In a world where people have forgotten how to connect with another human being, an unexpected visitor is about to start a revolution.
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Natalie MacMahon
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
Thanks! I made A Universal Love Story for different reasons. First of all I wanted to make a film in Esperanto, because I think it is a beautiful and very unique language. I had done some research and discovered that there is a big community. I like the idea of this language, that is supposed to connect the world and it fits very well to the theme of the film. I also wanted to make a film where time and location don’t matter at all and the only thing the audience concentrates on are the characters and their emotions.
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
You should watch it because it is not just a story but an experience. The style is a bit like a music video at times and there is not much dialogue. But the scenes with dialogue that exist are crucial and very symbolic. I personally like watching films that can be interpreted in different ways. A Universal Love Story works that way. There are different hidden meanings and messages and I’m pretty sure that everyone interprets it in a slightly different way. It is a very visual film, so only for that it is definitely worth watching.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
In this film it is actually more a universal theme as it is about a revolution in a world where people have forgotten how to connect to each other and how to show their emotions. A small change can lead to a big movement if people are open and don’t lose hope. That’s what makes all of these characters very strong and human, although the scenes are a bit abstract. What they all have in common is a strong desire and a spark of hope that the world can change.
In general my films are very personal although the stories are normally not based on things I have experienced. All films consist of elements that have a connection to people I know, dreams I have had or sometimes simply just themes I’m very interested in, like the inability of people to communicate or to show their feelings.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
If I compare it to the first draft, it has changed quite a lot. I still changed many scenes during the editing process (like the order and length). I had all characters and their environment very clear right from the beginning. This time I started with characters and objects they use and developed the story from there. The dialogues were only added at the very end as it was much more important how the characters react to each other than what they say. And in fact, they don’t say a lot, but what they say is very meaningful.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
We got a lot of interest from the Esperanto community, which is great. In the film we use the language in a scene and also in a song, which hasn’t been done so often. We will also release the song separately and make a music video for it. And without saying too much yet, I have more Esperanto projects planned, which are connected to the film.
Everyone who has seen the film so far really liked it and it has already been accepted by a few festivals. It will only have its world premiere in two weeks in Australia, so I’m looking forward to people’s reactions.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
It has certainly been interesting that people interpret the scenes in a very different way, but at the same time, that was my idea when I wrote the film - to leave it very open for interpretation, while having a clear message.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
I would like to spread the word about the film. It’s still very new and hasn’t been screened anywhere yet, but I’m excited that the world premiere, American premiere and German premiere are coming up very soon! I would also like to open people’s minds for this beautiful language: Esperanto.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
For now I’m trying to get more film festival directors interested in showing the film, so as many people as possible get to see it. That’s why I made it after all! Journalists and bloggers would help a lot to get the message of the film across and distributors could open other channels for us to reach even more people.
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I mainly want people to take some time to think about the main message - how important it is in the world, that people don’t only focus on themselves, but stay open for each other. Try to open up to people, even if you don’t know them. You would be surprised how happy people are if you make the first step. We are social beings and don’t work well on our own. We need the interaction with other people. Many of us tend to forget about that from time to time and technology probably makes the situation worse.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
Have we forgotten how to communicate with each other properly? How could a revolution like in the film, happen in our world? What does it take to change things?
Would you like to add anything else?
I would like to thank all cast and team members who were involved. Everyone worked so passionately on this project and believed in it from the very beginning. And a big thanks to the “Sydney Indie Film Fest” (world premiere), the “Film Crash Film Festival” (American premiere) and the “Braunschweig Film Festival” (German premiere) for hosting our first three big screenings, which are all premieres . All three festivals and their festival directors are very supportive.
And last but not least, a big hello to the Esperanto community! Thanks a lot for all messages, positive feedback and expressed interest in our film!
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I have written a short script for a competition just for fun called Becoming Human, but now I actually like the story so much, that I’m thinking about making one more short film, before focusing a hundred percent on my first feature film. My first feature is going to be called “Hot Scary Summer” and I have the first draft and main ideas for the film written down already. I would like to take part at a writing lab, to revise the script a bit more and eventually look for funding. Apart from that, I just shot a very interesting sci-fi thriller called The Redhead, which is being edited at the moment. The style of the film is quite different compared to my other films, so I’m super excited to show this film at festivals next year.
All other team members are all working on several other projects. All actors work internationally in film, theatre and music. Amber, the DOP is shooting a film in Israel at the moment and we also shot my last two shorts together. Jacopo, who composed the music and worked on the sound, is constantly working on soundtracks for films and we will also collaborate again for my new film.
Interview: September 2017
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series and music video. 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
A Universal Love Story
In a world, where people have forgotten how to connect with another human being, an unexpected visitor is about to start a revolution.
Director: Natalie MacMahon
Producer: Natalie MacMahon
Writer: Natalie MacMahon
About the writer, director and producer:
After years of working as an actress for film and theater, Natalie made her first short drama The Man Who Couldn’t Cry in 2015, which was screened at countless international film festivals. It was followed by Like a Summer Sonata and Lola wants to see the sea, which were equally successful and this year Natalie’s new short It’s getting darker every day has already won awards and gained nominations at different European and American festivals. Natalie’s new film “A Universal Love Story”, a sci-fi drama in Esperanto, is about to premiere at the Sydney Indie Film Festival and she just shot a short sci-fi thriller, called The Redhead.
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists):
The film doesn’t have a distributor or sales agent yet. So that would be very interesting for us. And of course we want to show it at as many festivals as possible, so we are looking for film festival directors and journalists to spread the word.
Social media handles:
Funders: Private Funding
Where can I see it in the next month?
Sydney Indie Film Festival 2017- World Premiere (September)
Film Crash Film Festival 2017- American Premiere (October)
Braunschweig International Film Festival 2017- Germany premiere (October)
Ibiza Cinefest 2018
Miami Independent Film Festival 2018