Interview with Filmmaker Dimphy Van Vilsteren (SIN)

SIN played to rave reviews at the April 2021 LGBTQ+ Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

When I met ‘Alessia’ and heard her story I felt so much. For a person from the Netherlands this struck me as heartbreaking and made the difference clear of how grateful I am to have the freedoms I experienced in my country. Also, the struggle she had with her believe which is also deep embedded in her culture, was something I wanted to understand.

Her willingness to share her story and trust me and my team was exceptional. With a very small crew, a Taiwanese editor and sound recorder Joseph Chen and a Nigerian Director of Photography Shakz Blati we were able to combine all our ideas and creativity to bring her story the best way we could. We started with a meeting so she knew the persons around her and also so she trusted these persons. And during the process we also learned a lot as we were students of the Toronto Film School. For me it was especially important that this story is to be heard and it might help people not feel alone in this and make people understand what people experience and learn about different circumstances. Joseph, Shakz and me have worked as a team and more important, Alessia was in the center of that.

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

We made this short documentary in one term on Toronto Film School and we did the whole project in two months, starting with a interview and then collecting the visuals, editing and sound in the last couple of weeks.

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

Personal battle

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

We are students so there were a lot of things we needed to learn. We did not want to show the face of Alessia because of her fear which meant we needed a lot of visuals. It is a internal fight which we needed to make visual.

Also, she was afraid of her voice but I did find it important that people would hear her voice, literally and figuratively.

We said we would show her the end result and she could than decide. I wanted to make her proud of her story and do her story well and as best as we could. Finding the right visuals and doing her story and Alessia justice was the most important but also difficult thing for me personal.

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

It makes me feel humble and honoured and so glad we made this. If we can touch people by her story and learn people about different circumstances in the world I can only be grateful and want to bring more of these stories.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

See answer 1. I talked to ‘Alessia’ and she was able to trust me with her story. As for now we still have the agreement to send it only to small festivals, but her trusting me and telling her story and her battle in such an open way, is the heart of the story.

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

When I was small Pretty in Pink and Breakfast club, when I was around 18, Festen (the celebration) and Bella Martha (Italian film) and now the favourite.

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

I think it is a good platform but also felt a bit massive. But it is easy way for a new filmmaker to get to the right markets. Also, the personal approach that follows from festivals towards filmmakers after film freeway feels good and gets you back to what it is about: the story and film. The concepts worked very well to me and got me some great opportunities and even my first award.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Goulash (Hungarian dish)

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

I shot my first short fictional movie ‘Outcast’, about a teenage girl who feels alone and needs to find the power in herself to take the first step and bond with people. It is my thesis film for the Toronto Film School. I shot it in the Netherlands, and it has just been screened for my end ceremony for Toronto Film School and I will try to admit this to festivals. I just finished he film school and I am now looking for experience and stories but also working on a documentary with and a new short movie.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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