Filmmaker Interview #28 – Alina Presniak

Alina Presniak submitted a music video to Write Shoot Cut that we screened back in April. I really loved the use of stop motion in it and when I checked Alina’s website I discovered she was an artist who was having fun with video techniques and using them to create really exciting work.

Being new to Scotland, Alina is looking to network, make contacts and find work. If you are Glasgow based especially, I would encourage you to hook up with her. She is a talented woman with the patience of a saint (watch her videos and you’ll see what I mean). In September we are screening her latest work, a promo video completely hand crafted but for now, read this interview, check out Alina’s work and welcome this fresh face into the Scottish film community.

Please tell us a bit about yourself and what you are currently working on?

I am a Glasgow-based filmmaker and animator. I recently moved to Scotland from London. Originally I come from the Ukraine. I like to think that my work is quite light and playful.

At the moment I am working on a music video, which is going to be quite a cinematic piece about a ghost. This is probably going to be my first darker piece.

Who/what inspired you to embark on a career in Filmmaking?

I don’t think there was anyone in particular. It was just a natural progression from Fine Art through Photography into Filmmaking. Although Michel Gondry did play a very great role especially at the early stages of my creative development.

Have you had to make any sacrifices and how have you coped with that?

I guess the biggest career choice I had to make was to choose between dancing and filmmaking. I was into dancing since I was little whereas film was a recent interest. Thinking more about the future and also because I thought dancing would be easier to keep as a hobby I chose filmmaking.

What is your ultimate goal/what drives you?

Progress. There’s nothing better than seeing progression in what you do every time. The sky is the limit and there’s always room for improvement in film and animation.

How do you define success?

I think there’s different ways of defining success: some may say youtube hits or money. I would say that being able to live off doing what you love is a pretty good achievement.

How do you feel about collaboration?

Great. I really-really like it! But it is essential that the team clicks together/is on the same wavelength. I think it’s great when people bounce off each other’s ideas, add to one another’s ideas and generally it’s good to have another opinion on the project. You’re “in it together” after all.

Do you have a niche or genre that you specialise in?

I am fascinated by stop frame animation. It is hard to make it not playful or fun. Also, it is useful and very soothing to do, being involved in a routine process from time to time.

A lot of my work is stop-motion, but I think the most complicated use of technique was done for a music video called All I Want Is You.

What was the title of your first film (Your first first film, not the one you are happy to call your first film) and can you tell us a bit about it?

I did my first film ever around 7 years ago, which was called Discarded Objects. It was an answer to a university brief and my first attempt at stop-frame animation and at combining my two main passions in life: film and dance.

Favourite Filmmaker?

Too many… I love the work of Michel Gondry for his sense of humour and amazing techniques and Tim Burton for his quirkiness and hand-made stop-frame animations. I also really like David Wilson’s music videos and Dougal Wilson’s commercials. I find these two directors very inspiring. Also, I love the films of Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu with their non-linear narrative.

All-time top 5 movies (as of this date, we all know it changes daily)?

  1. Amelie
  2. Pan’s Labyrinth
  3. Science of Sleep
  4. Mic Macs
  5. Mary and Max

What is the best short film you’ve seen?

The first thing that comes to my mind is a short film which was a winner of Virgin Media Shorts 2008 directed by Diamond Dogs whom I actually had a chance to meet briefly when I was working at HSI production company in London. The film is called The Black Hole. It’s a simple but brilliant idea!

First film you ever saw in the cinema?

It might sound boring, but it was Pearl Harbour.

Favourite film related website?

My two favourite websites which I follow closely are motionographer.com, which is mostly animation related and Blinkprods.com, which is a production company in London I interned with, I love their work!

What advice would you give to first time filmmakers?

I would say experiment! Try out as many techniques and ideas as you can.

View more of Alina’s work on her website.

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