Thursday, 18 July 2019

Interview with filmmaker Olga Korotko

Bad Bad Winter will be screening at the Straight-Jacket Guerrilla Film Festival

*How did you get into making films?
It's a question which very difficult to answer without being predictable and typical like "I had passion for cinema since I was a child etc.". We all heard these stories a million times but simply because... it is true. Nobody starts making movies because bricks fall on their heads or because owls brought them letters inviting to secret CINEMA train platform. No matter what we tell people, we all get into making films for one simple reason - we have a passion for it.

*What inspired you to make your movie?
In Kazakhstan there is an enormous gap between the wealthy and the poor - practically a gulf, there is almost no middle class. And of course, the youth start responding to this situation. Young people start to ask themselves – Why somebody has everything and another one has nothing. They start to look for an answer and sometimes while looking they can arrive to the wrong point. A high gap between classes in society always generates misunderstanding - and the outcome can be terrible. That’s how the idea of the film came to me - a small group of people from different social strata is in a closed space, and between them, there is a conflict based on differences of view, worldviews and way of life.

*How has your style evolved?
I believe that style reflects the artist. Your style has your personality, and when you change, evolve, grow - your style change, evolve, grow with you. That's why it is impossible to copy a style of another artist - even if you'll copy every single detail it still won't be the same simply because you're not the same person. So, I don't evolve my style. I evolve myself. This is my philosophy.

*Tell us any strange or funny stories while making the film?
For us was very difficult to find a house we like for the Bad Bad Winter main location. There always was something missing in the houses we saw. Finally, we found the house we all fall in love with, it was perfect for our movie, but the house didn't have central heating system and basically the house was not fully completed. The whole crew agreed to make extra efforts and shoot the film in that cold location, because the house was perfect for the story. Thus, all the actors on the set wore several sweaters, and between the takes they had hot tea, otherwise during the dialogues they had steam coming from their mouths. Despite all the difficulties, we all remember these moments with a smile.

*The Misrule Film Movement & Pink8 manifesto bring what to mind?
I think that any new film movements are good. It means cinema is developing, looking for new forms, new tools. Our world is changing very fast and filmmakers have more and more ways to express themselves. Now, in order to make a movie and find your audience it is enough to have a smartphone and an account on YouTube, and this is great, this is cinematic freedom. The most important thing in following any movement is not to lose yourself, your uniqueness. Any good idea (and a good film movement) can be spoiled if you bring it to the point of absurdity.

*What can we expect from your next film?
Now I'm working on my 2nd feature script and the same as with Bad Bad Winter, the idea of this movie came to me while I was reading news about Kazakhstan. The exhibition Expo took place in Astana two years ago, so our government made a lot of efforts to impress foreign visitors. To demonstrate prosperous Kazakhstan, the authorities cleaned the streets of homeless people and beggars. As a solution, they decided to bring a lot of homeless people outside of the city and leave them in the middle of nowhere.

This situation is so outrageous, so cruel, and it angered me so much that I began to write a script about it. Even if my first film Bad Bad Winter was very tragic and my new script is partly an absurd comedy - I think they both speak about the same problems, just in different ways. I believe that some comedy scenes will make the story even more dramatic because comedy styl