Three people, one debt.
Interview with Writer/Director Ondřej Erban
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Well, the first inspiration came from watching a documentary on debts and debt collectors. There was a particularly striking scene where the debt collectors seized a person’s property in her own flat. It really hit me hard, I felt for the person and couldn’t get the scene, respectively the real-life situation, out of my head. So I wrote a story based on that feeling.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Because I hope it makes you feel something and that it stays for a while in your head. At least it seems to be the case for the people that have already seen it.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
The theme - debts and losing your property because of it - seems to be very contemporary and universally understandable, at least in central and western Europe. I was afraid that it might be quite a local topic, but it turned out that people from Great Britain, Spain, Finland oand France can relate to it the same way as a Czech person.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I wrote the original story in a single bus ride from Prague to a Slovak town. My girlfriend comes from a place called Partizánské, which is like five or six hours away. And the basics didn’t really change since. But it was the details, mostly the dialogue lines that form the personalities of the characters, that were developing quite a lot until the very last day of shooting. Also, the ending of the film changed quite a lot of times, supposedly because I wasn’t really sure what the film should be about. But once I figured that out the ending kind of revealed itself.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Both very positive and very negative. Well, it is a film, not athletics, where the fastest one wins. Different people like different films.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
Yes, very much. Obviously especially the negative feedback was being helpful. I realised that I used quite a lot of genre cliches, which I didn’t mean to, but I didn’t realise it while working on the film. So I am trying to be more aware of that in my new projects.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
To be honest I don’t really know.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
To amplify the message I would need - I suppose - more media awareness. So the answer should be journalists, I guess. But obviously, it would be helpful to have on board also producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, and film festival directors.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
Originally I wanted to make a film that makes the audience feel how it is when the debt collector comes to your house, starts to seize your property and you can’t do anything about it. Judging by the feedback it seems it quite works out that way. I also hoped that it might resonate with the audience internationally, not just in the Czech Republic. And since they chose it for Cannes, it seems that this worked out as well. But the film didn’t really get to the wider audience in the Czech Republic, so it didn’t really help with sparking the debate on how to solve the social issue itself.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
Basically, the whole crew I worked with on that film is now working with me on developing a new short which is about a professional footballer struggling with gambling addiction. I am also developing an idea for a feature film, but that project is still in a very early stage.
Interview: May 2019
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTQIA+, POC, First Nations, scifi, supernatural, horror, world cinema. If you have just made a film - we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know a filmmaker - can you recommend us? More info: Carmela
One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand
Three people, one debt.
Director: Ondřej Erban
Producer: Laura Figurová
Writer: Ondřej Erban
About the writer, director and producer:
ONDREJ ERBAN (*1986) is currently a student at FAMU (Prague, Czech Republic). One Hundred and Twenty-Eight Thousand is the second film he has directed during his FAMU studies. Before entering FAMU Ondřej gained a masters degree in Media studies at Charles University Prague and he is working mostly as a journalist in Česká televize (Czech TV).
Key cast: Elizaveta Maximová (Ema), Ctirad Götz (Karel), Jiří Konvalinka (Rokický)
Looking for: sales agents, distributors, producers, film festival directors, journalists
Hashtags used: #128K, #128K_film
Made in association with: Nadační fond FILMTALENT Zlín
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? Cannes film festival / Cannes, France - 22th May