Today, as part of our series of interviews with authors, we bring you an interview with a screenwriter and simultaneously a producer in one person - Abdullah Harun İlhan.
Abdullah, together with director Xuan Qin, created a short student film titled 'Background'.
The film tells a story from the filmmaking set, where a conflict arises between the director and an extra actor. Is the film inspired by your personal experiences as a writer?
As the writer and the producer of the film, the story of the film is directly inspired by my personal experience as I was working as one of the assistants of the director.
Do you think that a good crew atmosphere is necessary for a good film result?
I think it is necessary. However there can be exceptions. Even if the result is good, I think it is more important to have a good crew atmosphere. So I’d prefer having an average film where all crew is satisfied rather than having a decent film where film crew members had bad memories and experiences
We get the idea that everyone on the film is irreplaceable in some way. Do you often encounter similar situations on set?
Surely, Even though the film is directly about an extra actor, indirectly our goal is showing that every single position is irreplaceable. If we widen our horizon, we can even say that many other positions that are considered as “lower social classes” are irreplaceable and as important as others.
Was there anything you would have done differently in terms of directorial approach or decisions?
Because of our big crew in our studio, we couldn’t shoot extra shots and angles for some takes. We would like to have more options if we had another chance.
You compare a film crew to a food chain. Tell us more about it.
People live in societies. And the society works with a variety of social classes. Of course, we don’t eat each other like animals. However, in many cases, (maybe indirectly but) we try to inactivate each other through the difference in social classes. However people from higher social classes sometimes might not realize that they rely on the ones who work in the background. That’s why Song Lee (main character) is in the background. However some people remember them when they are removed. In this film, the film set represents a small society where there are people from different work fields and backgrounds. And the film suggests if there is another way to be out of classical food chain discourse. (Which is we think, empathy)
Which aspects of the film (story, visuals, sound, acting, editing...) do you consider to be its strengths?
When we talk about the film with our crew, usually the story is highlighted more than other aspects of the film.
Can you share any specific challenges you faced while making the film and how you overcame them?
Because of the limitation of the usage of the studio, we had to shoot the film in 7 days. So, we had the deal with the continuity. Other than that we had a smooth shooting.
What contributed most to the dynamic atmosphere of the film?
Our dynamic and diverse film crew contributed the most to our film. We were totally 33 people from 20 nations in the making of our film.
What would you like the audience to take away after watching your film?
I would like the audience to practice the concept of empathy more. (I wish the same for me)
What are you planning for the future?
My plan is writing and making (either directing or producing) good audiovisual works that touch my and others’ souls, all around the world.
Thank you, Abdullah, for the interview, and we wish you all the best.