“Andy Warhol and Me”. (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Rolando Peña

– How and when did you meet Andy Warhol?

I met Andy in New York in 1963. This year I was invited by the Martha Graham Dance Academy to take an intensive course in contemporary dance. Once in New York, I met Harold Stevenson, a well-known American painter at the time, at an opening at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He invited me to a cocktail dinner given by Adelaide de Menil, a photographer and the daughter of John de Menil, a famous art collector during that time in New York. The youngest of her daughters founded the Dia Art Foundation, a renowned organization whose mission was to promote artists. At that dinner was Andy Warhol, and Stevenson introduced him to me, we greeted each other, and that was it. When the dance course at the Graham Academy concluded, I returned to Venezuela for the next two years, and it was in 1965 that I finally settled in New York. Manhattan seemed to be a melting-pot city where crucial things in relation to art were about to happen. When I arrived, I stayed at the YMCA on 23rd street, just across the Chelsea hotel. One day, I invited a dancer friend of mine to have dinner at a Spanish restaurant called “El Quijote” at the Chelsea Hotel. When we sat at a table, Warhol and some of the Factory members were next to us. I was intrigued when I saw Gerard Malanga approaching me to tell me that Warhol liked my style and presence. Back then, I used to dress in black with a cape. Malanga and I barely were able to communicate partially in English and partially in Italian; Warhol wanted to know if I would like to be part of his next film. I responded that certainly yes, but it wasn’t until another day I saw my friend Waldo Díaz-Balart that I heard from them again. Waldo told me that Warhol was going to shoot a movie at his house in the East Hamptons, he knew that we were friends and wanted to know if I was still interested in playing a role in the movie, so once again I said yes. Waldo and I became friends one day I was walking through the East Village when I first went to New York in ’63 . And that is how my group “Foundation for the Totality” and I participated in the filming of “Four Stars,” a 24-hour movie in which I performed a happening called “THE PAELLA- BICYCLE-TOTAL- CRUCIFIXION”.

-You’ve made several experimental movies with Andy Warhol… Tell us about it…

After “Four Starts,” I made some other films with the Factory, among them “The Nude Restaurant” and “The Loves of Ondine.” Besides the movies, I also collaborated with the Factory on many exhibition projects like for example, the idea of Mao Zedong was one of mine that I shared with Andy, and like that, many others that he thought were very good.

-What are your memories of the Factory?

I have unforgettable memories of the Factory and its members. It would be worth doing a full interview since only about it since there is a lot to tell: Gerard Malanga, Joe Dallesandro, Edie Sedgwick, Viva, Ultra Violet, the photographer Billy Name, and Paul Morrisey, who was the one who actually shot the movies, and so many others. My collaborations spanned various disciplines, in particular, I participated in the initial conversations about the “Interview” magazine project and in the first issue that was made, which was a silver box filled with various objects. Being part of the Factory was an extraordinary experience that marked my life as a before and after.

-How was Andy Warhol’s New York City?

Andy was an outstanding character and unquestionably a great genius. Andy perfectly understood and knew how to project the spirit of that magnificent city.

I have always said that Andy Warhol is a great documentarian, one of the most brilliant I have ever met. He knew how to capture the energy, the characters, the odors, the creativity, and the underground poetry that emanated from the asphalt of the streets of New York. Undoubtedly, the rarefied, polluted air that we breathed in the midst of that immense mass of concrete of its skyscrapers transmitted a powerful energy that urged us all not to stop, to keep going and cross the tightropes without a protective mesh. The sensation of the risk of the unknown, of the encounters, was a source of immense inspiration we transformed into urban poetry. No doubt that Warhol understood all this and wrote his memorable story.

He was an extraordinary and brilliant artist with whom I have great memories, very close memories, and great solidarity. I hope he is well, and that he is having a great time, and I would not be surprised if he is also recording and photographing this interview that he will surely publish; so get ahead of him and post it before he does.

-Who is Rolando Today?

Rolando Peña today is an avant-garde artist as he has always been, a tireless researcher with extreme curiosity accompanied by infinite energy. Rolando Peña has survived all the prejudices, denials, and infamy of the ignorant. The figure of the “Black Prince” is gone. It served as a shield for me in the sixties, but now it has turned against me. Several times I have tried to make him disappear, to bury him, but he is extremely stubborn, and it reborn again. However, I am Rolando Peña, his creator, and I am much more significant and thought-provoking than him. I currently live in Miami, but I work for the world. I live with a wonderful woman, Karla, my angel, whom I love enormously; we are blissful.

I can tell you that I still have many years to live to continue creating art accompanied by science and technology. So get ready, all the good is just starting.

“I believe that cinema is always in a constant state of changing society”. (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Lisa Singletary

Who is Lisa Singletary?

