Featured Filmmaker: Tony Pietra Arjuna (Malaysia)

The Featured Filmmaker Series gives you the chance to get to know CollabFeature filmmakers through a series of interviews that give an inside peek into the minds and lives of our collaborators.

Before I introduce the next featured filmmaker for the Train Station, let’s me go slightly back in time.

December 2010.

I had read the Collabfeature success for “The Owner” and was just trying my luck for their next one and so I filled up the forms and send my reels of my past works. Few days later, I received an email from Marty Shea and got selected to be part of the Train Station!

Still image from for the segment directed by Tony Pietra

I did not know what to expect nor I have any idea how all this will work out. It was indeed a crazy idea! The initial script stages started really well, using the online platform to collaborate on our stories (and links), but midway of the process, the entire thing started to take a huge turning point - I had to call it off due to personal reasons and bad timing.

Everyone in the group was sad for me having to leave but nevertheless, I had no choice. I apologized to one and all and told them to go ahead and use my initial draft of script or find another director/writer to take over my seat. With a heavy heart, I said goodbye.


Time passed and I had forgotten about it until recently when my IMDB page notified me of an added screenplay credit for Train Station. I was speechless but happy at the same time and then all those memories came rushing back. My only question was, "Who was it that directed my screenplay?" I search the Directors List and there was this name so very familiar although I had not seen him for a very long time - Tony Pietra Arjuna.

Tony Pietra Arjuna

And the story of how we knew each other is an amazing story to tell but perhaps now it’s more about him and how he put them together. Tony had stay true to the original screenplay which I wrote years ago and watching it cometo life visually was a “goosebumps” experience - it was my first ever screenplay directed by someone else!

We met up recently in Kuala Lumpur, after more than 5 years since we last met, and we started having conversations about all the things that happened during my absence from the project. Here are the excerpts from a 3-hour long chat session that we had over coffee…

Isazaly: What actually happened after I dropped out of Train Station?

Tony: Juliane Block (one of the most prominently involved directors in Train Station) contacted me to direct your script for the Malaysian segment. I met Juliane while she was living and making films in Kuala Lumpur. I didn't see her for a while until 2011, when she Skyped me from Berlin (that was when the first CollabFeature project, The Owner, was completed) and recruited me for CollabFeature. As a budding filmmaker, I couldn't refuse the opportunity to get involved in the most pioneering and unique indie/international project at the time. I also felt honored that Juliane shortlisted me for the privilege, so I wanted to make good on that!

Preparing the Cafe Scene

I: There will always be hurdles and issues in every production. What was yours?

T: Incessant noise from roadside traffic and torrential rain! We had an ace audio engineer, so he solved that problem.

The other hurdle was overcoming my lack of confidence and rustiness, since that was my first time directing a slice of live-action fiction/narrative after two years of animation and documentaries. I struggled for a bit but I guess that I did alright, in the end.

I: When I saw the final edit of our segment, I get a sensation that it feels very sexy and surreal at the same time. The music really helps. What inspired you to go that direction?

T: I grew up on John Carpenter as a kid while Sergio Leone and Michael Mann ruled my formative years. As an adult, I am still in the process of finding my own voice as a director but I continue to consciously (and unconsciously) take storytelling or stylistic cues from those guys, particularly in the crime and horror/thriller content that I made for local TV. However, David Lynch is my favorite "mentor". Blue Velvet rewired my cinematic brain when I first experienced it as a tween: A life-changing rite of passage from my Amblin/Spielberg-saturated childhood to movie maturity. Our Train Station segment does its best to channel Wild at Heart (I even used Angelo Badalamenti's score as the temp track). Of course I'm losing my mind over the Twin Peaks revival!

"We must leave now!"

I: I really like the collabfeature concept of making movies with multiple directors and it gives us the opportunity to see different styles and culture in one big movie. Amazing right to even see it come together as one film?

T: Hell yeah! Aside from becoming an active part of something that is important, new and potentially revolutionary (which travels in film festivals around the world, to boot), CollabFeature's globe-spanning concept/nature appeals to me on a very personal level. I was raised as a "third culture kid", which simply means that I lived in different countries throughout my youth, thus making me the "global citizen" that I am today. Train Station granted me the chance to rekindle that chapter of my life through my filmmaker aspirations. To once again be in a community of various nations and doing what I love while I'm there? Impossible to resist. Plus, other than English, we all speak the same obvious language.

