Svetlana Cvetko is famend for her cinematography work on an inventory of critically acclaimed documentaries, together with Oscar winner “Inside Job,” Oscar-nominated “Dealing with Worry,” the Cannes Official Choice “Pink Military,” and the Sundance US Documentary Particular Jury Prize-winning “Inequality For All.” “Present Me What You Obtained” marks her feature-length directorial debut. The brief movies she’s directed have gained awards such because the Grand Prix du Public in Movies de Femmes and Finest Documentary on the LA Shorts Pageant.
W&H: Describe the movie for us in your individual phrases.
SC: “Present Me What You Obtained” is about three younger millennials who meet in Los Angeles and type a bond. Each faces their very own problem associated to their households.
Enjoyable-loving Marcello (Mattia Minasi) is struggling to get out from underneath the thumb of his profitable Italian cleaning soap star father. The soulful Nassim (Neyssan Falahi) needs for a extra fulfilling performing profession whereas avoiding returning to Iran. And the artistically inclined Christine (Cristina Rambaldi) is looking for consolation and which means after the dying of her grandfather.
The three break via social boundaries and fall in love. However ultimately Marcello should return to Italy, and whereas there, the steadiness of their relationship shifts and every has to search out their very own footing once more.
W&H: What drew you to this story?
SC: I used to be drawn to Christine’s character. She is a power of nature, and a assured younger lady who acts on her needs. She is empowered and cozy in her personal pores and skin. Christine is aware of when to say no in her relationships, but additionally is aware of when she’s safe sufficient to say sure as nicely. She challenges some social norms surrounding love and expands acceptance past its present boundaries — acceptance of who we’re and who we love.
I additionally wished to color an image of the LA that I do know, the place I and my mates are largely immigrants. All of us converse English amongst ourselves, however different languages to our households throughout the ocean. We’re conflicted with the thrilling open mindedness of LA and the traditions of our homeland.
Construct onto that the unconventional love story, the black-and-white cinema verite fashion — I used to be excited to create a movie that was impressed by my favourite motion pictures that got here from the rebellious angle of filmmakers through the French New Wave.
W&H: What would you like individuals to consider after they watch the movie?
SC: My hope is that the viewers is reminded how lovely life is, and that we owe it to ourselves to reside it to the fullest, and to make extra decisions primarily based on love.
We’ve had viewers members come as much as us after pageant screenings with smiles on their faces, saying, “Wow, this brings again recollections. I want I might reside them another time. And I’d have made a number of completely different decisions.” I really like listening to that.
I misplaced my father simply two weeks earlier than we began filming, and my co-writer and producer misplaced his father whereas we have been in submit, and their spirits have been in our hearts whereas we have been making this.
W&H: What was the largest problem in making the movie?
SC: I’d say that each stage of filmmaking is the largest problem! For me, the precise days of manufacturing are maybe the best half. Put up is tough, and grueling for its repetitiveness to somebody like me who thrives on manufacturing. And getting distribution has confirmed to be very onerous, significantly for a black and white movie in a number of languages with subtitles! Even with all of our pageant awards, it was a string of individuals saying no earlier than Adrienne Becker of Stage Ahead/Display Ahead heard me converse on the Denver Movie Pageant and fell in love with the movie.
After which the pandemic hit! Adrienne and her staff have carried out an incredible job moving into that void for impartial movies and serving to them get seen. They’re organising a digital launch for Valentine’s weekend stuffed with reside workshops and significant, impact-oriented panels. I’m so thrilled! It’s distribution carried out the way in which each filmmaker needs it to be.
W&H: How did you get your movie funded? Share some insights into how you bought the movie made.
SC: My expertise as a cinematographer have been extremely useful on this case, in addition to the modifying expertise of my producer. Collectively, we had the flexibility to each movie scenes and put collectively an excellent presentation.
As soon as we bought our actors Cristina, Neyssan and Mattia onboard, and after speaking for hours in our lounge about their characters and the story — and having a lot of espresso and croissants collectively — we went out and did a day of filming.
This was extremely helpful in so some ways. I knew the fashion and look I used to be going after and was in a position to create it on display. The actors and I set to work collectively and have become snug with one another and I used to be in a position to create a slice of the movie. In actual fact, two of the 4 scenes we shot that day are within the last movie!
Extra importantly, I used to be in a position to present this as a proof of idea to potential traders and say, “These are the actors. This the fashion. The movie will appear and feel like this.” Nick Sarkisov, who is a good filmmaker in his personal proper, fell in love with it, and he invested within the manufacturing price range and got here on board as a producer. He understood the worth of the imaginative and prescient behind the movie and has believed in me from the start. As soon as we had a effective minimize, we wanted to boost extra funds for ending, and Sergey Sarkisov, additionally a filmmaker and investor, got here on board as an govt producer and offered the funds we wanted to finish the movie. I’m very grateful to them each for the belief and perception on this movie.
W&H: What impressed you to develop into a filmmaker?
SC: Ha! Tales! I make up tales about every little thing! I began as a nonetheless photographer and, even then, I liked to have a look at pictures and develop, in my thoughts, the tales behind them: Who’s that individual? Why are they there? What are they going to do subsequent?
My love for tales and pictures and light-weight, soundscapes and music all come collectively in a single phrase: cinema.
W&H: What’s the perfect and worst recommendation you’ve acquired?
SC: One of the best recommendation I’ve ever acquired got here from an aged taxi driver. I used to be going to a big occasion the place I used to be one of many featured audio system, and the driving force might inform I used to be nervous. I defined to him why, and he smiled and mentioned, “That’s really easy. They have you ever up there since you’re you. Simply be your self. Nothing to fret about.” These phrases nonetheless information me every day.
I are inclined to overlook unhealthy recommendation.
W&H: What recommendation do you will have for different girls administrators?
SC: Be ready — past ready — and shine while you get your alternative, since you are nonetheless opening doorways for others.
W&H: Identify your favourite woman-directed movie and why.
SC: Andrea Arnold’s “Fish Tank,” which is cinema verite at its greatest. I really like the realism and unapologetic method to the story — no filters, uncooked feelings, not premeditated, however straight up from the flesh and bones. It’s the story of a younger lady’s want to flee a turbulent life and to be seen and to exist.
W&H: How are you adjusting to life through the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you preserving inventive, and if that’s the case, how?
SC: I felt paralyzed at first. I wasn’t fairly positive handle my days.
Spending so many hours inside I turned conscious of how the sunshine was transferring via my condo. I remembered my late canine who would comply with the solar all through the place so he might lay in a sunny spot all day lengthy, so I picked up my digital camera and began to movie the daylight and shadows as they moved throughout my partitions — all completely different sorts of shadows, some attributable to direct solar, and others attributable to reflections.
I ended up making a mini brief movie out of it, “Shadows on the Wall.” It expresses my private emotions of criticism for an administration that didn’t appear to care in regards to the human lives being misplaced.
W&H: Protests within the U.S. and overseas have highlighted racism and anti-Black police brutality. The movie business has an extended historical past of underrepresenting individuals of shade onscreen and behind the scenes and reinforcing — and creating — destructive stereotypes. What actions do you suppose have to be taken to make Hollywood and/or the doc world extra inclusive?
SC: Just a few years again I heard producer Effie T. Brown converse at a girls’s luncheon at Sundance, and he or she boiled every little thing down to a few easy phrases that may change our business: rent, mentor, and make investments. All of us can do no less than a type of issues, and that is how we will make progress!