I’m awful at defining myself. My life has not been linear enough for that. I’m just me. But for interview purposes, what’s important is that I’m the sole member and founder of Cipher Cat Films, the creator of “11:11″(short film), and the upcoming release “Walking in the Wrong Direction” (short film).

 – What inspired you to become a filmmaker? 

I didn’t have the typical lightbulb moment that other filmmakers seem to have had. I’ve always created fictional characters in my head, and stories kind of come as a result of that. Eventually, I started writing them for people other than myself, under the pen name L.E. Flinders, somewhere back in 2015-2017. But I didn’t ever intend to direct when I initially started down this path. I just wanted to write scripts and produce them with other people, and have fun doing it. And somehow, this just happened. But it’s been an incredible experience to get to shape my writing in such a visual way. 

– Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

I believe that cinema is always in a constant state of changing society. The media that we take in, in all forms, changes our individual view of the world. And, as a result, how we approach the world and interact with it. It’s especially true with films that influence us early on in life, but it never stops. So every film, or other artistic expression out there, plays a role in shaping the world we currently live in, as well as the world we will live in in the future. 

– What would you change in the world?

I’d love it if people were less fearful. In my experience, fear is the root cause of so much harm that people do. Hate can come from fear of others. Greed and pride can come from a fear of inadequacy. Dishonesty almost always comes from fear of judgment or rejection. Even harmful inaction comes from fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. It always circles back to fear. I think it’s possible to live cautiously without letting fear control us. And unfortunately, in the world today, fear seems to be growing. So I’d love to help change that. 

– Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

My hope is, that small, truly independent, filmmakers will find it easier and easier to get their films seen by large audiences. It’s kind of a hidden silver lining in the darker aspect of tailored marketing. It’s genuinely scary how accurate my youtube recommendations are. But at the same time, I love that. It allows me to find amatuer and professional filmmakers, comedians, musicians, etc who I would never know existed otherwise. And occasionally just videos of an elephant dancing to flute music or a man on a porch feeding a dozen hungry raccoons, both of which are also cinema, in their own way. And 20 years ago, I couldn’t do that. And I hope, that over the next 20-100 years, that small filmmakers are given even more options that allow that kind of ability to find unlikely niche audiences. Because the more easily you can reach your specific audience without a big distributor or a big production company to appease or impress, the more artistic diversity we get, both as filmmakers and as audience members.

“My memory of Francesco Rosi” by Michele Diomà

On the 15th of November the Italian and International press has celebrated the centenary of

Francesco Rosi, Master of civil commitment cinema, Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for

“The Mattei Affair” and author of masterpieces as “Salvatore Giuliano” and “Hands over the City”.

His films have also inspired true genius of the Seventh Art such as Francis Ford Coppola and

Martin Scorsese.

I’ve wanted to wait a few days before celebrating also on Wild Filmmaker the centenary of

Francesco Rosi because I have a difficult relationship with anniversaries.

But at the end I felt it was the right thing to do, being the last filmmaker to have directed a project

in which Francesco Rosi participated.

It was 2013 when I realized one of my dreams, to meet personally a film maker that I had always

admired since I was a teenager and lived in Naples, the same city where Francesco Rosi was born.

I would have never imagined that one day I would be able to involve him in one of my project, but

it happened. It was possible thanks to the generosity and sincere willingness of Francesco Rosi

towards young filmmakers.

I believe the best way to remember Francesco Rosi is by rewatching his movies and learn from his


Today a filmmaker that “doesn’t betray the truth” as Francesco Rosi did, in Italy could not make

movies, would not find producers or public fundings.

The cinema Made in Italy state-funded is living bad years, that is why I felt the moral duty to

establish an international and free Magazine as Wild Filmmaker.

Italy is at the 58th place concerning press freedom according to the latest ranking released by the

“World Press Freedom Index”. There is no NGO that deals with assessing freedom of expression

inside cinema, I wouldn’t know how to assess the situation in other countries, but I can assess the

Italian reality, which among the other Western countries I place at the last position.

Cheers to Francesco Rosi today and forever!

“I needed to tell the true story of my Italian immigrant family following a familiar path to pursuing the American Dream”. (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Gina Cunningham

Who is Gina Cunningham?

 I’m a novice director, who also happens to be a disabled mom and grandmother. After various careers as a restaurateur, social activist, high school teacher, and visual artist, I felt compelled to make my documentary film at 66 years of age when I researched the history of my great Aunt Pasqualina. 

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I needed to tell the true story of my Italian immigrant family following a familiar path to pursuing the American Dream. In Pasqualina of Springfield, the mafia anti-hero is a powerful, complex woman.  The gangster movie genre has not been about female central characters. Pasqualina of Springfield couldn’t be timelier.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in society?

Cinema has contributed to many societal shifts for more than a hundred years continues to influence culture in sometimes positive, other times negative ways.  Cinema is one of the most influential and powerful art forms. Movies have shaped the world we live in, and their power can’t be ignored.

