Cinematographer Diana Olifirova interrogates the idea that every time we watch a film, we project ourselves onto the screen. In her experimental short Mirror, which was screened at ASFF 2015, she reveals an exploration of the infinite, absorbing nature of cinema. As more people engage with film on demand, from the comfort of their own home, we speak to Olifirova about how the traditional notion of seeing film in a cinema as part of an audience can enrich the viewing experience, and how through cinematography she aims to experiment with moving image.
ASFF: Your film Mirror was part of the Official Selection at ASFF 2015. What was it like to have your film screened at the festival?
DO: It was an amazing experience! For a cinematographer, there is nothing better than seeing your work on a big screen and meeting some inspiring directors in the meantime, plus there were three films shot by me in a programme.
ASFF: Your film explores the way in which we as viewers project ourselves onto the screen. What was the inspiration behind this and what did you hope audiences would take away from the film?
DO: The inspiration behind this film was the cinema at my film school, the National Film and Television School. I found it very gripping; it always scared me a little bit but I kept wandering in and sometimes I could find one person or two people watching their favourite films in there – meditating, exploring, or hiding from the real world?
It’s incredible – how much people like just to watch while escaping from their own lives. I like watching films, but I also like to be challenged, to be changed, to dive in and for it to feel real.
ASFF: You consider the absorbing nature of cinema, and how we project ourselves onto the screen. What do you mean by that and why do you think it is important for a film to achieve this?
DO: I think when you watch a film and connect with it, you explore the journey of the characters by projecting yourself onto the screen. If it works you are left changed, with a new understanding and new emotions that can be very powerful and bring you to a new level!
ASFF: Do you think that new ways of watching films, on demand in our own homes away from the traditional cinema setting, is changing the way we experience and feel about film?
DO: I love a big screen and I wait for some old films that I haven’t seen yet to be screened somewhere in order to feel them in what I consider the right way. Nevertheless, I think some films don’t need a big screen experience at all. They might just not fit or not be made for it.
Mirror is definitely for the cinema, at least due to its idea of watching the way we watch films, so it’s particularly exciting to watch as a member of an audience in the traditional setting.
ASFF: How important is it that people can access your film online, and do you think this will open it up to new audiences?
DO: I believe online screenings are beneficial, as they help filmmakers to find like-minded people and it’s so easy to share work. I think there should be always an opportunity for anyone to watch your film!
ASFF: Are you making new films in the experimental genre at present?
DO: Yes I’m doing more music videos, commercials, shorts and art films with different directors. The experience at ASFF always helps to inspire future productions.
To watch Mirror, click here.
For more information visit www.dianaolifirova.com