(Mila Moshelova | Photo: Jorge Juárez, Bárbara Moran)
Álvaro Gómez from Spain, the cinematographer for the 2013 movie 'The Intruders', represents the film crew and the directors Jorge Juarez and Barbara Moran at IN THE PALACE Student's Edition. Álvaro, graduated in film studies from La ECAM, sees moving and traveling as the best source of creativity in his work and festivals as a great way to disconnect from reality and indulge in art.
- Is this the first movie you have worked on?
It is not the only one, but it is the biggest I have shot. I have done different things as part of a camera crew, as a DP (Director of Photography). Currently, I am working on a small personal project as well.
- Where did the idea come from?
When Jorge Juarez and Barbara Moran - the two directors - met up and decided to do their end-of-degree project together, they started looking for a joint point of interest. They thought about teenage hood, teenage memories and so, interested in teenagers, they started developing an idea with a scriptwriter from the same school. At first, it was hard to harmonize the directors' and the writer's ideas but at the end they came up with the movie.
- What things you will be working on after the festival?
Right now, I am working as camera crew for short films, it is more features, commercials and music videos that I make. It is hard because with our work, you never know what you will be doing next. For some jobs you only hear a week in advance. Everything is at short notice but at the moment I am trying to move as much as I can.
- How about film school? Do you think it is crucial to have education in filmmaking to work in this field?
It is good to have some knowledge and experience to back you up because in the digital age you can learn many things watching youtube videos etc., but there is a lot you cannot learn so easily outside the classroom. When you are at film school you have the opportunity to get together with groups, team up, meet interesting people, share ideas so it is a good starting point. You also have the camera, the computers for editing, the lighting equipment: film school is a good starting point and it is very helpful.
- What do you think is the role of art in social life?
I think that art and culture is what makes us human and not machines. Although art may not be the most important thing overall, for me, it is.
- What is the role of festivals? Why are they important?
Even though often you can show your movie anywhere and you can share it on the Internet, it is not the same as festivals. Having the chance to screen in front of like-minded audience comprised of people who are film-makers themselves, is great. It is a melting pot for ideas and it is good to share.
- So what do you think you will take away with you from IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival?
It has been a great experience, meeting interesting people. Festivals allow to disconnect from home. I love to travel and it has been inspirational. Staying at one place, lets say my hometown, for a long time, is like a mental breakdown. I like moving from one place to another and being here has been an enriching experience.
(A. G. Magaldi | Photo: Itay Sagi)
The story of Liron, a young Israeli man who wishes to be a fighter in the army, but is not allowed due to his medical profile. What would you do if you could not fulfill your dreams? We live in a society that idolizes football and in which war is a daily topic. People who live for war and people who see war in the world of football. The approach of 'Green Ape', a short film by Israeli director Itay Sagi, a parent who seeks to portray through cinema one part of the Israeli society.
- 'Green Ape' is a film that touches two main topics: war and football. Every day we read news about these topics in the media...
Much of the Israeli culture is based on war and football. During the Lebanon war I was in England watching a Champion's League game between Maccabi Haifa and Liverpool. One Israeli fan started shouting 'War' and the others quickly respond 'Haifa'. And again 'War, Haifa, war, Haifa...'. Suddenly I started looking at all the fans singing aggressive war terminology and I was thinking if this was war. Come on, my brother was fighting in Lebanon, war was there. Football is only football.
- Seems like your film is clearly influenced by Israeli society.
Do you know what's happen with the boys in Israel? Young people are doing everything they can to become soldiers. This is not just their goal in life, It is something in all Israeli society. It is true that we are in a difficult situation. There is war, there are enemies and no short-term solution. We have to handle the situation. Many young people feel they need to become soldiers and there is much pressure on them.
- You say there is no short-term solution to war. The situation of society will not be solved until the conflict is ended...
I must say the situation is changing little by little, specially in Tel Aviv. There, is not considered impolite that you do not want to be in the army. It is OK. But outside Tel Aviv is much more complicated. There is a national atmosphere that makes clear that we must defend our country. Many young Israelis find their personal development through being a fighter in the army.
My idea was, "What's happens to a young man who fails to enter the army?" My main character has medical problems. They will not let him be a soldier. Curiously, my main actor had the same problem. He did not pass the army test despite it was his dream.
- Imagine you want to do cinema, but you can't... It's your goal...
Young people are blind. I've known people who even asked to volunteer as close as possible to the fighting area. Everything is reflected in the movie. You can see the parents of the protagonist trying to convince him to join the army in another way. You don't need to be in the battlefield to help your country. You can even help the troops from an office. Sometimes only a few years after leaving the army, after having a kid, you start to realize things.
- We are talking about very young people. When I was twenty years old I was not sure about my role in life...
Also, older people think like this. Once, I was with a group of friends and one says: "I would like to be in Gaza. I want to contribute". This guy was 38 years old at the time and had three young children. I was looking at him like "what are you talking about"?
- In 'American Sniper', the latest film by Clint Eastwood, we can see how the character of Bradley Cooper wishes to return to Afghanistan despite having a wife and a baby. I find many similarities between this character, your movie and the Israeli society you are talking about.
When I was in the army I used to be like this. But after leaving I realized that something is wrong. It is only my point of view but I do not think I am misguided.
- How do Israeli people react after seeing your short film?
Many soldiers or supporters of Maccabi Haifa were interested in my movie after reading the synopsis. And all the reactions after watching the film were similar: that's my story. Some people in my country miss the point of the movie because they live in their own bubble, but the rest, specially young people, feel identified. But I want to introduce my story to a global audience, to the rest of the world, so they can understand better how one part of Israel works. Every time my movie is selected in one short film festival means that someone really understands it. And it is great.
Nedelko Tudzharov: "The director is the lens that focuses all the different departments into one point wich is serving the story"
(Mila Moshelova | Photo: Nedelko Tudzharov)
Nedelko Tudzharov, made 'Flight' alongside fellow course mates Alex Dunford and Lucie Douglas as part of a course module. In the third year of his degree in Film Studies at the University of Aberdeen, Ned strikes with a philosophical outlook on the world and the roles of art and film in it.
