and are never completed. The only way I have found to
beat that is remembering all the excitement and magic comes back when actors see the film they worked on for the first time or when an audience member comes up after and thanks you for your story. That is why I do it. We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film: how did you come up with the idea for ? This question makes me laugh. I came up with Balloon because of a joke. I was leaving work for the day and was joking around about how I would come check on everyone later so did they need me to bring anything. Someone replied “We need a Balloon”. As I walked home I laughed at the absurdness of the comment and thus the idea began to fester. Why not get someone a balloon? As I was lying in bed in that “shut-up brain” mode the monologue began to run
through my head. A Balloon is such a simple gesture but the thought behind it is so kind. I continued to think about it and shots followed the words and then a story. What do you want people to remember after seeing your movie? I would love for people to walk away from I Got You a Balloon thinking about what small everyday things they can do for someone they care about. I also want people to remember love. Love doesn’t need to be a big grand gesture. Simple everyday kindness was something I thought about a lot as the concept of Balloon was evolving. I filled Balloon with acts of love for both lifelong partners and complete strangers. If just one person walks away from balloon thinking “You know, people are pretty great,” I have done my job.
We have been fascinated by your cinematography: how did you develop your filmmaking style? Thank you. When I start coming up with an idea I can usually picture one or two shots, or scenes, really well…for I Got You a Balloon there were three having the boy cross in front of a brick wall, walk across a bridge, and walk down a street covered in cherry blossom trees. After I have those I start on my shot list and I imagine myself as an audience member. I go through a scene with my main shots in my head and think about what I want to see or need to see to understand the story. As the shot list starts to come to life I think about themes or ongoing messages. For Balloon the jump between a wide of the boy walking and a close up of each individual act of kindness comes from the message
“look at this great big world, look how little is needed to make it beautiful.” Personally I am a huge fan of “less is more” and the KISS method. I find myself repeating that when I shoot. My shots tend to be of a single action rather than many at the same time. Therefor I will get lots of shots in one scene, but each shot will tell a single part of the story. Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new project? I start with one small, usually very small, image or action and build a story around it. I have found my best stories (while many are not yet shot) have been created when I wait for this image rather than try to create one quickly. Once I have the image or action I start to think of situations in which this may arise, and then a story for that situation. About this time I need validation that I am on an interesting track, so I sit down with people and talk about the original image and the story I have created around it. I find I can spend hours talking with someone about an idea and when we come out it clearer with a few new twists. I could do this with just one person but I never do. My best friend, my boyfriend, my parents, anyone who will sit still long enough and who has energy to add is welcome when I get to this point. I can talk the same story out a hundred times. At some point I will get too excited and too motivated to tell the story to keep it in my head and alive in conversation. That’s when I sit down to write. Because I spend such a long time with the idea in my head, when it goes to script I have the story pretty well set. After just a few drafts I am ready to shoot. I hire a cast and crew, we do preproduction and shoot.
