Aaron Bierman - Interview

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Aaron Bierman has been a storyteller his whole life.  As a kid, Aaron shot Super 8 films, wrote and drew comic books and was a breakdancer in the streets and clubs of New York City during the early days of hip hop. As he grew older, Aaron didn’t see his creative pursuits as a way to make a living so with student loans to pay off, he pursued a career on Wall Street. While working as a trader at JP Morgan, Aaron’s distinctive market commentary and storytelling skills cultivated a loyal following of clients and were featured in various media including The Wall Street Journal & ABC News. Aaron was working in finance for over a decade when he read a New York Times article about a playground basketball legend that would change his life forever. The story inspired him to make a film about the man’s life. Three years later, “Release: The Jack Ryan Story,” was sold to 20th Century Fox and Aaron was given a writing deal to develop additional projects with the studio.

Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a filmmaker? 

 

I had always been creative as a kid.  I shot Super 8 films, wrote and drew comic books…  As I grew older, and student loans piled up, I never saw storytelling as a profession so I pursued a career on Wall Street.

In 2008, I was working as a trader at JP Morgan and read a New York Times article that would change my life forever. The story was about a playground basketball legend and it inspired me to make a film about the man’s life while still working full-time in finance. Three years later, "Release: The Jack Ryan Story," was sold to 20th Century Fox to be adapted into a feature film and I signed a writing deal to develop additional projects with the studio. (The feature film is finally being filmed right now in New York by an independent producer)


Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

 

So many beautiful childhood moments that involved film.  Going to the drive-in theater with my family and having a picnic while watching Disney classics like Mary Poppins… waiting in line for 5 hours to see Star Wars and being blown away by the incredible opening shot… sitting in the balcony of an old theater in my hometown in New York and watching Jaws…  


Who is your biggest influence?  


Hard to say who my “biggest” influence is but I love Steven Spielberg, Walt Disney and Francis Ford Coppola.


What were some of the challenges you had to face in making your films? 

 

Burning Bright began as a live action project and we pursued it as such for a whole year.  The incredibly demanding schedules of the cast of five supermodels made scheduling a three-day shoot nearly impossible and we had to postpone the production several times.  This was beyond frustrating.  Once we established the film would be animated, it took 3 years to complete.   After spending a year perfecting the art for one of the characters, she abruptly quit the project which required a replacement and another year of redrawn art.  This actually happened several times on the project.   It made me question my decision to be a filmmaker (and my sanity!). 


Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite?


I love thrillers that have fantastical elements with a lot of humanity and heart.  The Sixth Sense, Jaws, ET, The Green Mile…


What’s your all-time favorite movie and why? 


This changes often but some of my favorites are It’s a Wonderful Life, Apocalypse Now, Jaws, The Sixth Sense, Casablanca…

I had a professor at UCLA who said if you list your favorite films, you will find a thread that comes from deep within your subconscious that connects them all.  For me, I love a story where a character loses hope and is able to find it again through an epic journey.  All these films share those elements.

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If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?

It would be a dream come true to have Steven Spielberg produce one of my projects.  It would also be amazing to work with a legendary cinematographer like Janusz Kaminski or Roger Deakins.  

Tell us something most people don't know about you.

I was a professional breakdancer in New York City in the 1980s!

The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career.  

That it will take years of hard work and failure before you will make anything good. 

My neighbor is an 85-year old artist that used to be a movie star and was married to an Oscar-winning screenwriter.  I value her opinion above almost anyone else.  She’s told me countless times how much she believes in my talent and it means the world to me.

What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker?

That it will take years of hard work and failure before you will make anything good. 

Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

I think getting started is pretty easy.  You get excited about an idea and go with it.  Maintaining the energy and focus not only to finish something – but make it good – is a challenge for me.  It would be so easy to just walk away!

The ultimate antagonist is always yourself.  Fighting off my inner-critic, laziness, procrastination, self-doubt…  Once you realize these challenges are part of the creative process, you can enjoy the journey much more.

What keeps you motivated? 

We are in a very dark moment of history right now.  Stories have the power to build the world up or tear it down.  As a storyteller, I want to tell great stories that help to heal the world.  Stories that uplift people.  Connect them.  Inspire.  Stories that give people hope.  