- What is the film about?
It is about a woman with the pseudonym Mary, as she requested to remain anonymous. The subject matter is about her suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which is a neurological condition which leaves the patient has very little energy for the day. The documentary represents a series of interviews with her where she talks about her love of nature and how nature charges her with energy.
- Tell us more about what you will be doing after IN THE PALACE?
I would also like to try fiction as I have been studying documentary for the past year. I have also done a course on the genre of comedy so that is something I would be interested in looking more into. I am currently just piling up ideas. I don't have anything specific to pitch at the moment but I am full of enthusiasm about my future projects.
- How are you enjoying your education in Film so far?
It is very good. The way it works at my university is that in the first two years I have free credits to film so I can choose different courses. I took History of Art for the first two years so that complemented well my film courses and it gave really good knowledge. The film courses that I took are more practical for the last two years and more theoretical for the first two. I got good theoretical background and now I look forward to doing some more practical stuff. I have already started an internship at New Boyana Studios in Bulgaria. I am currently in the grip and camera department so I am learning how camera and lighting work, working with professional equipment.
- What role do you think art plays in education and social life?
Different questions can be answered differently – science can completely answer some, but not others at all. It is a different mode of expression. I have always thought about how people question the world. Some people put it as a how question, some people put it as a why question. But however you ask the question, there is always more to it than that. It explores the human condition, its nuances. You can tackle it from different points. I like a quote by C. S. Lewis – he said that if you have a book or a work of art you should not confuse the work of art for itself – it is always reflecting a deeper longing for something else. I guess it is hard to answer a question about art simply; it always has a deeper meaning.
- How important is education in film-making for young people in the field?
I think education is not the only path to good film-making. Ridley Scott advocated the school of everything and I think this is a wonderful idea which holds that if you cannot afford to have university education you can just go and start and learn by doing things, absorbing information from everywhere. Especially, if you are a director, it is good to know a little bit about the different departments because you are coordinating everything that is happening. Directing is the focal point of it all – a director is the lens that focuses all the different departments into one point which is serving the story.
- How about film festivals?
Festivals are important for several reasons. IN THE PALACE International Short Film Festival has been very useful to see what other filmmakers are doing and you are always comparing your own work against others' and what ideas they are exploring. Further, it has been good for making a lot of contacts – you have many conversations and the way to go at festivals is to talk to everyone and sharpen your mind against theirs and it works beautifully for both sides.
- What do you expect to take away with you from IN THE PALACE?
This is my first festival so it was difficult to have concrete expectations as I had nothing to compare it with. Of course, you hear about Cannes and all those places but when I spoke to some of the other filmmakers, who have traveled around and been to other places, IN THE PALACE seems very interactive and well made because filmmakers have time and chance to speak with each other – not just with the public and doing questions and answers sessions.
Keren Alexandroni: "If you are not active about the things you have a strong feeling, you are missing something"
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo: Keren Alexandroni and editor Eitan Vardi)
An activist couple finds a temporary shelter in a decaying flat at the verge of the city after taking part in an anarchist action. And while he is obsessively trying to make the place a safe haven she longs back to the riots.
Israeli director Keren Alexandroni arises in her short film Spatchel the conflict between the will to fight for change and the need in a more quiet and bourgeois life. A movie where the young director, recently graduated from Tel Aviv University's Film Department, shows her political activism. Made after the Tel Aviv riots for social justice, it raises two possible options in the audience.
- How the social activism is reflected into your movie?
There were major social movements in Israel in 2011. Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest, among other things, for decent housing. I was part of the riots from the beginning and I was really involved. I lived many different experiences. I think that cinema is a way to channel my whole political work. When I started with cinema somehow I lost that rebellion and I guess It came back to me in Spatchel, where I put all passion.
I've always thought that there is something very exciting in being a political activist. In the chaos, in fighting with the police. Something very exciting in a lot of ways.
- How the situation of Israel is reflected in your movie?
My short film is not about the riots, is actually about what happens afterward. The film is about the conflict you can suffer. Maybe you want to continue in the fight or you just want to go back to your apartment to watch films with your lover, leaving aside the political sentiment.
- In your movie we can see the two opposite parts of the situation in the figure of the main characters...
Yes. The main couple of my film suffers a hard conflict. One of them wants to settle down while the other one wants to stay in the fight. Imagine when you want to go out on a Saturday night and your friends just wanna play cards. Should I stay or should I go? I think that If you are not active about the things you have a strong feeling for, you are missing something.
- What is the choice of the audience? I guess not everybody is so active...
Most people can't do it. We are talking about a movie you either love or hate but at least you feel something. But I have to say that I never care about what other people think. The only time I was terrified about was the fist time Spatchel was screened. Now I just want many people to see my movie and to be in festivals all day long.
- Festivals are important?
They are the best thing ever. It's an opportunity to meet amazing people and to talk about cinema at all times.
Lolita Nikolova: "Festivals are important because you can find people that can help you in your career”
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo: Lolita Nikolova)
Atanas Dalchev typewrites day and night. He slowly begins to press the keys of an old typewriter. Verses flow from his hands. The Angel of Notre Dame is not only a famous Bulgarian poem, It is also the short film of Bulgarian filmmaker Lolita Nikolova. A small visual tribute which reminds us through little stories that although the author died 31 years ago, he will live forever through his poems.
Who is Atanas Dalchev? No one better than Lolita Nikolova to explain. The young director, who studied Film Arts at New Bulgarian University, has read over and over again the poems of Dalchev and is able to bring us through the fiction into his picturesque universe.
- Why Atanas Dalchev? What's interesting about his work in order to make a short film?
A very interesting Bulgarian poet. He is completely different from all the other poets from the times of socialism in Bulgaria because he is politically neutral. His poetry is not typical. He is trying to show us that imagination is not something that is not real. The imagination is around us and we just need to open our eyes. With The Angel of Notre Dame I just want to show the audience that this poet, who died more than thirty years ago, still lives. He is not dead because he will live forever.
- Your whole film focuses on the poet's work...