Now we wonder if you would like to answer to our cliché question: what aspect of your work do you enjoy the most? What gives you the biggest satisfaction? The biggest satisfaction is that I am entertaining people and making a difference. I like talking with others about my projects because I am testing whether this story worth telling. When I have a story like I Got You a Balloon I feel really passionate about getting a message across. I love the excitement that goes along with falling in love with new ideas. When an audience member, peer, or someone working on the film gets the story and lets me know my work is important, that is when I get to fall in love with the story all over again. As film makers and human beings we all need to inspire each other. When someone gives me an idea or I read someone else’s script and can see all the pieces falling together to tell a story, that is when I feel inspired. When I get excited about the art I am the most satisfied. There are times when a story is just meant to be told. I love the moment when I am watching a shot as it is filming and the actors are making all the right choices, the camera is moving perfectly, and the light is playing exactly how it was in my head…or better. In that moment I often find myself whispering under my breath “yes!” because in that moment the story and meaning is so clear. We have previously mentioned Jean Cocteau, who were some of your chief influences? All the tiny bits from all the major films I watch swirl together until a hard fast influence is lost. But every film I watch and enjoy seems to tingle a nerve and makes me into a better director for the next film. I will love a shot from one TV show and a line of dialogue from another. By allowing influence to come
from everywhere my work feels original. But recently I have been watching a lot Steven Spielberg for shots and Joss Whedon for story. I have always admired these directors for their ability to stay true to a genre as opposed to a style of filming, this is how I aim and hope to be remembered as I get more films under my belt. On a smaller, more personal scale influences are easier to find. Red Deer College taught me most of what I know about directing both for film and theatre. Without the influences of those teachers pushing me to look deeper I don’t know if I would have realised how much directing inspires me. I remember my past film teacher, Larry Reese, approaching me after I Got You a Balloon first screened and said “Don’t Stop!”. Well with praise like that how can I? The drive and professionalism drilled in at school helps me with every project I
approach. Another influence is my close friend and mentor playwright Chris Craddock; the advice he gives me with scripts and with how to approach the business has been invaluable from very early in my career. Chris is one of those people that I can always count on to advise honestly and clearly. 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, yet in the last years there are signs that something is changing. What is your view on the future of women filmmakers? It is about time! I am so optimistic about the changes that are starting to happen in the world of cinema. We should be chomping at the bit to get behind the camera. I am loving not
only that more women are getting excited to direct and be cinematographers but that film crews and producers are getting excited to have them there. I know there is a long way to go. I have come up against walls or been in awkward situations myself because I am a woman. But as more women create films more people will see it as normal instead of an anomaly. We have stories to tell, good ones in every genre, so why shouldn’t we tell them? We must continue to push the boundaries and not accept that in film women work in front of the camera. The industry will accept our abilities as directors, not female directors. People are demanding to see women filmmakers succeed. It is a trying and exciting time to be a woman in filmmaking. As a woman I don’t want to see that forward momentum
lost, so I will continue to produce and direct films I am proud of. Thanks for sharing your time, Katie, we wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Katie Fournell? Have you a particular film in mind? I do have a film in mind. I am currently securing funding for another short film called “Silent Music”. It is a film about an aging pianist losing his ability to play and his grandson vying for his affection. It is a story about the generation gap and how understanding and acceptance can close it. Fingers crossed, this film will be released late 2016. Thank you so much for your time as well, it has been a pleasure answering your questions.
diana ojeda suarez Titolo che inizia per Waking Up (Argentina, 2015)
ITH ITS ELEGANT APPROACH TO COMPOSITION AND NARRATIVE , WAKING UP IS A MOVING PARABLE WHICH TOUCHES ON UNIVERSAL THEMES OF LOVE AND DESTINY . T HIS ENCHANTING DIRECTORIAL DEBUT CO PRODUCE BY THE PRESTIGIOUS UNIVERSIDAD DEL CINE DE BUENOS AIRES CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES DIANA OJEDA SUAREZ’S STRONG COMMAND OF FLEET CINEMATIC STORYTELLING . W E ARE PLEASED TO PRESENT D IANA O JEDA SUAREZ FOR THIS YEAR'S CINÉWOMEN EDITION. DIANA, TELL US ABOUT YOUR TRAJECTORY AS A FILMMAKER. W HAT INSPIRED YOU TO EXPRESS YOURSELF IN THIS MEDIUM ?
