Interview with director Seraina Scherini

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

No, there was no certain point. First, I wanted to be an Art Director, because I was more familiar with moods and spaces than stories. Soon I felt, something was missing: the human being. From this point, film was the only media, I could really blossom out in every aspect of my interest.

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

Not at all. Important is, that each finds it’s own way and stick to it and is passionate. The advantage from a school is, that you get a valuable network and that films are as diverse as humans are. Not at least good friends, which are my hardest critics.

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

Definitely keep going. An Idea is -as great as it can be – just an impulse. But there is much more work to do, than just collecting impulses. So keep going is the process from the surface to the ground and back to the surface, and this is a harsh and hurtful process.

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

Me and my director of photography were extremely precise in de decoupage. I had the intention to give every shot an indispensable meaning, so that I have the film already edited on the paper, bevor the shooting. But then, in the editing-room I realized, that the visual material has its own will and things that feel good rythmically in the book, may not work on screen, it’s another language with other grammar. Still we didn’t delete any scene but we shortened some.

  • 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?

There was no budget to pay actors or crew. And if people work for free, then there must be a personal interest in the script or the character or the project as such. In this point, I was lucky to find good people, who trusted me and I could trust to. But in general, sharping the vision of the film means also finding out, what is really necessary and what not. I always ask myself: How would it be without this? And if I don’t miss it, I leave it.

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

Honestly, the grading. After editing, I thought the film was done. I never would have guessed, that grading can flip the film upside down.

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

Most of them were from the school. I alway chose by: ability, passion, and trust, in this order. To continue these relations trust gets more and more important. And when it comes to projects, direct and blunt dialog in a trustful atmosphere is a good way of collaboration.

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

I do not know my audience, so I do not know what they want. The fact that as a filmmaker you communicate through a screen with someone, should be in your head, yes. But I do not see myself in any kind of visual fashion-entertainment.

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

Festivals are extremely important, especially for short films. This is the first film I submitted to festivals and its just a joy, to know that your work is shown to people at the other end of the world. And, it gives me hope that cinema is gonna survive.

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

What is the point of being safe in art anyway? If you want to tell something, do it in your way, stick to your DNA and go for it.