I took all the poems of Dalchev and I combined them into a story that is my story. A film full of imagination, with biographical details of the poet. But it is not so much a documentary as fiction. There is a poem where we can see a little boy who can speak with god, with the flowers... with all of nature. He is not speaking literally with nature, he is just feeling it. And we have forgotten how to feel this.
- A mirror where we can see us? Maybe we have to look deeper into nature...
Right. That's what I'm trying to say. I think that Atanas Dalchev wanted us to see things like him. A lot of people don't understanding his work because it's difficult. Humans, with all the technologies are forgetting how to look beyond the things around us. There are also a lot of poems about confronting dead and I wanted to show that his ghost enters and leaves the cemetery at all times, he is alive.
- Not a regular movie. You are making an experimental short film about poetry...
I had a premiere of the film with friends and they were in shock because they didn't expect to see this kind of movie. They were surprised in a good way and a lot of people even cry. But I'm not making a movie for people to cry. It's what they feel and it's ok, but I just want my message to reach the audience.
I thought something like no one is going to understand my movie because I wanted it to be complex, not in order. I made as I felt it and if someone doesn't like it it's ok for me. I can not make a film that appeals to everyone but I'm having nice reactions and I'm glad to be in a festival like this.
- Festivals like IN THE PALACE are important? It seems like the only way to publicize your film...
I'm very happy to be here. I have been other years here but not as a participant so this was THE year. It is important to be in a festival like this but it is not important to win an award. Of course, the feeling when you win is great but the most important thing to me is to have connections with all the amazing people here. To find some people that can help you in your career or you can help them, a symbiosis...
- For a beginner, having connections seems like a really important thing...
Here in Bulgaria the problem is that if you don't have the connections with the right person you can't develop in any way. But I think it will be the same in Germany, England and other countries. For example, I found and internship because other friend told I'm good in editing, but if I hadn't had the connection with a friend that would not have been possible.
Iris lives in a big house in a good neighborhood. She feels alone even when her family is around. Suddenly, an old romance comes knocking. What will happen? Israeli director Guy Nemesh delves into the crisis that many women around fifty years old suffer.
The Way Things Are, Nemesh graduation short film, manages to connect with the audience screening a detailed image of some parts of our society. He studied with honors at the Minshar for Art school and is currently working on his first feature film.
- How are things in life?
I wanted to film a small dilemma of life. The main character in my movie is a woman in her fifties who feels that something in her life is missing. Her role as a mother has ended and although she has a big house and a family surrounding her nothing seems enough. Something is missing.
- The story of a mature woman who at one point realizes that his life has lost all the meaning. Could your film be seen as a mirror of society?
Perhaps. I just wanted to tell the story of the protagonist but the truth is that many women in their fifties come to me after seeing the film to explain that It touched them very deep. They often ask me how I knew the story: How do you know?, how did you come with this story because because I felt identified?
- How do you know it?
I guess it's the only question that I can not answer because simply I don't know. I opened my eyes and I started to write about what women feel when their role as mothers comes to an end. I was thinking about it.
- You were telling me that some women feel identified with the main character. Also with the way she acts?
The point is that she is not doing anything wrong. Without revealing the ending I can only say that we see how she has a date with an old boyfriend. But it's not really an affair, it's just a meeting. Something happens but not all. I think for the first time she begins to understand things. For the first time she realizes how things are. She decides to stand up against her situation and act. At this point nothing really changes but she becomes more aware of everything.
- And how is the audience reacting to this meeting? Any controversial reactions?
My first screening was very stressful. I could not even look at the screen. I was asking to my self something like Why don't you cut? Everything is boring. Also, visually it is not an easy film to understand. I have like 30 locations, I use a lot of camera movements and I tried to give my film a peculiar esthetic. I had many doubts during filming but when the short film was completed I was very happy because people really like how it is done.
- Not only among the audience, your film has been selected in many festivals...
It's hard to get yourself known. I've been in some amazing festivals and I can say they are the best way to learn and to watch movies you would not be able to see in another context. It's also a way to realize how your movie can work on other cultures.
- What have you learned in festivals like IN THE PALACE?
One thing I learned is that not everything is about with money. There are good films with big budgets but also good films with quite small budgets. I also believe that if the story is good you are going to get money in one way or another. In Israel now is so hard to get money that you really really need to believe in yourself. We are a small country and directors are really training hard to achieve it.
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo of Teodos Ralev)
Why did it even cross my mind that it was possible for someone to see me in a new light? All I have left now is to wave this day goodbye, hoping the next one will be better and get me out of this perpetual black and white film I live in.
Wasteland, the debut of the young Bulgarian director (only seventeen years old) Teodos Ralev. The story of a teenage artist who wants her work to get known. Will she achieve success without money or contacts? A little story that stands how difficult it is to get yourself known in our society.
Teodos, the youngest director selected for IN THE PALACE Student's Edition, knew that he was born to tell stories with a camera since he was a child. This passion in the film industry led him to discover a series of workshops organized by the festival in his town, and that developed his passion for cinema even further.
- Wasteland, the story of a young woman who wants her dreams to become true. Seems like it's a story we've all lived. Who does not fight daily to achieve one goal in life?
In Bulgaria there are a lot of people like the girl in my movie. We are a very poor country and people have no motivation because no one here sees your talent if you don't have connections and money. But I guess in other parts of the world it will be the same: it's very difficult to have a chance in this world. That's the story of my movie.
- Maybe, We could say that your film is partly autobiographical?
(Teodos Laughs) Not exactly. I'm not bored and I have friends.
- But in some ways you are in the same situation as the girl in Wasteland.
I'm still in high-school and I'm hoping to continue my education in the field of cinema studies. I wanna make something that people will remember forever. One day, maybe, people will be like Yeah, I know this guy, he is a great director. That's what I want to do and I'm going to do my best to achieve it. Just like the girl in the movie.
- Are you proud of how your movie looks?
Well, I'm never happy with what I do because I want to be better everyday, but considering the technical equipment that I had, It is a worthy film. After shooting it I realized that there were things to improve, but everything was done.