Art is the only thing that can relieve us from the journey of life. I think through art and I have been looking for answers on it to just find more questions. Something that has em- brace myself and I have become addicted to that felling. Cinema is the only impure art that can take you long time just to try to purified it. Nothing is real on it, everything is subjective and has a certain point of view. I think we can totally express
in films, without any border. We can feel and talk, think and hear. We leave a lot of questions and let the viewer look for his own answer. I make films for myself and for the one that come to the movies to dream of life. Waking Up is my second short-film and actually the first documentary. How did you become involved with Waking Up and what attracted you to this film? After living in Buenos Aires, San Telmo neighbourhood, for almost 7 years I decided to move on and making this short film was the best way to say goodbye to the place where I felt at home. I would say I loved waking up in San Telmo. I wanted to transmit how I felt these past years in such a lovely place. I looked for its es- sence and I found it through the images in my film. Looking back to the past while filming the present and dreaming of a future. Poetic in its vision and realist in its expression, Waking Up reveals a radical fusion of documentary and narrative cinema. How did you develop
the script of your film? There was not a proper script written before shooting. Actually I just made a list of the places I wanted to film, like streets, markets, parks and people and the schedule when we were gonna film in each place. It was at the filming stage where I started to combine the images and create a narrative. Waking Up features a cinematic style that honors spontaneity and improvisation. How did you develop the structure of this film? Did the overall structure unfold before the camera, or were you already aware of these various pieces of the puzzle? What I wanted was to film a full day in the neighbourhood - from sunrise to sunset. That was the structure I had in mind but the actual shots were spontaneously filmed. We looked around a lot and decided what was the best take to show a place or
an action. So yes, improvisation was the key of the film. After two intense and emotionally hard days I had so much footage I couldnâ€™t really han- dle it. I was so happy and nostalgic at the same time that I decided to take some time away from the footage. I guess that was what helped me combine the pieces at the end. Can you tell us something about the shooting of your film? We were three people. It was quite and simple. It only took us two days - one outdoors, one in the house. We have planned almost everything ahead but we also let to the impro- visation. For example, if there was something interesting, beautiful or even weird, when walking from a location to another, we took the time to made some shots. I already had planned what I wanted to filmed but I also let the place, the people and of course the different situations inspired me while filming my lovely neighbourhood.
From the first time we watched Waking Up we were fascinated by the way you infuse everyday life with startlingly magical moments, reminding us of Victor Erice's cinema. How did you develop your filmmaking style? Iâ€™ve been writing since high-school both short stories and my daily experiences. I used to spend most of my afternoons watching films. Actually I started with latin american cinema (Argentinian and Mexican most of them) and then looking around I found the freedom of expression and technique in the nouvelle vague and the neorealism. I found a way to think through those images and it really influenced me when I developed a fascination for realistic films and filmessays. I was impressed for Godardâ€™s work and Chris Marker, Andrei Tarkovsky, Truffaut among others amazing work. I am also a musician. I studied classic guitar for more than 10 years and that made me a
very sensitive person. I guess that was when I found a way to express myself through the most complete art of all. My melodic images helped me recreate my thoughts and I could perfectly combine my passions in life. What was the most challenging thing about making this film? At the beginning I decided not to film by myself but with a cameraman. It was interesting but difficult to tell the ideas I had in mind for such a personal film. But of course the most challenging thing about this film was the editing. I got so much footage I like, there were so many things I wanted to show, it was really hard to sum- marise. I checked the footage a lot of times I even asked a friend to do it for me because I thought it could be easier to take a break and think about my film without being in front of it. I wrote the voice over all over again and It was a good decision after all because I managed to
combine those images and tell exactly what I wanted. I made a twist with the soundtrack and it turn to fit even better with my original idea of saying good bye.
Your film seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world. What do you hope viewers will take away from Waking Up?
We have previously mentioned Victor Erice, who among international directors influenced your work?
I see my film as a mix of emotions, situations and even nostalgia so it satisfies me when someone experiments that feelings while watching it or after words. After the premiere of my shortfilm in the 17Âş Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival a guy approached me saying how much he liked the film and all the memories that came to his mind not just about San Telmo but every place he has called home.
It is difficult to say just a few names. I have followed many directorâ€™s work for a long time so I really think I have taken something from everyone of them that made me think about the people, other cultures, me and essentially life itself. I have learned about the people around me and the evolution that everything I know experiments. For this beautiful thoughts and those long afternoons of inspiration I thank lots of magical minds like Lucrecia Martel whose film La CiĂŠnaga influenced me so much that kind of made me move to Argentina to study cinematography and luckily become a film director.
