TIFF 2022 Girls Administrators: Meet Selcen Ergun – “Snow and the Bear” (“Kar ve Ayı”)

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Selcen Ergun is a director and screenwriter from Turkey. She started her profession as an assistant director, engaged on many nationwide and worldwide productions. Her brief movies “Confrontation” and “A Sunny Day” have been chosen by a number of worldwide movie festivals and awarded prizes. Ergun was chosen for the Medienboard Nipkow Artist-in-Residency in 2019. “Snow and the Bear” (“Kar ve Ayı”) is her debut function movie.

“Snow and the Bear” (“Kar ve Ayı”) is screening on the 2022 Toronto Worldwide Movie Competition, which is operating from September 8-18.

W&H: Describe the movie for us in your personal phrases.

SE: “Snow and the Bear” leads us into the microcosm of a distant Turkish city, more and more lower off from the world by a harsh winter which doesn’t come to an finish, in an nearly surreal manner. Rumor has it that the bears have risen early from their winter-sleep and killed some animals round. Although nobody has actually seen them, persons are afraid that they may come to the city quickly.

Aslı is a younger nurse who has been appointed right here just lately for her compulsory service. One chilly night time, a person from the city goes lacking. On this small city, the place the most important drawback for the gendarme previous to the incident had been bats haunting the police station, the sudden disappearance of a person creates all kinds of rumors. Step-by-step, Aslı finds herself in the course of a whirlwind of energy relationships, secrets and techniques, and doubts. 

It’s the story of a younger lady who has to seek out her manner in a rural society conditioned by the patriarchy. It’s the story of her confrontation with the unknown, doubt and guilt, and her crash-course in discovering a facet of her that’s as powerful because the winter itself.

Setting all this within the chilly counter-fairy story ambiance of an isolating, overwhelming winter, I’m fascinated by exploring the boundaries that one would overcome when in search of a manner out of entrapment. 

W&H: What drew you to this story?

SE: This story is the reflection of a core feeling that I’ve been experiencing more and more as a younger lady, on a really day by day foundation, for a very long time: the sensation of dwelling below fixed stress, which isn’t totally seen however which surrounds us like heavy air, the perpetual feeling of not being secure — which many individuals persistently face in numerous locations on earth to totally different extents. However, [as I’ve] confronted this increasingly, I’ve additionally realized that I’m stronger than I believed earlier than. On this movie, I wished to discover all these emotions of worry, confinement, battle, and hope, within the microcosm of a small remoted city the place they turn out to be extra tangible.

I can say this movie additionally displays my emotions about nature, my contemplation about the best way we, as people, deal with nature and all of its creatures.

W&H: What would you like folks to consider after they watch the movie?

SE: I consider {that a} movie turns into a self-existing entity that communicates by itself after assembly with its viewers. I’m trying ahead to see how they may work together. The dynamics that may emerge from that interplay offers me pleasure and inspiration for my upcoming movies.

W&H: What was the most important problem in making the movie?

SE: Primarily, the placement and the climate situations have been the most important challenges for us. We would have liked the strongest winter that we may discover and as a lot snowfall as attainable. For that, we selected a excessive mountain village on the far northeast a part of Turkey. Through the taking pictures, there have been days that we couldn’t depart the bottom to go to the village the place we have been taking pictures due to snow storms and frozen roads. Some nights, we would have liked to work at lower than -30 levels. We shot some scenes below robust snow storms.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful for all these challenges since these additionally enabled us to create the distinctive ambiance of the movie. I’m additionally grateful for the actors who took this problem with me and for our cinematographer, Florent Herry, and all of the technical crew who did their finest in these very harsh taking pictures situations. The technical crew made all people really feel secure, it doesn’t matter what. Florent’s capability to make very troublesome and sophisticated pictures easy, rendered many issues doable even below these troublesome circumstances.

W&H: How did you get your movie funded? Share some insights into how you bought the movie made.