Now more than ever, the world is in need of powerful stories that shine some light into a dark world and that is what keeps me motivated.

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How has your style evolved?

Early in my career, like a lot of filmmakers, I was chose projects based on what I thought the market wanted.  Now I pursue stories that interest me and I worry about what the market or anyone else thinks later.

On set, the most important thing is: 

Being open to the magic that happens when you are present.

The project(s) you’re most proud of: 

Burning Bright.

The most challenging project you worked on. And why?

Same!  For all the reasons I mentioned above and also the demands of 2d animation are intense.  In animation, the artist serves the role as a cinematographer.  I worked very closely with the artists to achieve my vision for each scene. Elements including color palette, lighting, composition and character design all go into the creation of a frame that later becomes animated to tell the larger story.

The first step is a great illustration based on a photograph of the person we are creating a character for and animating.  Getting the art correct often takes 5 or even 10 passes.  We often worked until 3 or 4 in the morning to get the art and animation just right.

What are your short term and long term career goals? 

In the near-term, I would love to make Burning Bright as a feature film and direct my first feature film this year.  In the longer term, I would like to get in the rhythm of writing and directing a feature film every 1-2 years for the next 20 years.  After that, I’d love to share my passion and knowledge with students at a great film school like NYU or UCLA.

Your next projects? 

I am working on the final draft of a supernatural thriller I’ve been writing over the past year and plan to direct called THE GRAY LADY. 

Please share with us where people can find you on social media, so our readers could keep track of your career.

You can keep tabs on me at OceanParkStories.com which has all my social media links there. 

My Instagram is @oceanparkpictures and Facebook is @OceanParkPictures

Victoria Malinjod - Interview

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Victoria Malinjod is a European actress who was born in France to a German mom and a Swiss dad. She grew up in Belgium – Brussels – and she has been acting since the age of 11. She first started playing on stage at the age of 16 before moving to Paris where she trained at “Cours Florent” and mainly worked on stage and TV. After spending 5 years in France, Victoria moved to London “her new home”. She recently appeared in Katy Perry’s new lyric video “Small talk” and has just finished shooting two feature films which will be released on amazon prime and Bollywood. Victoria has performed in different productions such as feature movies, TV series, commercials, short films, music videos, voice overs and corporate work. She also directed her first short film “Don’t Burst My Bubble” and has worked as an assistant director on stage. When not on set, Victoria writes scripts and learn Spanish!

Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a filmmaker?


I am firstly an actress, which I have been doing since I was eleven years old. I decided to become a filmmaker after writing and directing my own stuff as material for my acting showreel three years ago. Since then, I realized that I wanted to tell more stories, especially about the society we live in as this is what inspires me the most. 


Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker?


Prisoners by Denis Villeneuve, The Help by Tate Taylor, The Place Beyond The Pines by Derek Cianfrance and Mommy by Xavier Dolan. 


Who is your biggest influence?


Reese Witherspoon. 


What were some of the challenges you had to face in making your films?


We shot my short film DON'T BURST MY BUBBLE in winter and we needed to catch the daylight. In that sense, we had to be quick and efficient, which was really intense. Besides, you may know that the weather keeps changing in Belgium, particularly in Brussels where we shot the film. As we were shooting outdoor, it started raining, which made the shooting conditions and the post-production very challenging, especially when it came to editing. 


Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite?


My favorite genre to work in is psychological thriller. Why? Because it's so complex; I am fascinated about psychology and how human brains work. 


What’s your all-time favorite movie and why?


My all time favorite movie is Prisoners by Denis Villeneuve. I am a thriller and drama enthusiast! I love the story because it feels so real. The performance of every actor starring in it is amazing too. I could watch this movie all over again right now! I love it!


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If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?


I would love to work with Ava DuVernay.


Tell us something most people don't know about you.


I love Buddhas and I have so many of them at my place (small, medium and big!). 


The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career?


My mother. 


What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker?


To have a plan B because anything can unexpectedly happen in pre prod, on set or in post prod.


Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular

thing that you had to conquer to do either?