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 be- hind the camera, however in the last decades there are signs that something is chang- ing. What's your
view on the future of women in cinema? Women have been involved with films from the beginning. I always remember the famous “cutters” who were often working-class women accepting low pay to be a part of filmmak- ing. Young female dreamers that, despite the sexism surrounding them, took advantage of that position to make critical choices about a film's final cut. I guess women have, finally, broken through the maledominated film industry to further film study to everyone no matter what. There is still so much to do and fight for. Specially with the idea of women’s body and sexuality in cinema like in television but we have reached a high level now and I couldn’t be more happy about it. I think that out skills, talent and imagination can be evidenced just by taking the time to get to know us, listen to our vision and learn about our experiences. Let’s all work togeth- er for equality. It is not about gender. It is about the person and
his/her mind and life choices. Thanks for your time and thought, Diana. We wish you all the best with your filmmaker career! What's next for Diana Ojeda Suarez? Thank you for watching my film and taking the time to really understand its meaning. At the time I’m working on the script of my first feature-length film which I hope to film next year. "The dogs. Two weeks, one day" is a story based on a real experience and a sym- bolic sample of agreements and disagreements. The death of love that is represented in the loss of a pet. I’m also working as an editor and post-productor for films and advertising. Editing is a stage I enjoy and It has been a rewarding experience to work with someone else’s ideas. I am actually having a lot of fun at my current job and hope to keep doing it.
marĂa papi Titolo che inizia(Argentina, per La Caracola 2015)
������� ���� �������� the movement of intrinsic relations between two presences that give rise to life: Water and Vulva. Is restored the harmony of the feminine for inquiry about exposing what is hidden. The woman is present, is exposed and expressed in a poetic act of liberation and devotion. (…)” M���� P���, “L� C�������”
María Papi’s vision of La Caracola is a genre-bending work of art. Shot with elegance and inventiveness, this poetic film offers an emotionally complex meditation on the relationship between body and water, achieving a sublime lyrical quality. We are honored to present María Papi for this year's CinéWomen Edition. María, tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker and performer. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium?
My interest is multiple in terms of creative and expressive action. I have a strong academic background (Performing Arts, U.N.A. -National University of Arts, other studies carried out in Social Communication and Combined Arts, U.B.A. -University of Buenos Aires) and had the opportunity to interact with prominent artists of my country in various areas (theater, writing, photography). Also, I have worked in independent theater and performance art as an actress and performer from an early age and professionally work video since 2004, exploring in audiovisual realization (script, direction, camera, editing) from various genres and formats of video. I make video: videoclip, web video, videoart to theater and shows, video recording of performance art, institutional, etc. Currently, my
horizon is to cinema.
feminine and very personal.
We want to take a closer look at the genesis of your film project: how did you come up with the idea for La Caracola?
We have been deeply fascinated by your visionary approach to cinematic time and space. How did you develop the structure of the film? Did the overall structure unfold before the camera, or were you already aware of these various pieces of the puzzle?
For a time i wanted to turn over one of my poems for audiovisual creation process. The dimension of poetry led me to an intimate search space exploration. When I knew I would have some days near the River Calamuchita in the province of Córdoba, take the opportunity to make the first images. Playing with my body in the water, in a natural área, beautiful and fertile, it was a pleasant experience of action. From that place of enjoyment and relaxation, intimate and public, I chose express myself. “La Caracola" is an ode to the vulva, with river flowing rhythm. It is a small celebration, contemplative,
Always i do the script before work. Even if I have to adapt to the circumstances or include something improvised or material found. I usually have it all figured prior. “La Caracola" is a work that originally started as a specific process of experimentation and after I decided close it and show it. The first shoot was precise and quite fast, but I missed parts, which perform newly a year later. At that time, I molded a protocol for color, texture
and sound design. I spent some time experimenting with the visual design in post production of images to create the diverse pictures that make up â€œLa Caracola". Then I began to relate these images with the poetic word as was originally planned, finally recreate and expand the sound environment. It was a long process because it also meant a personal learning. In between there were many other processes coexist, other works, other experiences. This audiovisual, is the first that i show of a videopoetry series in which Iâ€™m working, some are already about to explode in my computer. La Caracola is more meaningful with every viewing. Throughout the film the viewer is asked to follow the logic of sensation. How did you develop your filmmaking style?
