Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Interview with producer Antonio Acampora

She Was Young With Light Eyes will premier at the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

How did you get into making films?
It was a story I wanted to do for a long time, but only after writing the novel from which I made the film, I decided to put it on stage.

What inspired you to make your movie?
A fundamental question: how should life be lived, in extremes or in the middle?

How has your style evolved?
Over time it has changed a lot, but with this film I found the precise shape with which I wanted to tell a story like that. Halfway between the American indie style and the French one.

Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
There's no better time than filming. But the best thing that happens every time an audiovisual project starts is that when everything seems lost and a scene is completely far from being realised, at that precise moment, like magic, something extraordinary happens and actors and crews hunt their best and succeed in realising the scene of the day.

The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
Strength and sympathy at the same time.

What can we expect from your next movie?
A new story which you would never expect, something you would like to see however.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Interview with filmmaker Philani A Nyoni

I Love You Nikita will screen at the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?

I've known I wanted to write since I was ten. Growing up in an underdeveloped country with one TV station really limits your world-view to the extent that one never quite knows what to do with their gifts. I specialised in poetry, wrote some prose, fiction and a bit of journalism later although I always knew I was more into the creative side of things.

After moving to South Africa I met a girl, a poet who was studying theatre and sort of got into a production (’And Now We Speak’ by Cletus Moyo) which required poets to write and perform a play. She turned out to be gay but I found myself doing more productions after that, a scene in a short film as well.
My biggest shot came when I moved back to Zimbabwe. My best friend Leroy, who plays Conrad in ‘I Love You, Nikita’ knew all this,one day he was in a production that needed an actor for the lead, he threw my name into the hat, the guys gave me an audition maybe more from curiosity if an award-winning author could handle the screen. I got a National Arts Merit Award nomination for the role and figured I had a strong passion for film. I did whatever work I could find and developed my skills on both sides of the camera. Now here we are.

*What inspired you to make your movie?
Life in Zimbabwe hasn't been easy for a long time. We had one president for thirty-seven years and he didn't leave on his own accord; the military had to ‘intervene’. As a creative, one is burdened with a moral choice in such times: how does one use their gift to be... relevant.
‘I Love You Nikita’ started out as a piece of protest theatre. The first ‘Canto’, ‘Nikita’s Wedding’ was a commentary on how our levels of education do not reflect upon the life we live. This is a place where over 90% of people are unemployed despite their learning; the unemployment rate is just about at par with literacy so something is wrong.
Alas, writers get carried away with pens. I thought it was too short to put on stage so I developed the script. ‘Canto 2’ tells the story of how they met, And 3 resolves the story. I was well aware that I might have to produce the film myself so I wasn't going to worry about writing something sane, I just wanted to have fun and write a film that would fuck with your mind in a fantastic way. So my script, my budget (part of it, Dorcas Gwata helped out a lot) and I was directing despite my best attempts not to. I was well on my way to make an art house film, a rare occurrence in our part of the world.
Despite all the hardships, being a first time director, budget and a crawling industry, the team inspired me to push on. Everyone loved the script and that's all you can ask for in a team.
It gets weird for me now, watching Conrad and Nikita, they have a special relationship almost as intense as one I had with someone who's gone now, but we were not as brave as these characters. I suppose we have superheroes on our screens because the people who create them are weak. Still, I relate strongly to Conrad right now.

*How has your style evolved?
When I started out making shorts they were always radical. I'm trying to find the line between anesthetic and function but I'm gaining more confidence in madness because of this film. Because of the budget constrains we could have the footage edited and coloured long before the next shot so I got to analyze it, a lot. That taught me not to worry too much about the script and the Floorplan, I'm more concerned about the beginning and the end, how are we doing at each level, my style is more result-oriented. Sure I hate to see actors skipping my meticulously-crafted lines, but if they know what's important in a scene, know which lines to hit and it looks great, I can live with it. You can't imagine it all, but if you know the important bits, listen to suggestion and the organic flow of things, you might surprise yourself.
Stepping into the director’s shoes from the actor’s helps. Like Regina King said in an interview with Trevor Noah; as an actor you know how a director can rub you up the wrong way so that's one thing you know not to do.

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
I was supposed to play the lead in the stage version against Lady Tshawe who plays Nikita in the first part. After I went over the lines I decided they were too much for me. Leroy liked the script so I let him suffer for his bad choice in friends. He aced it actually.
Renne Seckel who did the SFX makeup couldn't make it on set for the final scene. She wasn't too far from location actually so when we were about an hour from the scene where Leroy shows up with a busted nose, he drove to her to sort that out. We needed some stuff from the supermarket so he passed by after he was done. Some people screamed when he walked onto set, I laugh to imagine what was going through everyone's nose when he was just minding his business with his shopping cart.
Also, in the last scene when Tom (Daniel Rodrigues) and Lolita (Linda Nyauchi) fall, they actually fell. Onto a dumbell. She broke her ass. That's not funny.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
Anarchy! Anarchy! Anarchy!

