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Spotlight Interview: Filmmaker Eva Lanska

IMG_0627 3.jpgFilmfestivals.com had the chance to interview award-winning filmmaker Eva Lanska, a rising star on the global film scene.

 

Eva Lanksa is a London-based director and screenwriter. After graduating from the London Film Academy, Lanska has focused on producing documentary and feature films. She has directed several award-winning films recognized throughout Europe and America. Art, literature, French cinematography, and the Parisian ambiance have been significant influences and inspiration sources throughout her work.

Eva-Lanska-5-907x1024.jpg

Eva Lanska

Throughout her films, Lanska studies the ideal notion of acceptance and love in conflicting circumstances. She poses pressing questions to direct her audience to reflect on the choices and ultimately decide what the main characters should do.

Her recent film, Little French Fish, starring British actors Jonas Khan and Devora Wilde, brings attention to the global stigma against interracial marriages through an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim man's relationship. The film follows an intercultural couple falling in love while feeling the pressure of traditional conflicts and strict social orders. 

Little French Fish was selected by one of the world’s oldest and largest Jewish festivals, the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Lanska’s previous picture, Okay, Mum, won Best Picture award at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was selected for the Short Film Corner at the Cannes Film Festival in 2017. 

She also just launched the romantic Web series Motek (Hebrew for sweetheart) on ItsAShort.com and is making her first feature film "I Am Not An Actress," based on the philosophies of Brigitte Bardot.

Lanska is dedicated to child protection movements and continues to bring awareness to alarming social issues through her films.

She is actively involved with the following organizations: Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Foundation, Women for Women International, The British Friends of the Art Museums of Israel and Anatevka Jewish Refugee Community Foundation and Tel Aviv Museum of Art.

You were an actress and singer and now a director and screenwriter. Why did you decide to focus your work on directing and writing? Is this more satisfying?

Since childhood, I dreamed of dedicating my professional activity to the cinema. I graduated from the faculty of journalism and worked in television as a TV presenter.   All these coins went to the piggy bank of my art experience. I was a singer in Paris, worked as a screenwriter, already having in mind that this knowledge would be useful to me on the way to the main job of which I dreamed. However, at that time, I did not feel ready to direct. In my opinion, this profession presupposes a certain inner maturity and certainty.

Experience shows that everything comes at the right time. The fact that the profession of a director is a vocation and having the experience is great, but it is not enough. I decided to pursue additional theoretical knowledge. Finally, during my studies at  the London Film Academy, I felt a lot of support and trust from my teachers and classmates. This feedback was important to me, and  at that moment,  I decided to make my first film as a director and producer. 

When my first film "Okay, Mum" was selected and presented at the Russian Pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival, I realized that the time had finally come. By the way, to the great joy of our team, this film was also selected by the Cannes Film Festival as part of its annual Short Film Corner. This film also received a Best Female Director nomination by the European Cinematography Awards (ECA) and was a finalist at the Los Angeles Film Awards. I was nominated for the 30 most promising filmmakers you should follow, and nominated for Best Director by Top Shorts Film Festival, Canada Shorts Film Festival, and others.

Motek.jpg?resize=320%2C231&ssl=1

Why did you decide to do the "Motek" Web series during the pandemic?

We started the 'Motek' project, as we felt that many people are morally down during this very difficult time of the pandemic and lockdown. We wanted to express our support with this work, because this film is about how important it is to believe in love and maintain a positive attitude. Positive emotions and thoughts are now more important than ever.

"Motek" is about people with cultural and religious differences, like your short "Little French Fish". What about these themes / themes draws you in and motivates you to include them in your stories?

Cultural and religious values are the foundations of the world order. I cannot but agree with those who assert that living in the past, means losing the present, but on the other hand, without the basic postulates that are laid in us thanks to culture and religion, the future is impossible. That is why the relationship between culture and religion is the basis of the balance between the past, present and future.

