Interview with Filmmaker Fatima Martin (MARTINA, OH MARTINA)

MARTINA, OH MARTINA played to rave reviews at the January 2018 EUROPEAN FEEDBACK Film Festival in Toronto.

Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?

Fatima Martin: It was my last year at my school of cinema, ECAM, and after directing two shortfilms as part of our studies programme, I thought that I was avoiding to make a story personal. Since I was a child, I have been a mess taking control and showing my emotions. When I was a teenager, my teachers used to say that it was really difficult to get to me. I think that telling stories it was the best choice for me, a way to express myself. But it seems like I need to go far.

And I wanted to try. I want the chance to make something that I wanted to tell. From inside. I wanted to get over fear. So what motivated me, was basically the idea of fighting against fear. And the idea of the shortfilms comes with it: Martina and her fears. From that point, every decisión make me feel more motivated: female character, tell something as universal as love and the idea that maybe you don’t like the end, but al least you have tried.

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

2016 was a leap year, so there was 365 days exactly. Eva (screewriter), Andrea (producer) and I started to work on 1st of August, 2015 and we finished on 31st of july, 2016. Some dates, especially pre-production, depends on the school, because we had our first pitch the last week of september and we started clases more or less on 15th. In our case we started to work on August, so we worked two months on the idea.

Also, post- production was a little complicated, because we had some visual effects and it took it longer than expected.

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

Not two words but a proverb: “What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger”.

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

Finding Martina. One of my best friends say that she can’t be friend of someone who can’t answer quickly which one was her/his favourite dinosaur. I wanted a different, shy, dreamer, brave girl. And I think that it was the perfect question for the kind of character I was looking for. It`s not an easy as you can imagine, finding someone like this. It took me a long time. And work with teenagers seems to me like a big responsability, so when I was working with her, I have to be really careful and I have to explore the character and take what I wanted to see. It was really complex.

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

Really exciting. When I was at the school I always have doubts because they know me and they have been all over the project. And I think it was easier to understand what the story tells because all of this, so I can’t know if what I wanted to tell was in the film truly.

Not being in the cinema, people without knowing nothing about you, makes me feel like I could really have opinions that helps me to understand not only the good things but everything that I could have done better, or things that people don’t understand. Probably the best information for future projects.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

Producer, screenwriter and I worked like a team, so we decided to start thinking together about our story. We know since the beggining that we wanted a female character and speak about something that everyone can understand, something universal. We love fantasy and imagination, so I think that we need something uncommon, and the end of the world was good enough. Three elements that were completed with our own experiencies and feelings.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?

Mullholland Drive of David Lynch. I was always wanted to study cinema, but when I saw it I was 14 year old, I close the door against any other work. It was a really hot day of August and my mother bought it because “oh, he is the man that directed Twin Peaks”. We saw it, just that day, three times. It was pure emotion.

8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?

Well, that was the department of distribution of my school, but I think that is a great idea to send it to a lot of festivals and enjoy the possibility of being seen around the world.

9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?

I choose a song and I listen it like a million times just for three months and then I forget it. It happens everytime, but I would say “Breathe me” of Sia, because I can’t stop loving the end of “Six feet under” and it has some emotional meaning for me. When I was a child I loved to put a spanish group, La oreja de Van gogh on the car. Everyone on my family knows that songs. At Sundays, my parents use to put some songs like Born to be alive of Patrick Hernandez or Billie Jean of Michael Jackson.

10. What is next for you? A new film?

I have been working in the department of direction of diferent audiovisual productions, trying to improve on different areas, keep on working and trying to write a new screenplay for a shortfilm. I am starting to miss the emotion of a new challenge!


By matthewtoffolo

Filmmaker and sports fan. CEO of the WILDsound Film and Writing Festival


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