Breakaway Daily interview with Russian noir filmmaker Diana Galimzyanova

in Lifestyle

Diana Galimzyanova is a writer and director based in Moscow, Russia. Her four award winning short films were accepted to more than thirty five festivals in thirteen countries. Her latest short script A Fangirl is a finalist in several competitions and will be the first ever female-directed Russian film noir with reverse chronology.  She’s recently launched an Indigogo campaign for her debut feature The Lightest Darkness.

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BREAKAWAY DAILY: What is it about film noir that you enjoy so much?

DIANA: I’ve always been a fan of classic Hollywood, and film noir is such an amazing style, and a lot of the film noir films look and feel absolutely relevant to our times because they talk about archetypal issues. And the cynical way the film noir hero perceives the world is a lot like the way I perceive the world. I also love how the characters in film noir are often calm, almost emotionless. And obviously, the visual aesthetic is fantastic.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Will your film consist of blinds, shadows, femme fatales, and smoking detectives in hats?

DIANA: Yes and no, because film noir is way more than that. It’s about the particular point of view, and what makes a film noir film noir is a story that’s told in a certain way. The blinds, femme fatales, etc. are less important which is proven by films like The Hitch-Hiker. So I’m striving to tell the story in a way that would’ve been authentic in the 40s. I even tried to pass the Hays Code. So no nudity and swear words in that film.

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BREAKAWAY DAILY: What film noir has inspired you the most?

DIANA: It’s hard to choose one. Hitchcock is a huge inspiration to me. Actually my favorite film Shadow of a Doubt is one of his few film noirs. Sweet Smell of Success is also my favorite. I’ve seen it many times, read the script, it’s just such a fantastic film, it hasn’t aged at all. I hope nobody would decide to make a remake of it. Now that would be a disaster. And obviously, I’m inspired by The Hitch-Hiker by Ida Lupino, it is a pure film noir, but there’s none of the typical film noir associated stuff there. And it was the first film noir directed by a woman.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: What is the inspiration behind your feature?

DIANA: I wrote this short story about a man and woman in a train a few years ago. I thought it was a great story for a film. I wanted to make a short film, but then I realized that I just can’t put it all into the short; I had too many plot lines and no time for the real development. So I decided to turn that script into the feature script. But basically I started to write the script from the beginning, the only thing that was left from the original unfinished short script are the characters and the ending.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: How long did it take you to write the script?

DIANA: It took me six months. The reverse chronology is a tricky thing, so I spent the first two months just outlining the whole story, first in the chronological order. It’s crucial to give the right clue at the right time in this kind of story, and every event should be caused by the event that was before, you can’t cheat and just drop some cute fillers here and there. So, it was the first time that I did such a detailed outline, and this is also my first feature script, I only wrote short scripts before.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: Talking about scripts, A Fangirl your short horror script, what can you tell me about it?

DIANA: It’s an entirely different story that would never pass the Hays Code. A female-driven physiological torture horror. A twisted story about a successful, beautiful introverted young woman who controls every aspect of her life except for her secret obsession with a faded rock star. When she goes to see his band playing live, she brings a big sports bag of sharp tools with her.

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BREAKAWAY DAILY: What inspired you to write it?

DIANA: The truth is I’ve never been a fan of a band or a singer because of the looks. Even when I was a teen, I thought that was just weird, like the music is crucial, who cares how the vocalist looks, I don’t even remember how half of my favorite artists look at all. But anyway, I’ve always been curious about these kind of hardcore fans who are obsessed with the musicians, the way they think and see the world. Especially the hardcore fans who are way older than teens. Then I saw a Tumblr of a woman in her mid-20s who thinks she has a telepathic connection with a pop star. I was horrified by that Tumblr. That gave me an idea for the script.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: You’ve made several successful short films before. Would you make The Lightest Darkness in the same manner? What will be different?

DIANA: My shorts are really weird, like the kind of films only a few people like. That’s how I intended them to be, but I’m trying to make The Lightest Darkness more of a “people-friendly” film. That’s the other reason I wrote A Fangirl, to test the waters and see if I could write something less weird and more genre, would it be scary? It’s a finalist of four genre festivals, so I guess it is scary. I hope it’ll be the same with The Lightest Darkness although it’s not a horror but a thriller/mystery.

BREAKAWAY DAILY: What do you think will be the biggest challenge when you start the production of the film?

DIANA: I’ve got a lot of different health issues, so I’m always a bit anxious that I’m not going to make it, I can’t afford to do the stuff other people do during their low budget production, like sleep deprivation, and the lack of nutrition. So I need to be prepared and schedule everything. That’s how I believe I’m going to make it. And not gonna die trying.

For more information on The Lightest Darkness visit thelightestdarkness.com & check out the Indiegogo campaign. 

View more Diana’s short films on her Vimeo channel.

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