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ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival's blog


ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival is dedicated to the discovery and advancement of the very best independent films from around the world. We are a festival who believes in our independent filmmakers and their artistic talents. ÉCU proudly provides a unique platform that brings together diverse audiences who are hungry for something other than major studio productions and original and innovative filmmakers. 

 
The 9th edition of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival took place in Paris, France in the early spring of 2014, April 4-6. 
 
For more details regarding the festival, please visit our website at www.ecufilmfestival.com

 

 


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Meet Indie Filmmaker: TARANTYNO

On the set of "Tarantyno"

 

On set, Director Mircea Nestor (left) Antonia Micu (middle) and Bogdan Cotleț (right).

 

We speak to Romanian director Mircea Nestor about his recent submission to ECU’s European Dramatic Short category,
“Tarantyno”. Unsuccessful in his attempts to charm an attractive girl
and spurned by an irritating and dominant older brother, the eponymous
anti-hero decides to take what he wants, with devastating results.
Marcea’s answers shed light on his brutally comic story about a
‘brutally’ lacking young man.

By Mairi Cunningham

Q: Firstly, tell me what your film is about and where your inspiration for the story lies.

"Tarantyno"
is about a guy who tries to impress his big brother and goes about it
in all the wrong ways possible. [The] inspiration came from the usual
places - what you see around you, what you think about things, that
kind of process.

Q: There is a definite shock value in the way your story unfolds. The humorous dialogue between the two brothers at the beginning coupled with the banality of their existence renders Tarantyno’s actions even more disturbing. Was this ‘shock value’ something you specifically set out to achieve?

Well, no. It was just a matter of "what fits best in the grand design" sort
of thing. And I think a lot of this "shock value" you refer to comes
from the manner in which the film switches from comedy to something
else. This tied in well with the fact that the character doesn't appear
to be aware that what he is doing is wrong.

 

"Tarantyno"

 

Actor Bogdan Cotlet in the role of Tarantyno.

 

Q: Is there significance in the focus you place on the material goods (e.g. the car, mobile phone and Tarantyno’s metal cigarette case)?

I thought the cigarette case would be a nice idea, like a little extra
detail to illustrate this struggle of his to get accepted or respected
and all his efforts being misguided and in vain. I don't know about
other places, but here in Romania a cigarette case is something rather
unusual. Not even the poshest of people have them, let alone a would-be
security guard. As for the other objects, they just popped up in the
story naturally as objects we all know and use. I wanted them to be
kind of generic, nothing special.

Q: Explain a bit about the father figure in the film (or lack of). Do Tarantyno’s actions ultimately stem from a need to prove himself within a very ‘macho’ family culture?

I suppose that would be where it all stems from, yes. The little back
story I did develop for the character involved this sort of macho
family unit - as you called it, I guess that's the best name for it; in
which Tarantyno has been stepped over. He has the lowest job in the
family business, which is a shady gambling joint; he's the security
guard. I figured that he doesn't even work for a real security company,
maybe his Dad just gave him the t-shirt he's wearing (which reads
"Tarantyno security"), hence his poor appearance as a security guard. I
mean, he doesn't even have one of those rubber clubs. And it's
obviously a mismatch, because he doesn't seem built for the job anyway.
So Tarantyno is left looking pathetic and wanting the respect he is
sure he deserves from both his Father and his bigger brother, if only
he would be given the chance to prove himself. That's where the story
starts: when Tarantyno thinks he found his chance.

Q: Perhaps this is the wrong reaction, but when watching your film I was torn between disgust at Tarantyno’s final act and sympathy towards him, particularly because of the way he is treated by his older brother and Narcisa. He struck me as a model of disenchanted and frustrated youth, unaccepted and belittled by those around him. Is this paradoxical reaction from the viewer something you were specifically aiming to achieve?

I
don't think it's the wrong reaction at all; I would be worried if there
wouldn't be any mixed feelings. I can't say this was a principal aim,
it was just a by-product. I mean, if the main character, the one we
follow and feel for, is going to do something terrible- not even
terrible, it just has to be something you don't approve of- you're
going to have mixed feelings. This conflict between the way we
empathize with him and the flaws he displays is a part of what makes
watching a story unfold interesting. Imagine watching a film in which
the character behaves and feels exactly the way you would if you were
in his situation - that would be quite boring and nothing would ever
come out of something like that. It sort of goes against what a story
is all about. Perhaps it was my aim to give people something to think
about, have an opinion about - I don't like it when I leave the cinema
and I don't really know whether or not I liked it, it's just sort of a
grey blob, "Yeah, it was OK, whatever". I wanted to avoid that
"whatever". So if I had a specific aim during the whole thing, most
probably it was this - "no whatevers".

Q: Tell me a little bit about the casting process and also generally about working with your actors.