It was difficult for me to make this movie because everyone here has good cameras, good actors and help from their film academies. I'm still with the same camera that I have since I was fifteen and the actors in the movie are my best friends. But I am happy of being selected in the festival, where I could learn from so many professionals.
- One thing that stands out is that you are only seventeen years old. You're the youngest director at IN THE PALACE Student's edition and you are surrounded even by directors doubling your age.
I was scared because everyone knows much more than me in the festival. And it's normal. It's what they do for a living, in most cases they have studied something related to cinema. I don't want to do short films when I get older but that's the things I can do now with what I have. It is the beginning of my career, them I want to focus on feature films.
- What it means for you to be selected in a festival like this?
Actually I discovered the festival during some workshops they did in my city, Burgas (the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast). Being there was a very important step in my career because I could delve more how to do things in cinema. Events like IN THE PALACE are really important because you make new friends and you learn a lot from all the professionals.
Franziska Hoenisch, director of 'Aussi Loin': "Every movie is like building a new house. You need too find the right people again, money.."
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo of Franziska: Linda B. K. )
Shortly after midnight the explosion of a bomb destroyed the main server system of a cell phone provider. Three security guards, severely injured by the fire, were sent to a hospital in the center of Paris. It just come to our attention that their lives are no longer in danger. A CCTV camera took pictures of one of the attackers.
On the run after a political attack, Damien and Yvonne woke up at their hiding place in Paris to find out that Damien was filmed by a surveillance camera. What will they do? Aussi Loin, thirteen frenetic minutes where the German director Franziska M. Hoenisch is able to bring us into the minds of the main characters.
Franziska, who studies at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg and is currently working on her first feature film, fell in love with cinema
- Why cinema? Why is Franziska into cinema?
I think... I think it's a difficult question. It's the same as when you fall in love. You just want to do it. You just you want to be with the person you fell in love. I was studying fine arts but at the same time looking for something else and finally I ended up making films.
- Cinema includes all the other arts. There is music, images, acting...
Yes. I really enjoy all the filmmaking process.
- Let's talk about Aussi Loin, a frantic film about a couple of anarchists who made a terrorist attack. One of the things that stand out from the beginning is that the main couple are complete opposite.
There was a competition in my film school, you can apply for a scholarship with a team and get the chance to make a film in France and we won. So I went to Paris for some research and I met a friend I hadn't seen for years and we found out that we have the same questions about the world we live in. From there, I developed the two characters. They really love each other, but they want different things. He wants to have a family but she is very obsessed with political activism cause she has found a reason to live. I think it's important for the story to have this contrast because it throws a question to the audience: what would I do if I were in the same situation?
- And how is the audience reacting to this situation?
Not everybody likes the film, it's always like that, you have to live with that. You don't make films for everybody...
- Maybe, when you make a film you are thinking about you?
But also for the audience. You want people to understand what you have made. It's tricky. You have to make a film that makes you feel comfortable and then hope that audience can also understand it. In Aussi Loin the viewers always laugh at the first scene, and them they are surprised. Most spectators tell me that they love the ending
- Are you comfortable with how your movie looks?
Problems may arise, also script changes and maybe at the end the short film differs from what you expected... We had a really big problem. It's very difficult, and also very expensive, to find a hotel to shoot in Paris. We finally found one which was really pretty. The camera woman really liked it. But two weeks before the shooting we discovered we had a misunderstanding. We thought the hotel was giving us four rooms but actually for that price they gave us only one room. And we had a lot of people, equipment... We couldn't find a new hotel in Paris so we finally changed the script and shot the movie in a flat.
- But at the end, you feel that your movie is what you wanted it to be?
For my camera woman it was really hard. She preferred the other location. But I think now she is fine with the result. And I like the result and it's working quite good.
- Finally, you ended up at IN THE PALACE. Seems like a recognition for all the hard work...
I think every movie is like building a new home: you have to find the right people, again the money... But if people like the house you built before, it's going to be easier. And being in festivals helps in this process.
Charlie Edwards-Moss & Robert Wragg:"Crowdfunding? A polite way to take make monry from your friends and family"
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo of Charlie E.M.: Linda B. K.)
- What's happen? Oh, you're joking. Oh Jesus. Hang on, wait. Mickey! We killed the wrong guy
- We killed the wrong guy.
Two Irish hit men embark on their journey home after killing the wrong man. What will they do? Urinal Cakes is an irreverent comedy with an impressive start and traces of the characteristic English humor.
British director Charlie Edwards-Moss and editor Robert Wragg are distinguished by their youth and the passion with which they live the world of cinema. Although they are only twenty years old, they look like real veterans with several shorts films upon their shoulders inspired by the work of acclaimed directors such as the Coen Brothers or Guy Ritchie. They do not hesitate to show how proud their are of their short film and they are already preparing a "much more ambitious movie".
- A future full of work. It looks like we'll hear from you soon...
(During the interview, Charlie is the first to take the floor). We are preparing our next project and we are trying to gather as much funding as we can: scholarships, grants... Even crowdfunding. Why? Because it's a polite way to take money from your friends and family".
- New challenges appeared on the horizon, ¿also as a team? You knew each other since you were kids and you've done everything together...
The truth is that we've been to several festivals, but this is the first one we come together as a band, as a team. But we do not plan anything without each other and everything works perfectly. We are together since we were five years old, so imagine. We are surprised by the response we are receiving. And we love the attitude of the people at In The Palace. Our film has had some impact and we are in a very cozy place, not pretentious. This is really important, especially for young professionals like us. Both the organization and the other directors are really friendly and close.
- Do you think that the response from the public is what you expected? Urinal Cakes has a distinct English humor inspired by the work of directors such as Guy Ritchie.
¿Guy Ritchie? He is incredible although he made also a couple of shit movies. But we believe that our work is closer to The Coen Brothers. We realize that our film is very British and for some people in other countries it can be a really hard argument. But this was intentional. When we screen the short film in front of a British audience people can not stop laughing and when It is screend to people from other cultures, the audience is more quiet. But the critics are positive, so we are feeling good.
