Dec 29 2013

DAZOO European Short Pitch Interviews: Cristina Grosan

Published by at 01:16 under Discovery Zone,Filmreakter,NISI MASA

SOURCE: http://blog.daazo.com

Why was it important for you to apply to the European Short Pitch?

I applied to several workshops because there are very few opportunities for short film development/funding in Eastern Europe, and we need to use all the available opportunities. One of our biggest satisfactions was being chosen for the European Short Pitch 2014 and being nominated to the 2014 Film Prize Germany/Eastern Europe organized by the Robert Bosch Foundation. We were also rewarded with development fund from the Hungarian FilmJus. We’re aiming for Opening to be a 25-30 minute-long film, and we’re interested to get feedback from the active professionals around us. I’m especially happy we’ll get to work with Razvan Radulescu in the framework of ESP, a Romanian scriptwriter responsible for a number of awesome scripts that brought Romanian cinema back to its right path in the past 13 years. In late January we’ll be participating in the Nominee Forum in Berlin, as part of the 2014 Film Prize, where we’ll get to put together a neat, strong pitching plan. I’m very excited and proud to be able to have such good hands-on training for my film! And I’ve got a very talented team working with me on this project!

How do you define a good script and how did you see your chances when you applied?

I can’t quite define a good script without sounding pretentious. But in brief, I think it has a lot to do with what you’re genuinely preoccupied with, a reality you’re deeply interested in. Anna Gat and I work on the script of Opening together, but it’s the first time I’m directing a film I’m not directly writing-Anna is, and she’s doing an excellent job. We’re brainstorming together, we’re up for this ping-pong with ideas and dialogue lines that stretch late into the night. Then I go to sleep, and mostly, the next day Anna sends me an updated script. It’s very hard work for her- and to me, it’s like Christmas every other morning! :) It’s a very intensive process, and we’re eachother’s fire engines. We’re two people constantly testing eachother’s ideas, challenging them. And when we both reach the same conclusion by having taken two different paths, we’re quite sure it’s the right direction we’re walking towards. This is why I was very convinced this is becoming a good story, progressing really fast (we started brainstorming in late august, and by mid-September, we had a 35 page-long script, revising draft after draft). And I decided to apply with it to a number of workshops, to make it even better!

Then, together with Dora Nedeczky, my producer and Lissi Muschol, our German co-producer, we’ve asked all the questions a selection committee would ask about the project- we tried to see its weaknesses, and put together an application to depict our project’s honest state: we have an idea we really believe in, we still need to work on it, and we’re ready to give our best shot. And when all the missing pieces start falling into place, you can feel your project is becoming better and better- and although you can’t know what the others are doing, or what the selection committee’s agenda is, you can feel you’re doing something ok! And we were hoping the ones in charge with the selection are seeing the same thing as us: the opportunity of doing a good film.

Tell us about where you come from and how you got involved with films.

I’ve been preoccupied with visual art ever since I can remember. I tried everything from drawing, painting, photography, graphic design to acting and theatre directing. But I was very keen on photography and consequently to cinematography for a long time. I was about to commit to cinematography for good when in my third year at film school everyone had to direct their short film. And this is when I realized how powerful medium this is. And that this was the medium I wanted to communicate my stories with. Once you get a grip of how much you can communicate through it, it’s very hard to give it up. Fortunately, I found a photographer-turned-DoP who does a much better job than I did (the soon-to-be Hungarian Emmanuel Lubezki, namely Akos Nyoszoli!).

Why is your film important to make, what does it tell the audience?

With the gender issues in mind, the film poses a new question: can one “rehearse” being a woman without actually encountering the various forms of exploitation women face on an everyday basis? Will Miska find what he expected when he assumed the identity of a virtual woman? looking at the big picture, openinG sets out to give a deeper insight into what women look like from the “other side” – to the men who want to become women. The experience i’m trying to communicate with Opening is that of seeking one’s identity and being brave enough to accept who you are, whatever the consequences might be.

I believe this film will fill in some gaps in the current panorama of films in Eastern Europe, because Opening approaches a number of immediate issues. on a social level, the film deals with sexual minorities. in hungary, there’s a strong need to talk about sexual minorities, in an effort to accept them the way they are, preventing society to use them and dispose of them as they please. Opening is inspired by true events taking place in Budapest and Cluj-Napoca, Romania, between 2007 and 2010.

What inspires you to do what you do?

You mean, why it is that I want to do films? That’s a wonderful opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to storytelling, making use of issues you’re preoccupied by. And once you decide to tackle something that’s on your mind, film is a medium through which you can communicate to a wider audience, in a much more intensive manner than showing a painting to someone. You go to the movies and you let yourself go, you dive deep into someone’s reality. Ironically enough, I find it very hard to be in the same room with people watching my films- I feel vulnerable, almost naked, because I’ve put so much of myself in there.

What do you think about short films in general? How do people relate to it around you?

Short films make for a wonderful medium when it comes to storytelling. Either being the transition to feature length films or an experiment, they’re the perfect playground. You can make shorts with no money, there are countless platforms where you can upload them to, and it’s easy for the audience to consume your stories. It’s a win-win situation. Unfortunately, there’s too little of this around us. The wide audience rarely encounters shorts, TVs seldom broadcasts them and when they do, it’s almost always at odd hours, when they have to fill in the gap. My own mother is at times wondering why so much stress and hard work for a 15 minute film- “why can’t it be longer?”. Well, mom, some stories are born to live intensely, but fast- their perfect medium is the short film.

Fortunately, there are short film events that come to fill in this gap, showcasing shorts of all types- like Friss Hus in Budapest, or Clermont Ferrand in France- the festival the town is waiting for, all year round (the true confession of a local taxi driver).