-What would you change in the world? 

My list is too long for this interview, but to start; I’d like to stop the injustices caused by racism. I’d raise awareness of the fact that North Americans occupy and continue to destroy land stolen from Native Americans. I’d change the situation where I live in Los Angeles. The United Nations has declared certain areas humanitarian crisis zones because as many as 70,000 unhoused people exist on the streets in this wealthy city in absolute squalor. Far-right nationalism grows around us.  War, out-of-control capitalism, and all the destruction it brings, I wish I could change these problems and more.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years? 

Ha-ha! I really do not know where the film industry will be in the next 100 years. When I was growing up, I was clueless. I didn’t know we would have streaming, digital images, online platforms, etc. I’m not super high-tech. So, I can’t imagine what experiences the future will bring, but I know human beings are natural communicators. There’s cave art 40 thousand years old telling stories. So, I assume we will always be storytellers. 

“Dreams Live In Trees” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Marco della Fonte

-Who is Marco della Fonte?

I am an ordinary man who makes an ordinary life. I have a family that I love. 

The difference is that I live for the cinema and its representations. So I live “normally” but in my human and artistic dimension that has generated over the years, within me, a kind of clear “mission” in my life: telling stories that can touch the hearts of others.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

At the age of 14 after school I worked as an assistant to a photographer. I learned the technique of images, but at the same time, I felt something inside of me, an attraction to the world seen through the lens of a camera It takes me into a different world where I fully recognise myself. 

I recognise in myself the world I see through a camera. As if for me that “reality” (seen through the camera)  represented the true nature of things and the world.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

YES! It absolutely can contribute to a change of thoughts and culture. As well as all art in general. Cinema tells stories. Our life is made of stories. And the history of the world is made of stories. What is different is how one sees and perceives these stories. It is not enough to relate to the stories around us with a passive attitude. To change our personal condition as human beings, stories should be an opportunity to change ourselves, along with others. The problem is that today there is not this kind of artistic and creative ferment. The Nouvelle Vague represented a revolution in the thoughts and ways in which stories were told. The difference, therefore, in the end, is deciding whether to remain conservative or to be dreamers, people who want to change the world. Throughout the history of the twentieth century, ideology and utopia have contributed to an improvement of human beings from a reversal point of view, revolutions of certain systems, as well as a radical change in emotional relationships. Today we are experiencing a period of global uncertainty and human beings need to regain confidence in themselves and their potential. I am absolutely convinced that cinema helps to find oneself.

-What would you change in the world?

Ignorance begets monsters. So does greed and lust for power. Capitalism has generated an illusory lifestyle in which consumption and lifestyle push us to consume useless things. I believe that the “evil” of the world comes mainly from the imperialist mentality that certain nations still have. Especially America thanks to the support of Hollywood propaganda has always tried to find the evil enemies in their stories: in the 60s’ enemies were the Native Americans, then the Vietnamese, Cambodians, the Russians during the cold war, Cubans,  Arabs, Palestinians, Iranians, and finally Chinese. I would like to say that this imperialist propaganda system, even in cinema, has generated only a distortion of history which, in turn, has produced a prejudice and a judgment on different ones, on those who feel different or outside this logic.  

Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I believe in the positive potential of human beings and therefore in the future I see a return to the simplicity of life. Now we see everything, especially in the entertainment industry, where stories are built in dystopian worlds, sometimes terrible and catastrophic worlds, where humanity often has no hope or has to fight with “higher forces”. There is an overabundance of visual information, a visionary overdose that also extends in the social network, in which even ignorant people feel the protagonists of nothing. There are many Apps that make you more beautiful (but still not smarter) and Apps that generate VFX that we can use in our personal lives. All this “quest for nothingness” I hope will lead humanity to a collective awakening that could dust off the simple stories that reach everyone’s heart. 

“Artists work in the language of souls”. (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Rachel Dolan

-Who is Rachel Dolan?

