What if you could be someone else for one minute?
Interview with Writer/Director/Producer Izaskun Arandia
Congratulations! Why did you make your film?
I met a Bolivian lady called Mery 10 years ago. I lived in the UK at the time and she moved in to my block of flats in North London. Mery was a cleaner who had 3-4 different jobs a day and had left her native Bolivia where she was a journalist with her husband and had 5 children. She left her oldest 4 kids in Bolivia and brought only her youngest son with her to London. Her obsession and aim in life was to bring all her children to Europe and that’s why she worked all day. Her English was very poor and whenever we met we used to speak Spanish and spoke about the family she left in Bolivia, she always cried. Her story moved me so much that when I moved out of the area and lost contact with her I decided to write a short script based on her story. So this story has lived with me for 10 years now. When I moved back home to the Basque Country 5 years ago, I knew I had to turn the script into a film. And all the stars aligned...
Imagine I’m a member of the audience. Why should I watch this film?
Because it’s a film with hope. It places a mirror in front of us, to see how other people live, the hardship they go through and makes us realise how fortunate we are. It doesn’t want to be a moralistic film but it does make us think about our own lives. And it also shows that a very small gesture of solidarity can make a huge difference in other people’s life.
How do personal and universal themes work in your film?
Night Shift is a kind of social drama. It depicts the importance and the healing power of the arts (theatre, music) and themes such as immigration and poverty are tackled. But perhaps the most important universal theme that runs through the film for me is women and solidarity.
In fact, 70% of the team that made Night Shift are women. And this was my choice to choose a very female driven team. I feel very strongly about gender equality in our sector and I believe that only through positive discrimination (or positive actions, for a better word) will we be able to achieve equality. So I make sure that in all my projects at least 50% of the team is made up of women.
How have the script and film evolved over the course of their development?
I first wrote the script in English and the story took place in London. When I moved back to the Basque Country 5 years ago and thought of making a film, I translated it to the Basque language and adapted it to locations in San Sebastian.
Before filming took place I wrote 8-9 drafts of the script which doesn’t have any dialogue and I was very pleased with the result as the film has turned out pretty much as I had imagined it.
What type of feedback have you received so far?
Feedback has generally been very positive and people seem to be surprised with a couple of twists they see in the film.
Has the feedback surprised or challenged your point of view?
I always thought people might not understand the ending but I’ve not received a negative comment about it. I love having the opportunity to talk to the audience and having discussions about the themes on the film. I feel that the film invites the audience to self-reflect, which, for a filmmaker is one of the best outcomes one might wish for.
What are you looking to achieve by having your film more visible on www.wearemovingstories.com?
Visibility is the key for films in general but particularly for short films as there aren’t that many platforms or opportunities other than film festivals to show one’s film. And at the end of the day we all make films for the public and the more people who watch them the better.
Who do you need to come on board (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists) to amplify this film’s message?
The film is currently in its distribution phase so having a sales agent or distributor in the USA would be amazing. Other than that, journalists or bloggers could write up articles about the film and contribute to its visibility. And obviously, film festival directors or programmers could pick up Night Shift for their festivals!
What type of impact and/or reception would you like this film to have?
I would just want the public to reflect on the issues depicted in our film and if watching Night Shift invites people to have insightful conversations, I’d be more than happy.
What’s a key question that will help spark a debate or begin a conversation about this film?
What if we showed a bit more empathy towards immigrants who land in our countries looking for a better future for their families? What if we listened to them instead of judging them?
Would you like to add anything else?
Just wanted to say THANK YOU for your interest in our little film.
What other projects are the key creatives developing or working on now?
I’m distributing another short fiction film called JUNE by another female director called Arantza Ibarra and I’m working on a feature length documentary about gender diversity called MY WAY OUT. We start filming in London at the end of April and we are making the film with a bit of funds we received via crowdfunding.
I’m also the president of an association that works towards the visibility and employability of women in the audiovisual sector called HEMEN. We have a database with 170 professionals and 40 employers (producers, directors etc) and we organise networking events, training and promote the work of our members:
Interview: February 2018
We Are Moving Stories embraces new voices in drama, documentary, animation, TV, web series, music video, women's films, LGBTIAQ+, scifi, 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
What if you could be someone else for one minute?
Director: Izaskun Arandia
Producer: Izaskun Arandia (Exec Producer)
Writer: Izaskun Arandia
About the writer, director and producer:
Key cast: Enriqueta Vega, Patricia Urrutia
Looking for (producers, sales agents, buyers, distributors, film festival directors, journalists): All of the above except producers
Social media handles:
Funders: Basque Government, Crowdfunded via Verkami
Made in association with:
Where can I watch it next and in the coming month? Chicago Feminist Film Festival in March (5th?) And in London, Paris, New York and in the Basque Country from end of Feb onwards.