- Talking more about Urinal Cakes, First thing that stands out is the title...
You need to have a title easy to remember. For posterity. You know what Urinal Cakes are? We have a shot when one old guy was in the pub and one of our main characters smashes his head against a toilet.
- Maybe a good story, maybe good actors or a shot that impresses the audience. What are the ingredients for a successful film?
(Robert takes the floor) In our film the connection with the actors was the key. We worked in the story with one of the actors, in a bar, and from the first moment all the sensations were fantastic. It is uncommon to have the chance to work with an actor that was really into the role.
(Charlie) Actors can make a movie good or bad. It's not the only significant thing but they play an important role. The connection with the actors is what brings the film together.
- And any difficulties?
I hate the editing part. It's a really hard thing and if things do not work it can ruin a movie
We also had a curious adventure. We were filming in my mom's car in the middle of nowhere and we finished shooting at 4 a.m. Suddenly, we realized the battery was dead. We were thinking something like fuck, what are we going to do? We tried to tow the car but there was no light and everything was littered with rocks... I was thinking all the time that my mother would kill me. We decided to contact roadside assistance and it turns out that when the mechanic arrived the car started without any problem.
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo of Ayelet Albenda)
- Mom, i didn't get dressed yet
- But we have to go get the... What are you doing? Shooting a video?
- Oh C'mon, Maayan...
A short documentary on Israeli teenagers that teach how to make up through YouTube? True Colors, the proposal of the director Ayelet Albenda, may seem uninteresting on the synopsis but turns out to be a fascinating reflection of one part of our society. The power of YouTube as a channel to communicate with the world and the role of a generation of young people who seem not to care that their life is going public on Internet.
It's interesting how Ayelet, Ohio-born (USA) but living in Israel since she was a kid, explains why YouTube is a mirror of our time and how many people have not yet realized what's going on in the video platform.
- Why YouTube?
I'm a video artist and I've been working with YouTube materials for years. Why? Because it's the best mirror of our generation. A place to learn, a form of entertainment and also an easy way to reach people. I'm also preparing a feature documentary related to YouTube.
- There is a new generation of young people whose idols have come out of YouTube, for which the platform is their main channel of communication and they do not even see television...
Yes. It's a new community, a new playground. The percentage of people who become viral on YouTube is very small. Most people in the video platform remains anonymous. But it's interesting to discover that YouTube is also a format of TV.
- Another competitor in the television market...
TV channels know what's coming but do not know how to imitate it, how to adapt the content to their platforms. It's not easy to translate YouTube into something you can use on television.
- Talking about your documentary, not only explains the phenomenon of YouTube, it's going beyond. You provide a glance into the world of young Israeli girls making tutorials on how to do make up...
YouTube is a channel that dives into a world of teenagers you can not find anywhere else. It's an opportunity to see young people in a way that you could not see filming them with a regular camera. The idea came because I spent years investigating how young people act on YouTube. I am interested in discovering how young people portrayed themselves online, specially in the platform. I started to inquire into how teenagers communicate with each other and I ended up in the makeup community, a truly big group in Israel. And I became obsessed.
- A detail that stands out in your short film is that you're not using a camera. You are not filming anything. It's all about downloading and editing YouTube videos...
The research is actually the filming. I only used some interesting materials available to me. But It was a really hard editing process. And I met the girls in person. But just because I wanted them to know who I am and the work that I'm doing. Also their parents had to sign a document but not because the girls are under eighteen or because I need their consent. The girls are already broadcast online and their parents just had to sign to release the copyright.
- We are talking about very young people who often do not realize what they are doing. Are they living in another reality? Are they really aware that they are publishing their lives to millions of people?
Maybe they are not realizing well what they are doing. But they are not that young, just fifteen, sixteen... Sometimes they just want to be famous. When I met them they were really happy about the movie.
- When I look back twelve years ago I realize that I was still a child who often did not have nothing clear...
But we are not the same kind of people. You didn't have a digital camera. You didn't have the option to upload your life online. They’ve been filming themselves for years. They don't feel vulnerable in what they are doing.
In one scene in your movie we can even hear how the bombs fall on Israel while a girl is explaining how proud she is of her followers...
I was in shock after finding it because it is just great. The situation seems extreme but these are their lives. Sometimes you hear the bombs falling and you do not know whether to laugh or panic a little because it is a situation you have suffered many times. It does not happen often but...
Slawomir Witek, director of 'Real Honey':" If you make a happy ending, people will not remember your movie more than two days"
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo of Slawomir Witek)
Hundreds of prostitutes line the roads of many European countries. And next to them, it is not uncommon to find elderly people selling local products such as honey and all kinds of vegetables. Accustomed to see this stamped in his region, Polish director Slawomir Witek, graduated from Gdynia Film School, asked himself a simple question. Did they ever had a conversation? What if an endearing old lady establish a small relationship with one of the escorts?
The starting point for Real Honey, an interesting short film that tells the story that one of these elderly poor women have with a foreign prostitute. Will the girl show gratitude?
- An old poor lady and a foreign prostitute, seems like too much contrast. ¿Why so different worlds?
I have a house in the country who is 100km from my city and near and along the way I usually see some prostitutes on the roadside and at the same time people from villages selling mushrooms, honey... All standing next to each other. I wondered if they ever talk among themselves.
- A long gap. The two main characters also speak different languages...
It's difficult for foreigners to understand this part, how did you realize? I wanted people from different worlds to be close. The prostitute speaks Russian and the old lady is Polish but they can understand each other and even hold a conversation. I wanted to make bigger the distance between them so all the film is full of small details like this. Usually people in Poland understand Russian, it's a bit similar to Polish.
- Considering that you're used to find prostitutes and people selling local products on the roads, could we say that your film is a mirror of part of reality?
Yes. Their relationship seems to be impossible, an elderly woman and a person hated by society, but actually can succeed, one of the details that the film reflects. The starting point consisted on finding a reason for these women to talk, to have some contact. The script changed a lot. First it was a criminal story, thinking what will happen if the old woman had a problem with mafia because she helped the prostitute. Then, I had one friend who tricked me into an economic issue. Money appeared between us and we are not friends any more, and this is somehow reflected in my movie.