Rachel Dolan is a Latina theatre artist, actor, writer, and filmmaker. Her love of theatre
and film was sparked at an early age, a passion she knew she could not live without. As a
theatre artist in her local community, she focuses on social justice themes, contributing
to shows which focus heavily on the voices of those that are unheard or historically
ignored. Rachel gained her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre from Temple University in
Philadelphia and most recently acquired her Master of Fine Arts in Performing Arts from
the Savannah College of Art & Design. As an actor and theatre artist, Rachel has an
additional curiosity in all roles in theatre and film, spending time as a theatre apprentice,
and eventually creating her own short film during her graduate program at SCAD.
Creating her short film, El Canto de los Coquis quickly became an opportunity for further
exploration of creativity, craft, and a love letter for Puerto Rico as seen through the eyes
of a Puerto Rican-American woman. Rachel’s love for creating live beings through acting,
reflecting the reality individuals must endure as well as welcoming space for new
perspectives and voices was expounded upon through the creation of her film. She has a
passion for art, empathy, creativity, collaboration, education, and the drive to contribute
to the world in a positive way.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?
I absolutely love to write. Writing gives me a sense of peace, an opportunity to process
life into a world of creativity, one in which there is freedom to be our whole selves.
Because of my love of writing, I would often create my own plays, as an actor, my own
monologues and scenes, and my own scripts. The process is exhilarating, in a similar way
acting is. One is bearing their soul, feelings, and emotions for others in hopes that they,
too, feel truly seen in a world where we feel we must hide who we are for safety, from
the pressure of others, or sometimes out of our own fear. The stories that come alive
through writing then have the opportunity to be shared with others, to be felt by an
audience, and exist to promote discussion or education, empathy or understanding. One
of the most important reasons why I became an artist and filmmaker is for others to feel
seen, heard, and to feel less alone. Witnessing a character living through a struggle in
their life or something they cannot see their way out of and eventually overcoming it,
becomes transformative for an audience because we can all identify with the human
condition and a journey in which we are constantly discovering what we need and who
we are. We all have a place in this world, and not only should we share our own unique
perspectives and who we are, but we should also encourage others to do the same. I
created my short film partly because I felt like there was no space for me, struggling with
the complexity and experience of being a Latina and American, but also to communicate
that those who might feel the same way are not alone and that it should be encouraged
to accept all that we are. The other importance for me was that I know what it is to
struggle and to come from a community that does not have the support that they should,
but in that place still lives joy and love and opportunity. If I can dream and create and
continue to rise above obstacles, then I would love to inspire those who also experience
barriers to overcome them.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

I absolutely believe that any form of art, film, theatre, and more can become a catalyst
for change. We have the unique opportunity as artists to impact individuals in ways that
others may not. Artists work in the language of souls, being and living, in that which
cannot be seen but that is felt. Cinema has the opportunity to welcome conversations,
change viewpoints and bring people closer. Cinema is often categorized as
entertainment, but it also has the capacity to educate. We find ourselves more open to
storytelling or experiencing another journey through art, whereas we may not be so
inclined in other facets of life. Many may argue that film is based in fiction, although art
mimics life, even art that may not be so overtly grounded in what we view is normal
reality. Cinema compels us to consider what is beyond our everyday, even when we are
presented with what may be viewed as daily life. Stories are slowed down and viewed on
a larger scale, moment to moment is witnessed which is often glazed over in daily life. In
cinema, moments are not passed, they are savored, and display life being lived,
considered, and felt. I often argue that fact and statistics, although useful, are cold and
unapproachable to many people. Numbers are distant, they can be brushed aside.
However, when one is faced with an individual who may be included in the statistics
discussed, they are humanized. They become someone who reminds us of our mother or
friend, or even ourselves. Change is brought about through feeling and responding,
something cinema will not allow audiences to turn away from. Throughout history,
cinema based in documentaries, narratives, and any type of work has inspired change
whether unearthing truth which has been kept in the dark or asking us to face that which
has remained hidden within ourselves, and it will continue to do so as time moves on.
Cinema inspires, challenges, illuminates, and welcomes individuals to be transformed and
in my opinion, that is the best kind of art there is.

What would you change in the world?

Incredibly, there is an innumerable amount that people have discovered or achieved, but
there also is so much more we are unaware of or have gotten very wrong. So many lives
are being uprooted by countless issues in our world and of course everyone should be
working to better these occurrences. As individuals, we can only help to better things
where we can, making differences in the ways we are able to. Together, we have the
capacity to better living situations on a larger scale and work to ensure that people’s
basic rights and needs are met. Of course, I would love to see a world where people do
not suffer, although it is not the one we live in. However, we can still try to alleviate that
suffering when we are met with it, on whatever scale that may be. People wish to be
seen, heard, understood, loved, included, and valued. In my own life and work I attempt
to meet those needs and feel that if we can individually meet people with kindness, we
can make steps towards positive change. I would also love to see the arts valued for how
they impact people and the world. Funding, education, and excitement about the arts
should be promoted, not stripped away. Not only because art can promote joy or assist in
processing issues in our own lives, but because it fosters empathy which the world needs
more of. If we can better learn to understand, listen, and close the divide between
peoples, we may have a better chance of creating change that is rooted in action.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

I think the film industry has its problems like any, but it continues to move in the
direction people are calling for. It pushes society forward, even when society may not
want to follow it, but it is what is needed. Artists and filmmakers can often be the most
open minded, and inclusive group of people because we are asked to analyze life, to
listen to what is around us and to invite conversation and collaboration. We are a group
that considers the disciplines of history, technology, anthropology, psychology and more
into an art form that asks us to face what we must and look towards where we wish to
go. I hope, and I believe the industry will continue to become more inclusive to all
individuals, especially those that fall outside of the normative societal view. Technology
and equipment may become even more detailed in extracting true essences of life and I
also believe performances will move in the same vein. Art movements follow life and
world events, and cinema will continue to experience groundbreaking changes as will
people and the world. I do have hope that all things will move towards a better future
and that cinema will remain thriving and celebrated and will not only capture these
changes but drive them forward.