In my own experience, it's harder to get started. Nobody knows who you are and don't really want to take a chance on you unless you prove them wrong. I happen to reshoot the whole movie in another country and raised funds by myself. That was not easy thing to do. 


What keeps you motivated?


That story; that one that could change our society. I want to make movies to tell untold stories and live in a better world. 

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How has your style evolved?


I am firstly an actress as previously mentioned; therefore focusing on actor's emotions is always my priority. I am a huge fan of close ups and details. I have only done one professional short film for now but that's definitely where I am going. I want to focus on those details that perhaps others don't really pay attention to. 


On set, the most important thing is:


To stay focused. 


The project(s) you’re most proud of:


My first short film as a director "Don't Burst My Bubble". This drama short film tells a true story that many young girls go through during puberty. It is also based on my own experience. 


The most challenging project you worked on. And why?


The most challenging project I worked on was a short film for a French competition. I directed, wrote and starred in it. First of all, I don't like playing in my own movies because I am the kind of person who likes to focus on one thing at the time. Secondly, one important member of the crew showed up 5 hours later on set and I literally had to come up with new arrangements not to waste too much time. Finally, I decided to talk about political correctness which isn't easy topic to write about. I was worried that nobody would understand what I am trying to say. Surprisingly, the movie got good reviews from the audience after all. 


What are your short term and long term career goals?


I want to be an actress forever and make more short films and features as a filmmaker. I would also love to direct documentaries!


Your next projects?


I am working on my second short film but I can't say anything else for now. Surprise!


Please share with us where people can find you on social media, so our

readers could keep track of your career


Please follow me on instagram @victoriamalinjod or on twitter @vickymalinjod. Here is my FB page: Victoria Malinjod

Website: www.victoriamalinjod.com

Marzena (Masha) Milowska - Interview

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Born and educated in Poland, Marzena (Masha) studied art from a very early age. She developed a keen and comprehensive interest in filmmaking, originally training as a camera operator. In 2004 she moved to London to further her media experience and education gaining a First Class Honours Degree in Digital Animation and receiving The Deans’ Scholarship for Academic Excellence. She then studied for a Masters Degree in Film and Television Production. Following her academic career she worked on visual effects in postproduction for several Hollywood movies such as 'Chronicles of Narnia’ and ‘Harry Potter’ as well as taking on different roles in production. Her true passion has always been and remains the genre of documentaries. She relates to the power of the true narrative and the ability to reflect and affect important social causes reflecting her beliefs and values. 'Jinxsie' is her Directorial Debut.

Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a filmmaker?

As far back as I can remember I have wanted to work in the film industry. Since early childhood I loved to paint and create, before falling in love with the Walt Disney films and dreaming of becoming an animator. From those beginnings I became passionate about all genres of films and the process of filmmaking. Before moving to London I trained as a camera operator and then in London continued my education obtaining a B.A. in Digital Animation, followed on by further Film and Production studies.


Films that’s inspired you to become a filmmaker?

There is one particular film from my childhood that has stayed with me. It’s Ridley Scott’s Gladiator. It is truly an all- round classic with fantastic action, splendid backdrops and despite its’ grim circumstances still manages to achieve a feel good factor. 

Last year I took my two daughters to Rome and we went for a night tour of the Colosseum. We learned about the gladiators and afterwards watched the film in the hotel room whilst eating delicious Italian pasta.


Who is your biggest influence? 

Walt Disney, with-out a shadow of doubt.


What were some of the challenges you had to face in making your films?

Financing an idea is the biggest challenge alongside the personal sacrifices required to finish the project. Doing most of everything alone is tough.


Do you have a favourite genre to work in? Why is it your favourite?

I have two that I cannot separate, animation and documentaries. So different yet similar in that, both require insight and attention to detail. A lot of patience is required for both types of work. I enjoy the contrast in types though, one allows the creation a whole new limitless world to escape to whilst the other reflects, and hopefully effects important social causes in the real world. Spending time in both is good for mental health I believe. 

 

If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?

I would like to work with Dan Reed. I like the honesty that comes across in his documentaries.

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Tell us something most people don't know about you.

I like to eat pizza for breakfast.
 

The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career.

