After a superb review on my latest film, #Beings, here, the film critic Maria Mantaluta asked me a few beautiful questions about filmmaking and my work.
M.M.: I’m not sure how well, or even if, our readers know you (even after the review for one of your films, #Beings), so why don’t we start with a short introduction.
P.S.: Amateur filmmaker
M.M.: That was very short indeed, so I’ll just add that Paul Stefanescu is a passionate filmmaker (not sure about the amateur part, but so be it), who’s not only making films (…and other arts) but also hosted film screenings in Bucharestand is a breathing, moving performer. Personally, I always felt that your social media accounts are more like an on going virtual performance. But it’s not me speaking here, so let’s get back to our questions.
What can you tell us about your older projects?
P.S.: #Beings and Sleep-Awake, two “exorcism” films, as someone once described them. –
If that doesn’t make our readers curious, I don’t know what will.
M.M.: How did you start making films? What’s your relationship with film schools?
P.S.: It’s a bit more complicated. My first encounter with film was in UNATC ( the National University of Theatrical and Cinematographic Arts “Ion Luca Caragiale Bucharest), but it took me like 10 years to find my own direction in film, and in the way of making it, in which to truly believe. Making film is hard, and you need deep beliefs, to be able to “sacrifice” your whole life for a few film scenes. It took me a long time to grasp a meaning of art and to discover what is art in me. And what in me would matter to others. A never ending search for truth.
In what concerns film schools, my only contact was with UNATC, a good place to form a network and to develop a sort of passion for film. Even so, I do not advise anyone willing to learn film to follow a Romanian film school. For us, in Romania, school seems to be, still, a poetical act.
M.M.: What do you aim for when you’re making films, what are your expectations? From yourself, from the “final cut”, from the public?
P.S.: It’s a classical route in art, first, you have a revelation – an understanding of something that is beyond linguistic discourse, especially if you are “a visual creature”. And then, you try to bring what you’ve understood, which is circumstantially dependent on a narrative and dramatic context, to an existential form.
It’s an emotional, intuitive and deep process. Of course, if you choose this creative path. What interests me the most is rediscovering the essences and being aware of them – that’s at the core of my stories.
I try to be totally honest. It’s really hard. And during the making of a film, being honest with your story, with yourself and with the essence you want to depict, all shape a different world. A world that pays for the effort, the pain, and the fight of keeping oneself open to it. And not only to the story, but it’s really important to stay open and true with the people you’re working with, and observe their own way of relating to the story. It’s a magical process. For me. For the people, I work with. For the public.
I, like Claire Denis, wish for the public to watch my films in the most open intimacy. Not collectively in a hall. My films are whispers to the soul. That’s why only a few can accept them, decipher them and connect with them. It’s hard nowadays to be totally open in this world.
M.M: I know your interest goes beyond film, and covers other visual arts as well, or better said, your interest is in Visual Arts. What place does film have in this scheme?
P.S.: Film isn’t film anymore for me. It stopped being a label, a definition of an artistic product. Film is simply a medium, like words. Normally, film means a complex process of production and distribution. The rest is art. Read more… »