“As an art student at Pratt I would venture to New York City…” (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with Whitney Hamilton

-Who is Whitney Hamilton?

An artist, an actor, a writer/director, producer and lover of horses and history especially hidden history. I grew up in the Deep South – New Orleans, Louisiana and Birmingham, Alabama. I received an art scholarship to Pratt Institute and moved to Brooklyn, New York where I later focused on Theater as an actor then a writer and began exploring film as an artistic and storytelling medium.

What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

As an art student at Pratt I would venture to New York City and see amazing art and amazing independent and avant garde films. Movies are moving paintings. Filmmakers I love are Jane Campion, David Lynch, Terrence Malick, Peter Weir. Frequenting the now defunct Kim’s Video in the East Village gave me a once in a lifetime glimpse into the obscure filmmaking of the world!

-Do you think cinema can bring a change in society?

I do. When truth is uncovered and revealed through storytelling I believe audiences and viewers are receptive.

-What would you change in the world?

I would change how the earth’s resources are consumed. I would want conservation and climate change issues to be top of the list in any endeavor be it political, philosophical and/or philanthropic . We are all called to be stewards of this beautiful life-giving blue planet.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

Hopefully towards equality in all respects. Storytelling is as old as humanity and reflects the cultures of the time. As technology grows so will the way we make and view cinema. Perhaps immersive physical experiences within a film or story are not that far away into the future. Archetypes will always stand true but who tells the story, from whose gaze we experience the characters and from whose perspective the story is told will be important factors in the evolution of the art.

“I am a victor over a traumatic childhood…”(EXCLUSIVE) Interview with the Director and Screenwriter Dina Faye Gilmore

-Who is Dina Faye Gilmore? 

I am a victor over a traumatic childhood, domestic violence, and overcoming challenges knowing I was gay while growing up in the South. I am a persistent and strong woman because of my past, ultimately leading me on a discovery of self after retiring from 20 years of massage therapy. I did give up on myself a few times and chose to rebirth. Life is about the journey and not the destination. I love telling hard stories, showcasing the underestimated or underdog perspectives, while being built on a foundation of healing intended to inspire others for empowered change. I am an advocate for equity, equality, and worldwide healing so desperately needed…rooted in my spiritual practice while being fueled by my determination…and coffee. 

-What inspired me to become a filmmaker? 

Returning to college at 48 years young and discovering buried childhood dreams of being a Director inspired me to become a filmmaker. I had a teacher that became a mentor, believed in me, and invested in my dreams. David-Matthew Barnes was instrumental in inspiring me to have faith in myself and leap forward. He is a true gift to the world! His short play “Baby in the Basement” became my directorial debut and it has accumulated 18 awards in the indie film festivals. I am eternally grateful for David-Matthew’s unwavering belief in me!

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change to society? 

Given the changes we are seeing now, I believe cinema will bring greater change in society. Filmmaking provides access to new ways of being, challenges programmed thinking, and expands our minds for growth. You simply have to be open to watching the screen and embrace a willingness to be the change. Change is inevitable and provides a smoother process when you surrender attachments to expectations associated with control or fear. Art is vital to creative expression with cinema easily being the greatest access point influencing societal change. 

What would you change in the world

Gosh, where do I begin? I would start with free worldwide mental health assistance since the pandemic changed everything. Therapy and coaching available to everyone created to empower people to thrive, rooted in equity and equal rights. A humanity driven system built with love of the people, NOT race, encourages unique individual purposes, and collectively choosing to dismantle old programming. Women’s rights are only decided by women for women by those living and identifying as a woman. Gun protocols with increased safety measures. Leaders for the people and not an agenda. Better solutions everywhere!

Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

Creatives have more control over their content, freedom, self-expression, and expansion while moving about in new ways because visionaries build new worlds. I believe we will see a vast increase in independent filmmakers and studios, calling their own shots, and improved space for creating content. I feel we will see an increase in original content and a rise in female filmmakers as the entertainment industry continues with much-needed shifts. At least that is what I envision. 

(EXCLUSIVE) Interview with the Palestinian artist Lama Naamneh

-Who is Lama Naamneh?

A Palestinian artist and first professional actress in my village

Holds a Bachelor Degrees (B.A) in Acting & Directing University of Haifa.

Actress, Theatre Director, Filmmaker and The Co-Founder and Manger of “kawaliss” The House of Theatre and Cinema.

