Interview with Filmmakers Ellen Babeliowsky & Kris Geens (MOTEL MOTEL)

Played at the October 2016 CRIME/MYSTERY Festival – Winner of Best Cinematography at the Festival.

 Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Ellen Babeliowsky & Kris Geens: Everything! My whole life I wanted to make films and so I feel very happy to make this first one! There’s no dramatic story that really needs to be told, I’m not trying to move people or to bring a particular subject to peoples attention. I just wanted to take you on a visual trip and play with your mind. In a surrealistic way.

From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?

It took me 2 years. I took my time to create the story and to find out how to realize it. Also the post production took a lot of time. I was lucky to work together with an awesome post production team and I wanted everything to be perfect. There are also a lot of complicated special effects but we took our time and that turned out for the best.

How would you describe your short film in two words!?

Fucked up!! 😉

What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?

Getting the film funded was not that easy. I was very sure about what I wanted and I wasn’t going to compromise. So we had to be very creative to realize this movie. But I had an awesome producer and a fantastic crew! Without them I never would have been able to finish this film the way I wanted to.

What were your initial reactions when watching the Toronto audience talking about your film in the feedback video?

I really enjoy watching this feedback video!! I think it’s wonderful that your audience liked my film that much, so THANK YOU TORONTO!! I watched it over and over and I really was surprised that one person compared me to Wes Anderson (but really dark). Earlier, my D.O.P. also told me that. I take it as a beautiful compliment. I really love to see the audience responding. It helps me to find my place as a film maker.

How did you come up with the idea for this short film?

I have no idea!! It really came piece by piece. It started with an image in my head that I kept thinking about, then a second shot that kept me fascinated, and so on. I created scenes and characters around these shots and later on I brought them together like a puzzle, looking for a story and a plot. That, and also I find inspiration in other films and directors I really like. This way ‘Motel Motel’ became also a little bit an homage to the surrealistic cinema.

What film have you seen the most in your life?

There are a lot of films I keep watching over and over. My favorite is still ‘Only God Forgives’ (Nicolas Winding Refn). I think I’ve seen that film a dozens of times. Sometimes I just watch my favorite scenes, or I play the film in the background while I’m working. It’s a surrealistic masterpiece, a cinematographic piece of art. I can’t get enough of it.

What is next for you? A new film?

At the moment I’m writing. I want the next project to be a feature film and I have a bunch of ideas for a series on TV or Netflix. So now and then I direct music videos. Anyway, for any of my future projects I want to get to peoples imagination. There’s nothing more beautiful to do than that!

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video of the Short Film:

  MOVIE POSTERMOTEL MOTEL, 20min., Belgium, Crime/Mystery
Directed by Ellen J. Babeliowsky

When Hjalmar inspects his room in an old, worn-out motel, he discovers a severed ear in the deep-pile carpet. During his search for the origin of the ear, he stumbles from one strange ocurrence into the next. The mystery of the ear ultimately gets him into a surreal situation, of which he is both the victim and the spectator.

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