PERSISTENCE, 12min., Canada, Drama
Directed by Krista Barzso
Persistence is a story about what happens when romantic intentions cross over into stalking. The ?lm explores what happens when trusts are broken but laws aren?t, and just how much damage can be done to someone’s life in that space between.
Get to know the filmmaker:
1. What motivated you to make this film?
This project has kind of taken on a life of its own. Initially, I just knew that I wanted to make the most out of quarantine life by taking that time to write and produce my first short film. I was always raised with the principle that if something is worth doing, it is worth doing well, so I knew that whatever I chose to do, I would throw myself into it completely. That made me really take the time to consider what story I would want to devote that kind of energy to.
Persistence is based on my real life experiences with stalkers. When I came up with the idea, I had a visceral reaction to the mere thought, so I knew there was more there that I needed to explore. I initially thought I was just doing it as a therapeutic exercise for myself, but the more people I spoke to about it, the more people approached me with their own similar stories. Understanding that I wasn’t alone in what I went through was heartbreaking and also so encouraging. From that moment, I started to realize that there is a bigger purpose to telling this story; to start important conversations and hopefully help others feel less isolated as well.
2. From the idea to the finished product, how long did it take for you to make this film?
I started writing in January of 2021 and the final cut was completed in May 2022.
3. How would you describe your film in two words!?
4. What was the biggest obstacle you faced in completing this film?
COVID, hands down. We were initially supposed to film in April 2021, but when we did the budget, paying for the necessary accommodations at that time would have doubled our costs. We had to put filming on hold indefinitely until regulations changed.
Fortunately, that gave us time to polish the script and fine tune the other areas of production even further. When the rules finally did change, and we were ready to film in August of that year, everyone knew the plan and exactly what needed to happen. I wrote the story to have as few characters as possible, and we filmed in one location on one night to reduce risk/exposure. Even still, leading up to the shoot, the rules were changing by the day so we had to keep checking in and making adjustments to make sure we were still compliant.
5. What were your initial reactions when watching the audience talking about your film in the feedback video?
That was really emotional. It is an incredible experience to hear strangers react to such a personal piece of art. To hear that they enjoyed the film from an entertainment perspective, and that they also resonated with the story and that it inspired different thought patterns and conversations, is hard to describe. I am touched, and honoured that they let me take them on such an uncomfortable ride.
6. When did you realize that you wanted to make films?
I have been acting in some capacity for as long as I can remember. Bringing stories to life on stage and on screen has always been a part of me. At some point I realized that taking on some other roles behind the camera as well would provide different ways to approach storytelling.
I took my first tiny attempt as writer, producer and director with a 15 second horror short called “Who” (there is still a link to it on my website if you are interested www.kristabarzso.com) back in 2018. I really enjoyed the process, and decided then that I wanted to tackle bigger projects.
7. What film have you seen the most in your life?
It is probably a toss up between Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella and Disney’s Aladdin. Both had a place in my childhood where they brought comfort and got watched on repeat.
8. What other elements of the festival experience can we and other festivals implement to satisfy you and help you further your filmmaking career?
It can be really difficult for a first-time filmmaker to break into the festival circuit. You fall into a bit of a Catch 22 where you can’t get your film seen unless people have already heard of you, but they can’t hear about you if you can’t get your film seen. It would be great if more festivals, especially the larger ones, made some space for new up-and-coming films as well.
9. You submitted to the festival via FilmFreeway. How has your experiences been working on the festival platform site?
I have really enjoyed it. Creating a complete submission profile takes time, and I have loved only needing to do that once. It makes submitting to festivals at the right time so much faster and easier. I have also discovered and submitted to some festivals that I most likely would not have known about if I were trying to search for festivals separately.
10. What is your favorite meal?
When my grandma makes Chicken Paprikash.
11. What is next for you? A new film?
I mentioned earlier that Persistence had taken on a life of its own going from script to screen. That hasn’t stopped; in fact it may be growing. It has become clear from the reception that this film is getting that there is a lot more story to tell here, so I am in the process now of writing the feature length version. After that, I’ll be finding a production team to help me create it!