I: When I wrote the original draft, I figure that maybe the locations only exists in my head, but when I saw the scene, I was like - wow! Just like how I imagine it!

T: The lake scene was shot at a reservoir in a town called Ulu Yam. It's the nearest body of water to the city, so every K.L.-based “tom, dick and harry" production will utilize it! The cafe scene was set in a food court that was converted from a parking lot, beneath a highway ramp in the Petaling Jaya district of K.L. Visually, with all the concrete above and around us, it was an atypical and surreal place to sit and have coffee. It worked for the scene's slightly off-kilter atmosphere.

The Reservoir scene at Ulu Yam

I: Do you want to do this again, if there are other opportunities like this?

T: I most definitely will and I already have: Not long after Train Station was in full swing, I directed a neo-noir segment of Cuak (aka Second Thoughts), a Malaysian anthology/indie feature with five filmmakers.

The movie was released theatrically in 2014 but it could still be seeking a second life in overseas festivals. It was a team effort that felt much like a mini-CollabFeature in its collaboration model. The experience was creatively fun and invigorating. Everybody involved became like family and when it was over, I was hungry for more. The process was addictive and ultimately rewarding.

I look forward to the same feeling at Train Station's last stop!

"Issues" - Tonys directorial segment of "Cuak" aka "Second Thoughts"

I: It’s amazing to think that this film reunite us again after so long we have not met or spoken. I guess the journey is far more greater meaning than the destination itself. Not sure if it will ever going to be screened here in Malaysia (with our strict censorships) but nevertheless, at least I am happy to see it being materialised and completed.

T: It’s been a great pleasure to be finally working with you again and yeah, welcome back to the team and let’s bring the train home!

Interview conducted by Isazaly Isa.

Featured Filmmaker: Athanasia Michopoulou

The Featured Filmmaker Series gives you the chance to get to know CollabFeature filmmakers through a series of interviews that give an inside peek into the minds and lives of our collaborators. Athanasia Michopoulou

How has your upbringing and surroundings in Greece manifested in your works; is there anything about Greek culture that you think is evident in your films?

As filmmakers, I feel we bring into our films something personal, something of who we are. In this sense, one could say my upbringing, being part of who I am as a person and artist coming from Greece is also part of my works. Perhaps in the themes I choose to follow, or in the questions I ask, or behind the decisions my characters take? I can’t really say. I don’t think though it is something dominant. I don’t believe one would watch any of my films and say, “she is Greek”. My stories could be taking place anywhere in the world.

4You have been working in many different posts behind the scenes -- if you weren't directing, which one role would be your choice?

I love everything that has to do with cinema. If I weren’t to direct, I would choose to be involved in editing. The creativity can be limitless and you always discover a lot in the editing room, same as in a film set.

As part of Train Station, what possibly differentiates you from the other filmmakers on the roster? Conversely, what might you share with them?

I think in “Train Station”, everyone shares the same love and passion for filmmaking, for collaboration and creating something unique. And that uniqueness into our project is each filmmaker’s voice, and this is what differentiates us. And it can be seen in every segment of our film. Even though there are connections and continuity, each segment is different from the other. For me there is never any one way to view a story, and the best stories tend to be ones that teach us a bit of something, while also inspiring us to new thoughts. And I think “Train Station” does that, it inspires its viewers.


4) Regardless of short or long form narratives, what defines your work as a cinematic storyteller?

I think that is still a work in progress to be honest. From what I have done so far, I would say in my films my heroes face an ethical dilemma that challenges them and in a way “forces” them to walk out of their safe zone and take action. I prefer to let the action unfold for the viewer and get him a closer perspective in key moments of the story. But generally I think my cinematic language is still something in development. I have done 6 short films so far and I have learned a lot but I still want to try out so much more, play with different genres too. I think who we are as storytellers evolves and changes with every film.

Still from WOLVES & SHEEP

5) On that note, tell us more about your latest short film, Wolves & Sheep, and the feature that you are developing.