I am still hoping to find that person. My close friends and my girls have been my support, my daughters remind me of what I tell them “ Never give up on your dreams “. The most important thing is that you believe in yourself. Almost anything you want to achieve is possible, if you believe in it and yourself.
 

What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker?

Without patience and teamwork nothing can be achieved.
 

Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either?

It’s harder to keep going and finish the project. As everything takes more time than anticipated and problems appear that cannot be for-seen. 

 

On set, the most important thing is:

Good food and no rain. Good food helps keep the crew happy whilst no rain keeps director happy!
 

The project(s) you’re most proud 

So far in my career I am proudest of my documentary ‘JINXSIE’.

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What are your short term and long term career goals?

Short term to get the right distribution deal for ‘Jinxsie’ . Longer term is to make more films involving subjects I feel passionate about including my next project, which is not a film…yet!

 

Your next projects?

My next project is a bit different than anything I have been working on so far. 

It’s a children’s book, collaboration between myself and my friend Trevor Hodsdon. 

I had created a character that was based on my experience as a victim of bullying. I was always taller than other kids and called giraffe. 

Hence one day “Ed an extraordinarily long necked giraffe” came alive on a piece of paper. Trevor put Ed into words and situations. Despite being in captivity when we first meet him, Ed knows he is special. His experiences allow him, with his friends support, to see life positively, despite the comments from others. Because of his unique perspective he develops a thirst for life and new experiences that take him on some wonderful journeys and adventures. Just like Walt Disney we ensure that our hero is a force for good and that love and friendship and doing good are reflected as the way to behave in life. Of course every book, it is a trilogy, has a happy ending. The first book is called “Ed’s Great Escape” and will be published this fall unless the current pandemic situation delays the publishers.

Maybe one day it will be turned into animation? Fingers crossed. Ed would like that.


Please share with us where people can find you on social media, so our readers could keep track of your career

https://www.jinxsie.com/

https://www.marzenamilowska.com/

Twitter @ConcuriousFilms

Francesca Tasini - Interview

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Francesca Tasini, is an Italian actress and screenwriter from Pieve di Cento (BO). After graduating in educational sciences at the University of Bologna she spent three years in Berlin studying art of miming and clowning. Right after she continued her theatre studies at the Galante Garrone academy (Italy) and at the Dimitri  theatre academy in Switzerland. Other studies followed  with John Strasberg, Jordan Bayne, Pierre Byland, Philippe Gaulier , Dimitri clown, sabino Civilleri , Emanuela Lo scicco, Nicole Kerhberger,  She speaks italian, english, french, and german. Her work as an actress includes several theatre pieces with Juan Diego Puerta Lopez, Jan Lawers, teatro Magro, Philippe Minella, Brian Reinholds and other directors. She played in several movies, which include “ The last stop” with Claudia Cardinale, “Process to Mata Hari" with John Savage , “The Audience” (short film). She worked for German Tv and studied screenwriting in Berlin. In 2015 she moved to Berlin where she runs a cultural open art space together with her partner. 

She is now developing her first series project. She is  also  teaching  theatre and clown to teenagers and adults.

At the moment she is represented by Feinschliff Agentur in Berlin.


Tell us about your background. How did you become an actor, screenwriter and filmmaker?


When I was a child, I always dreamed of growing up to make a huge difference in the world. As a young girl, I looked up to Charlie Chaplin. Later on, my hero was David Bowie. 

I had a really hard time in high school. I was bullied, and I suffered a lot because of this. When I started to do theater, it totally changed my life. It was one of the only reasons I ever went to school. The other reason was to hang out with my best friend Tatiana, who is one of the most interesting people I have ever met. Although she is physically impaired due to a congenital anomaly, she has always integrated perfectly into her environment. We attended university together and remain close friends to this day. I love diversity. I have always been attracted by people who are not afraid to be different.  

I have studied acting and theatre, including physical theatre. I trained as a clown, not so much because I wanted to make people laugh, but because clowning lets me express my true self. There is great honesty in it. I pursued acting and theatre and have also worked as an actor in film and television. I am a pedagogist and have worked with people of all ages, including disabled people, to develop their creativity.

