sábado, 30 de septiembre de 2023

BREAKING NEWS: Interview with Director Alexandra Savu


Alexandra Savu graduated with a BFA degree in Film and Media Arts from Southern Methodist University in 2023, for which she completed this thesis film project. She has been taking on roles such as cinematographer, editor, DIT, sound mixer, and director for various short films and has worked in the postproduction departments for the feature films made at SMU and beyond.
Alexandra has also experience in the industry, having worked as a contractor or freelance assistant editor/sound mixer or graphics designer at different post houses in Dallas, such as 3008 Studios, Charlie Uniform Tango, and Pepelwerk, and has been interned for a year and a half at NBCUniversal within the cable entertainment and creative marketing department.
Getting to direct, write and produce her thesis films for her undergraduate capstone project is one of the highlights of Alexandra’s career because she has dedicated all her knowledge and efforts to making these movies come alive in the best way they could.



Q. Hello Alexandra and welcome to the "Madrid International Movie Awards"! Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

A. Hi, Madrid! It’s such an honour to talk with you, thanks for having me here! I am Alexandra, a filmmaker and a film lover. I am passionate about the field I am working in and I would not want to change it with anything else, but I am also passionate as a human being. I love passionately the people I care about and make their priorities my own. I am a surprising, adventurous, yet analytical and contemplative person dedicated to grasping new sources of happiness in the daily routine. I find beauty in the simple things in life and aim to create art portraying our deepest emotions about which most of us, starting with me, find it harder to open up.


Q. How was born your passion for the world of cinema? And what was your first movie?

A. My passion for filmmaking started when I discovered what makes me feel fulfilled in a career, breakthrough it happened about 15 years ago. I discovered I wanted to work in the film industry when I was a child. My parents would leave me alone for a while, so I had to figure out what to do with all that time. I started watching films, and they were not necessarily for fun: I would take notes on how these movies could have been improved in my head, and what I would have done differently as a film editor and director. I am not sure about my first film, but one of them was definitely "The Tourist".

Q. What can you tell about “Love in the Evening/Morning”? And what inspired you in how you went about this project?

A. My deepest emotions I have experienced in a romantic context inspired me to make this film. Before I loved someone the first time, I had no idea love could have such a dramatic impact on someone’s life. I was blown away by how much my whole identity changed once that feeling took over my world and how I slowly but surely became wiser, more careful to details, and more receptive to my intense sensitivity. I created this film disguised at times in a commercial romcom, or a rather standard drama, where you go in open to explore another turnaround of a complex love story. However, the overwhelming feelings of the characters slowly start to guide the plot and the film becomes less about what you do in the unexpected situations life puts you in, but more about how you manage the romantic feelings you’ve never experienced before within yourself. The film is edited in such a way that it shocks the audience with how brutally emotional romances can get, yet at the end I would say the film encourages the viewers to give love another chance in this rough world.


Q. What was the most difficult part of the process of working on this film? And the most fun portion of this entire production?

A. The most fun and the most difficult part of working on this film are the same one: directing the actors. I have done a lot of research beforehand on how to create that true, sincere chemistry between strangers, and how to portray on screen a complex, long term relationship that feels genuine, with dialogue that was not written, but borrowed from real people. However, the most exciting part was not learning from the theory, but from working with the actors. From learning them as people first, and then putting the pieces together to create the best directing exercises that would get them closer to the story itself, and to each other. It was a wholesome experience getting to understand the requirements for getting actors not only to understand their character’s journey and traits, but also trust their partner enough to have genuine reactions based on their interaction, and not on the script pages.
I also loved editing the two different parts of the film. It was challenging figuring out how to outline the biggest differences the edit of the two should include to accurately portray the difference between young, wild, mindless love and mature, wise, serious love. I believe the postproduction proved to be a very intense process from an analytical standpoint, yet so satisfying creatively because I got to pour in everything I have ever learned or experienced in this field into the edit of this film to make it as whole as it is.

Q. What is, for you, the main difficulties to make a short film?

A. There are the usual issues with budgetary conflicts, casting great actors, and creating a schedule that everyone follows strictly. However, after having worked on so many productions in the last couple years, I would say that the main thing for me to be on the lookout for and solve before it becomes an issue is creating a safe space for everyone on set. We work with emotions as artists, and if the emotions we are experiencing inside ourselves are not positive, then it will show on screen. The emotions will not stop behind the camera, they will infiltrate in the recorded material and our films will suffer. Therefore, when managing crews, it’s important to pay attention to the cast and crew’s needs and thoughts and make sure everyone is treated fairly, respectfully, and there is a sense of community and desire to create the best film out there.
Another big difficulty is the troubleshooting that comes in postproduction. I love seeking the technical solutions for the edit, and I adore having complete control over the rhythm and stylistic choices the editing provides. I have been working in multiple software with multiple workflows in post for the last couple years, and every time editing proves to teach me so many more things about the perfect moment to cut a shot, or the timing of a cutaway insert, or the impact of silence within a dramatic scene. I have developed a lot as an artist and creator throughout the editing process, and although the technical issues arise suddenly and unexpectedly, their solutions and following through are more rewarding than anything else at that stage of production.


Q. What is a quote that summarizes everything you’re about as a filmmaker?

A. The only way I can work is if I care and am passionate about a project, so the challenge is to find projects that I feel that way about - David Heyman.

Q. What are your favourite films?

A. I love Pedro Almodovar and his feminine, ecentric films that show the wild rage and freedom Spain was experiencing after Franco. I also go crazy for Luc Besson films, such as "Anna, Leon the Professional" or "Nikkita". I love romance combined with mystery and drama, isn’t that one the best type of romance?


Q. Who most inspires/influences you currently and why?

A. I receive my influence from a variety of sources – I am open to admiring and discovering different forms of art because behind each art piece I am excited to find the artist whose humanity is courageously embraced and whose shell is broken down to expose their most sincere emotions. Honest movies and books, stories in general, where the dialogue feels genuine, depicted from the writer’s own world, or where the action is a cause not a purpose, are masterpieces where I will instinctively take out a pencil and write down several notes.

Q. What advice would you give an aspiring filmmaker?

A. Increase the stakes of the project you take on. Do not underestimate the amount of emotional energy and mental presence a challenging project requires you to dedicate to, or otherwise it would turn out shallower that you’d hope for. Keep pursuing your dreams no matter how far-fetched they seem. And as Aerosmith says "dream until your dream comes true".


Q. We’re so glad to have you here. Do you have anything else you’d like to say before we wrap up?

A. Thank you so much again for having me on here! It’s a pleasure to discuss with you. I hope people give love another chance and strive to share it with no remorse more often. The world we live in needs more love. Always.


Thanks a lot Alexandra! We can’t wait to see what you do next. We remind you that you can follow her on:

- Alexandra Savu's website

- Instagram

- Youtube

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