“Wolves & Sheep” was created during the Shooting Lab workshop of the Generation Campus in Moscow in 2013. We were asked to create, shoot and edit a film following 'five obstructions': running time shouldn't exceed one minute, everything would be filmed in one location, there would be no dialogue, just music, the film would have three lead characters and no more than three characters would be in a shot.

It was a creative challenge and I learned a lot from the process. Working the script and getting it to the core of the story, collaborating with Russian actors who I met on the set, getting the story through in just one minute. It was great. I also met some amazing people from around the world and we had a great teacher Rafi Pitts, who was an inspiration to work with.

As for my feature film, it is entitled “Hypnos” and I am very excited about it. It’s a fantasy feature film that combines ancient Greek myths with orthodox prophecies. For me Greek mythology is an endless source of inspiration that oddly enough has not been harvested yet. “Hypnos” is inspired by this literature and attempts to fuse it with key religious elements from the orthodox books and mould it into science fiction. I am collaborating with a very talented scriptwriter on this, Alexandra Dyranis-Maounis, and it is a very creative process.

Poster from WHITE LIES

6) Your filmography, as exemplified by Behind the Veil and In Transit, which are respectively on the subject of discrimination/prejudice and immigration, suggests that you are concerned with themes of human rights and tolerance. Since Greece is in the midst of the migrant/refugee crisis, what are your views on this issue and would you tell a story about it?

It is heartbreaking for me to witness the current refugee crisis. All those people, children, losing their lives in the Aegean Sea. I read recently there are more displaced people and refugees now than at any other time in recorded history and in numbers not seen since World War II. It saddens me to see history repeating itself. Greece is trying to deal with the situation, but there are many problems in many levels. Add to those the financial crisis my country has been facing the past 5 years, things are quit hard. It is hopeful how the local communities have been helping out along with NGOs and volunteers. Greeks have a long history of being refugees themselves so I think they can relate to all those people looking for a better future in Europe. But this is something that asks for actions on a larger scale. I don’t know though how much there is the will for such actions. Throughout Europe, xenophobia and racism grow rapidly, and nationalist, even far-right parties are gaining ground. At the same time, this is only the beginning of the crisis, because the conditions inciting people to flee their homelands will only worsen. I do hope that as the world changes, Europe can change with it and that sensible proposals will come forward. Films can help people overcome their fears and xenophobia, and thoughts are there for a film.

7) As a participant in an international venture like CollabFeature and having worked across various countries in Europe, do you consider yourself on track to become a "transnational/world cinema" filmmaker?

in transit 2I never thought of it this way before to be honest but I guess you are right. I feel getting to travel, live, and work in a different country, can influence you in many ways and is an experience one should pursue. It gives you a connection with other cultures, engages you in conversations that lead to greater understanding and better appreciation of the people. It shows us how we are similar and different and learn from those characteristics. Through traveling, we’re savoring experiences, which we can then apply to our art. At least for me it is like that. And it has been helpful on a practical level too. It gave me a chance to build my skills, learn how to work with people from different cultural backgrounds and opened up new horizons and different ways to deal with things, which then I could apply in my country. For example being in Canada and volunteering for the TIFF festival was a real eye-opener for me in event management. So yes, I do feel that I have been influenced from my experiences abroad as a person and filmmaker and I do consider my self on track to become a “transnational/world storyteller”. ☺

BIOGRAPHY Athanasia Michopoulou was born and raised in Athens, Greece, where she took her bachelor degree in Communications and Media Studies by the University of Athens. In 2007 she went to Denmark to study Filmmaking at the European Film College. She has worked ever since in various production posts. For the last 4 years, she has been attached as locations manager and fixer in various projects, from feature films to shorts and documentaries, for Greek and foreign countries. Her biggest passion is filmmaking and her last short “Wolves & Sheep”, completed during the Generation Campus Shooting Set Lab in Moscow, Russia, has been screened in the International Film Festival of Patmos, the 11th Naoussa International Film Festival and the 7th International Cinematography Artfools Festival in Larissa. She is now preparing her feature debut while working on other short scripts.

