Interview with Filmmaker Dimitrios Karas (IN MEMORIAM)

IN MEMORIAM was the winner of BEST FILM at the New York Drama October 2020 Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

I have always been fascinated by works such as George Orwell’s 1984 and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil. Themes such as the power of information and the willingness of those in positions of power to manipulate people’s identity and perception of reality have deeply resonated with me. The basic premise of “In Memoriam”, the possibility that someone in the not-so-far future might have the ability to directly manipulate our thoughts and memories, is terrifying to me.

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

All things considered, not too long! The script was written in three days, and we went into pre-production almost immediately. Fortunately, we had a fantastic team of people who I have collaborated with several times before, so the process went very smoothly and we were able to complete principal photography within one month. Editing and post-production took one more month, so in total it took approximately two months to complete the short.

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

Dystopian and cautionary!

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

The biggest obstacle was probably the cold! We shot the film in an underground garage in the middle of January with a small, malfunctioning radiator as our only source of heating. Most of us caught a cold afterwards. Fortunately, the film was shot in the pre-COVID19 era, so getting ill wasn’t as scary as it is these days. Also, we only had two days of shooting, since it was hard to find days where everyone was available due to scheduling conflicts.

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

I was pretty nervous and maybe a little scared before watching the video. Fortunately, these feelings dissipated quickly, and I was ecstatic to hear all the praise about all aspects of the film, the acting, the screenplay, the music, the lightning etc. It’s a special feeling for a filmmaker to hear that their film has resonated with the audience, and that everyone’s hard work and determination eventually paid off.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

This was an idea that has been floating in my mind for a pretty long time. I recall watching the torture scene in the James Bond film Casino Royale, and thinking that while it made me rather squeamish on a visceral level, it is possible that there are forms of psychological torture that can be even more terrifying than this, if they directly target the very essence of the victim’s personal identity.

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

This might seem a little strange, but I think that the film I have seen the most times in my life is Disney’s Dumbo! I loved the movie ever since I was little, and I have watched it more times than I can remember – even though the pink elephants on parade scene terrified me every time! Also, the film is about Dumbo losing his mother, the person closest to him, as well as finding his own identity, which are themes that may have actually influenced “In Memoriam”!

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

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of festivals that a filmmaker can choose to submit their films, but once you get the hang of it, it’s a fantastic tool for filmmakers that streamlines the submission process. In any case, it is very important to sift through the selection of festivals to find those that are more appropriate for your film. There are festivals for pretty much every genre – horror, sci-fi, romance, LGBT, social activism, and much more!

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

Probably “Listen to your Heart” by Roxette. It has been a favorite of mine for many years, and I find myself listening to it on several different occasions.

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

I have completed my screenplay for a feature-length historical thriller that takes place during a dark time of Greek history, namely the military dictatorship in Greece that lasted from 1967 to 1974. It would be a great opportunity to get audiences all over the world to know about the political climate and the lives of everyday people during that time. I am currently in the process of seeking funding for the film, and hoping for the best!

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