- Is there a really big problem with prostitutes? Prostitution is a scar of society. And you were telling me in some European countries you can find prostitutes every few kilometers at least...
It's a lack of society. It's not a big problem as escorts are a closed group which do not mix with society. But they are usually from different countries, working for one man. And some of these girls don't want to be prostitutes. We are talking about slavery and mafia. In Poland the government is doing nothing about this. It's not legal to be on the street offering sexual services but authorities are not doing anything.
A story that now seems funny. I was trying to shoot a scene from some distance where you can see the prostitute in my movie near the elderly woman and every few minutes cars stopped by to ask the actress for sexual favors. We spent hours trying to film the scene as we wanted. Something is wrong with society...
- Real Honey presents a hard story, It's not an easy topic. How is the audience reacting to your short film?
My movie is working quite good, going to some festivals... But the audience sometimes is confused with the last shoot. Without revealing my story, I can only say that I thought about filming various endings. Finally I filmed the first one and I was so happy that I did not change it further. But it is not a regular ending. It leaves you thinking even more than the rest of the movie. I always thought, that if you make a happy ending, people will not remember your movie more than two days. My point is, you need to do different things, not regular ones.
- Festivals are important?
Yes. Especially for short movies that have no place in theaters. When you start your career it is really interesting to find people in the film industry from other countries that can give fyou their opinion about the movie. Is a good way to check if your story is universal.
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo: Knopka movie)
- Five cents
- I thought you would offer
- Would you then give me... a kiss?
- Too bad
The young seamstress Knopka meets the next door baker who has a strong resemblance to her old lover. But he turns out to be two of a kind. What will be his secret? Knopka, a nice romantic short film by Italian director Maja Costa with the ability to surprise the audience.
Fully involved in the world of television, Maja combines her career as a filmmaker with another passion, writing. She is currently working as a script writer for Italian Television and ensures that European television series are living a golden age.
Globalization seems to be changing television series...
It is a very important moment for European series. Broadcasters are putting more money and media into series, especially after the Scandinavian success. You can start to compete with the US.
- Any example?
You can try to do The Wire in Europe. Series are becoming more and more international and you can experiment a lot. Also, the differences between television series and movies in terms of quality are becoming insignificant.
- Television is the new cinema?
People are demanding more and more content everyday. Series and movies has differences but If you do quality television you can also convince people that likes cinema to see your product. I'm thinking in recent cases like Breaking Bad and True Detective. Also in Europe, examples like Sherlock.
- And the differences are...?
I think It's a different writing. To me, series are like a novel. You have much time to delve into the characters and stories. But at the same time I really enjoy the shorter version like in a movie. In a short film like Knopka, for example, you have to create an atmosphere in just a few minutes. Just different ways of writing but visually you can connect series and movies.
- So maybe in one future we will be able to see an International series by Maja Costa.
(Maja smiles) I hoped so. I'm now working as a head writer for one Italian series and I have no pressure in filming new movies. I can take my time developing new stories for filming. I'm always thinking I can write on commission but I don't think I would be able to direct on commission. Knopka was my first stage. The feeling when it was done was amazing. I usually write stories for others, but Knopka is only mine. It also helped me to progress in writing my career: what you can do on paper you can't maybe do in the editing room.
- Let's talk more about Knopka, a romantic tape with an argument that plays with viewers. How is the audience reacting to your story?
Uf. My colorist got the surprise in the argument in less than two minutes and I was frightened about this. But actually people really like my movie and are surprised with the argument. I think my colorist is used to working with this kind of logical stuff, he is not a regular viewer.
- And the regular people...
It's interesting how the audience reacts. My film was screened at the Chicago International Children's Film Festival, full of teenagers, and it was the best audience I ever had because they laughed like crazy. I was really surprised. I never thought my movie could be interesting for a young public. Some adults can try to figure out what is going to happen but children are living for the moment.
Jonatan Petre Brixel:"The more you advance in your film career, the easier it gets to obtain funding"
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo of Petre Brixel: Linda B. K. )
The inner struggle with sexuality. Who am I? Who can I be? What holds me back and why? How do I feel about this? A mirror of some parts of our society. A film that reflects the hard situation of thousands of people around the world who are not able to show their true sexual identity. And not because they do not have clear who they are. They are living in a world of oppression in which they have to hide in the shadow.
A tough story that can not leave anyone indifferent made by Swedish director Jonathan Petre Brixel (Stockholm, 1984). He speaks openly about one lack of our society and also about his passion for cinema and how it's possible to try to change the world behind a camera.
- Why One and The Same? Quite a hard story...
Actually it was suppose to be just a small part of another movie I was doing, but in the end I realized this was quite personal. Sexual identity is not and easy subject. But I felt that I had to do something with this so I developed the script more and filmed it.
- Something is wrong with our society...
I hope I'll explain myself correctly. There is a problem with oppression and in the movie you can see a character using emotional extortion. It's a psychopathic way of behavior like you are free to do whatever you want but you need to ask me first about it. And If I don't like it I will punish you. I'm not talking only about sexuality, also about oppression in a relationship with emotional extortion. And it can be translated to a lot of things in the world.
- In which way?
My movie reflects this lack in small scale but also there is a big scale problem. People that are doing a lot of damage to other persons just because they are bothered. They do not care about other people emotions and hurt them.
- And how is the audience responding to this?
People are responding better than I imagined because the story plays very strong in the audience. Some people get really uncomfortable while watching the short film. A very unpleasant thematic. I think it will be the same for everyone in every movie but for mine people's feelings usually come a couple of days afterward. But I'm not looking for any kind of approval. Of course I will be more happy if people are telling me it is a good one, but...
- At least, you've been selected in many festivals...
For me the festivals have always been a way to get further in my career. There is always something that happens, not only in big festivals, also in small ones. You can apply for pitching projects, for grants or maybe someone important from the industry will see your movie and will really like it. Everything you do always reaches someone.
- Maybe, another way to get funding?