About five years ago, I began writing. After the death of my grandfather, I wrote a movie screenplay inspired by the events of his life and by my relationship with him. Writing offers me the freedom and autonomy I couldn’t have as an actress. I realized I don’t want to wait for someone to cast me in a role, I want to be the one who creates the characters and calls the shots. I wanted to put my creativity out there in the universe. I studied screenwriting here in Berlin, the city in which I live. For the time being, that is. I’m a nomad at heart. I easily become restless, and then I yearn for change. I have lived in different cities and my life feels like a story.

After finishing the movie screenplay, I wrote three TV series projects. As one of these projects began to find its way into development, I realized that I want to become a series creator. In order to accomplish this, I would need to acquire experience in directing as well, so I wrote and directed a short film. I had never planned to become a director. I have always been afraid of directing actors. As an actor myself, I know how difficult it can be. But when I tried my hand at directing, I fell head over heels in love with it.

Being on the other side of the lens is completely magical for me. When I work with an actor who is willing to share everything with me, it’s a divine experience.


What were some of the challenges you have faced in making your films?


The biggest challenges I faced when shooting my short film had to do with economic and time constraints. We overcame these challenges through a combination of friendship, luck, and hard work. 

Five or six days before we started shooting the short film, we were didn’t have the budget to cover all of the camera equipment we needed. A producer I knew happened to get in touch with me. He was curious about the film and wanted to look at the script. After reading it, he gave me the money I needed for the extra equipment. It was a sort of miracle. 

Before starting to shoot, we didn’t know how it would be, but everything was fine. It was hard to schedule everything into a few days, so we shot a lot of hours every day. My producers, Anie Gombos and Mauro Paglialonga, and my co-producer, Luigi de Vecchi, made it all possible. I was so fortunate to work with the talented cinematographer Fabian Kimoto. The cast was amazing. I am grateful to have worked with Christina Rosamilia, Nicole Kehrberger (who was also a teacher of mine), Klaus Salminen, Giovanni Morassutti, and Tommaso Ragno. It was an honor to discover two young actors, Florenz Hardt and Sophie Nobile. My assistant, Francesco Piotti, helped me a lot. I am also thankful to Giulio Baraldi and Amelia Masetti, who helped me to make this happen. Malika Ayane and Chris Costa contributed the music. This project would be not have been possible without all the team. Each of these individuals contributed something special. 

When you’re shooting a film, it’s like a puzzle. You slowly start to see this image in your mind, and it becomes gradually clearer.


Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite?


I love comedy-drama, especially when the comedy is somewhat dark, because I think this resembles life—my life, in particular. My stories tend to have female characters in the foreground. I would be interested in writing and directing thrillers, too. I am not as focused on the notion of genre as I am on the stories I want to tell.


Who are your biggest influences? 


My cinematic influences include: Agnès Varda, Sally Potter, Olivia Wilde, Sophia Coppola, Lulu Wang, David Lynch, Pedro Almodóvar, Abdellatif Kechiche, Lina Wertmüller, the Dardenne Brothers, and Clint Eastwood. Writers, screenwriters and playwrights I love include David Sedaris, Ottessa Moshfegh, Nora Ephron, David Mamet, Neil Simon, and Laurie Nuun.


Which films have inspired you?


I have been inspired by so many films. My favorites include The Bridges of Madison County, Carlito's Way, Blade Runner, Bicycle Thieves, Festen, Faces Places, Blow-Up, Amores Perros, Mystic River, Gran Torino, and All About My Mother. 


What’s your all-time favorite movie and why?


I don’t have one favorite movie; I’m influenced by so many movies and television series. I love Pulp Fiction, Labyrinth, Out of Africa, Silence of the Lambs, Lost in Translation, All About My Mother, Some Like It Hot, When Harry Met Sally, E.T., Gladiator, and Blue Is The Warmest Color. I am greatly inspired by some of the movies I have seen during my adolescence, including Back to the Future and Willow. I watch movies of all genres, because I can learn from all of them. 

I am really into series right now. Twin Peaks had an enormous influence on me—it actually changed my perspective on life. Other series I can recommend are The Affair, Stranger Things, and Once Upon A Time. Sex Education is a real masterpiece.

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 If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?


