The ancient land has been the inspiration for filmmakers for centuries, but it’s the current Greek political situation that’s firing up FFL filmmaker Rinio Dragasaki. She’s working on her first feature film after a great short film festival career. Here’s her story.
As a Greek short filmmaker, she had a great festival run with her film “Proavlio (“Schoolyard”). Now, she is working on “Cosmic Candy” her first feature film.
Rinio’s first filmmaking steps
My first professional attempt – after my naïve VHS teenage experiments! – was in 2005. A script for a short film that I had written was funded by state television and I got involved with proper filmmaking. It was called “Leaving”.
“What moves me in cinema is the lack of control. Even if you are a total control freak you never know where the journey of filmmaking will lead you.”
Not the contemporary, but the cinema of the past mainly. At other times, it’s the need to encode a certain feeling or abstract pictures in my mind that can’t be totally described with words. Of course you get inspiration through art too. It’s funny for example how different you interpret a song that you have heard in your childhood now, or how affected you are by a painting you randomly passed by in a gallery or a museum at some point in your life.
Tell us about one of your films.
“Schoolyard” is my latest short. It was commissioned by Greek Film Center and the 3d Athens Open Air Film Festival under the general theme: “Summer in Athens – Fear & Hope”.
In the film, a bunch of kids are having a water fight in a schoolyard – one that gradually turns into a violent game. Later on, the kids stop fighting each other and start fighting against an invisible threat. The political situation of contemporary Greek society is reflected in the manners of the game.
What themes does it deal with?
I had this strong memory of having water fights on the last day of school. It was for me the feeling of ultimate liberty! When you grow up you lose that sense. You lose the purity of thought that you have as a child. So more or less the film – in an abstract way – deals with the loss of freedom and innocence that comes with adolescence.
Were you inspired by any other films in the making-of?
For some reason, the two films that inspired me were both black and white. One is Lynne Ramsay’s short “Swimmer” and the other is “A Field in England” by Ben Wheatley. Mainly in sound & editing terms, if not plot wise.
“Schoolyard” has no dialogue so the sound and the editing were really important for me. It’s a slow-mo film shot in 300 frames.
Rinio’s festival strategy
With my last two shorts, I was kind of lucky. I’ve traveled a lot to festivals – often without a particular strategy plan! Sometimes it happens, some other times it needs a lot of work and people around you that can sense the dynamic of your film.
Rinio’s fave festivals
I like the Berlinale for being warm and generous whilst at the same time being super organized and punctual. Clermont-Ferrand for their film selection. Angers Premier Plans for having so few programmed films – which means that you received most of their attention.
Rinio’s funny festival memories
At some point, I was invited to an award ceremony in Adana Golden Ball film festival in Turkey to receive the Best Experimental Short Film prize for “Schoolyard”. In the after party whilst I was dancing someone stole my shiny trophy! The festival, of course, was very kind to send me a new one back home.
Take a look at the list of the festivals that Proavlio (Schoolyard) has been screened. This might give you some inspiration for your next festival strategy:
- Berlin IFF/ Berlin /2014
- Edinburgh IFF/ Edinburgh/ 2014
- Guanajuato IFF/ Guanajuato/ 2014
- Adana Golden Ball Film Festival/ Best Experimental Short Film/ 2014
- Tetouan Mediterranean Film Festival/ Innovation Prize/ 2014
- Creteil IWFF/ Best European Short Film/ 2014
- Brest European Short Film Festival/ Brest/ 2014
- Winterthur ISFF/ Winterthur/ 2014
- Syros IFF (Greece) / Jury short film Prize
- Olympia International Film Festival for Children and Young People (Greece) / Special Mention
- Shnit ISFF (Switzerland) – (FFL Festival Partner)
- Festival European de court metrage de Nice (France)
- River Film Festival (Italy) – (FFL Festival Partner)
- Paris Courts Devant (France)
- European Film Festival in Essonne (France)
- Lago Film Festival (Italy)
- Med Film Festival (Italy)
- Istanbul International Short Film Festival (Turkey)
- Go Short – ISFF Nijmegen (Netherlands)
- Mediawave (Hungary)
- Filmfest Dresden (Germany) – (FFL Festival Partner)
- Future Shorts – Summer Season 2015 (Worldwide)