The perceptual aspect of a work of art or an artistic event is constructed on interaction with others, with the audience. The artistic event is perceived, that is the first thing; it will then be registered, will be reasoned and analyzed or forgotten. Videoart in relation to poetry allowed to enter in that sensitive code with absolute freedom. The sensible is intrinsic to the proposal of "La Caracola" and this is what reveals which audiovisual genre, the videoart. "La Caracola" is not selling anything, don't tells a story, not have more intention than exposing the artistic, visual and poetic action. Regarding my style of filmmaking, I think I still have many experiences to live and I'm looking in my "identity" -to put it in some way. In your film, there is imaginary and minimalist language. Do you prefer
the language of the body? I have no preference above and I like challenges. This was a particular proposal for this specific work. In general, i appreciate the creative process, experimentation, laboratory. In the film, the poetic language communicates with the visual design and body language. The challenge was to find harmony between these forms, at intersections and the expansions of each "language", and at the same time, be true to what I wanted to express, to the concept. Since the concept, I propose "La Caracola" experience as a rhizome: “ (…)Resonances, transformations, becomings, expansions, frames, junction, fusion. Diverse possibilities of dialogue between body and wáter that build a system of sense production. The inflection point in this audiovisual, is in the perceptual
aspect of the action presented in digital media. The performance art interacts with the aesthetic elements of the digital post‐production, the rhythmic movement of the sounds design and the conditional limits of the poetic word.” From Conceptual Synopsis of “La Caracola” La Caracola is a puzzle with reoccurring motifs slowly pieced together, a series of beautifully filmed allegories. What were some of your aesthetic decisions? It is an interesting description that you do. The most important decision was consider, during the final cut, to all pictures made in the process of artistic exploration. All visual becomings of La Caracola which are generated by the play of water and light on my body, and which are created and embodied in the design
cinéwomen/15 cinéwomen/15 cinéwomen/15
of digital post-production. Could have taken less time the final cut of audiovisual but, precisely, my proposal is to expose the creative path that brought me up to here. From a visual point of view, La Caracola is a highly layered work. What was the most challenging on this movie for you? The creative process and the realization of the audiovisual is what I enjoy doing and I feel free and very connected with my work throughout all the process. The complications are in the edges of the creative process, in everything that determines the work, not in the visual challenges. The biggest challenge was muster up the technical resources to develop the project. It can be very stressful a preproduction phase and, unfortunately, is a challenge that every artist
must learn to overcome: how to get the resources to develop my project? Another tricky aspect which arises at the end of a work is to achieve broadcast spaces. Also required to the artists to "go on the pitch" for promote us, do "lobby" looking for support. And not everyone has such qualities for public relations. The Caracola has aroused interest and conquered its own space and that is very stimulating. What are you hoping La Caracola will trigger in the audience? I perceive that “La Caracola” generates in the audience something personal and complex, sensitive, as the work. I hope to continue be generating of interest, that is already fairly achievement for a piece of art, without commercial or recreational purposes. The viewing will not
go unnoticed. 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 believe that women have conquered these areas and many others and i think there is no turning back. For decades, women create audiovisuals and experiment, proposes and exposes a own look and language. Video art is prolific in women artists. I don't know about the future, Iâ€™m interested in the present. In my country, there is great women film directors and a great legacy of fighting for the women rights, whether in art, science or politics. My daily experience, as Argentine woman, is
full freedom of expression. From there I did La Caracola with absolute autonomy. In Argentina, a woman is in charge of the Executive Power and it's closing his second term with a positive and historical image that prevail. The spaces of power are also a thing of women, including the transformer female look. This victories are examples for gender equality. I wish this freedom arise for all the women of the world. I feel we have to defend these achievements, multiply and expand the experience. Who among international artists influenced your work? Many. Today we are overloaded with information and authorities. In the epistemological aspect, I think you have to reveal the context before to see the world. In the sensitive aspect, I think the question is disenthrall a
while to explore the deep and find our identity. Otherwise, everything is marketing, speculation. So deeply I value the nearby experiences the exchanges and genuine actions. Definitely, I think the main referents are our peers, the colleagues, and we must join to others.
in collaboration with other artists and colleagues from different areas.