At Theater as an actress participated in several international tours in Des Quartiers D’Ivry theater /France, National theater of London, participated in the Carthage Festival -Tunisia.

By the first African Nobel prize winner “Wole Soyinka” I performed tow of his known plays at “the National theater of Nigeria”.

“Ebdon university” and “The National theater of Sweden”.

” Choices” A monodrama as a writer and performer received an award of ” Masraheed Festival” “The best creative actress of 2013 “.

Directed several theater productions as “Blood weeding”, ” “Macbeth”, “Fate of a Cockroach”, “The Executioner and the convicted to Execution”, ” Les Misérables”.

As Filmmaker and actress Short Films as a one-minute short film “Woman and Man”

,”Frame”, “Guys Talk”, and lastly “Cigarette”.

-What inspired you to become a filmmaker?

I love movies and acting since my childhood, I get distracted by

the movement of people, their bodies, their rhythm, their looks, their strangeness, and their passion, Suddenly, I got an idea, and started calling my “kawaliss” band, The band and I have been together for twelve years I taught them acting since they were young and they gave me life and there was a reason why I wake up in the morning and why do I even love art, after touring In Paris as an actress I become a Struggled mother of twin boys with an autism diagnosis, suffering from postpartum depression seeing movies was my last breath

I met a photographer who became my mentor eventually he saw this in me before I did, he forced me to held his camera it was heavy and confusing and nothing that I know and I just found myself again after The question was if I can overcome my dilemma between my true love of my boys and my soul that was lost battling every day’s responsibilities, In the darkest moments when I thought of giving up, I did my first short movie in a smartphone about my struggle as a woman I challenged myself to put an end of all of this in just one minuet short film and somehow this gave me peace and my adventure of filmmaking just began, “kawaliss “Is my grandfather house old library I took this abounded place and mad it a house of theater and cinema, in our home “kwaliss” we talk about pain and mad movies about it we become one family, I took a big loan from the bank with the support of the group I produced “Cigarette” as a professional big budget movie

We turned the house into a place where the normal rooms were filmed and turned into a store for masks, clothes and decorations

From here, from the occupied land of Palestine, there is a group called “Kawaliss”

The harsh conditions of the Palestinian people including those who remained on their land in addition to being deprived their basic rights and most importantly of the right of expression and keeping their national identity, have motivated us to express ourselves through art in general and filmmaking in particular, out of our belief that it is a powerful means which can be used to influence people and change their reality.

We learn from history that nations who had a great culture had taken a great interest in theatre and cinema and developed it so that it became an integral part of that culture. Considering this fact, why should we accept our weakness and disability?

Why shouldn’t we try and make a difference by using the magic powers of cinema?

My reaction was the initiative to establish “kawaliss”, which I believe will be addressing the Palestinian people and appealing to their suffering and anger but also to their joy and love of life.

My movie “Cigarette” was inspired from a conversation with a journalist that was telling his beautiful experience and great achievement when he was assigned to cover news before anyone else, he was the first to arrive to the scene (man killed his brother). Hearing the journalist describing how happy he was to cover the incident and to be the first to see the knife and smell the blood at the same time in my life that I am learning film making, so I wrote my film about what happened, and I became me myself inside the documentary film of this “photographer”

What I gathered from characters were all based on real and documented stories of struggles from the actors themselves.

The actors searched inside of them for their true feelings and personal stories. In one house I gathered these characters as the writer and director, to look for the personal relations people have between them, and their selves differentiated by their struggles, problems, and points of view; All to be captured by the lens of one of the character’s own cameras.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

in centuries two last the for tool ancient and powerful a is Cinema on focusing and world the to reality of image the conveyingissues. people’s

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Through the cinema, the director sheds light on daily problems, and through the aesthetics of filming across locations and the harmony of colors, and the depth of acting we can change the thinking of an entire society.

-What would you change in the world?

Death, and what is worse than death? Death while you are alive, death of hope, death of any attempt to change.

Carelessness and human loss of identity and role in life, uninterested in being affected and affecting, and the question that inspired my film:

r fated to do so?”.“The human, is he given the choice? O

Nonetheless of the fear, corruption, and exploits, is life worth living for those who feel like misfits? Those who no longer feel the urge to wake up, is the system’s weed getting us high? Controlling us? e?gamare we in charge of the big

When watching the film “cigarette”, I intended for the viewer to experience the movie from a perspective other than that of the killer or the victim; good and evil; black and white.