*What can we expect from your next film?
I'm a big Monty Python fan. It will be something completely different.

Interview with filmmaker Mark & Li Shuen

Cannonball will be screening at the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
His dad being a film buff and giving him a camcorder when he was 13, Mark got his start with making skate videos. He then went on over the years to create narrative and documentary films around the world. Finding in the craft, the possibility of resistance and  re-imagination. After we met, and worked together in a psych-art project, we have found the medium to be a fantastic one for our intentions to re-image and re-imagine reality and its conditions - as mirror and reflection.

*What inspired you to make your movie?
We were experimenting with a concept. To create a Gonzo-pop album and have it be based on an imagined film that would be shot on the tour of the album.
We then worked out a music tour through Australia with our friend, musician Shoeb Ahmad and made the film during the tour together with our friends from Australia, Japan and Singapore.
We were driven by the many a time absurd reality surrounding the creation, presentation and ingestion of art in film and music.

*How has your style evolved?
Making films over the years, we have tried to pursue the craft outside of the film school/institutional and industry constructs. We have become more wary of creating films that fight for a cause and have been thinking more of making films that cause a fight.

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
The day of filming the flashback scene in the beginning of the film was also the day that our friends had flown in from Japan to Singapore while we were flying out to Australia for the tour. We had only a few hours to film and play a show that we had set up in an artist studio, Mural Lingo. It felt like that was exactly the spirit of the film, rushing about in a sweat, getting punched by your friend, making some noise and finding yourself in places you’ve never been.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
Having found out about them, it brings to our mind a great sense of joyful resistance, to take action where one is constantly made to second guess oneself to be a complicit actor in the conditions surrounding the creation of work. Brings a lifefulness to the shrouds of fatality in reality.

*What can we expect from your next film?
We’re currently in pre-production for an absurdist comedy film, a feature to be set in New York and Japan.  A tale of an English teacher whose life seems headed into the gutter who gets into all sorts of hijinx in a northern town in Japan.
A sombre and heartening display of being in the world in its ridiculousness, beauty, ugliness and truth.

Monday, 16 July 2018

Interview with filmmaker Gary Hewitt

Cleek will screen at Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
I first off studied Media at School (Primary 6), learning about how other people shot some of my favourite films and TV shows. There was one class where we got to shoot a 3 minute film using an old flip camera and although the film wasn't very good -- I knew this was where my heart and passion lay. From that moment I was a filmmaker.

*What inspired you to make your movie?
When looking for a new project I wanted to do a film about addiction. About one man and his addiction and what happens when the thing he’s addicted to is taken away. 
Most common Scottish films are filled with Scottish miserablism. In these types of films most people are either addicted to drink or drugs. I wanted to find something different. 
My second inspiration came from the very unlikely but hugely successful show ‘Desperate Housewives. Set is the suburbs with it’s white picket fences and huge family homes, it center's on housewives who lie, steal, blackmail, murder and cheat on their partners and each other. The characters all hide their dark secrets and put on the perfect “person suits” to hide their true goals.

Cleek however was never going to be light hearted

*How has your style evolved?
When I was shooting my first film -- I would sit and watch hours and hours of my favourite films - coming away with certain shots I like or different angles and lighting that stood out.

I would then try to incorporate all of these into one film and it would end up looking like a an amateur  mush of other people's work. I still get influenced from other movies, but I have now learned to incorporate my own signature and style onto my films, I storyboard certain shots that I want in particular scenes and as long as my DOP (Cinematographer) can achieve these, he builds the rest of the shots round that with his style as well.

I trust my cinematographer so I focus on working closely with the actors because if a film is shot well it wont matter if the acting fails.
*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
There was one scene (It never made the final film unfortunately)  which was a very personal dark scene, we spent hours and hours rehearsing it - so the actors would be ready. When it came to filming we kept hearing a jingling noise. Each time I shouted action the jingling would appear half way through the scene. 

The Sound Operator was getting furious, but we played the footage back and tried and tried again, until we finally realized it was in fact the sound operator that was making the noise. Every time he moved the boom, his keys would jingle in his trouser pocket.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
That we should never stop -- no matter what society thinks of you, your views and your message. Film is the one way we can express our message, our emotions, how we feel, what we want the world to be or the way we don't want the world to be. It's our escapism to a better world.
This is why there is no funding for the indie film industry - society wants to keep us down like a herd of sheep and filmmakers who can express without money, RISE ABOVE IT

*What can we expect from your next film?
I have shot a short film Mia: A Rapture 2.0 Production, which so far has taken home six awards. In a nutshell it's about sex robots and the end of the world. I would now love to develop it into a feature film

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Interview with filmmaker Pablo Marini

Malvineitor will be screening at the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
​-It was the year 1996 and I was about 16 years old when my father gave me one of the first home movie cameras, a VHS Compact. We were young and with many influences of humor we began to make funny movies instantly. Without much knowledge, only with passion and looking to make our friends laugh. In the year 1997 we premiered our first film "BACKMAN and ROBIN's AGAINST RIBERITO THE TENACIOUS."​
*What inspired you to make your movie?
​​In Argentina one of the tabu issues of society is the war of MALVINAS. There have been many dramatic films on the subject but never an action or war movie. I felt the need for an action comedy about war, someone who shows war not as a low blow, but as a fun movie for the audience. A true tribute to so many young Argentinian brothers.

