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Films of Love, Loneliness and Mercy

The Pacific Meridian continues to present competition films to the audience

On the third festival day two full-length and five short films were screened. Among the full length movie “P-047” by Thai director Kongdej Jaturanrasmee was presented to the public and American movie “Without” by Mark Jackson, was also screened that day. The following short movies were presented as well: “Shelter” by Indonesian filmmaker Ismail Basbeth, “Gurban” by Anar Abbasov (Russia), “A Good Day” by American filmmaker Jeannine N. Sturtevant, “Magnolia” (Diana Montenegro Garcia, Columbia) and “Whakatiki” by New Zealand filmmaker Louise Leitch.

- Question to the director Anar Abbasov (“Gurban”). As far as I know you were born in Azerbaijan but graduated from VGIK. What do members of your family think of your films? Don’t you think they‘re a little too extreme? It seems as if you tried to dispute the very necessity of sacrifices and the laws of Islam?

- The problem is that there are no film festivals in Azerbaijan. I would like to premiere this film there. I discussed that with those working in the movie business, and posted the film on YouTube. The Azerbaijan audience opinion was very important for me, as mostly this movie controverts some traditions of their culture. First, I was confronted by my father. I didn’t manage to re-convince him, but he understood the point of the movie. The representatives of the Tatarstan film festival expressed some interest in my work. I’m ready to defend my point.

- Question to Louise Leitch, director of “Whakatiki”. You were born in Australia but moved to New Zealand later. Did that event have impact on your future career?

- It gave me the opportunity to make short films. During my life in Australia, I spent most of my time shooting dramas. I had such a busy schedule, that I couldn’t do what I wanted to. It took a while though, to find people, with whom I could make films of my dream. But I’ so happy that I live and work in New Zealand.

- Question to Jeannine N. Sturtevant (“A Good Day”). Your film has a grave atmosphere, and for the actress, who portrayed the main character, it was so hard to express all that variety of emotions. Tell about the cast work, your work with actors.

- That actress‘s name is Tracy Coogan. She had a great preparation for the shooting process. Prior to the beginning of work, we discussed the plot. The actress was very brave and was not afraid of being weak on the screen. Tracy made enormous work on this film, and so did 43 persons of the crew.

- Question to Soros Sukhum (“P-047”). This is your film debut, as you’re generally known as a musician. What do music and films have in common? Was it difficult for you to work on the film?

- It was very difficult, as it was my debut. Just like for everyone new to that. What is there  in common… Actually, I’m not sure what to answer. That’s  life. I’ve never planned to be either a musician or an actor. I just tried to use every chance, the life gave me.

- Question to Ismail Basbeth (“Shelter”). Was the film screened in your country and if it was how did the audience react to the film?

- It was a big job to screen my film there. But I coped with it. Though it was screened in small theatres. But nevertheless, people saw it. And they divided into haters and supporters.

- Question to Josh Mandel (“Without”). “Without”, your film’s original name differs from its Russian analogue “Lonely”. Do you agree with that?

- Yes, I do. This is a film about losses and loneliness, caused by them. It influenced the main character’s life a lot. “Without” meant the absence of love in the girl’s life, and her suffering because of that. Or, rather, from the limited access to the reality. Nowadays, we can’t do without social networks and digital devices to the point, if you leave your Smartphone home by accident, you start feeling vulnerable. And it is even a bigger problem for teenagers. That’s why, when the girl finds herself in the house with no internet access she feels as if her world is going to end.

In fact the suicide wave in America helped me with the idea for the film. People were alerted by the tendency. The mass media coverage of such situations is focused on their causes, and sometimes, people who provoke them. But they never cover people who grieve for their loss. That’s fair for the character, Joslyn. That’s how the story begins.