KALTRINA played to rave reviews at the August 2018 Crime/Drama Film Festival in Toronto.
Matthew Toffolo: What motivated you to make this film?
Evi Stamatiou: Two personal life-changing experiences from years ago. The first personal experience is that I worked as a nurse for three years in oncology and psychiatry, two areas that constantly challenge medical ethics. Moreover, I love nurses and they deserve more representation in drama. Consequently, I wanted to create a main character that is a nurse and bring the profession to the centre of attention. The second personal experience that motivated me to create this film, is that I had a car accident and my boyfriend, who was the driver, died. His parents donated his organs, including the heart. Accordingly, my focus turned to the ethics of organ transplantation, scientific developments on cell memory and organ trade. I owe the emotional and metaphysical grounding of the film to this experience.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this short?
3. How would you describe your short film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
Budget. When it’s your first film, it is very difficult to attract money. But then because of the low budget, it is very difficult to make a good film. Chicken and egg situation.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
She didn’t get it. He did. She didn’t like. She did. Two people like my film! Fab!
Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:
6. How did you come up with the idea for this short film?
During my nursing life, an oncologist was diagnosed with cancer. He knew that medication would not be effective for his type of cancer and, consequently, refused to receive any. His choice to live his last days without the side effects of the chemotherapy, exposes the patients’ dignity as a controversial ethical issue. It was only years later in 2017, that the World Health Organisation revised the Declaration of Geneva (the contemporary version of the Hippocratic oath), bringing the ‘autonomy and dignity of the patient’ into play. However, this ethical question, felt extremely controversial to dramatise. Therefore I transferred it to the organ transplantation area, which turned the mere question ‘am I working for the patient or the pharmaceutical companies?’ into something less provocative and more dramatic. Having said that, organ transplantation also has some ethically challenging areas: unfortunately, this life-changing practice that we are all so grateful for, also triggers and sustains organ trade. Do we (the Westerners that can afford the practice) take this ‘side effect’ (which usually harms people from the developing world, especially during upheavals) as our own responsibility?
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
The Godfather and West Side Story are all time favourites.
8. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway, what are you feelings of the submission platform from a filmmaker’s perspective?
Works really well for me. Apart from one thing–somehow my email address has leaked to all kids of festival that send me emails to submit a project. That’s annoying. And how do these festivals comply with the new law about data use?
9. What song have you listened to the most times in your life?
Down in the Depths by Cole Porter
10. What is next for you? A new film?
Kaltrina is continuing its festival run, getting attention, nominations and awards. If there is interest, I would love to turn it into a feature. But I’m also writing a new short film, a serious comedy, which is really my strong point.
Interviewer Matthew Toffolo is currently the CEO of the WILDsound FEEDBACK Film & Writing Festival. The festival that showcases 20-50 screenplay and story readings performed by professional actors every single month. And the FEEDBACK Monthly Festival held in downtown Toronto, and Los Angeles at least 3 times a month. Go to http://www.wildsoundfestival.com for more information and to submit your work to the festival.