Interview with director Alkiviadis Papadopoulos

  • Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that filmmaking is your way of telling stories?

I wouldn’t say so. It was my inclination toward storytelling and watching films from my early childhood that evolved naturally in me.

  • Do you think it is essential to go to a film institute in order to become a successful filmmaker?

I certainly find it helpful and inspiring, but I don’t think it is actually necessary.

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

For me it is always to get started! What really helps me get through this initial phase is clearing my head from anything else and being by myself. Other than that, I never start any project without having a clear picture- something like a visual map- in my head.

  • What was the most important lesson you had to learn that has had a positive effect on your film? How did that lesson happen?

Working with actors has been a challenge for me so far.  I felt that I needed to be very specific. Other wise I would be embarrassed in front of them. During this film I discovered that I had to listen to them more and develop my initial idea with them.  From the early stages of the rehearsals I discovered that keeping an open mind and listening to their observations my characters would really come to life.

  • What were the production realities from casting through editing that you had to accommodate? How did you navigate those compromises or surprises and still end up with a cohesive film?

Working as an independent filmmaker involves many responsibilities that have to do mainly with the pre-production. Setting the schedule and fitting our other activities that may actually pay the bills in a film project is always the main challenge. 

  • What was the hardest artistic choice you made in the making of a film, at any stage in production?

Finding and dealing with the sound particularities of the main filming location was the hardest artistic choice for this film. Still… we made it.

  • You are a collaborator. How have you discovered members of your team and how do you keep the relationship with them strong?

I knew my team from film school and I have worked with most of them before. What kept my relationship with them strong and artistically fruitful is of course our common vision of art – and even our common view of life.

  • What do audiences want? And is it the filmmaker’s role to worry about that?

Viewers want to be mentally challenged in new and entertaining ways. Having said that, I don’t think that a filmmaker should worry much about filmmaking trends, but he/she should try to maintain a balance between his artistic vision and his actual film project. Artistry comes form within but it’s ought to be filtered through actual tools and practices.

  • What role have film festivals played in your life so far? Why are they necessary? How do you get the most out of them?

I have been in many film festivals both as a viewer and a participant. They really help you get involved, meet new people- possible working mates and producers. Even as a viewer I feel the vibe of the film community and of something new that is about to happen. That is why I try to visit and participate in as many as I can.

  • Do you believe that a filmmaker should be original and fresh or he/she should stick to classic but safe cinema style?

I don’t think that classic means safe, not to me and not at all occasions. It’s important to have an inspiration and a method- something to step and count on- in order to be able to come up with a new and different approach to cinema.

  • What qualities or attributes do you look for in people you are looking to employ or work with?

I always look for people with passion for filmmaking. Sharing and communicating is also important, but. I cannot imagine myself working with someone disinterested, even if he or she  s not a pal of mine. 

  • Would you recommend writers think like a producer when writing their script? Or, just write with reckless abandon and then worry about the cost, or whatever, after they’ve grabbed a producer’s attention.

Independent films are usually self –funded, so taking production values into consideration is always helpful if you want a project get gone. I definitely need to be resourceful to keep my end result as close to my artistic vision as possible.

  • How involved in the writing of a project do you get? Are you more involved in the initial development?

I usually write my own films, but even at the times when I only direct one, I keep a close contact with the writer in the early stages of a project’s development. His/Her vision and text fuel my inspiration and guide my work.

  • If you had an unlimited budget at your disposal, what would be your dream production project?

I would love to make a film with an intense historical background in my country.

  • What does the future of film look like?

Access to filming equipment and viewers’ experience in many film formats have definitely made independent films more popular. Still the major film studios flourish thanks to technological advancement in visual and sound effects. I believe both tendencies will continue to grow in parallel and audiences will have much more material to choose from.