Can you talk about your creative relationship with Carlos Páez and how it has evolved through your work together?
I have many audiovisual projects, some in development, others waiting for their moment, maybe for years. Continue with the realization of videoart, both personal and professional. I'm sketching fiction, while, in the ultimate development of a feature documentary that we are doing with constancy for eight years. Also, on performing arts, with actions to be carried. Definitely, I have high expectations in my career, with much activity.
Carlos Páez is my partner, he is a great composer and creative. Always we cooperate and participate in common projects, made ideas together; each in its area. In 2004 we created CaRaCoLStuDiO (www.caracolstudio.com.ar) in order to build a network for projects, works and conquer broadcast professional work independently (freelance) and
Thanks for your time and thought, María. We wish you all the best with your career. What's next for you? Have you a particular collaboration in mind?
claudia araya lópez Recorte Costero (Argentina, 2015)
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With its unforgettable surreal imagery, Recorte Costero is an overwhelming emotional experience. Claudia Araya López creates a touching, psychologically acute meditation on the relationships between the human body and nature, audaciously reinventing expressionist style for her own cinematic vision: Recorte Costero seems simple, but it encompasses an entire world, depicting emotions in places where dialogue could not scratch the surface. We are proud to present Claudia Araya López for this year's CinéWomen Edition. Claudia, tell us about your trajectory as a experimental filmmaker and artist. What inspired you to express yourself in this medium? The audiovisual work has always caught my attention mainly because it allows the crossing of disciplines, opening the possibility to occupy it as a separate element in infinite forms of representation, which may be, for example, a performance with video and the interaction between them in real time, etc. I´m still amazed by the camera and the way it works, even more video and the endless evolutionary ways
to express any idea. As time has passed, I have become a little more demanding regarding image quality and resolution, but in the end it doesn´t matter really, because it depends on each proposal. Personally, If there´s movement or not it depends on the beholder. Indeed, I think that even in still camera, there´s always movement. You are an ecletic artist, your work ranges from installations to video. Can you introduce our readers to the multisciplinary nature of your art research? Yes of course. I´m studying since 2011 a master in Combined Artistic Languages at the UNA (National University of Arts) in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and we could say that it was the beginning of my quest and research with live body and image. I started developing an installative work, with color, almost pictorial. Ive also worked a long time in Chile at cinematic setting and scenery. My body never came on stage and actually I never thought it would either. The body is in continuous transformation, and we must be aware of changes that take place internally. The
mean is not mystic; but I do believe that listening to what our body tells us is fundamental. Our emotions and sorrows are stored somewhere, or get tossed to the winds, is up to us to do with them whatever we want. The use of the body at Performance is something that can only be experienced and can be hardly explained. We have been deeply fascinated by your enigmatic approach to narrative, how did you come up with the idea for Recorte Costero? For some years now, I´m working on the issue of migration, borders, feminisms and detachment. I consider important to remember where we come from, but perhaps not "where we go", because in many cases it is uncertain (Personally I think is better). Im from Chile and I live in Argentina since 2011, and geographically, what separates this country from Chile is a mountain range called "Los Andes". There are many theories about why my country situation is what it is, according to its strategic geographic location, away from the rest of the world, and becoming a perfect target for neoliberal experiments or dictatorships managed by the United States. That builds and constructs the history of my country and it was the reason of my migration, basically because it was very difficult for me to continue my studies and to develop my creative work (Chilean education is a business, not a human right), and that among other things. Recorte Costero is a work that marks the rythm and passage of the whole situation from those who, like us, are far from our homes and beloved ones. Recorte Costero at first seems a simple work form a technical point of view, yet it features a highly layered structure, a puzzle with reoccurring motifs slowly pieced together. What challenges did you face while making this experimental film? The biggest challenge was to put together the two films: one of the body in motion, captured in the Croma key and the other one corresponding to Llanquihue Lake. The camera in Puerto Varas, Chile, was made by Esteban Santana, who was also the cinematographer taking part with ideas