There is a different viewpoint which is you the viewers. Ever since eternity, the worst kind of violence and murder, bloody wars between brothers and enemies, the jealousy of Cain towards Abel, the absurdity of the black and white fight made Eteocles killhis younger brother Polynices in the tragedy of “Antigone”, and Romulus who killed his twin brother Remus to build modern Rome. We are still here on this earth ever since birth, going through chapters, entering doors while the earth spins and the roles Between all the events , ange, and the place remains the samechoccurring to us, opinions oppose whether the collision between poor living circumstances and the political circumstances is a product of the new machinery age, in an attempt to lay a new

ion for the new modern human.explanat I see murder as killing all of humanity, you do not have to be my brother, from my mother or father, for me to see you for who you really are and accept your differences, see your suffering and ion between humans is what struggle. The lack of communicatcauses misunderstanding and gets us to even hate each other, without really seeing what the other is going through.

are we as the viewers and the people watching are numb (high) with no ability whatsoever of confrontation? daily what happens when someone tries to kill another; we seeshould I get involved? Shakespeare once said “All the world’s a stage…” and I add that life is just merely a film that we live its shots to the fateful end.

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“Humans, do have “the choice” to care.

And they are fated to help each other, this our pure nature”.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

From a long time, films focus on the directors’ inspiration for each other, One of aspects of watching a film is tracing certain directorial roots, Certain shots, scenes, or bits of dialogue, which renews the cycle for the next generation.

I believe of the influence a masterful director can be.

In the theatre we are still influenced by the works of Shakespeare and the impact of the Spanish “Garcia Lorca”, The importance of the Japanese Noh Theatre, we will always return to the most ancient civilization of “Greek and Roman Theater” and mythologies as a great source of art and philosophy.

Many contemporary writers came after them as “Oscar Wilde”, “Arthur Miller”, “Samuel Barclay Beckett”… etc.

In cinema, it is the same When “David Lynch” was affected by the , and in turn,Andrei Tarkovsky”work of the great director “

himself was affected by the great director Tarkovsky” “

Mohammed Even the Arab Egyptian director ” “Ingmar Bergman”,’s work, nor do we see the influence of khan ” We cannot seekhanThe Depth of “Michelangelo Antonioni” or the Italian directorYasujirō Ozu” frame.of ” Simplicity

Most Yong directors and the entire film industry completely “Stanley Kubrick”,” changed after “Orson Welles”, “Sidney Lumet”,Akira Kurosawa”, “John Ford”…etc. Alfred Hitchcock”,”

And in the next generation, came,” Martin Scorsese”, Francis Ford Coppola”, And today we have “Paul Thomas Anderson”,

“Alfonso Cuarón”, “Bong Joon Ho”.

And in the next 100 years some filmmakers will always appear to consider a singular eccentric Out of the ordinary with an

point of view from all over the aldirectoriexceptional and deep world with different cultures who see the art of cinema in their story’s that unite the whole word with the language of visual art on the big screen.

I see cinema after a hundred years affected by current directors with different visions as they themselves were influenced by the great directors before them.

Although there is a great aura of commercial films, but in parallel, there are movies and a group of filmmakers of alternative cinema, That still preserves the old fine cinematic artform, They are a group that cannot be underestimated, One day, after a hundred years, they will be the true pioneers of the industry, I still believe in old movies as a true reference to what the future will be in the film industry, This category of filmmakers will lead the industry to a better place, Filmmaking will be an essential subject in schools and the official educational curriculum, Today, we can make high quality movies by smartphone What will it be like after a hundred years! The camera will be as accessible to everyone as food and water, there will be movie theaters in every country, Countries will adopt a national industry in which the participants will be given creative freedom.

Cinema changes society! (EXCLUSIVE) Interview with the Ukrainian director Taras Valihura

-Who is Taras Valihura?

Taras Valihura is a fanatically creative person who balances the creation of a director, screenwriter and actor. In fact, it is one whole, and without another component it is impossible. When creating a script, I think, among other things, whether it will be convenient or interesting for an actor to play this role. In acting (not to the detriment of the result), I also get involved both as a director and as a screenwriter, that is, it contributes to the factor not only of my role, but also how it will look in the general context. And when the director asks to do something that is more than what was planned, I agree and tell the director “I am the director myself, so I want not only my role, but also the entire film to be of high quality.” My first university education is a psychologist. And when there was a master class with a director, who is also a psychologist by first education, I approached him after the meeting and asked “Is it true that psychology also hinders you in directing?” He agreed 🙂 In fact, it passes with time, and if you don’t try to be an author and a psychologist at the same time, you can make a good movie 🙂 Some psychological knowledge in a limited amount can help make the plot or character deeper.

-What inspired you to become a Filmmaker?

Having no education at that time, I was lucky enough to get on the set. And in this case, two options are possible, whether you are not interested in meeting with it again, or this sphere fascinates you and never lets go. I never saw the first version 🙂 I liked it, and I started to get to shootings more often. Over time, I grew up to the lead role in a short film. I was preparing, and on the set I asked the director about the motives for some of my character’s actions, offering several options. The director told me not to overload my head and make it simpler. As a result, that scene did not turn out very well. From the finished material, I edited a video clip for my music group, in which I played at the time. For this, I had to learn how to mount. And then I realized that if I were a director, I would shoot differently. In addition, at that time I was already lucky enough to personally observe how very cool actors work, including well-known Hollywood names – and the virus of the magic of cinema took root in me very deeply.

