Interview with Filmmaker Nina Marinov (SUBSTANCE)

SUBSTANCE was the winner of BEST SOUND & MUSIC at the Dec. 2021 EXPERIMENTAL Film Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

Sometimes there are people who you know and absolutely admire their work, to the point of professional jealousy (the good, inspiring kind). One of these people to me is Irina Sergeeva and her dance company Will Begin Now. Even though we knew each other in real life for many years we never had a serious conversation, I was watching her from afar in awe and admiration. One day we started that conversation and it turned out that she loved my work as well and naturally we decided to work together. There was no clarity on what or how (she’s in St.Petersburg, Russia and I’m in Atlanta, GA) we would collaborate on but we really wanted to make it happen. So one day she came to me with an idea to make a movement based story and we started the process.

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

We started conceptualization at the end of April, 2020, shot at the beginning of May, and fully finished post in October, 2020.

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

Poetry and movement (sorry, three words)

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

To me it’s always post production. I edit my projects myself and I love to take my time to do so. It’s a bit of a painful game trying to find rhythm, make the visuals work, fine-tune the sound, put together the whole puzzle, but it’s a game to me, my sandbox for experiments

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

Seeing people reacting and connecting with my work was a fantastic experience! One of my favorite quotes is “If you have to explain, don’t explain”. And in this case I didn’t need to explain anything, your festival’s audience totally got it. It feels great. That and sharing this experience with my team. Also, my 10yo daughter watched it with me and my coolness now on the next level.

Watch the Audience FEEDBACK Video:

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

I didn’t admit it for the longest time. Even when I started working in production I would not admit that I wanted to direct, so it took a little while to convince myself that I can do it. And it wasn’t me actually who did the convincing, it was my friend who came to me and said that she wants me to direct her script. That’s how I started

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

Besieged by Bertolucci, his most underrated film and one of the best love stories

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

You guys are doing an amazing job, it’s hard to add anything to it really.

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

I love FilmFreeway, it’s incredibly easy to find the most suitable for your projects festivals, very clear organization, and simple tracking of all the submissions. I can’t be happier with it

10. What is your favorite meal?

Pasta in all variations

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

Yes, I’m currently in post production for another movement based project. As usual, post takes a lot of time for me. And after that I have one more dance idea inspired by French New Wave


By matthewtoffolo

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

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