Directed by Sara Trevisan, The Ladies Diary is about Six women and six stories in one day. After years of military dictatorship, Myanmar is now a young democracy: but change is a fast process that very often hides difficulties and obstacles. Over the course of a day, six Burmese women talk about themselves and their country; the struggles of everyday life and the commitment to make a better future. A future that, in Myanmar, has an increasingly strong female connotation. After graduated in Cinema Studies, Sara Trevisan worked to sharpen her skills to tell a story with still and moving pictures. Sara is a photographer with a rational, geometric and minimalistic attitude and she aims to create images where the subjects are in relation to the environment. Sara is also a co-founder of WALKING CAT PRODUCTIONS, a new Italian independent media productions company whose main goal is to produce media that reflect on culture, people, travel and worldwide lifestyle.
It was our pleasure to interview Sara Trevisan for L.A Indies Magazine regarding her film.
What inspired you to make The Ladies Diary?
The idea was born at the beginning of 2019. Walking Cat Production’s mission is to produce media that reﬂect on culture, people, travel, and worldwide lifestyle. Myanmar had fascinated us for a long time: its culture, its beautiful natural landscapes, its history with its contrasts, and its leader Aung San Suu Kyi, known as The Lady. We wondered if this feminine connotation went beyond its leader and we discovered stories of very interesting, nonconformist women who are concretely working, each in their own way, to leave a better legacy for future generations. But the feminine connotation is not so undeniable: things are changing, but talking about equality between men and women is not yet possible. For a percentage of women who make it, there are many others who still struggle and who have to face the same problems that all the women around the world also face: being a mother and a working woman, equal pay, being recognized at the same level as men.
When did you realize that you wanted to make ﬁlms and what was it like to attend ﬁlm school?
The passion for cinema dates back to the high school years. However, initially, I didn't think it could become my profession. After a year of law school I decided that I shouldn't follow the reason, but the heart, studying what I was most passionate about. Film school was fantastic and during those years I got into photography, which has become my main job.
What was your ﬁrst ﬁlm project?
The Ladies Diary is my ﬁrst personal project as a director. I have worked on other video projects, but purely commercial, such as advertising, fashion video, and music videoclips. As photographer, I have signed some travel photography projects with my partner Corrado Galli. The last was about the contrast between ancient and modern China.
Which directors have been inﬂuential in your work?
In The Ladies Diary, I’ve tried to be as invisible as possible as a director. I believe that our main characters and their stories were more important than my aesthetics vision as a photographer or director. As you can imagine by the title, I let the camera follow their lives through the day as we were reading their diary.
What genre of ﬁlmmaking do you like to work on?
I would like to keep going on to produce and direct documentaries. I think it's the ﬁlm category that most belongs to me. I love to travel, discover different countries and cultures. I would like to continue to tell the stories of today's world, investigating society and looking at the problems that unite us and thinking about the values we want to pass on to future generations.
What is the most challenging aspect of making an independent ﬁlm for you?
The documentary was entirely self-ﬁnanced: a choice dictated by the desire to have maximum creative freedom. This choice obviously created some complications, such as budget limitations: The Ladies Diary was shot in only twenty days in Myanmar so it was exhausting but exciting at the same time.
What is your plan for distributing your indie ﬁlm further to a greater audience?
The Ladies Diary is available on Amazon Prime Video in the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy. We are very proud of this result that we thought was impossible to achieve in our ﬁrst project. At the same time, we wanted to follow the path of the festivals because we think that the judgment of the various juries can help us improve for our next projects.
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?
Cinema can help people to understand better the diversity of our world. When we ﬁrst approach to Myanmar we had in mind a speciﬁc kind of country, more idealized than real. That revealed completely different when we began to work on The Ladies Diary. We hope that our documentary can change the audience’s vision as well. Even if a ﬁlm can reach a few people, it’s a beginning, a way to avoid common cliché.
What is your next ﬁlm project?
We have plenty of ideas, even though we are now in the middle of the distribution and marketing process of our The Ladies Diary. We will love to continue to tell stories about cultures and societies all around the world, but the cause of the Covid19 pandemic we don’t know when we will be able to travel again. So we are thinking about produce something that will reﬂect on our reality in Italy.
How was your ﬁlm received in the festival circuit?
So far we haven’t received many answers from the festivals, because many of them will make their decisions from now till the end of 2021. Beside the Honorable Mention in Documentary at the Venice Shorts 2020, of which we are very proud, we won the Best Documentary at Eurasia International Monthly Film Festival 2020 and we have been selected at Myanmar Film Festival of Los Angeles that will have place at the end of this October.
Please tell us about Walking Cat Productions. Why did you make this production company?
First of all, we are a group of friends, bonded over the school, and the common passions about photography, cinema, and documentary. All of us, Luca Vassalini, Fabio Piozzi, Emanuele Bresciani, myself, and Corrado Galli (who’s also my husband and my professional partner for the past ten years) are professional in the video/photographic/audio sector. We decided it was the moment to join our skills and strengths to create Walking Cat Productions, whose mission is, as I said before, to produce media that reﬂect on culture and people all around the world. Every people of this planet is part of a large set of cultures, communities, faces, voices, souls. Each of us has his own story, but with all our differences, we are not so far away: our aspirations, our passions, our bonds are the same. Walking Cat Productions aims to tell the stories of the world, to know and understand each other better, and to ﬁnd the common thread that binds us all.