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SOURCE: http://blog.daazo.com

Why was it important for you to apply to the European Short Pitch?

I applied to several workshops because there are very few opportunities for short film development/funding in Eastern Europe, and we need to use all the available opportunities. One of our biggest satisfactions was being chosen for the European Short Pitch 2014 and being nominated to the 2014 Film Prize Germany/Eastern Europe organized by the Robert Bosch Foundation. We were also rewarded with development fund from the Hungarian FilmJus. We’re aiming for Opening to be a 25-30 minute-long film, and we’re interested to get feedback from the active professionals around us. I’m especially happy we’ll get to work with Razvan Radulescu in the framework of ESP, a Romanian scriptwriter responsible for a number of awesome scripts that brought Romanian cinema back to its right path in the past 13 years. In late January we’ll be participating in the Nominee Forum in Berlin, as part of the 2014 Film Prize, where we’ll get to put together a neat, strong pitching plan. I’m very excited and proud to be able to have such good hands-on training for my film! And I’ve got a very talented team working with me on this project!

How do you define a good script and how did you see your chances when you applied?

I can’t quite define a good script without sounding pretentious. But in brief, I think it has a lot to do with what you’re genuinely preoccupied with, a reality you’re deeply interested in. Anna Gat and I work on the script of Opening together, but it’s the first time I’m directing a film I’m not directly writing-Anna is, and she’s doing an excellent job. We’re brainstorming together, we’re up for this ping-pong with ideas and dialogue lines that stretch late into the night. Then I go to sleep, and mostly, the next day Anna sends me an updated script. It’s very hard work for her- and to me, it’s like Christmas every other morning! :) It’s a very intensive process, and we’re eachother’s fire engines. We’re two people constantly testing eachother’s ideas, challenging them. And when we both reach the same conclusion by having taken two different paths, we’re quite sure it’s the right direction we’re walking towards. This is why I was very convinced this is becoming a good story, progressing really fast (we started brainstorming in late august, and by mid-September, we had a 35 page-long script, revising draft after draft). And I decided to apply with it to a number of workshops, to make it even better!

Then, together with Dora Nedeczky, my producer and Lissi Muschol, our German co-producer, we’ve asked all the questions a selection committee would ask about the project- we tried to see its weaknesses, and put together an application to depict our project’s honest state: we have an idea we really believe in, we still need to work on it, and we’re ready to give our best shot. And when all the missing pieces start falling into place, you can feel your project is becoming better and better- and although you can’t know what the others are doing, or what the selection committee’s agenda is, you can feel you’re doing something ok! And we were hoping the ones in charge with the selection are seeing the same thing as us: the opportunity of doing a good film.

Tell us about where you come from and how you got involved with films.

I’ve been preoccupied with visual art ever since I can remember. I tried everything from drawing, painting, photography, graphic design to acting and theatre directing. But I was very keen on photography and consequently to cinematography for a long time. I was about to commit to cinematography for good when in my third year at film school everyone had to direct their short film. And this is when I realized how powerful medium this is. And that this was the medium I wanted to communicate my stories with. Once you get a grip of how much you can communicate through it, it’s very hard to give it up. Fortunately, I found a photographer-turned-DoP who does a much better job than I did (the soon-to-be Hungarian Emmanuel Lubezki, namely Akos Nyoszoli!).

Why is your film important to make, what does it tell the audience?

With the gender issues in mind, the film poses a new question: can one “rehearse” being a woman without actually encountering the various forms of exploitation women face on an everyday basis? Will Miska find what he expected when he assumed the identity of a virtual woman? looking at the big picture, openinG sets out to give a deeper insight into what women look like from the “other side” – to the men who want to become women. The experience i’m trying to communicate with Opening is that of seeking one’s identity and being brave enough to accept who you are, whatever the consequences might be.

I believe this film will fill in some gaps in the current panorama of films in Eastern Europe, because Opening approaches a number of immediate issues. on a social level, the film deals with sexual minorities. in hungary, there’s a strong need to talk about sexual minorities, in an effort to accept them the way they are, preventing society to use them and dispose of them as they please. Opening is inspired by true events taking place in Budapest and Cluj-Napoca, Romania, between 2007 and 2010.

What inspires you to do what you do?

You mean, why it is that I want to do films? That’s a wonderful opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to storytelling, making use of issues you’re preoccupied by. And once you decide to tackle something that’s on your mind, film is a medium through which you can communicate to a wider audience, in a much more intensive manner than showing a painting to someone. You go to the movies and you let yourself go, you dive deep into someone’s reality. Ironically enough, I find it very hard to be in the same room with people watching my films- I feel vulnerable, almost naked, because I’ve put so much of myself in there.

What do you think about short films in general? How do people relate to it around you?

Short films make for a wonderful medium when it comes to storytelling. Either being the transition to feature length films or an experiment, they’re the perfect playground. You can make shorts with no money, there are countless platforms where you can upload them to, and it’s easy for the audience to consume your stories. It’s a win-win situation. Unfortunately, there’s too little of this around us. The wide audience rarely encounters shorts, TVs seldom broadcasts them and when they do, it’s almost always at odd hours, when they have to fill in the gap. My own mother is at times wondering why so much stress and hard work for a 15 minute film- “why can’t it be longer?”. Well, mom, some stories are born to live intensely, but fast- their perfect medium is the short film.

Fortunately, there are short film events that come to fill in this gap, showcasing shorts of all types- like Friss Hus in Budapest, or Clermont Ferrand in France- the festival the town is waiting for, all year round (the true confession of a local taxi driver).

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