Athanasia Michopoulou


FILMOGRAPHY 2015 – Serious Shit!: short fiction film created during the 1st Kinolab Moscow, Moscow, Russia (password: kinolab) 2013 – Wolves & Sheep: short fiction film created during the Generation Campus Shooting Set Lab, Moscow, Russia (password: campus) 2013 – Behind the veil: short fiction film on discrimination and prejudice created during the International Talent Workshop, Zagreb, Croatia 2013 – “Stamped!”: short fiction film on love in Athens, screened during the 1st Love in Athens Film Festival 2012 – “In Transit”: short fiction documentary on immigration created during the Borderline Lab 2011 - Train Station – Hide the bodies segment: participation in CollabFeature, a group of independent filmmakers from around the world who have come together to create a feature film made up of multiple individual stories (currently in festival circulation) 2010/2012 - “White lies”: short fiction film

First works 2008 - “The promise” (screened during the 3rd Reykjavik International Film Festival as part of the Talent Laboratory (September 24th - 27th, 2009), 2008 - “Letter to the world”, 2006 - “Angelum , 2005 - “Black balloon” (screened during the “3in3 short film competition”)

Interview conducted by Tony Pietra and Deric Ect.

Featured Filmmaker: Hesam Dehghani

The Featured Filmmaker Series gives you the chance to get to know CollabFeature filmmakers through a series of interviews that give an inside peek into the minds and lives of our collaborators.

Hesam DehghaniHesam Dehghani, from Tehran, Iran, first learned of CollabFeature from the film website mandy.com. He was intrigued by the opportunity to work on an international project with filmmakers from around the world, and has been impressed with the diversity of cultures on the Train Station project:

Hesam Dehghani: “Working on a project with other filmmakers from different countries is a unique experience. In this system, you should put away your own likes and dislikes and learn to ‘collaborate’ with other artists. It is amazing and you learn so much from others.”

Hesam’s segment in Train Station begins when Man in Brown, or in his case, Woman in Brown (played by Shirin Esmaeeli), accepts the offer of two strangers to give her a ride home after she was unnerved by a mysterious man who she thought was following her. However, the seemingly friendly strangers make her even more uncomfortable when they ask inappropriate and probing questions about her life.

HD: “I wanted to have some kind of twist in my segment, and working on that ‘nice’ couple was a good point to start. I had two minutes to convey the feeling of escaping from one uncomfortable situation and falling into another one, by the ones who were supposed to help you come out of the first one!”

The shoot took two days at a cost of 150 million Rials (about $5,000 USD), and was financed by Hesam’s production company, Persian Magic. The shoot had a 10-person crew and used a Sony EX3 camera.

Locations were in the city of Tehran, the capital of Iran.

HD: “I specially selected the route and direction of the ride in a way that The Milad Tower, which is the symbol of Tehran, can be seen in the background. We also used it as a main background of the walking footage.

Tehran is a very large city, with 10 million people living in it. It is the third largest city in the Middle East and you can see both old and modern buildings in it. South of Tehran is kind of old, with more population and north of Tehran is modern, with skyscrapers. The streets are wider and lush and houses are more pricey.”

The actors in Hesam’s segment are all speaking Persian, and their wardrobe is typical everyday Iranian dress. Though to an untrained eye the wardrobe seems similar to that in other Middle Eastern countries, there are important differences.

HD: “Many people who live in western countries think that Iran is an Arab country and women wear the same dress as Arab women do. Although Iran is an Islamic country, here women and girls do not wear that kind of dress. They do not cover their faces, and men do not wear Dishdasha (that special dress that Arabs wear).

Also, some Westerners think that Tehran is a desert, and that people ride on camels and live in tents! Sometimes my friends in other countries ask me “do you have the internet in your country?”… and that annoys me a lot. Having a segment in Train Station was a great chance for me to show that these thoughts are not true.”

Interview conducted by Diane Cheklich.

Check out Hesam’s:  Blog  |  Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Twitter  |  IMDB

Featured Filmmaker: Juliane Block

The Featured Filmmaker Series gives you the chance to get to know CollabFeature filmmakers through a series of interviews that give an inside peek into the minds and lives of our collaborators.