SE: The movie as a undertaking first acquired one of the best undertaking award on the Conferences on the Bridge platform at Istanbul Worldwide Movie Competition, and was then chosen to be developed on the Berlinale Skills Script Station in 2018. I used to be additionally chosen for the Medienboard Nipkow Berlin Artist-in-Residency in 2019. These have been the inexperienced lights for me to pursue this story till the top.

Since we determined to make this movie as a world co-production from the start, we have been conscious of the truth that the method of funding may take longer. However this gave me the possibility to develop the script and write sufficient drafts to hold the story and characters to their full potentials.

It has been a protracted journey, however I’m grateful that I made a decision to take it. Step-by-step, we have been supported by the Republic of Türkiye Ministry of Tradition and Tourism, German-Turkish Co-Manufacturing Growth Fund, TRT, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Movie Middle Serbia, and eventually, by Eurimages. So this movie and its intimate story set in a small remoted group owes its existence to a collaboration on a world scale. It was edited in Hamburg, color-graded in France and Turkey, music scored remotely in the US, and the sound design was made in Istanbul.

W&H: What impressed you to turn out to be a filmmaker?

SE: [During my] teenage years, I used to be writing some small tales only for myself. Then I found my father’s treasured guide photograph digicam and began to {photograph} all the things round me.

[During my] college years, whereas I used to be finding out design, I used to be spending numerous time within the darkroom, processing the photographs I shot and printing them. I used to be additionally attending some appearing courses, not as a result of I wished to turn out to be an actress, however the dynamics of appearing have been very intriguing for me. And through this era, my curiosity in all these totally different areas got here collectively. I found that this was what I wished to do, began writing and directing brief movies, after which I made a decision to pursue an MA in directing and scriptwriting.

However I feel all the things began once I was making up bedtime tales for myself as a child.

W&H: What’s one of the best and worst recommendation you’ve obtained?

SE: The perfect recommendation was to jot down a superb story, an sincere one that you simply actually consider in and that you simply really feel in your cells, and eventually, that may carry the appropriate folks on board, one after the other.

I feel I’ve an excellent capability to disregard dangerous recommendation and delete it from my reminiscence, so I don’t bear in mind what was the worst. 

W&H: What recommendation do you’ve got for different girls administrators?

SE: Above all, I consider that perseverance is what’s most essential if you find yourself making an unbiased function movie, particularly if it’s a primary function. I feel every movie’s growth has its personal tempo and personal dynamics. What a director can do is do her finest to provide what a narrative deserves, each by way of time and vitality.

For me, the secret is being cussed sufficient to have the ability to proceed but in addition being versatile sufficient to get one of the best out of what comes your manner in the course of the journey. 

W&H: Identify your favourite woman-directed movie and why.

SE: Most of my favourite movies are directed by girls. For the newest one, I can identify “On Physique and Soul” by Ildikó Enyedi. Partly as a result of it’s a contemplation on some topics that I’ve been occupied with as properly for a while. And in addition I’m actually impressed by the magical, soulful, delicate visible storytelling on this movie, utilizing all the weather of cinema in a refined however transferring manner.

W&H: What, if any, duties do you suppose storytellers need to confront the tumult on the planet, from the pandemic to the lack of abortion rights and systemic violence?

SE: Storytelling is a medium for human beings to specific, talk, and make sense of their collective and private experiences. Particularly in difficult occasions like this, we want this sort of collective contemplation extra. Tales have the power to make folks really feel that they don’t seem to be alone. That may make you’re feeling stronger.

Like in the previous couple of years, increasingly girls scriptwriters and administrators have created the possibility to inform their very own tales, impressed and supported by one another. I want to see this not as an inclination, however as the primary steps in direction of the elimination of an odd imbalance that has existed for a very long time. Nevertheless, there may be nonetheless a protracted strategy to go.

W&H: The movie trade has a protracted historical past of underrepresenting folks of colour onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — unfavorable stereotypes. What actions do you suppose have to be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?

SE: Folks from each stage of the manufacturing course of and from each department of the duty distribution have to take steps in their very own subject to stability this inequality and stop unfavorable stereotypes. After all, ones who’re within the decision-making positions have extra duty to do that.

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