Nino Jincharadze won first prize at the Sarajevo Cocktail Film Contest for her film The Light – a brilliant film with a powerful ambience, interesting animation and a strong message. Joonas Makkonen won first prize at the Impossible Film Contest for The Escort, an existential horror film with strong (and creepy!) characters, a chilling atmosphere, amazing photography and a surprising twist.
Nino: It first happened when I was fourteen years old. We had a small home camera and my friends and I wanted to shoot a horror movie in my cellar. In the end, our horror film became very funny. This was my first attempt at filmmaking.
Joonas: My sister said that when I was really young, about 5 years old, I wanted to be a stuntman! Then I wanted to become an actor. And in 2001, when I was in secondary school, I made my first amateur films with a handycam. This was when directing became my main interest in filmmaking.
How did you come up with the idea for these prize-winning films? Can you tell us any interesting stories about the developing/filming of The Light and The Escort?
Nino: The storyline of The Light doesn’t belong to me. I just made some changes in the script and put a different idea in it, which I think was more suitable for this story. The director agreed with me and we made it together. I wanted to portray a reflection of the principles of industrial revolution on people’s lives, when people became part of the industrialized world and started to think, work and behave like technical equipment and rejected and ignored everyone and everything that didn’t fit the standard.
Joonas: With The Escort, I think the most interesting story behind the whole film is that it was actually made in under 48 hours! That is, the whole project was made from the original idea to the completed film in two days, for the short film competition “Uneton48 2011”, a Finnish 48-hour competition. The Escort was chosen to be in the Top 10, and the film also got nominations for “Best Sound” and “Best Actress”. So, the idea was born inside our crew when we heard that we needed to make a short film which included the following: a moment where one of the characters has an ‘explosion of feelings’, a shot of a mirror, and our team drew “Road Movie” for the genre. From these basic ideas, the story started to grow!
Have you got any plans for other films? Any features or shorts? Can you give us a few words about what short film as a genre means to you?
Nino: Currently, I’ve got several projects of short films which I want to develop in the future. I think that short film offers a good chance to search your cinematic technique and develop your professional skills and crafts. Working on shorts, you are not focused on material profit, it just gives you a chance to promote yourself, and to show all your potential to your audience, future partners, investors etc. It is a way to get valuable festival experience, to make important contacts and expand your professional network. It’s a good opportunity to accumulate all the resources that you need for working in the filmmaking business. So, it might become a key to your successful future professional life.
Joonas: I have lots of ideas for short films. I am also planning my first feature film. I am actively taking part in short film races, like the Uneton48 contest I mentioned before, because they are a great way to learn, and a great way to keep yourself busy. When you sign up for those competitions, it means that during the competition’s time, you have to make a film – no excuses! I think short film as a genre is a great way to learn screenwriting and filmmaking. It is also a “safe” way to test one’s ideas. I have got great ideas from my short films to feature screenplays. So short film is a very enjoyable format, and very inspiring as well.
Do you watch other filmmakers’ short films? What inspires you and how do you work?
Nino: I always watch short films, whenever I get the chance. Short film sections are my favorite part of film festivals. And I want to thank Daazo for making available a great catalogue of shorts. I’ve seen a lot of wonderful movies here. Every problematic issue around me inspires me. I don’t work on the script so often independently, but when it happens, I always try to imagine every detail of the script, how it would be realised in the film. I always check the importance of each scene: what it gives me and what it would change if I cut it out from the script.
Joonas: I think I don’t watch enough short films by other filmmakers. Nowadays I don’t watch too many feature films either. Some years ago I found more time to watch films. For me, the inspiration is life itself. I find useful little things in everyday life. My dogs have inspired many stories. So has my neighbourhood. Also, funny moments and sad moments are something that you can turn into fiction.
How do you see yourself in 10 years’ time? What are your dreams and what do you think the reality will be?
Nino: Thanks for this question; it makes me happy to think about what I can achieve in this period of time. Perhaps I will complete my own project, with one of my favourite actors starring in it. I hope I’ll be more experienced, skilled and well established in the international film industry. I’ll meet many talented directors and cinematographers and I’ll make great films with their support. I don’t like dreaming. I prefer specific aims and realistic plans about how to reach my goals.
Joonas: My dream is to write and direct feature films for a living. The reality will probably be the same as it is today: I do any media work to get my bills paid. Most of my film projects I make as an independent filmmaker with an extremely low budget. But I like my situation today as well, because I have found great people and friends with whom I can make short films.
text: Zsuzsanna Deák