Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) takes place 6 – 9 November in the historic city of York. BAFTA accreditation has been awarded to the festival for its importance as a platform for showcasing new filmmaking talent from around the world. We talk to Eric Kolelas, one of the filmmakers recently selected to screen at ASFF 2014, about his desolate post-apocolyptic drama Hold.
A: You wrote, produced, directed and starred in your latest film Hold. How does this all-encompassing involvement in your film projects shape your practice?
EK: Taking on the writing, producing, directing and acting has allowed me to keep some kind of control over the direction and tone of the film. However, I also find that some of these tasks can come in direct conflicts with others: for instance your responsibilities as a producer can sometimes get in the way of the emotional state required as an actor. This makes it so important to work with a crew who believes in your project and really understands what you are trying to achieve.
A: Your film is inspired by the Maslow Hierarchy of needs, in which physiological requirements are placed before psychological states such as self-esteem, love, intimacy and self-acceptance. What did you want to explore with this topic?
EK: The film doesn’t attempt to upturn the whole Maslow Hierarchy of needs, it only focuses on one specific physiological need verses the interpersonal level of human needs, and how we can often mix those up. I think it’s also worth mentioning that according to the same hierarchy, some needs may overcome others depending on numerous factors, creating somewhat of a grey area. It is that grey area that I wanted to explore with Hold.
A: Which films have been the most inspiring or influential to you and why?
EK: My main influence for Hold were Joseph Kosinski’s Oblivion on a visual level, Ger Leonard’s Still Early on a dramatic level and John Hillcoat’s The Road for its mood and music.
A: What has been the most effective tool to promote your films and build upon your audience base?
EK: In the past couple of years I’ve been going to a lot of film related events, screenings, networking nights and I noticed that even though you end up meeting all these people and telling them what you are up to, they hardly remember your name of what it is you told them about. I started going to those events with postcards, inspired by the use of business cards, and would give to anyone I mentioned my work too as a very visual reminder and a way to keep them curious and interested.
I started using postcards a few years ago for my first film Fifty Pence, and I now bump into people I had met years ago who can’t remember my name off the top of their heads, can vividly remember the film, so much so that I sometimes get called Fifty Pence, even by those that haven’t had a chance to watch it.
A: What advice would you give aspiring filmmakers?
EK: Make films! No matter the budget, make something. Every time I meet someone in the industry and tell them that I am a filmmaker the same two questions pop up: “What have you made?” and “Where and when can we see it?”
If you are a filmmaker, whether aspiring, experienced, or established, people want to see your work rather than hear you talk about it. After all, film is a visual (and audio) platform, so make something people can see (and hear). You can either do it right; or do it wrong and make mistakes that will allow you to do it better the next time.
For ASFF 2014 programme information on speakers, masterclasses and special events visit: www.asff.co.uk/tickets
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