Interview with Nicolae Constantin Tanase
Director "The World is Mine"
Karlovy Vary 2015 - East of the West Competition
Name: Mirona Nicola
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @mironatly
Nicolae Constantin Tanase shared the process of directing his debut feature, The World is Mine, which the Jury of the East of the West competition distinguished with a Special Mention.
How is your experience in the festival so far? What kid of feedback did you get?
Really positive. I was amazed that when we arrived at our premiere there was a queue around the cinema almost, it was overwhelming to a certain extent. The feedback has been good, also the professional feedback, from the people from the industry has been very positive towards us.
What was the process of making this first feature?
We were here in Karlovy Vary 7 years ago, with Raluca [ n.r. Mănescu, the scriptwriter] and we liked one Russian movie quite a lot- it was a coming of age story. We thought why can't we make in Romania something like this? She wrote her final thesis script influenced by that- the story was about three girls, all the three girls we have now in the script, but equally arranged, and it was sort of a social drama. She gave it to me and I didn't initially like it. But then she insisted a bit and we started re-writing.. The film became centred on Larisa and the entire water part came in.
Then came the difficult part of finding the producer. We were lucky enough that Tudor Giurgiu said yes, after he had helped us with several short films. We started on the idea to make it for something around 50 000 euros, and, of course, that sky rocketed. But still, 168 000 euros... I think our movie looks and feels not necessarily this low-budget.
And this is because of the great people we had around. Throughout the departments they started reading the script and giving input. This is how the movie got made- with a lot of enthusiasm, with a lot of beautiful people. I wanted to shoot as far as possible from Bucharest, in order to have this team spirit. When you're somewhere away, you're always with the team, you learn to relax with the team, you learn to like that person- not just the hierarchy in the film structure- and then you get involved.
You stated that it was not your intention to make this into a social movie.
Yes, and that's why I stood with the camera close to her and tried to be the invisible friend, behind her shoulder. I didn't want to brake you away from her, because I didn't want to comment on the world. It's more important to see what this person feels in this world than why, and how.. I didn't feel it's necessary and this is why I also brought in, and maybe I abused a bit, this water symbol thing. This was my way of trying to comment, but not on the social situation- more on the feelings.
This is your first feature, after a series of shorts that were seen as quite 'outrageous'.
I think in every movie the script asks for a different style. What I did in school, yes, was outrageous, and I wanted it to be like that. For this film I actually I asked myself how daring do I want to be. And I answered myself by making the technical script and trying to figure out how I want to shoot it, that it's not about how daring I want to be. It's about what this film needs.
What do you expect for your film commercially, in Romania?
The feedback here is different and I can't use it as a reference for how it's going to be in Romania- and my audience is there. I had a great experience at TIFF, in Cluj where we had a second screening, in the mall, at 12:00, so those people came who really wanted to see the movie. There were three teenagers behind me. They sang the songs, they gasped, they commented.. They were so engaged! They said it, and this is what I wish my audience to say, 'it's a movie for us'. I think that with a smart advertising... Going through the social media, and through mobile advertising or others of these kinds of things targeted for them, we might have a chance to start a snowball effect.
The energy of the film seems to also come from the fact that a lot of the cast are non-actors.
Yes, I insisted on this. I don't believe in taking a 21 year old actress and saying that she's 15. Ana Maria had the right power and I knew it when I saw her when she was 15. I kept in touch with her to let her know when we're casting. She came, and another 86 girls came. Then I had 20 girls, a short list, having a weekend of workshops, just to convince myself that it was her. And it was her. This casting really helped me. Actually, the discussions with all the 86 girls from different backgrounds, from all over the country.. I gave them the beginning monologue- 'Just read it. Who is this girl? Or What is this about?'. The range of answers and the range of interpretations of what this girl's story could be was so diverse. I think I took a bit from each of these girls and put it into the final character. It was a great journey, this 'finding Larisa', and who she might be, it was incredible, I really liked it.