#behindthescreen: interview with Anamaria Antoci about the production of Illegitimate

We are launcning the #behindthescreen series, based on the production team’s experiences behind the cameras, with Anamaria Antoci who talked to us about "Illegitimate".

Two siblings and an illegitimate love. A father who’s a doctor and several accusations. A family in which no one ever drew a line between what’s moral and what’s legal. Not even when it comes to abortion.

  1. I know that Illegitimate is your first feature film as a producer, after working only on short films. Can you please tell us your biggest challenge of as producer of this film?

I think that the biggest challenge was taking and assuming the decision to produce the film 100% independently. Along with this came the necessity to focus my energy in finding alternative solutions for the lack of budget. The independent film also includes the need to play multiple roles in the film crew.

  1. How long took the shooting for Illegitimate?

The shooting lasted just 12 days.

  1.  On what criterias were the actors selected?

I think the actors chose Adrian Sitaru and then Adrian Sitaru chose me. Most of the actors of Illegitimate are not professionals; they are students at Alina Grigore’s acting school, InLight. Firstly, Alina wanted to create a play with them and started developing some characters. When Adrian Sitaru got involved and the idea of making a film was born, we began working with the students that Alina had already chosen for the play.

  1. Alina Grigore is the co-author of the script (with Adrian Sitaru) and, as far as I am aware, Illegitimate is a film based on a lot of acting improvisation. Can you tell us the meaning behind this choice?

Like I mentioned above, the working process continued with developing the characters and each life story. Then the relationships between characters built the actions. Adrian Sitaru decided not to give the actors a script to learn by heart, but the freedom to improvise the dialogues on his indications.

  1. What was the atmosphere on the set? 

The actors assumed the characters’ lives for 2 weeks. The main task during the shooting was to make the actors feel comfortable, without feeling the crew’s presence (which was minimal anyway), and not feeling their personal space is overrun, that we steal their thunder. This was fundamental for obtaining authentic behaviour and dialogues.

  1. There were for sure unexpected situations and funny moments. Can you give us some examples?

The most unpredictable and less funny situation was losing the main location two days before our first day of shooting. But I think that everything happens for a reason, so we found an alternative solution that proved to be even more suitable.

The funny part was making the characters accepting the crew’s presence on the set by creating the convention that we are a group of repairmen in the house.

  1. Beside short films and Illegitimate, you worked with Adrian Sitaru also for Fixeur and you are working for 4 Proof Film, an independent film production house. How can you describe the experience of collaborating with Adrian Sitaru? How is Adrian the director versus the man?

Before being the first director I worked with, Adrian Sitaru was the first person to tell me I will become a film producer. As a human and as a director, he is very generous and careful with those around him. Personally, I have learnt a lot from him.

  1. In one of your interviews you were saying that ‘We always have to know to whom a certain cultural product is addressed. I think that there is an audience for everything.’ Illegitimate approaches an uncommon and difficult subject that shocks; it isn’t a commercial film but an improvisation experiment. Therefore, for what type of audience is the film for?

Illegitimate isn’t an experiment, but a fictional film based on the distinct  method the director approaches with its actors. Therefore, the audience was not different from the one that generally watches Romanian or European films. I agree with the fact that the film’s subject is delicate but we didn’t want to shock, but to raise questions, and the result was the one we wanted.

  1. On the 21st of March, at the GOPOS, you won the Newcomer’s trophy. Do you have an advice for young producers, and  newcomers that just entered in this world or want to take their first step in this direction?

The advice will be not to dream about success or important festivals, but about new ideas and truthful scripts and then everything comes naturally. A film’s success does not mean Cannes or Berlin. One should be flexible because there isn’t a recipe; each film has its own way.

Article by Romina Banu
English translation by Andreea Andrei

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