Behind the Curtain and After the Final Cut

Go beneath the surface to get the back-story on the films of Global Lens 2012

Click here to learn more about Kivu Ruhorahoza and GREY MATTER, the first narrative feature film produced in Rwanda by a native Rwandan filmmaker

Anyone familiar with the entertainment industry knows that sometimes off-screen activities can overshadow what’s happening in the films themselves. Take, for example, Lars von Trier’s controversy at Cannes last year or the preoccupation with Lindsay Lohan’s after-hours adventures. It’s easy to see why people like having this insider knowledge, but not all of it is scandalous—in fact, hearing the stories and secrets behind this year’s Global Lens films prove that there can be substance behind the curtain and after the final cut.

For example, Kivu Ruhorahoza’s GREY MATTER is about a young Rwandan filmmaker struggling to create a film that might help him reconcile the trauma of genocide. In reality, Kivu was only 12 years old during the 1994 Rwandan genocide and lived in constant fear for his family’s welfare. At the age of 16, he set out to become a filmmaker in a country with scarcely a tripod or sound equipment suitable for his camera. Needless to say, GREY MATTER’s story line of someone battling the odds to make a tough film is a direct expression of his artistic path as well.

Tolga Karacelik on the set of TOLL BOOTH

Or take a look at Tolga Karacelik, director of TOLL BOOTH, whose career began far away from the camera. In fact, he started out working in the shipping business, went on to law school and soon found himself chained to a desk. One day when passing through a toll booth, he observed the robotic behavior of the attendant and identified with the stifling work environment. Out of this simple interaction, TOLL BOOTH was born.

Sharareh Pasha (left) and Kiomars Giti in a scene from Morteza Farshbaf's MOURNING

But it’s not just about personal experience—there are also a few relationships that take the meaning of “love interest” off-screen. Sharareh Pasha and Kiomars Giti, the actors who play the lead couple in Morteza Farshbaf’s Iranian drama, MOURNING, deliver a moving depiction of a deaf couple faced with the daunting effects of tragedy, and it turns out they are husband and wife as well. Their off-screen bond obviously helped add to the intimacy of their relationship on-screen, resulting in a powerfully believable and authentic performance.

Gustavo Pizzi (director/writer) and Karine Teles (writer/actress) of CRAFT

Karine Teles’ performance in CRAFT is also quite remarkable, and it comes as no surprise that she pulled from personal experience when portraying an actress’ struggles and successes. However, what you might not know is that the film’s director, Gustavo Pizzi, also shared these highs and lows—as her husband and father of their two children. Gustavo explains, “Karine is my wife and has been a theater actor for 16 years, many of those I’ve shared with her. Her anguishes, triumphs and especially her fears. We worked for several months to transform our ideas into picture and sound.” Talk about a labor of love.

It’s interesting to hear about the back-stories of these films—the unlikely inspiration that sparked the idea, or what happens on the set that doesn’t make it to the screen. And while I hate to fall back on a cliché, it does make you wonder about art imitating life, or vice versa.

In any case, here’s to the blurred line between life on film and in reality, and may it help keep creating amazing films.

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