That’s a great question. I would love to work with Sarah Treem, who I believe is one of the best showrunners in the world. I would love to work with David Lynch, the Duffer brothers, Xavier Dolan, Lina Wertmüller, Maura Tierney, Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, and Cate Blanchett. I would love to coax Daniel Day-Lewis out of retirement to work with me.


Tell us something most people don't know about you.


I have a really quirky sense of humor, and I’m very headstrong. I still think like a child in some ways. Sometimes I don’t trust myself as much as I should, but I suppose this is all part of the journey. Last but not least, I have difficulty standing in front of a person who has a bad voice.


Who is the person who has truly believed in you throughout your career?


I am fortunate enough to have a whole host of people who believe in me and support my dreams, especially my friends Cristina, Claudia, Tatiana, Anna and May-Lan, and my partner Giovanni.


What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a filmmaker, actor and screenwriter?


I had to learn to be patient, and to truly believe in my human potential. To have faith, because everything is possible.


Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What, in particular, did you have to conquer in order to achieve it? 


It’s hard to get started, or to give yourself permission to start. But it’s just as hard to keep going. I had to conquer my uncertainty and be completely honest with myself. Making any kind of art requires us to make a long journey, both on the inside and on the outside. We suffer, and through our suffering we can grow up and make art.


What keeps you motivated?


My faith in the possibility of change and revolution, in the possibility to share. I would like to inspire other people. I truly believe that we are all connected to one another and that together we can make this world a better place. 

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How has your style evolved?


My style is still evolving. It never stops, because it’s connected to my life and my travels. It’s based on my personal experience and my observation of the world. Art is powerful, because it gives us the possibility to laugh about the things which should make us cry. If we fall down, it gives us the possibility to keep getting up.

In an interview, Agnès Varda said that three words are very important to her: inspiration; creation; sharing. This has always stayed with me.

I think that everyone has something to tell. We all have plenty of stories to tell. 

I was in the park and suddenly my life felt like a story… 

I was at the supermarket and my life felt like a story…

We need to be engaged with the world, open ourselves to the universe, and always be grateful. The process is much more important than the result. I have learned that if you are in research, your moment will come sooner or later.

On set, the most important things are the process, the collaboration, the ability to share. These elements are what makes the set unforgettable. Every project is a small child growing up. Everyone is important in raising that child. When you’re making movies and series, it’s all about teamwork. We need many more possibilities to open up and create an amazing project together. The world, especially now, has to stay united and help people in need, and nature, and animals.


Of which project or projects are you most proud?


As a director and producer, I am proud of Lola, my first short film.

As a screenwriter, I am proud of every script I have written. As an actress, I am proud of all the projects I have worked on. Every project is a new adventure full of possibility.


What is the most challenging project you’ve worked on, and why?


My most challenging project to date is the series I am currently working on. It’s a very long process, and the development is also very hard. I already have a great producer on board and we’re working very well together.


What are your short-term and long-term career goals?


I am working on three different series projects at the moment, and one of them is moving in the right direction to be developed. It’s a long journey, but I want to become a series creator and share my perspective and stories with the world.


What are your next projects?  


I’m developing a television series and planning to write and direct another short film.

Léa Sassi - Interview

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Léa Sassi is a French director based currently in Paris. After studying journalism at the European Institute of Journalism in Paris (France), she moved to New York City to pursue a master's degree in Directing at School of Visual Arts where she was a recipient of the SVA Premieres: Best of 2019 program in L.A. Combining her journalistic passion for modern society and her keen sense of visual aesthetic, Léa aims to tell stories that are rooted in reality. Daisy Desire is Lea’s debut narrative short film, inspired by her own family. Her debut film, Daisy Desire is currently on the film festival circuit 2020. Recently, Daisy Desire has been selected by the Rome Prisma Awards, and the Feedback Female Film Festival. And awarded by the Florence Film Festival (for Best Comedy), the Independent Shorts awards (for Best Woman short, Best Comedy short, Best acting assemble, Best Actress for Sharlene Hartmann, and Best First Time director) and finally awarded by the Nice Film Festival (for Best Sh

Tell us about your background and when did you decide to become a filmmaker? 