Financing movies is not easy, the goal is not to make money, but there are a lot of ways to try and being in festivals like this helps a lot. In my case, basically, I just work everyday and try to make money everyday. But I realized that the more you advance in your career, the easier it gets in every way to make a new movie, like to obtain funding. At the beginning I made movies with restricted budget, cheap cameras and even I acted because I couldn’t really pay anyone.
- In One and The Same you are the main character...
Actually, now I am sort of an actor. There is a funny story because I screened the movie at the film academy, people really liked it and in the last couple of years I've been acting in seven films that my partners directed.
Paul Meschùh, director of 'Nabilah':" The military way is not the right way to help other cultures"
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo of Paul Meschùh: Linda B. K.)
We can't get her yet, we have to wait until it's dark. No one should know that the Germans took her.
A young Afghan woman wounded in an accident is rescued by a contingent of German soldiers who carry her to their base. Although the armed forces just want to help the young lady, her family begins a race against time since the inhabitants of the small village where they live must not find out about her physical contact with foreign men. A race for her life begins.
Twenty Two minutes of frantic action where the Austrian filmmaker Paul Meschùh immerses the audience in a fascinating cultural conflict based on a true story. Will the young lady save her life? In a world in which the Afghan conflict seems to never end Nabilah short film becomes more topical than ever. Why were German troops in Afghanistan? Was that necessary? Paul, settled in Munich for the last years, where he studied at The University of Television and Film, has many questions about it.
- Nabilah poses a hard cultural conflict...
I questioned a lot the work of German soldiers in Afghanistan. I do not see clearly what they did and was it necessary for them to be there, especially when they are not trained to mediate with cultural conflicts. Western society rather criticizes itself than trying to impose their ideals and perspectives to other cultures. Unfortunately this happens very often.
- We should all learn from each other?
Exactly. We should not be like my culture is like this and therefore you have to be like me. I'm not saying that everything is acceptable but we need to open our minds for other cultures.
- Something to do about it?
My movie is based on actual events that took place eleven years ago but the story is still happening and I see no short-term solution. The only thing I'm sure is that if you want to help other countries, this should not be done by force. The military way is not the right way.
- From the beginning of your film you make it clear that the story is based on real events. How much is real and how much came out of your head?
In the real story the ending is completely different. But it was clear since the moment I heard the story that I did not want to paint an overly negative image of the Islamic world. Also I wanted my female character to recover part of her dignity. But the rest is as it happened.
- And how did you came by with the story?
There is a doctor, a colleague I work with discovered, monitoring the status of the soldiers when they return to Germany, that told us all the details of what happened. We could not contact the soldier because as it is confidential information, his identity remains anonymous.
- Then, seems like the entire plot is based on unconfirmed information...
No. I can say we have no help from the German army. We even try many times to contact the Department of Defense. At least, during all the time we were working on the script we were able to confirm all the details of the history from different sources unrelated to the doctor.
- There are two main aspects in your movie, the plot, of which we have spoken, and... The budget? Does not seem like and student's film...
(Paul answers quickly and laughs) I don't want my film to be reduced to a budget, but it's a popular topic I guess. Actually it was not like we could do everything we want. The most expensive thing was to get all the people to the location and have them there for ten days, sleeping, eating... Recreating the German camp in Afghanistan was difficult also. But for example the equipment came from the film school and the soldiers, who were real soldiers who had been in the conflict, wanted to be in the film. There were also a television who helped us with the budget, but this came with some responsibilities.
- Which ones?
Not just some responsibilities, also some problems because they told us how to make some things and what tittle we should put. It was a tough contest but at the end, except for the title, everything was as I wanted it to be.
- Who did you manage to get a group of real soldiers on the film? And not only that, how did you manage to get a tank?
Do you know this plastic guns with hard plastic balls you can shoot? I knew there were people playing Airsoft and when I was there I discovered that they were real old soldiers, playing it for practicing. Also the weapons seem like a copy of real ones, so they are used in the movie.
There is another intriguing story. There are some real military vehicles in the film and everything was possible because we found a private guy who loves collecting tanks. And he has an authentic collection of military vehicles in his property.
Marta Medina, director of 'Awake':" The film industry should think about how to give visability to the new directors"
(By A. G. Magaldí)
Fatal Familiar Insomnia (FFI) is a rare and uncommon neurodegenerative disorder that prevents sleeping. It is irreversible and deteriorates health until coma, and finally, death. How would your life be if you knew you suffer a disease that will cause your death? The starting point of a shocking story, Awake, by Spanish director Marta Medina..
Marta defines herself as "melodramatic" and was born to tell stories, to imagine other worlds. She began writing about reality in a newspaper to finally embrace fiction. Another world where it is difficult to excel. Marta does not surrender and while dreaming of having success in the Spanish market complains about the low visibility that the film industry gives to beginners
- ¿What cinema gives you that you can't find in journalism? Both are interesting ways of telling stories.
I love cinema but I don't like journalism. I realized it was not my dream.
But Awake seems like a fiction made to tell a documentary, a reality...
I try to tell what the illness is about but this is not the main concept in the film. The idea that the movie reflects is that sometimes you cannot fight against the odds. Everyone is always telling you things like You can do it but sometimes you can't, all is lost, even if you try hard.
How is this reflected in your film?
Awake speaks of determinism. People sometimes fight for impossible dreams. The girl in the short film has to realize that nothing can be done. She must accept her fate, she will never sleep again. There are things that can not be changed.
Your film is a dream come true...
It has not been easy but at least people seem to like what I've done. It was an attempt to give my story a personal style. To find my personal stamp. The script changed a lot since the beginning. First it was kind of a horror movie, them a social drama and at the end become more philosophical. The sense I wanted for the short film. But actually It's impossible to be totally satisfied with what you've done. Imagine one day is raining and the light is no the same or an actor has personal issues. When I see films of people like Scorsese and Kubrick I tend to think that they had the same problems, not everything is as they would have liked.
At least you mention that the story is running quite good...
My parents like the movie, I feel satisfied (Marta Smiles). And Awake has been selected in some festivals. It is important to have the recognition of the film industry.
