Interview with Daina Papadaki, winner of the Audience Award at the Impossible Film Contest for Nightfall of Eden

An alternative/ experimental portrayal of peace and war in a Garden of Eden. During this downfall, this nightfall, will all the good things humanity is capable of be overshadowed by darkness… or can we stop our destruction?

Why did you decide to participate in the Impossible Film Contest?

It is the first time that I submit a film to an online competition! Usually I just submit my films to festivals , so I have some experience with the festival participation and the face to face socializing and representation of a film. In most festivals the experience is great but usually the audience is limited to a small number of people. The online submission is a different kind of experience and I must admit I am happy that we submitted “Nightfall of Eden” in the Impossible Film Contest, it  gave us the possibility to reach a mass audience, without the constrains to have to be in a specific location at a specific time! We submitted the film initially in the 64th Festival de Cannes– Short Film Corner (in the non competition segment), and  when I received the invitation email from daazo to participate to the Impossible Film Contest. I was delighted because I thought it was a great idea, plus it gave us the chance to compete among other films that were in the Cannes Short Film Corner.

Working on Nightfall of Eden what kind of approach to the story was important for you as a director?

I always wanted to direct a film that explores the ideas of darkness and light (which both prevail inside every human being) and to visually portray the self-destructive nature of humanity. The original script of the film `’Nightfall of Eden” was written by Fanos Christophides and allegorically compares our modern society with the garden of Eden, exploring humanity’s possibility  of accomplishing greatness but selfishness results into our downfall and self-destruction . The sentiments and pictures that were born in my mind, when I first read the script, inspired me into wanting to create a beautiful, visual history, full of sensitivities and  hopeful messages. My initial goal was to give successfully depict visually a world- symbol of both beauty and horror. To portray war without direct violent actions, but to convey the horrifying, destructive side of things  in a symbolic way and still manage to transfer this message to a mass audience with different experiences and cultural background. I wanted to  contrast the beauty of co-existence with the horrors of war and destruction. I really wanted to give the essence of doom, the horrifying feeling you get when you watch a beautiful dream suddenly transforming  into the worst nightmare.

“Nightfall of Eden” is a collaborative effort to sensitize a mass audience and reinforce in them the notion that it is in everybody’s hand to alter our perspective and  convictions and work  all together for a bigger idea:  world peace and coexistence.

What was the production like for the film? How long did it take you, how did you fund it, etc?

I must admit, that my double role as a director and producer of “Nightfall of Eden”  made it an overwhelming draining experience for me because apart of the creativity and visual translation of the concept (which I believe it is not an easy theme to translate to film) there were too many decisions to make and a lot of problems to deal with and work around in order to make this film really happen.

The budget was a main concern. Thankfully half of the budget was funded by the Cinema Advisory Committee of the Cyprus Ministry of Education and Culture Social Services. Also the company I work for, Double Delta Media Studios Ltd. Really supported us with most equipment and post facilities. Then I had to ask around for friends and collaborators help. The limited budget was the main issue, it limited us into  most of the cast members to be non actors. Also the garden of Eden location was another major problem because here in Cyprus it is not easy to find a landscape that is green and looks magical, here I have to thank Aliki Kirmitsi (our Production Designer) for transforming the location we found into a place I hardly dared to imagine!

Also the script involved great sound design, moving music, lots of visual effects, projections and 2D sets (which are time consuming) and I am really thankful that Sofronis Sofroniou (DOP)  and Emilios Avraam (Editor/ Compositor), Yiannis Hadjiloizou (Music Composer) Andreas Trachonitis (Sound Designer)  really put their heart in this film, because without them “Nightfall of Eden” wouldn’t have happened, the way it happened.

You are the winner of the Audience Award meaning you reached the biggest audience from the participants of the Impossible film Contest.  How did you pull it off?

Wow, yes, the audience award, it was such an honor! We made “Nightfall of Eden” as collective attempt to sensitize  a mass audience about  the future of humanity, an attempt to try to awaken others and reinforce in our audience members  the notion that it is in everybody’s hand to alter our perspective and  convictions and work  all together for a bigger idea:  world peace and coexistence. So I must admit that the biggest award for me was the fact that we got thousands of views of our film and hopefully through our film our optimistic messages were communicated to others.

This is what I was talking about when I said that being part of your online competition was a different and great experience. Your website made our film accessible to a mass audience mainly because through the internet there are no locale and screening time restrictions.   Of course the whole team (crew and cast) of “Nightfall of Eden” promoted our film through facebook and via emails providing the link to our film  and explaining the process of voting to friends, relatives, colleagues and people we know. But  I believe that what made the big difference in votes and views  is that the chain continued, and people who watched it liked it and promoted it to their friends and then these friends promoted it to other friends and this went on and on. There are many friends who believed in our film and in its messages of love and world peace. All these friends helped and supported us and kept informing others about the competition and our film “Nightfall of Eden”  and I believe it is mostly because of their faith in the film that we won the audience award.

What are your plans for the future? How do you want to utilize your prize, the GoPro Camera?

I love the Go-Pro camera and really thanking you for the prize! I am excited and  looking forward to using it for my future projects. I rented and used this camera in the past for  rollercoaster shots for a television commercial I directed, but now  am ready to fully explore it and share it with others.

Today I received a package, opened it at work in my office and it was the GO-PRO Helmet HERO! Instantaneously I  had 5 people ( from the industry) inspecting it, talking about it, going online checking the website about what it can do, how it can do it … and all asked to borrow it, one asked to combine it with his and making it into the 3D camera! We were all mesmerized by the camera-and it’s what they say: Great things come in small packages!
Well, my plans for the future are: another short film by the end of next year and a feature film within the next 3 years. The Go-Pro camera will definitely be a companion in these plans. I am preparing to shoot a short about three travelers with different backgrounds, common goals yet different destinations  and I plan to utilize and mount the GO-PRO camera on different types of vehicles hoping to manage to do some really stunningly difficult shots…