Interview with Heléna Antonio (2020)

2020 played to rave reviews at the September 2021 FEMALE Director’s Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It was an urgency and desire to see and make others see the light despite the circumstances.

Vita, my daughter, was born in a quite difficult year, however she made me realise -once more- that life can be beautifully surprising if we focus on the positive.

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

It took about a month.

I initially shot the first video of her looking at the window, through the curtains, I was amazed looking at her moving gracefully and with curiosity.

And then I wrote those lines, and all the other moments were filmed.

After that it went straight into postproduction.

I was determined in having a final film that could inspire as many people as possible.

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

Intimate and truthful.

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

I believe this film was meant to be done, as I had unexpected help and I found the right people around me to make it happen.

However, I set a deadline to have the final film ready and I pushed to have it on time.

I had a few phone calls with Michael (the editor) and Hugh (the colour grader) before catching my flight from London to Italy.

‘Can we please have the first cut in 2 days?’ was basically what I asked jumping on the airplane.

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

I felt truly touched.

I saw the sincere reactions of people after watching the film and I saw they were genuinely moved after watching it.
Comments like ‘It made me want to call my mum’ and ‘It made me feel things’ hit me, because it means the film caused reactions.

I always believed that I made a film because I had a personal urgency, however the audience is where I wanted to get.

Feeling that I have reached that makes me feel I fulfilled my purpose.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?

This is a very interesting question for me.

I am an actress, I started my professional career about 10 years ago, just very focused on acting, I didn’t consider filmmaking.

However, you know, you grow and see things differently.

So, I wanted to tell stories from a different perspective and in the past couple of years I started writing my own ones.

I always start writing with a ‘visual idea’ in mind, I have a ‘vision’ (sometimes I write the first notes on my phone when the ideas cross my mind) and then everything else takes form.

Funny enough, ‘2020’ wasn’t one of those previous scripts, it came out a little unexpectedly, and it made me realise

I want to make more films behind the camera (along with acting).

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

Though one!

There are a few films I could watch several times without getting bored.

Possibly the one I have watched the most is ‘A perfect world’, a direct, genuine story from Clint Eastwood. A film with heart.

I love a good story led by characters and their relationships.

These kind of films make me feel inspired in my personal and professional life.

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

I honestly think is a great way to submit. You create a profile for your film and then identify the most suitable Festivals for it. Every single one has plenty of information on the FilmFreeway page. It is a very useful platform for filmmakers.

9. What is your favorite meal?

Well, I am Italian. I love pizza!

I guess my favourite meal hasn’t change since I was 5.

It used to eat tuna & onion pizza when I was a child, now I really enjoy a good Margherita with fresh tomato and basil.

I feel hungry already even if it is 8 in the morning!

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

The next few months are going to be very busy.

I have a few more Festivals for ‘2020’ to attend with, and then – as actress- I few very exciting shorts I have been offered recently and two new Feature Films (I can’t reveal the details at the moment), playing quite opposite roles in them.

I am hard working and tenacious, so I truly like challenges.

And – very importantly- I like being busy doing what I love.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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