Interview with Filmmaker Ileana Dana Darie (SPEAK KDSK)

SPEAK KDSK was the winner of BEST SHORT FORM SHORT FILM at the May 2022 Toronto Documentary Festival.

1. What motivated you to make this film?

For my master degree, I had to read a semiotic study that decodes lines representing a horse and a knight in a figurative painting of Kandinsky, “Composition IV”. The text makes references to other previous horse paintings in order to explain the evolution towards this simplified style. I had the idea of illustrating the whole topic in a visual accessible way. I am a teacher and I constantly search for ways of delivering explanations in an unmistakably clear way. I like to be concise and straight to the point.

Animation is a passion of mine and I liked to build this movie as a lesson through a medium I enjoy.

This triggered the creation of my project.

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

I worked on this movie mostly during the summer vacations when I was capable to completely focus on it and on nothing else. Exceptionally, I continued the production during one winter too, when I was able to free my schedule and make more place for this project. It took me 7 years and a half for the production and, before, about one year for the concept.

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

Who’s Kandinsky?

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

The biggest obstacles were my own high expectation for this project, the needed research and the balance between clarity and emotion in portraying the subject. On top of it, sometimes I was hunted by a guilt of deciphering aspects that Kandinsky probably wanted to keep mysterious in his work and in his private life.

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

I was so very touched!

I also found some meanings that were somehow inconscience to me in the creative process and that were articulated in the feedback video. Honestly, it made me go watch my own movie again to search for this extended perspective that was offered.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I had the idea of making the movie in 2012, but I didn’t know how. Bits and pieces of this whole vision came in moments of inspiration. It took very long to arrive to get to imagine a sequence, and I postponed making them in order to allow improvements, to let it ripe well. However, I was committed to a production process where I do not modifying digitally the animation. Once I made a frame using a traditional stop motion technique, it was the final version of the frame.

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

I like love stories and documentaries. The last movie I rewatched is “Café de flore”.

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

Communicating with spectators who just saw my movie is very pleasant for me. I’m always interested in getting reactions and comments. Sometimes it’s a way of getting into a deep meaning conversation.

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

It’s good, it’s easy to use and submit a film to festivals.

10. What is your favourite meal?


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

I wish I make a videoclip illustration next. I want to have less pressure about the concept and to bring it to completion faster.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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