Have you had any feedback on the premiere of “Motek” on It’s A Short

This is a completely new project that we have just launched, but it's always nice to read positive reviews and receive positive feedback. The project was selected by the New York International Film Awards, and is the winner of the Toronto International Women Film Festival in the Best Web/TV/Pilot category.

 

 

 

 

 

Could you tell us about the progress of your new feature film "I'm Not an Actress" inspired by Brigitte Bardot?

At the moment we have finished the final editing of the script. We are in talks with several large film studios about the project.

Why did you decide to make this film for the first time?  

When I lived in Paris, I had the opportunity to take part in a musical project about the works of Serge Gainsbourg. One of his muses was Brigitte Bardot. I began to study her work more deeply and realized that the world basically knows only one part of her life and not the most important part for her. Meanwhile, Madame Bardot has had many achievements in various fields. In her own way, she was one of the first international stars to fight for women's rights. She also dedicated her life to protecting animals from abuse. It is important to note that this is not a biopic, and that there are many different collective characters in the script, real and fictional.

Taking all this into account, this is a very important project for us, and in it we touch upon such urgent problems as labor discrimination on the basis of sex and, in particular, discrimination against women. We raise questions of the age-old conflict between parents and children, the theme of the creation of an idol in show business. We also touch upon the issues of the cruel treatment of animals and others.

 

As a female filmmaker, have you had any difficulty in creating projects because of your gender?

From the first days of the existence of cinema, women have been an integral part of it, both onscreen and offscreen. It is worth remembering that it was a woman, Alice Guy-Blaché , who in 1896, ahead of the Lumiere brothers, shot the first film having a narrative structure. She became the first woman to launch her own film company, and event Alfred Hitchcock was inspired by her creative discoveries. Many examples can be given, but I would like to refer to statistics.

According to the British Film Institute, in 2017, only 21.1% of screenplays were written by female screenwriters and only 15.7% of films were directed by female directors. As the scale of production increases, there are fewer women in cinema. Their share by profession in the top 100, respectively, is greatly reduced to 18% of producers, 15% of screenwriters, 14% of editing directors, 4% of directors and only 3% of cinematographers.

It has been estimated that 50.1% of all film students are women, and they also make up 49.4% of all film beginners. That is, when entering the industry, men and women are equal. However, further research on the example of directors shows that as the scale of projects increases, the proportion of women is inexorably decreasing. Thus, female directors shoot 27.2% of short films. Low-budget (up to £ 500 thousand) full footage was filmed by women in 16.1% of cases. Medium-budget films (£ 1-10 million) were directed by 12.8% of women. And finally, only 3.3% of big-budget films (from £ 30m) were directed by women directors.

Unfortunately, the situation has not changed much today, and I think that this issue deserves urgent attention and resolution. The statistics are so sharp that one gets the impression that the studios trust and give major film projects and key positions to men. I consider it important to draw public attention to these problems.

Who are some of the female filmmakers (or male) that inspire you?

The list is of course very long, but I am inspired by director Jane Campion and her work “The Piano” and Sofia Coppola and her film “Lost in Translation.” Some critics mention that it is easier to make people cry in a drama film than to make people laugh. In this regard, I would like to acknowledge Nancy Myers and her amazing comedy film “What Women Want.” I would also like to acknowledge the many works of famous male directors, I will start with those whose work inspired me…Mr. Krzysztof Kieslowski, Jim Jarmusch, Giuseppe Tornatore, Michelangelo Antonioni…

 

What advice do you have for a young filmmaker?

If you have chosen cinematography as your future, you will need patience and faith in yourself. Listen to your colleagues and team, but let your intuition be the final chord in making the decision. Your unique author's style is the main treasure and the path to success. Don't let failure confuse you.

This brings to mind the words of the great classic author Leo Tolstoy - The two most powerful warriors are patience and time.

https://www.imdb.com/name/nm8636086/

https://www.evalanska.com/

https://www.instagram.com/becomingeva/

Photos courtesy of Eva Lanska, Movie Stills DB.

 

 

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Chatelin Bruno
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