and concepts, and in Buenos Aires, Argentina by Gabriela Proaño and Maria Elisa Perez. Perhaps the most difficult part was to put together these images in my imaginary although they were setted up in editing, they were not assembled in my mind. I first got them on the computer and then in me. Clearly, it´s utopian (like the biblical passage walking over water... baptism and liquidity ... in reference to Bill Viola), hoping and wishing being there. It´s obvious that i cannot feel the water physically. I cannot soak my hair and body... I can see it, but I cannot feel it. Finally, it´s a little bit sad. The nostalgia of the migrant, who misses her land. We have been deeply impressed by your surreal use of female figure: can you introduce our readers to this fundamental aspect of your film? I always thought the body as a territory and there is a clear influence of conceptual maps or synoptic weather diagrams drafting the borders of climate temperature with primary colors. That was basically the main idea... referring to the artist Pola Weiss (Mex. 1947-1990) who it was shown to me by another chilean “performera” and activist Julia Antivilo, making use of the sixties´ technology and taking advantage of color and cuttings aspects. Moreover, the set up of the body moving above water is exacerbated by color and layer, that change with ambient light and which makes it even more unreal and out of context, but still remains a living body. From the first time we watched Recorte Costero, it reminded us of Alain RobbeGrillet's cinema. Who among international artists and directors influenced your work? Alain Robbe-Grillet certainly has an aesthetic and staging quite groundbreaking for its time on framing, light and use of female body issues, which I find quite poetic and oneiric, surreal in other words… quite sensitive and certainly an important reference nowadays for many contemporary works. Then, Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker´s work, purely physical and choreographic, with the direction of Thierry De Mey in "Dance. Fase. Four Movements to the music of Steve Reich " (1982), where she generates a constant,
repetitive and in some way overwhelming trance, largely by the sound composition intended thought previously for that piece. My general research begins from the field of visual arts. From the corporeal and the untouchable in technology. Questioning if midpoints are or not perceived by the human being, the digital and analog, etc. In the photo, I included Candida Höfer (Germany), Ilse Fuskova (Argentina). In Video, Francisca Benitez (Chile) with her work called “Preemptive Disappearance”, Pedro Lemebel´s Performance “Arder” (2014) outside the Museum of Contemporary Art in Santiago de Chile, the body work of Teresa Hincapie (Colombia), the repeating movements with her action “Una cosa es una Cosa” (1990) and, of course, about what
is related with women role into everyday repetitive actions incorporated in the “domestic” housework. What do you hope viewers will take away from Recorte Costero? I think it will be perceived as a sort of "Mantra", seen and heard through the sound of water. Perceiving movement beyond what you see. Constant both body and water, body is water, another life that cannot be touched… Honestly, the subjectivity of each one seems to me entirely valid. For more than half a century women have been discouraged from getting behind the camera, however in the last
cinéwomen/15 difference between a man and a woman at the time of filming, the differences are in who dictates and legitimizes what is right and what is not within the "Norma"... the economic groups that have historically ruled the world and deliberate man is who should occupy the commanding voice ... I think it's an argument by now, already known but that I must mention. The fact that in the art history, we almost have a couple of female artists ... is really embarrassing, not for women but for the universal history. It is a difficult task. Unfortunately, it´s up to us often to point it out and show other possible ways of coexistence. I think that woman is still not completely entitled and we must take care of it. Those who do not feel comfortable can go quietly elsewhere. I am Latinamerican and here in the present year, Human rights are still violated, especially for women. Thanks for your time and thought, Claudia. We wish you all the best with your filmmaker and video artist career. What's next for Claudia Araya López? Have you a particular film in mind?
decades there are signs that something is changing. What's your view on the future of women in cinema?