Featured Filmmaker - Juliane Block Juliane Block is a Berlin-based director whose achievements include 2 feature films,  more than 10 short films, music videos, commercials and travel documentaries. She has given lectures on different filmmaking subjects in various countries. Her work has been screened at festivals around the world and she participated in the Berlinale Talent Campus as film director in 2008. Her crowdfunding campaign ‘The Inner District’ won the Google sponsored Indiegogo competition ‘Gründergarage’ in 2012. Her feature screenplay ‘Foster’ was selected as one of the 25 finalists of the Screenplay Replay Contest in 2013.

1) Your background as a globe-trotting filmmaker makes you an ideal candidate as a world cinema voice like Wim Wenders. How has living and working in both Asia and Europe manifested in your works? Which of your films best illustrate "transnational culture", i.e. the convergence of East and West elements?

The biggest difference, I believe, distinguishing me from a German filmmaker who graduated through the common system (doing German film school and then moving on to government funded features or television) is the fact that those public funding doors are pretty hard for me to open. As a result however I am free in the choice of my subjects, and can pursue topics usually not done by German filmmakers: genre films and English language content for an international audience.

My work as a result has become more globalized through the influences of the different countries, best of all reflected in my last feature film "Kinks" which portrays the differences between the East and the West through two twin sisters - one of them looking white, the other one Indian.

2) You've been working in various genres but judging from your short-form filmography and your feature films in development, you appear to be geared towards action/crime, horror/thriller or science fiction. Can you tell us more about these projects and what appeals to you about genre cinema? Any thoughts about its commercial value in independent circles?

When I first got in touch with filmmaking it was through doing Zombie make-up on a home-made Zombie flick in 1999. I was always drawn to monsters or genre creatures. I devoured Sci-Fi and Fantasy books when I was a kid and even now I rather watch an Action blockbuster (if the reason for watching is mere time passing) than an Indie movie with a deep rooted theme and story.

Having said that the best films for me are the ones who have morally valid and solid underlying themes while telling an enticing story - then mixing it with pure entertainment. That's what pretty much all my future projects are about:

3 Lives Poster3 LIVES - a psychological thriller which deals with the topic of how people deal with their past - packaged in a survival thriller in the woods. FOSTER is an action Sci-Fi film about a young man who gets drawn into the organized crime circles in Hong Kong of the future, but ultimately tells the story of a man who grows up and forgives his parents.

Having shopped around my projects at the big film markets during the last year (AFM, EFM and Cannes) I can say that genre films are definitely a much easier sell internationally then drama or art-house.

3) As part of CollabFeature, what do you think sets you apart from the rest of the filmmakers on the roster? On the flip side, what do you have in common with them?

All of the filmmakers involved in CollabFeature combines a driving motivation to collaborate creatively, to get inspired by different cultures and create something unique. I am no different. If anything sets me apart from the rest, it might be the persistence to see it through to the end. With so many different voices the process of actually finishing something can be grueling at times, but luckily CollabFeature managed to gather a bunch of producers and directors who even stay active after years of involvement.

4) Over the years, short films have increased in accessibility thanks to a surge in mobile and Internet technology. Some people however opine that the advent in mobile technology could potentially result in a decrease in film quality and that over time films could lose their cinematic quality. As someone who has worked on a number of shorts, what is your opinion on this?

If you judge the quality of film in general by looking at all content produced and then rate it on average, maybe the quality of film did decline. But the amount of little indie gems to discover did increase as well by the increase of accessibility to filmmaking as such.

It is harder to find them in the massive amount of content available, true, and creates an environment of competitiveness - who markets his or her film best (not necessarily which film is the best.) But ultimately that's no change to earlier times, in which not the best filmmakers necessarily became the prominent directors of their time, but the ones who managed to beat all the odds in their way (being it the money you need to pay for film school e.g.)

The obstacles might have changed, but the opportunity to shine is there - today as it was decades ago.

5) Given the general decrease in attention span over the years, do you think short films are the way forward? Is it like films, but bite-sized and easily digestible?