​​*How has your style evolved?
​My style has evolved like a Pokemon, through study and experience, like 10 more films happened to the first, film faculty, a lot of experience in filming, a lot of work with film brothers with whom we shared production criteria and especially the evolution of humor as a weapon of social criticism led our films to find their own and defined style, something that does not abound today in the cinema.
*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
​One of the last days of filming, everything was downhill, the team had fragmented, and to top it off, it was long rain winter day in the middle of a jungle. We were recording a scene on a dirt canyon and one of the FXs guys tied a rope to a tree so that we would not slip, climbing up and down. I could not concentrate thinking about all those who were down there getting wet with that cold. I remember repeating several times to give up and come back another day, however everyone was still working and nobody questioned it more than me. I seemed out of place for wanting to suspend. But there they were all! and luckily disobeying the orders of its director. Today we remember that day as going up and down the rope and under the rain as Batman and Robin by Adam West, but above all for the consolidation of an iron team to which I owe the film.
*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
​I have no idea what they refer to with that manifesto. I think that without knowing what it is I am against the manifesto because nobody tells me how to do things. Not a pope, not a woman, not a black man.
*What can we expect from your next film?
​From my next film we can expect a scandal and probably the prison for several of those involved as it will deal with a famous case of the death of a prosecutor of the Argentine nation. It is time for someone to correct us, where they saw so much disrespect for a country.​ 

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Interview with filmmaker William Carne

Pneuma will screen at the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
I’ve wanted to make films since before high school.  I always wanted to tell stories so I’ve been attracted to writing, directing and producing.  My first short of any quality was White Knight about 6 years ago and Pneuma was my first feature.  

*What inspired you to make your movie?
Pneuma was inspired by an idea I had about memory loss and what would happen if a person lost all their memories. How would that affect their lives?  Would they be the same person?  From that I made a logical jump into taking someone who has done horrendous things and exploring the idea of whether or not that person could reinvent themselves as someone new, or if they’re destined to be the same.  

*How has your style evolved?
Regarding style I tend to dream big. In that way, Pneuma was a massive challenge because it’s a “small” film in nearly every way.  I constantly fought my desire to explore other locations and other characters in favour of keeping the story very contained.  That really helped develop my ability to tell stories theough subtle beats and I’ve been able to apply that in projects since to give larger moments more drama. 

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
Pneuma was filmed in a church and there were a number of odd events that came with the location.  From the organ player practicing through our shots, to putting on all the neo-Nazi tattoos while Sunday mass was going on.  

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
I don’t feel like filmmaking needs to follow any kind of manifesto. In my interpretation I think what Misrule and Pink8 are trying to get at is to take away some of the fear of making a film.  Not everything needs to be a blockbuster to have worth. So in that way I think they’re very valuable.  Making a film is extremely tough, but it’s not something anyone needs to be afraid of. 

*What can we expect from your next film?
The next film I’m working on is a supernatural thriller that also deals with some psychological “what’s real” kind of issues as the main character is a schizophrenic. It’ll be much more visually ambitious but I plan to apply many of the techniques I used in Pneuma to really bring out character moments.  

Interview with filmmaker Diego Stickar

Pelicula will screen at the Straight Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
PELICULA began as a project that didn't mean to become a feature film. It was going to be a 3 minutes video with a trailer structure. The trailer of a never made movie. I shot scenes in order to be able to edit it but then Irealised I was already in the process of making a film, an actual one with ideas development, concept arts, situations. It was shot in 3 parts. First in Berlin, then Buenos Aires and then Berlin to close the narration. 

*What inspired you to make your movie?
To observe the ways and kinds of human relationships. I wanted to make a portrait on my background and give my opinions about it.

*How has your style evolved?
Thanks to being able to shot my first film as a director I was able to put in it lots of aesthetic resources that I wanted to try and work with. It helped to reunite ideas, scenes that I had in my mind and now I'm able to work on something totally different in a more mature and concrete way.

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
All the characters of the film are thought and inspired in real people. This is my background. None of the actors new about that until the shooting ended. Only then I told them about it and it was very funny looking at them becoming the persons they didn't even knew.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
I like it, a twisted and political proposal. I see it as something alternative and areapropriation of the territories, techniques, aesthetics and ideas. I think it is revolutionary and it reminds  us of the poor image concept that Hito Steyerl presents on his book 'Loscondenados de la pantalla'.

*What can we expect from your next film?
I looking forward to something completely different. At the moment I'm writing it as a B-Side of anything I've ever worked so far. 
It's very risky, dark, political, libidinous, explicit, and not so lovely. It's disgusting but also very emphatic.