Yes, at the moment I´m working on a documentary archival project about women and Latin American feminist performing art. I´m gathering interviews and recording actions in different public spaces and regions of South America. The idea is to generate a virtual file to culminate in a documentary film, a project to be finished by 2017. I consider an important reference Monica Meyer (Mexico) with her feminist file “Pinto mi Raya”, who made an important work in the Latin American field, like the work in progress by Mariela Cantú “Video Arca” with all the Argentine video art material, a nonprofit project with a great cultural heritage. Translation: Mercedes Monie
I think that more and more women are empowered in all artistic spaces, dominating all languages together and separately Although the audiovisual field still works with a system of hierarchy in many cases quite harmful to empower women (In spanish wold be like "jerarquías nefastas"). Technology has served to equate knowledge when thinking about an artistic work and in many cases through the body itself, in that sense there is no difference. Everybody should manage it the same way . I think there is no technical
anwen edwards The F-Word (UK, 2015)
A gorgeous meditation on what it means woman in modern society, Anwen Edwards's dreamlike animacareens from ted film the humorous to the surreal. Featuring expressive composition and unusual animation techniques reminding us of Mimmo Rotella's décollage, Anwen Edwards delivers a nuanced take on an issue of international importance. We are pleased to present Anwen Edwards for this year's CinéWomen Edition. Anwen, we want to take a closer look at the genesis of your animated film: how did you come up with the ? idea for Well the world around was rich with inspiration, depressingly so regarding all sorts of inequality and as a feminist it just made sense. I wanted my last film as an undergraduate to stand out and choosing a subject I am so passionate about seemed like the way to go.
is a technically audacious and emotionally gripping work. What was the most challenging thing about making this animated film? Wording and what points to include because as quoted at the end of the film there are many more issues that weren’t included. I worked around it by thinking of issues that have or will affect me personally; I’m a big believer in writing what you know. Wording was an issue also but all statistics and research were true and accurate at the time the film was made. Also finding the tone for the film was difficult I didn’t want it serious throughout, I wanted it to have a sense of humour also but that balance was hard to find. From a visual point of view, we have been deeply impressed by your peculiar animation technique, usually known as "décollage". Can you
introduce our readers to this technical aspect of The F-Word?
inspired you to express yourself in this medium?
Honestly the design for this came from insecurity in my drawing, they never look how I want them to so that’s when I started doing collage work. Combine it with cut-out animation to make it move and I had "décollage." I take existing images physical and digital and cut them out either copy or scan them and then animate them on the computer.
I like to use animation as a medium to express political issues and myself because it is a good way of making the issues palatable for people who are often turned off by them. I have always loved animation as it is one of the oldest forms of filmmaking and it is so versatile it is incredible interesting to pursue.
Animation is a hard and long process. How long does it usually take to finish a piece? It varies to be honest. This film took me around 9 months but as a graduate film I had to split my time working on other things. Tell us about your trajectory as a filmmaker and animator. What
Could you take us through your creative process when starting a new animated film? It’s true that inspiration can come from everywhere and anywhere, the worst thing for me is to sit and wait for an idea, and I prefer to read books, newspapers or go out and look around me. Once I have an idea I start putting together some concept art along with a script or write up of what’s going to
happen. From there I go from storyboarding to making an animatic with the soundtrack. Then I animate. Bits and pieces might change throughout the process as I always show my work in process and ask for advice but that’s basically my process. What's your view on the future of women in cinema? Well I believe step forwards have been made but still not enough. The gender pay gap for actors is a hot topic in Hollywood but no one ever mentions those behind the camera. There are some amazing female directors out there edging there way into the forefront but as I said more change is still needed, well in “main stream” cinema anyway. The first time we watched your film we thought of Mimmo Rotella's work. Can you tell us your biggest
influences in cinema and how they have affected your work? Terry Gilliam’s cut out technique and sometimes satirical and surreal style is part of what inspires me. I love the weird and wacky so Monty Python and the Mighty Boosh are huge inspirations. I have always loved punk art as well and this has benefited me greatly, as my drawing style is by no means what would be considered “traditionally” good. Thanks for your time and thought, Anwen. We wish you all the best with your filmmaker career. What's next for Anwen Edwards? Just going to keep making films with a message in my own style and my own way. More of my work can be found on my website: www.anwenedwards.co.uk