The thrive of cinema today proves that there's still a need for feature films. And you could even argue that with TV being the new cinema - look at all the great series which came out over the last years - in some way the attention span increased. A couple of years ago I didn't imagine I would binge watch through a series, watching 4 or 5 episodes in one go.

I believe the internet as content platform enables us to watch without the restriction of a set time frame, as dictated by television for example. As a result new content forms emerged, like web series and previously less attractive formats, like short films, increased in popularity.

6) Based on your track record, you seem to be a bit of a festival junkie; which film festival do you never miss/have always wanted to visit or are aiming for?

Being based now in Berlin I'd love to premiere one of my feature one day at the Berlinale.

7) Of all digital platforms to upload your films to, which one do you think works best for you as a filmmaker?

That answer depends on the purpose of the upload. To present my work as part of my portfolio, the platform of choice is Vimeo. To reach the end consumer and promote, it's YouTube, and to earn money by self-distribution my favorites are currently VHX and Reelhouse.

Interview conducted by Tony Pietra.

Check out Juliane's:  Website  |  Facebook  |  YouTube  |  Twitter  |  IMDB


Featured Filmmaker: Maria Paraskevopoulou

by Karl Liegis

Maria Paraskevopoulou entered my life in October 2003. We were sitting next to one another on our first day of “school” and were instructed by the lecturer to find out about the person next to us and then talk about them to the class.  She was smart, funny, refreshingly honest, had a massive heart and wore stripy socks. All things I looked for in a friend.


Maria is the first director I ever met. I had met people who wanted to be directors, but she was one. Ok, we were at university studying, but she was there to hone her skills, not learn them from scratch. I on the other hand was all about supporting and enabling creativity in a production role, so it was natural that we would work on as many projects as we could together.

Maria was a huge part of my moving image education. She introduced me to many filmmakers, authors and musicians. We would finish uni, go to her flat, smoke a joint, listen to music, make some food, then watch films back to back or find music videos we liked and bounce ideas off one another. She introduced me to the work of Bergman, Tarkovsky, Kurasawa, Sartre, Ozu and Arkas. I was never competing with Maria, but I constantly strove to prove myself to her. Outside my family she was my biggest fan and my most honest critic. When she came back from studying in Canada she assumed we would be working together, but for me it was a surprise and an honor to be asked. She would direct and I would production manage. She gave me copies of all the educational documents she had been given in Canada and off we went.

When I look back at it now, our projects were always very professional set ups. We self financed the project, we shot on S16mm, we used a professional DP, we made deals, we held auditions, hired a composer, and had an actor travel to work with us. I still am very proud of ‘PR’. The film is brutal, sweet, exciting, brilliantly directed and has a dramatic impact. I saw the DP a few years later and he said it was still one of the things he was most proud of shooting.

When we graduated, Maria went back to Greece to work and I was fortunate enough to get running jobs in the UK. I visited her, she came back to the UK, but practical and personal situations saw us grow apart.

She is still one of the greatest directors I have ever worked with and if anyone reading this is looking for a director, or is considering producing Maria’s film, don’t hesitate. She is a talent who needs to be invested in and if she agrees to work with you, you will not regret it.

Featured Filmmaker: Dennis Corsi

by Trish Amanda Hubbard

I'm an actress in New York City. Currently, I am being directed by Dennis Corsi in a truly unique project called 'A Billion to One'. While this is probably one of my most favorite projects I've worked on with Dennis, it's just another adventure we've added to our six year friendship. For 'A Billion to One', Dennis and I had to create a character with a worthy reason for being bestowed a billion dollars. We came up with a character that I'm very proud of as it will help bring to light the importance of our needed awareness in regards to Mental Health in the United States.

I first met Dennis in college at Michigan State University where we had most of our acting classes together. Working diligently, while still going above and beyond, Dennis quickly became a peer that we all looked up to. It was when we took a devised theatre class together that our friendship and working partnership truly began. I saw Dennis' love for understanding the way others think, and truly wanting to use his art to better others. While seemingly being younger than most, he is most definitely mature and experienced beyond his age bracket.

