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Winner Steve Bache talks Fatjona

Filmakademie director Steve Bache picked up a Gold Screen in the Film School category for their short film Fatjona this year in Cannes. Here, they discuss being inspired by real events, moral dilemmas and learning to trust your inner voice.

How did you get into directing?

I didn’t wanted to become a director in the first place.

To be honest when I was a teenager I wanted to be a comic artist, but after my A-levels I got the opportunity to shoot a film with some friends and it was such an eye opener for me. When you’re drawing comics you’re usually doing it alone at home, but for quite some time I was looking for working in a team and shooting a film was the best way to tell a story and working with a team at the same time.

So I started to do some internships on different film productions. The goal was to study at a film school in Germany and after applying for two years I finally happen to go to the infamous Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, a place in the middle of nowhere, where all you can do is working on films, it was the best experience of my life and I learned to love my job even more.

What was the inspiration behind Fatjona?

Our short film Fatjona is actually inspired by real events.

The screenwriter Driton Sadiku happens to know a young woman, who actually has given up her newborn child for adoption right after birth and without even seeing her. She told him in a private talk that somehow she regrets her decision, but she doesn’t want to see her child again, because she is afraid of the feelings that might come up if she is getting in contact. She wants a good life for her child and doesn’t want to confuse her.

But Driton wanted to find out what will happen to a young woman who actually starts looking for her lost child and as he was telling me his idea I was immediately hooked by the topic. It’s always fascinating to follow a character, who tries to get something, that we as an audience know she is not allowed to achieve. That is something I’m always looking for in my films. I want to challenge the audience with a moral dilemma. I want to ask questions they usually are not confronted by. So they can think about their own point of view.

How long was the shoot and what was the most challenging aspect of the project?

We shot the film in 10 days in March last year during the peak of the Covid Pandemic. So we had some real hard restrictions and every day we were afraid that we had to cancel our shooting because of somebody getting ill. That was really a tough time.

It means so much for me to win the YDA Award for my diploma film, because it gives me confidence in my work.

What have you learned during the process of making the film?

I’ve learned to trust my inner voice even more. Because of the restrictions we had to make some really tough decisions. Sometimes we were lucky and everything went well, but sometimes I felt deep down in my gut, that some decisions will face us with even more difficulties, but we had to do it anyway.

For the future I know to trust more my own experience as a director.

What does it mean to you to win a YDA and what can we expect to see from you in future?

It means so much for me to win the YDA Award for my diploma film, because it gives me confidence in my work. It will help me to stay on track and I’m looking forward to shoot my first feature film in the not so distant future. So stay tuned, there will be something big coming!

Do you plan to work in the advertising industry and if so, what most excites you about that prospect?

Actually I am working more in the feature film industry, but I happened to shoot like three commercials during the last year for a German health insurance company and I really fell in love with the fast pace of the work.

I was able to try very different styles in this three commercials in a very short time and that is something I will never be able to do in the feature film industry. So I will try to stay in both worlds, doing a feature film and in between shooting some commercials. That would be the best.

Interview by Daniel Huntley shots

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