Interview with Filmmaker Lukas Hanulak (EMPTY SPACES)

EMPTY SPACES, 17min., Canada, Drama
Directed by Lukas Hanulak
Written by Jess Waters
Debbie returns home to console Aiden after the loss of their father. They fight, reconcile, and finally understand what they lost.

Get to know the filmmaker:

1. What motivated you to make this film?

It was the topic of loss and generational trauma that is passed from parents to children that attracted me at first. Second, I immediately fell in love with the emotional beauty and simplicity of the original script. As I was looking for a low-budget story I can produce by myself as my first English-speaking film, it was important to choose the right one. I also have to mention that I was lucky enough to work with many talented people from Vancouver Island’s film independent community who helped me to realize this idea.

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

From the moment I optioned the script from Jess Waters at the beginning of 2021, it took me almost one and a half years to finish it. It was quite tough as I was still not happy with the final version of the movie, so we re-edited it several times in order to get the best emotional impact from the story.

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

Essence of Grief

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

For sure it was the pandemic situation back in 2021. Two days before we started shooting the government of Canada issued new harsher restrictions, so at one moment I thought we need to postpone shooting and wait for better times. Luckily, thanks to the great organizational work of co-producer Leah Flagg we were able to continue shooting our film despite such unprecedented times. Because of the Covid protocols, everything was also more expensive for me as a producer, so I could really feel how was the pandemic devastating for many independent producers from all around the world.

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

I was happy that somebody put effort to do it. Really, it’s amazing for all the filmmakers who devoted their time to produce something close to their hearts. When I was watching the feedback video for the first time, I was deeply touched to see how our movie created an emotional impact. That‘s very important for me as a storyteller, director, and producer too.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

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

I think it was in my teens that I realized I want to be a visual artist who creates his own stories. Therefore I decided to study film at university. Since then I wrote and directed several award-winning shorts, documentaries, and TV drama series for major broadcasters in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. With more than a decade of experience, I developed the ability to create unique story interpretations while exploring different visual styles and film genres.

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

„Thin Red Line“ by Terrence Malick. Until today I saw this movie at least 45 times. Yes, I know. It’s crazy.

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

I think you’re doing the best job! The system of four tiers and audience feedback is a great way how to do it. I really appreciate the way of communication and I am looking forward to doing the podcast with you.

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

FilmFreeway is absolutely stunning platform for filmmakers. Everything is so easy to manage, with one click you can send your movie to various festivals all around the world. Definitely, it makes life easier.

10. What is your favorite meal?

The one which is cooked with love and/or passion.

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

My next project is a dramatic “hot-button” story about the mental health crisis among teens today. It’s a limited series called MASON that examines the struggles faced in a low-income public high school through the conflicting perspectives of its unique students, staff, and parents. The story follows a kind-hearted, but mentally unstable boy with untreated schizophrenia and a devoted school counselor who must bring out the best in him before he reaches his breaking point and put the other students in grave danger. I just finished the pitch book and I am ready to send a pilot script to potential producers in USA and Canada.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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