In fact, I realize that I have been on the road to becoming a director all my life. From the first grades of school, I already tried to write something – first fairy tales, then detective and fantastic stories. In the future, it helped me learn to write scripts more easily. When I became an adult, I started taking pictures. It gave an understanding of lighting, angles, composition. Then he started playing the drums, which made it possible to better understand the music and feel the dynamics of editing.

-Do you think the cinema can bring a change in the society?

Cinema changes society. And in a bad way and in a good way. If someone manipulates an entire nation for tens of years, and imposes the opinion that it is good to be a cannibal, the entire nation becomes cannibals. This is what happened to Russia. Almost every film contained a grain of chauvinism, hatred of Ukrainians and Western countries. And when Russia once again started a war of occupation against Ukraine (which it has done from time to time for 400 years) – most Russians began to rejoice in the killing of civilians, rape, torture and looting. Wives in their correspondence encourage men to commit rape and looting, and soldiers proudly post videos of torture of prisoners of war, civilians, and rape of minor children in front of their fathers, or mothers in front of minor children, on the Internet. And such a result is also thanks to the cinema.

And in a good sense – if a person regularly watches high-quality, spiritually deep films with eternal values, then such values can greatly affect his worldview. An honest film is, in a good sense, a fairy tale that fascinates the viewer, attracts or repels with the atmosphere, creates for the viewer a desire to imitate the main characters, with the help of the plot and emotions – to subconsciously positively perceive the idea of the film.

Another question is whether future generations will watch movies. Already now cats or some obscenities in Tik-Tok collect more views than classic movies. Like in the my film – the amount of time plays a significant role in forming the beliefs of a mature personality. This is the time for reading books, talking about real values with parents, teachers and mentors. And to watch movies. On average, a full-length film is an hour and a half, and a Tik Tok video is several minutes.

It is easier to quickly find a couple of minutes to watch hype videos on social networks, than to allocate several hours (taking into account the way to the cinema) to perceive, for example, a serious drama. And it is better if it will be a cinema itself, because on the Internet the film can be paused, on television the film is interrupted by advertisements, and only in the cinema does the director’s idea move as the director intended, because this is how the film has the most effective effect on the viewer and conveys its main message message.

-What would you change in the world?

At a time when a brutal war is going on in my country and the enemy sets itself the task of committing genocide – I begin to look at the world differently. I understand that security at all levels is a naive illusion. That one sick person can endanger the lives of almost eight billion people, and no one, no world security organization, no country, but ourselves can stop it. It’s like leaving a rape victim to deal with her armed rapist on her own, given that she has to act only within the law.

At such moments comes the understanding that religion can be a tool of enemy special services to promote genocide. Сomes the Understanding that values can be speculated on, and their effect can be changed to the opposite. So I would like to see less hypocrisy, lies, corruption, and bureaucracy in the world. So that rights and obligations are not only on paper. So that people learn to love themselves and respect others. For the law to work, and justice to be its highest value. So that parents love their children and spend enough time with them, because most problems are caused by a lack of love and respect. For people to be responsible for their actions.

But wise people say – if you want to change the world – start with yourself. I once formulated for myself a formula of thinking that creates corruption and other evils: “In general, it is forbidden, but I can do it a little.” Therefore, it will be much more effective when not the environment and the law will try to change or punish a person, but the person himself will be a fair judge for himself. And for this, she needs to be properly educated. It is precisely this function that art, including cinema, should perform to a certain extent. I try to live according to the principle – act honestly (justly, according to the law, humanely), and demand it from others.

-Where do you see the film industry going in the next 100 years?

From time to time I teach some educational subjects in the field of film. And I have my own author’s course on revolutions in cinema. So, one of the latest revolutionary events in film production is the emergence of streaming platforms such as Netflix, HBO, Amazon. The main value of these platforms for cinematography is that they have the opportunity to create their own product, and to focus primarily not on profit, but on making the material itself interesting. Therefore, there is no need to make compromises between profitability and a winning dramatic decision. In the past, mainstream cinema in most cases chose the side of profitability, and as a result, not only the plot line, but also the idea of the work could lose. Interesting ideas that did not promise extra profits usually could not find financing, and were not filmed. But we know exceptional examples in history, when films in the financial sense turned out to be unprofitable, but at the same time became world classics.

In addition, cinema, which emphasizes profitability, is usually more stereotypical and does not allow experiments. So I believe that thanks to streaming platforms, cinema will develop precisely in the direction of a more interesting plot, winning drama, and bold directorial decisions.