A young woman, called Nobody, wants to share a strange mirror- experience to the world.
Alexandra Pater is the writer, director and producer of "Loyal Copy" from Romania. It was our pleasure to speak to Alexandra about the making of Loyal Copy.
What was the inspiration behind the making of "Loyal Copy”?
“ Loyal Copy” began as a response to an argument I had where I was told I was irresponsible for not watching the news on TV. I wanted to portray some of the aspects of society I thought were wrong, particularly this obsession with people presenting a flawless image of themselves to the world through social media and other means. This obsession with being perfect makes us lose touch with our true, imperfect selves, and this really breaks my heart. When I began working on this, I was watching a lot of Maya Deren’s work, and I remember her speaking about the beauty of experimental movies, where freedom and the unknown create a foundation that can lead to great things, and that was a strong motivator for me to bring the script to life.
What were some of the challenges of making the film?
The scheduling was a huge challenge for me. After I figured out who I would be working with, I had to find a time to bring them all together. The filming location was only available for a few hours over two days. I was really discouraged by it in the end, because I wasn’t able to get some shots like I had planned. But, I believe everything can serve as a lesson, and I learned I never want to get involved in a project that has so little time. I was proud that I was able to produce it and take care of everything under such a tight schedule, but I didn’t feel like I was able to give it everything it could’ve had, and that’s something I will not repeat.
When did you realize that you wanted to make films and what was the first film project that you created?
I don’t think there was a particular moment when I knew that I wanted to make movies; life just slowly led me to the film industry. I started writing for literature competitions at an early age, but writing alone never completely satisfied me. I needed visuals. So I attended photography school, where I started this habit where I would attach a photograph to everything I wrote. By that time I was writing short stories, poetry, and essays, each accompanied with their own still. Years later, I collaborated with some people to develop scripts and that brought me into film industry. I’ve been in love with filmmaking ever since.
While I have collaborated with others as a screenwriter and as a second director, and I have taken part in all stages of the production of a movie, Loyal Copy is the first project I have written, directed, and produced completely on my own.
Which directors have been influential in your work and why?
I feel like every movie I’ve seen has changed a bit about me, in a small or big way. But there are three directors I will always look up to and I will name them in the order I discovered them. First is Mr. Stanley Kubrick. I could easily write an essay on the reasons I love his works, but what drew me to his work in the beginning was the cinematography. No matter where you pause his films, the frame would make a great photograph. Later, I discovered his brilliance in the diversity of the stories he was choosing. Second is Mr. Darren Aronovsky. After seeing Requiem for a Dream, I understood that a movie is more than a story with a message and beautiful frames. That movie made me realize what a big impact a film can have on people’s lives. And last is Mr. Ingmar Bergman, whom I discovered when I applied to a competition with my script and one of the judges told me that my work reminds her of Bergman’s style. After hearing that, I went straight to his work and I completely fell in love with him. The raw sensibility and the poetry are something I will always enjoy. Unfortunately, I think it’s harder to get that in a language like English, without making it sound forced.
What genre of filmmaking do you like to work on?
Thriller with a touch of surrealism is something I consume very much, but my goal is to write one story from every genre. Definitely something I am looking forward to is doing a documentary in the not very distant future.
What is the most challenging aspect of making an independent film?
I feel like most answers to this question will be related to the budget. For me, it’s the team, finding the right people. If every single person is not there to do their best to serve the story, the movie will suffer. I don’t believe it matters if it’s an indie or a big budget, the problems are the same, just on a different scale.
What is your plan for further distribution of your film?
I have submitted “Loyal Copy” to several film festivals and I’ve been very thrilled at the really great response it has received. I’m still waiting for the rest of the festivals’ responses, and hopefully this will lead to my getting to meet and collaborate with people who share the same interest for film.
How can cinema change the world and have an impact on society?
Oh, how I love this question! Cinema can shape society in so many ways, from viewers copying the fashions and styles of their favorite characters, to popular music being led by the biggest movies of the year, to us dressing as the character we love for Halloween. And that’s just the “light” way.
As I previously mentioned, Requiem for a Dream had a big influence on me. I never had a history of drug use, but after seeing this movie, it certainly saved me from all those proposals at parties. Also, look at what happened with the LGBTQ community after OITNB and many other great movies. If you go on a dating site now, you will see many people write bisexual, which wasn’t a common thing eight years ago. It’s wonderful to see people embracing their sexuality. Also because of movies, we better understand what mental illness represents and how we can cope with it.
Movies can bring us together. They teach us about empathy, they can be the start of a couple or a beautiful family moment. A great movie can be the motivation to make a dramatic change the for better in our lives.
What is your next film project?
For the last three years, I’ve been working on three future new scripts, and now I’ve gotten to a finishing point with two of them. My next step is to find the right person who will understand the importance of these stories to be told.
Why do you make films and what draws you to the language of cinema and directing?
I make films because they can change people’s perspectives and because I don’t see a Plan B. Film is part of my identity, whether I succeed on a larger scale or not; it’s my land of freedom and love.