Interview with Filmmaker Daniel Stadelmann (CALL ME SORAYA)

CALL ME SORAYA, 100min., Switzerland, Documentary
Directed by Daniel Stadelmann
Soraya feels like a girl, but anatomically she is a boy. Until recently, she went to school as Josué. Her coming out at the age of 13 is initially positive, but after just a few weeks she is met with increasing rejection. Soraya also experiences resistance at home. Her father hopes that his child might “change her mind” again. Soraya, on the other hand, fights for early hormone delivery and an early operation. Over a period of six years, a touching film was made which, beyond the individual fate, contributes to the debate about transidentity and homophobia.

Get to know the filmmaker:

What motivated you to make this film?
A cameraman with whom I had made another film contacted me. He was a neighbor of Soraya’s family and learned about Soraya’s coming out. We then both sat with the family and talked about the possibilities of a film. Basically we just started shooting after that, still without a concept or funding, I just didn’t want to miss anything. As a filmmaker, I was curious to see how Soraya would develop, what hurdles she would have to overcome, and what her coming out meant for the cohesion of the family.

2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
½ years.

How would you describe your film in two words!?
The touching story of a trans girl who is looking for her place in life.

What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
In the last three years it was difficult to make binding agreements with the protagonist. Several times, she cancelled filming dates one or two days in advance.

What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
It was exciting and thrilling to listen to strangers who watched the film attentively and gave you feedback. I am flattered by the positive reactions and of course by the award at the festival.

Watch the Audience Feedback Video:

When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
That was 10 years ago when I quit my job at Swiss Television as a news journalist.

7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
Memento (Chrisopher Nolan) because it took me so many times to get it all. And of course because I love the film.

8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
Gaining even more attention from distributors who may be able to help a filmmaker sell a film better.

9. What is your favorite meal?
Vegetable lasagne

11. What is next for you? A new film?
Two smaller documentaries.


By matthewtoffolo

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

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