25/10/12 – I have spent most of October 2012 in Cyprus. Not really much of a holiday as I’ve been preparing for my next short film called ‘Haftasonu’ (‘Weekend’) which I aim to shoot next year in May.

‘Haftasonu’ (Weekend)

Comparing with making a short film in London, the main  difference is the difficulty in finding a suitable cast. There is no mandy or casting call pro so I have to rely on the old fashioned technique of actually asking around, creating a word of mouth, putting myself out there. I’ve had the advantage of being selected to the Cyprus International Film Festival with ‘Leave, which has the potential to do a lot of the hard work by itself. If people are aware that you aren’t just saying you are a director but actually do have a piece of work that has been in official screenings around the continent, they do tend to take you more seriously. Especially in Cyprus, where until a couple of years ago, making a film wasn’t even considered as an idea..

4 feature films have been released in the last 3 years in North Cyprus. It will take a lot more to increase that number but knowing that there is a sudden interest in creating films here, I had to be a part of it. It’s the main deciding factor for me to leave the UK behind and move back here . I’ve spent October promoting ‘Leave’ in two screenings, a tv programme and a few interviews just to create this awareness. I’ve also spent a few sleepless nights preparing a quite detailed funding application and fingers crossed, if all goes well, there is a chance that ‘Haftasonu’ may be my the first partly funded production helmed by myself. Even if the outcome isn’t what I hope, production will go forward next year. It has to..

After ‘Leave’, I spent 2012 producing two short films. The first was ‘landescapes’, shot in January and was completed earlier this month. Written and directed by my dear talented friend Damla Kirkali, it tells the tale of young couple living in London trying to maintain their relationship amongst the pressure of their families, unemployment and alienation. It has the potential to be screened in festivals and I relish the chance to be a part of that experience.

Mengü Türk in ‘landescapes’

The second short film is titled ‘Meztli’ and was shot in Mexico Ciy. An experimental film which is a call to bring fantasy and surrealism back to the Mexican cinema, with themes rooted in the Mexican culture. I’m very excited to see people’s reactions as they witness this very special piece of art directed by the unique Astrid Salas.

Paola Salas in ‘Meztli’

Producing is an entirely different type of beast compared to directing and I have to be honest, isn’t really my cup of tea. It can be tough to balance your responsibilities and actually put aside your urge to interfere, trusting the director to do what they have imagined in their mind. So it’s time to get back in the directors’ chair and be the dictator, a kind one but a dictator nevertheless.

During my time here in Cyprus, which comes to an end on Sunday, I’ve seen two plays and also a practice session. I’ve seen very talented individuals playing a rape victim, a political activist and a bored housewife all in the span of a hour. It’s incredible that the human mind can engage in such a wide variety of role playing with such convincing manner. It does give me the hope that I will eventually find each member of the cast of 9 I am searching for. I have already made preliminary talks and if all goes well, casting sessions should be underway next year in February/March.

Oh, did I mention ‘Leave’ received “Special Mention for Best Short Film” at the festival? 🙂

receiving the award