While appearing timid at some times in the rehearsal room or on set, Dennis has mastered the art of speaking up exactly when a voice of reason needs to be heard. Even then, at the time when artists can be the most defensive about their work, Dennis just has this honest way of giving feedback that brings out the best in everyone. His editing eye is impeccable, and I wish to the high heavens I could have his managing skills. He filmed and edited his own reel, which can be seen here (and it's fabulous): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jK2CvdtzY8. Dennis has a unique humor in that whenever it does pop out, it's perfectly timed and enjoyed by all. Or at least in my case, he really does have an amazing ability of making me laugh when I need it the most. I'm proud of his reel, as I believe it showcases his impeccable detail, humor and unique artistic touch. All of these things and more, are not only what make him one of the best filmmakers out there, but also makes him one of the most exciting artists to see work from.

In going to school with him, I have had the pleasure of watching Dennis go through the acting program, the film program, and the directing program; excelling in each one to become the filmmaker he is today. When he sat me down to brainstorm ideas and talk about A Billion to One, I couldn't contain my excitement because I now know that whatever project I work with Dennis on, will always be a truly amazing experience. I learn from his work everyday, and I see many others do the same. I can't wait to see what he has in store for the future, because in my opinion he of all people deserves it the most. Good Luck my love!

Trish and Dennis

TrishDennis Corsi Headshot

Featured Filmmaker: Ingrid Franchi

By Etienne Gaudilliere  

I have not known Ingrid for a very long time - less than two years - but I can already share experiences about working with her. I have played in two of Ingrid's short movies, and we are currently working together on A Billion to One. I would say that Ingrid is both an energy-filled director and a natural group leader. She is deeply interested in stories that reflect our world in various ways, from documentary to suspenseful fiction. She also has a strong humor, which is a important from my point of view. She gathered around herself a great, young and skillful technical team - really.

OLTC_24062012_086I am always surprised about the trust she has in me, and how she opens the door to artists she barely knows in order to work together. Her working team is always open to new talents, allowing everyone who has great ideas to join her. That gave me a lot of confidence, to be honest.
I would say that today I am very happy of what I have shared with Ingrid, but even more excited about what is coming, including of course A Billion To One, an adventure I wouldn't be in without her.I would like so much to share with you the brainstorming sessions we have together about creating the story. There are moments of joy, laughter and excitement that could make movies by themselves! This being both a message for you to know her through my eyes, and a "thank you" from me to her.

OLTC_24062012_089For more on Ingrid, visit:

Website : www.ingridfranchi.com

Twitter : https://twitter.com/IngridFranchi

Facebook :https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ingrid-Franchi/572760882837673?fref=ts

Featured Filmmaker: Rosa Smith

By Sophie Williams Rosa Smith is an up-coming, wonderful actress and filmmaker, born under the name of Laura Elizabeth Smith but using Rosa as her professional identify. When she approached me to write this article, I jumped at the chance. She is both my cousin and one of my closet friends, a kind and passionate young woman who has helped me out of many tricky situations and given me lots of useful advice over the years. Her dedication to her career goals is an inspiration to both others and me, one of her most recent achievements being becoming one of the youngest members of CollabFeature. Rosa is currently juggling working on the CollabFeature project: A Billion to One, studying for her degree and setting up her own theatre company, which explores putting the first silent films onto the stage.

She has always been a fiercely determined person, forever telling people that she will become a successful actress (not wants to be, or might become one, because she has always said that if you will something to happen and completely believe in it, then it will come true). When I asked her what made her first want to get into acting she blurted out with no hesitation: "I wanted to change the world! Well, at least make it a better place... The first moment I knew I wanted to act was when I went to watch this one action film, in the cinema, when I was little. I remember feeling like I could achieve anything when I left the cinema, like I was a super hero, and I wanted to act so I could give others that feeling."

Recently she has further developed on her acting goals and has started to venture into the world of filmmaking and directing through the project A Billion to One and by arranging and directing a performance for the Camden Fringe. I inquired about what has triggered this new interest: "I’ve always wanted to be in the creative process as much as possible because I’ve watched pieces and thought about what I’d do different. Creating your own work also allows you to create your own characters, which gives me the opportunity to create a character exactly how I want them. A Billion to One has been a creative platform for me to do that."

