Interview with director Ion Oprea

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

I was always fascinated by films. Ever since I was little TV was my life. Being constantly drawn into different stories and the fascinating characters that you want to go back and revisit again and again. I didn’t know how to do what I saw on the screen yet, but I felt that this is what I would love to do.

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

With the amount of information accessible on the internet I think you can become a filmmaker without going to a film institute. However, it helps tremendously to have a formal education in the industry and it also starts some personals relationships that may be valuable down the line. And it also makes you think as a team rather than an individual.

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

Doing something artistic is a constant self-doubt and it helps enormously to have someone by your side to overcome those moments. As I was working mostly alone on “Trends”, I had to confront those moments alone, which sometime stopped the production for several weeks. Also being a passion project, I had to take on client work as well and that intervened also.

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

If you’re struggling with something it is better to take a walk and come back with a clear head. It seems obvious and I heard it million times but being stubborn as I am it was hard for me to come to that realization. Also coming up with a narrative is very important for a piece like that. And realizing that helps make what seems like five separate pieces become one more-or-less cohesive experience.

  • 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?

Being a 3D production, rendering was a big issue. Especially for the last scenes where I had millions of particles. I had to use the help of a friend to render those scenes, otherwise it would’ve taken months on my machine to render.

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

There were some scenes that I worked on and finished rendering that actually didn’t add to the film. They had to be left on the cutting-floor unfortunately but that made for a more dynamic piece in my opinion.

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

On the visual side I worked alone on this project. But an important collaborator on the film was the sound and music studio Resonate. They were fantastic and elevated the piece tenfold. Being able to give a clear direction but also creative freedom and sense of ownership I think is key. Resonate were able to take my ideas and run with them, adding so much more flavor and color. They were great collaborators and I hope to work with them in the future.

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

I think audiences want to be surprised every time and the filmmaker needs to at least keep the viewer interested and not to under-appreciate the audience.

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

Especially for filmmakers just starting out, film festivals are a great way to encourage them to keep going and validate their work. For me in particular it was an enormous boost of confidence and inspiration to persevere with other ideas I have.

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

I think a filmmaker should try a variety of styles and make the decision based on each project individually. We live in a day and age of so many technologies and possibilities and to close yourself in one box I think can limit one’s creativity of expression.