Since
this is a 3rd year film school project, we didn't have proper casting
sessions or everything, we just used the internet. For instance, we
visited theatre websites and looked there. As for screen tests, we just
looked at previous films that had those actors in it. Actually, the
three actors I worked with-
Bogdan Cotleț, Antonia Ionescu Micu and Constantin Diță- all appeared in Cristian Nemescu's
"California Dreamin'". So we could watch them there. Then I met them,
tried to project a confident self-image, handed them the script, they
read it and apparently considered it wasn't all rubbish because they
agreed. Working with them was great, this was my first time working
with professional actors, so, mostly for me, it was a learning
experience. As was the whole of the film, really. All of them were
really supportive and helped out a great deal, especially when by the
second weekend of shooting the weather had changed drastically and
Bogdan had to be in that t-shirt at 3 or 4 degrees Celsius for the sake
of continuity. He joked that he got cold just watching the film. I
believe he actually did, ha ha.

Q: What genre would you see you film falling under?

Ah, this is a tricky question because I'm not really good with genres.
Whenever I submit it to a festival and I have to choose the genre and
can only choose two, I always go for "comedy" and "drama", because that
just seems to encompass everything. But, as to not dismiss your
question entirely, I guess I see as a sort of dark comedy, only not at
the same time. It's a comedy, and then it's dark. Sort of.... Oh, I
don't know... let's call it a thriller. At least that'll look good on
the poster, right?

 

On the set of "Tarantyno"

 

On set of “Tarantyno”.

 

Q: The scene towards the end of the film outside the city produced mixed emotions in me as a viewer. The brutality of the action and the long shot of the wasteland together produced something eerily beautiful. Tell me a little bit about this scene, both from a stylistic and practical point of view. And why the decision to shoot it in silence?

That
place is actually an artificial lake in Bucharest, it’s called
Văcărești Lake that has been abandoned for over twenty years and never
finished, never put into use. So, basically, it's like a hollowed out
lake, something of a marshland. I wanted to have a shot with the city
in the distance and when I found this place I thought it would be
really fitting, also because it was a little weird in reality, it's a
pretty strange place and I thought it was quite menacing. The fact that
it's so out of the way of most people, I mean nobody goes there except
a few guys taking a shortcut or two guys trying out their ATVs (All
Terrain Vehicles), which we actually saw. But that worked for us
because we could film in peace and get that long, empty shot at the
end. I ended the film with this because I thought it would be a sort of
"bottom line". You've seen a lot of things happening, some were
amusing, some not so, and this is the bottom line, this is what
happened.

 

For more information about 'Tarantyno' check out the film's official website. www.tarantyno.wordpress.com.

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About ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival

Hillier Scott
(ECU)

Scott Hillier, Founder and President of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival

Scott Hillier is a director, cinematographer, and screenwriter, based in Paris, France. In the last 20 years, Hillier has gained international recognition from his strong and incredible cinematography, editing, writing, producing and directing portfolio in both the television and film industries.  

Hillier began his career in the television industry in Australia. In 1988, he moved to London getting a job with the BBC who then set him to Baghdad. This opportunity led him to 10 years of traveling around world for the BBC, mainly in war zones like Somalia, Bosnia, Tchetcheynia, Kashmir, and Lebanon. After a near fatal encounter with a Russian bomber in Tchechnyia, Hillier gave up his war coverage and began in a new direction. 

Hillier moved to New York City in 1998.  He directed and photographed eight one-hour documentaries for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. Based on his war knowledge and experience, Hillier wrote and directed a short film titled, “Behind the Eyes of War!" The film was awarded “Best Short Dramatic Film” at the New York Independent Film and TV Festival in 1999. From that he served as Supervising Producer and Director for the critically acclaimed CBS 42 part reality series, "The Bravest” in 2002 and wrote and directed a stage play called, "Deadman’s Mai l," which ran at Le Théâtre du Moulin de la Galette in Paris during the summer of 2004. He then became the Director of Photography on a documentary titled, “Twin Towers." This was yet another life changing experience for Hillier. The riveting documentary won an Academy Award for "Best Documentary Short Subject" in 2003. In 2004, Hillier changed continents again, spending three months in Ethiopia. He produced “Worlds Apart,” a pilot for ABC America / True Entertainment / Endemol. As you can see, Hillier was and is always in constant movement and enjoys working in a number of diverse creative areas including documentaries, music videos, commercials, feature and short films.

Hillier studied film at New York University and The London Film and Television School. He also studied literary non-fiction writing at Columbia University. Hillier's regular clients include the BBC, Microsoft, ABC, PBS and National Geographic. Between filming assignments, he used to teach film, a Masters Degree course in Screenwriting at the Eicar International Film School in Paris, France and journalism at the Formation des Journalistes Français in Paris, France. 

 


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