Alongside acting and filmmaking, Rosa has a wide and varied range of hobbies which include: drawing, dancing, fashion, modeling, writing, swimming and cooking. She turns popular film characters into cartoons and also incorporates her artist skills into her character creation. "I often make props for my acting projects and I create drawings of scenes and characters I play. It helps me to visualize the character."

Effie Phantom

She is particularly interested in the film and TV industries and this is the path she wishes her career to take. I asked her who her role models were: "I have so many role models. I love Zooey Deschanel because she is quirky." She looked around in concentration, considering which of the many she has to talk about. "Recently Elizabeth Banks has become an inspiration to me for her portrayal of Effie in The Hunger Games, as she is exactly how I imagined Effie to be when reading the books… I love Tim Burton, and his style of dark comedy. It is great because he makes light of dark topics. One of my goals is to play a character in a Tim Burton film. Everyone who knows me thinks that this is my destiny as apparently I look like Helena Bonham Carter," she added with a chuckle.

As well as being a member of CollabFeature, Rosa is also studying for an acting degree at Arts University Bournemouth in the south of England. When asked how she is finding her studies she smiled and nervously giggled, "Good, it’s challenging, so challenging. You have to be tough to take the criticism." She had her trademark awkwardness as she said this but then quickly added with a cheerful tone of voice, "but I wouldn’t change it for the world. I’ve met some amazing people and learnt so much too." I then moved on to question her about her plans for the future by asking her where she sees herself in 10 years’ time. A sparkle came into her eye as I quizzed her on this. "I’d love to be living in LA, and acting in films over there and maybe even have my own TV show. I know that sounds very cliché and 'wanna be actor like’ but I’ve always been extremely interested in and drawn to America, and their film industry… but to be honest I’m not picky where I am as long as I become a successful actress. I also see myself owning a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes and hopefully in ten years’ time I might look like an adult," she said laughing, referring to the many people that tell her she looks younger than her age.

She isn’t your stereotypical idea of an actress, being shy and quiet but also extremely smart and funny, often making witty remarks. She also has a big heart, a quality which she brings into her characters to make them loveable. As a person I’ve always found Rosa to be kind and loyal. Once you are her friend she will do anything for you. So keep your eye out for this up-coming, talented actress and filmmaker as she takes the world by storm!

Featured Collaborator: David Alonso Garzón

Featured Collaborator: David Alonso Garzón By Juliane Block

The Spanish composer (and visionary) David Alonso Garzón and I met through CollabFeature's first project The Owner. I am one of the filmmakers active in Train Station, CollabFeature's second feature project. When the efforts to finish the post of The Owner went into the hot period, Marty and Ian asked me to come onboard as co-producer, to overlook and organize the score. David was the leading composer of The Owner.

All I really did then was to channel David's and Mike's - the second composer's - creative energy. What had been missing before was just the right person to communicate between the composers and the filmmakers. David had already done A LOT of work without any guidance and I was looking at tons of pre-composed cues. No doubt, without his enthusiasm the film's score would not have been anywhere close to what it became.

The score of The Owner was subsequently nominated as one of the finalists for the Jerry Goldsmith Awards at the Cordoba International Film Music Festival.

David at festival

During the process we emailed each other sometimes dozens of times every day. We were joking that all of us would drop into a big black depressive hole without all those emails. I can say David became a very good friend over this period, and even though we've never met in person, it feels as if we've know each other for ages now. He has continued to work on Train Station and I have agreed to be composer's captain again - one reason being him as part of the team.

I've seldom met a composer who embraced criticism as positively as David. Even if you come back the 8th or 10th time with suggestions or requests, he doesn't get tired to address everything AND the score usually still grows and gets better and better. I have worked with David on some of my own projects as well, and I'm really looking forward to seeing how our collaboration will evolve during the next years.

If there's anything bad about David to be said, it's his still ongoing refusal of using voice chats. (He's afraid his English isn't sufficient - but no matter if it's his constant work on becoming better, google translate, or just the many emails he received from me which needed addressing - soon he can't escape voice chat. His English emails are becoming too well written.)

David is an exceptional filmmaker who, next to being a writer, a father, and working on paid jobs, finds time to invest in passion projects. CollabFeature is proud to count him as part of the family :)