So, festivals are important...
They are essential! The best way to meet other directors and other realities. The problem is that for young directors like me festivals are the only way to publicize our work. Something should change in the industry in an attempt to give more visibility to the new directors.
Any solution in mind?
One thing that has sometimes been done, screen a short film in the cinemas before the movies. A way to give visibility to some stories that otherwise would never reach to people that are not in the film industry. It's an investment, a way to boost the industry.
Ten years ago it was harder but today many short films are having a second life and getting impact in platforms like YouTube and Vimeo.
During the journey through film festivals you can not make your movie public in Internet. And even if you upload it after, it's impossible to filter all the content online. There are some amazing short films but also millions of other things. One good thing about film festivals is that they select the movies that are worth.
Eric McEver, director of 'Layover':" My life goal is to make the dinosaur master piece movie"
(A. G. Magaldí | Mila Mo | Photos: Gergana Pavlova)
- Um... The train hasn't come yet? - Right
- How long have you been waiting? - Since noon.
- And are you still waiting?
A remote train station lost in the mountains of Japan. Two strangers meet each other. A train that never arrives and, when the night falls, a story that begins. The starting point for Layover, the debut of the young American director, settled for the last years in Tokyo, Eric McEver. Surprisingly high and confident, he seems to take years in the film industry even though he has not completed his film studies yet. His short film is the perfect example of his passion for Asian culture.
- Why Asia?
It's one of those things you just feel. When I was a kid I was fascinated by dinosaurs movies and since them I thought about going to Japan. Now it's like home.
- So, any dinosaur movie in the future?
(Eric smiles, his passion for dinosaurs is so great that he dreams of creating "the best dinosaur film in history"). My life goal is to make the dinosaurs masterpiece movie, something that doesn't exist yet. Jurassic Park is actually good, but there are plenty of new incredible things you can do in a dinosaurs story. And It's yet to be made.
- For the moment, there are no dinosaurs in your debut short film...
Layover is just the first stage to something bigger, to reach the next stage. For the moment, I'm finishing my film studies. I'm actually going to shoot my next short film in China, with my own Japanese actors and It will be in English. Seems more international. But actually, I really want to create something that feels unique.
- Now, movies are becoming more international.
The most interesting thing in the film industry now is that we are getting into an international film market, movies that don't belong to a country, don't belong to a specific culture. Traditionally, when people thought about a movie they just looked at the country or who was the director. For example, I was raised in North America, a culture that only cares about their own films. And in Japan they normally see Japanese films with Japanese actors. This is ridiculous but fortunately, It is changing.
For example, Americans are discovering a potential market in Asia and they are including actors and localizations from that continent. Teams are becoming more international. But they are thinking about it economically, not looking at the artistic part. Not realizing how you can bring together both cultures. And I think there is an opportunity there and that's what I am trying to do in my next film.
- Do you think this is the answer to make more international movies? Making sure that your team is international with people from completely different places, because you mention the case that people from Japan mainly watch Japanese movies.
It's just something that needs to happen based on the story. I like mixing things to make something new. But there is a reason why most films belongs to a specific culture, because it's the way human beings operate. As I said, there is and opportunity of becoming more international but if you try to do it for the wrong reasons, just to chase money, it's not going to work.
- Have you ever thought What if nobody likes what I'm doing?
(Eric laughs) Every single time. I just try to do my films as good as I can. Because it's the best way to make a difference for someone. So far, I'm really satisfied with Layover.
- And you've been selected for In The Palace International Short Film Festival...
I'm glad of being selected at the festival. I submitted my film because one friend at the University recommended it. And it's a beautiful place, a really different place for my film to be screen.
- So festivals like In The Palace are important...
I really wanted to see what other people are doing because I'm studying in a small community. Another wonderful thing about this place is meeting a very diverse group of interesting people, and here, we are all living like a family.
(A. G. Magaldí | Photo: Detached movie)
Batia, a young mother, decides to dissolve her family. She and her husband separate. Contrary to expectation she decides that her husband will take their little daughter under his charge. But life has a different plan for Batia; Joel disappears mysteriously. For the first time Batia is forced to take the role of a mother and to deal with a child who has a fertile imagination and who refuses to accept the fact that her father disappeared.
Israeli director Sahar Vizel plans on her short movie Detached a different dilemma about society: A mother who does not want her daughter? What if for the first time the mother is the bad person? The young director, who studied Cinema at Tel Aviv University, is sure that her story will not leave anyone indifferent.
- We live in a society in which the father is always the bad guy. The father is the person who abandons his children and the mother has to bring them up.
What could happen if the mother is the bad person? The argument proposed by my short film. We always see fathers abandoning their children, but I wanted to deal with the other side of the story.
- How did you come up with this?
I do not know if it happened in other parts of the world, but in Israel, there is a group of mothers who refuse their children.
Also, I had a funny dreamed that my father became a big fish. It was a very strange one but I woke up and wrote the hole story. A very important part of my film as the father disappears.
- And how is the audience reacting to the story?
I'm really surprised because something good has come out of my movie and it has been selected in many festivals. I have the opportunity to travel through the world. I've been in short film festivals in China, in Germany, in India...
Being in festivals like IN THE PALACE is the best present I can have. When I was filming my movie I never thought of Film events. But they are really important because it's an opportunity to meet other directors, to learn about different cultures and also to see how is a completely different audience reacting to your movie.
- Any problems during the filming of Detached?
I had a longer script, twenty minutes instead of fifteen. We shoot three more days and when I came to the editing room I had to drop this part out of the movie. All directors have this problem but when you are starting, with low budget and even expending money from your parents...
- Short films are not into money. in fact, much of the movie industry is in crisis. And is a difficult world to success...
But everything is difficult, not just cinema. You just need to fight for the things that you love, with passion. If you do things with passion you will succeed, that's my opinion. At the end, you get what you want. Actually I'm doing my arts and the things that I like. Something to show to the world. I 'm investing in my future.
- Next step?
I'm making my own serial. Small one, one season of only six episodes. I don't think I'm prepared to make my first feature film now. I'm going step by step.