Interview with Filmmaker Nalan Abbasoğlu (KHORA)

KHORA was the winner of BEST DIRECTION at the December 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It all started with an ailment. While I was thinking about the issue that bothered me, a kind of subject-object spiral emerged and I wanted to express it. Love as a problem is where the boundaries of me and the other are stretched, and also a challenging point of transformation. Sarter’s word was the thing that I thought the most during this process; “Hell is other people”.

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

It was a seven-month process. The first three months I just thought. While I was thinking, I took some notes. Every project is different, but what I wanted to tell in this project has always come to my mind as an image. It took me one day to put into a script what I had thought about for three months. Afterwards, I concentrated on revising it several times, but I almost never touched the original version of the script. We started working with Vera, my assistant director, cinematographer, art director and junior actress. We decided not to buy the doll in the movie, but to make it. My little actress Vera understood the project very well and was very enthusiastic and excited. My cinematographer had captured the feeling we would create in cinematography. It took ten days to prepare the place. We designed the shoots that could be completed in two days as four days. Since my actor is a child, I did not want to tire him. One of the things I was very lucky about was that my friend who composed the music for my film was a professional, both an opera and metal rock music artist; He understood the project very well and wrote original music. Since my cinematographer did the editing, effects and color in the post-production phase, we achieved integrity there as well. Music, editing, color, sound took three months. In total, the film came out in a period of seven months.

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

Existing and non-existing (dissapearing)

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

Actually, I did not encounter any great difficulties, but the thing that scared me the most was being able to reflect my intention to the audience in such a symbolic and closed expression. While I was making the film, this anxiety did not limit me, I was going to shoot it like this no matter what, but after everything was over, I was afraid that no one would understand me.

I believed very much in what I wanted to convey, but was the language I constructed consistent and did the symbols serve the narrative correctly? While I was writing the script, I had a hard time even explaining to the team what I was thinking through the visuals. My film has attracted attention from various parts of the world, I am happy that it has found a place.

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

It was exciting for me. Being able to produce something is a very happy thing in itself, but it was a great experience for me that they thought about and commented on my film meeting with others. We don’t speak the same language, but I was able to enter people’s hearts with the language of a movie without dialogue. This is something very special for me. Also, the movie is full of symbols and flows fast, but the details they captured were very good. Thank you very much to all of them.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

It’s what I’ve wanted for years. My interest in fiction dates back to my childhood. I became a dentist, but on the one hand, my short story studies continued, and then my screenplay and cinema studies began. I worked on two documentaries about women filmmakers. I wanted to produce my own film for about ten years, but I did not feel free enough. The time has come.

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

Bergman’s Persona. I realized that when you asked, persona is a very basic problem for me.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?

What you do is very beautiful, really very meaningful. I would like to watch the films of the other participants, I would also like to get to know them. Is there an opportunity to watch, for example, at least those who entered the selection have access?

The movie theater is something we miss very much, so is meeting face-to-face, but the possibilities of digital platforms have given us the opportunity to connect with many parts of the world in a very short time, in a way, everyone has a chance now.

Of course, we want recognition for who we are in order to find support in our future projects. I see that you are working on this as well.

9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?

The structure of each festival is different, there are some people who I have very little contact with, and there are those who do more continuous and different activities. It is very nice to see the film free way festivals together and to follow the interactions from a single platform. There are many festivals, especially the monthly ones, I cannot say that they are all at the same level. Extra events like yours are very important to us. I believe that digital platforms will develop further and create new opportunities for the artist.

10. What is your favorite meal?

Dolma is a dish in Turkey that has many varieties and is cooked by stuffing vegetables with meat or rice with a spicy mixture.

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

There’s another short line up. I want to bring it to life in the spring. This time my character will speak.

By matthewtoffolo

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

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