Well, it all started because I was terribly lonely and bored as a kid. Only child, parents working ALL the time, Cinema became very early on the brother that I never had, or the friend that I could hang out with all the time. And then it became an obsession, a permanent getaway. I started writing short scripts when I was eleven I think, starring my friends; Agatha Christie kind of stories. But honestly I never really imagined myself as a filmmaker until few years ago. It was SO FAR from my reality, didn’t know a single person working in the cinema industry, didn’t know where to begin, didn’t know I COULD. For me, I was only allowed to dream of it. 

So I turned to journalism instead, it felt more accessible.  But that craving for Cinema never really left me, so 2 years ago I woke up one day and realized that I would end up hating myself if I didn’t give it a try. And now here I am ! 


Films that inspired you to become a filmmaker ?  

Les Enfant du Paradis, Singing in the rain, Some like it hot,  La Dolce Vita, Cinema Paradiso, Annie Hall, Virgin Suicides,  The Harry Potter films, The grand Budapest Hotel, The Nightingale… Honestly there are so many !


Who is your biggest influence? 

Any woman that fight for her right to exist and pursue her dreams. 


What were some of the challenges you had to face in making your films? 

The whole process was a challenge in itself. But if I had to choose two BIG challenges, it would be first, the script. When I started writing it, I had the story in the back of my head for 2 years already. And I was concerned about the tone of it, the right way to say it. I came across a few disagreements with my screenwriting teacher and the head of my master’s degree, but in a way they helped me understand what I didn’t want.

I went from drama to comedy, and I’m very glad I did. I think it helped the story to be more relatable, lighter and more understandable. 

The second challenge was shooting in New York. New York is such a challenge ! It’s expensive, hard to get any autorisation, it was obviously freezing in February and all our locations were far from each other. But this shoot was definitely one of the most amazing adventures that I have experienced yet, and my crew/cast were amazing. I’m beyond and forever thankful to them. 


Do you have a favorite genre to work in? Why is it your favorite? 

I actually don’t. I find infinite pleasure in everything ! Anything well written, and well directed is my thing ! 


What’s your all-time favorite movie and why? 

Mary Poppins makes me the happiest every single time ! It just brings me to a safe place, and it’s such a magical wonderful masterpiece.  

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If you could work with anyone in the world, who would that person be?  

Wes Anderson, Celine Sciamma, and Jennifer Kent. 


Tell us something most people don't know about you. 

I wanted to become a ballet dancer as a kid, and I still secretly wish I was. 


The one person who has truly believed in you throughout your career. 

Truly believed ? Haven’t met yet ! But my mother and my friends are a great support. 


What was the most important lesson you had to learn as filmmaker? 

The right TEAM is everything ! Miracles can happen ! 


Is it harder to get started or to keep going? What was the particular thing that you had to conquer to do either? 

It’s harder to get started for me, without a doubt. It’s so slow. Finding the fundings, the right people, the right story … Then, it gets interesting ! 


What keeps you motivated? 

Learning ! Reading ! Discovering new amazing stories to tell. 

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How has your style evolved? 

I think it has. I become more and more aware of my cinematography influences. But it's just the beginning. 


On set, the most important thing is:  

Be patient and stay focused ! 


The project(s) you’re most proud of: 

I am mostly proud of my film Daisy Desire. The fact that a story that stayed in my head for so long came alive on an actual screen is beyond magical. 


The most challenging project you worked on. And why? 

My film Daisy Desire, and I explained why a little bit earlier in the interview. This film was a thesis project. We had 4 month to complete the all process (of pre-production/shooting/post-production), so we obviously all had many deadlines and requirements to meet. And I shot this film with my team in 3 days with 6 different locations. But again, my crew/cast made it seem so easy !


What are your short term and long term career goals? 

I’m working on a new short film project that I’d like to shoot this year (fingers crossed), and maybe shoot a longer next year. One step at the time. I want to focus on something different each time, and refine my style. 


Your next projects? 

My motto lately is write about what you know. 

So I’m working on a new script that reflect on the idea that we all inherit a family past that inexorably dictates our behavior and the way we educate the next generation. 


Please share with us where people can find you on social media, so our readers could keep track of your career 

My website : https://www.leasassi.com/

My instagram : _leasassi_