“Our film is about a woman who watches her neighbour across the street. She watches him as he eats dinner, talks on the phone, plays nintendo…stands naked in the window. She’s become obsessed. But it’s not sexual. His presence seems to comfort her loneliness.” Writer Rayisa Kondracki on FROM ACROSS THE STREET & THROUGH TWO SETS OF WINDOWS which screens at VIFF 2018.
So how did you get into this business? Talk to me a bit about how you got your start and what you have worked on in the past.
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to act but I had a late start getting into the actual business of it all. After a Traumatic Then But Hilarious Now audition for Les Miserables when i was 11, I waited until after university, then trained at a conservatory in England called LAMDA. After graduating I finally began auditioning at a little theatre but mainly Canadian television.
How did this project come together for you? Give me a rundown from the preparation, to shooting, to post-production to now!
This film is not autobiographical, but I did have my own naked man across the street. After months of watching and trying not to watch, I finally had the realization that if I could see him, then he could see me. And I couldn’t help but wonder what my life looked like to him. That’s where the idea came from, and I started writing the story. A mutual friend put me in touch with producer Marc Swenker, and we spent a few months working on the script and watching a lot of shorts in search of a director. We found Steven’s first short, O Negative, and absolutely loved it! Once we got Steve on board to direct the rest of the team came together so well – I still can’t believe how lucky we got. But the story was written to be shot in my apartment, and amidst all of this planning, I was suddenly moving. So it went from a slow, steady build to prep, shoot and into post within two weeks. We wrapped in August are are thrilled to have our premiere here at VIFF.
What keeps you going while making a movie? What drives you?
Earl Grey tea with steamed almond milk, red wine and a lot of perogies. But mainly it’s the crew. Looking around the room at a group of awesome people who are donating their time and talent. How can that not keep you going?
What was your biggest challenge with this project, and the moment that was the most rewarding to you?
Finding a director, for sure. So many directors write their own work like Steven. I find collective collaboration really exciting but it can be hard to find someone who gets your script. And this one was quite personal and specific. So we really lucked out.
I’m about to get technical, but I would love to know about the the visual design of the movie; what camera did you film with, your relationship to the director of photography and how the movie was photographed.
We shot on an Alexa mini with a set of Master Primes. DP Jordan Kennington tucked into closets and showers and ran through crazy, Saturday night downtown Toronto traffic to get the shots he wanted. He’s awesome and I wish I could see the world through his eyes for a day.
What are you looking forward to the most about showing your movie here in Vancouver?
Seeing how people respond to our story. And watching the rest of the shorts program.
After the film screens at Vancouver, where is the film going to show next? Theatrical, online, more festivals?
More festivals! We are just beginning to submit and hoping to share our film with more audiences.
What would you say to someone who was being disruptive through a movie?
Once you have tried to make your own film, and realize how hard it is, I guarantee you will always stay till the end of the credits have rolled.
We have a lot of readers on our site looking to make movies or get into the industry somehow. What is the ONE THING you would say to someone who is wanting to get into the filmmaking business?
It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to make a film. You just need to ask a lot of favours. Then, you need to ask those people to also ask favours on your behalf. Then, you need to ask your mother to make millions of perogies to pay people back for all the favours.
And final question: what is the greatest movie you have ever seen at a film festival?
I tried to answer this but I can’t. It’s just too hard My favourite thing about seeing a film at a festival is the Q and Q for sure. I love hearing about the process, and I have been lucky enough to see some amazing Q and A’s.
Good answer! For more information on the film screenings at VIFF, point your browser to www.viff.org!