#SHORTVIEW: “Still Life” by Emanuela Dimitrova

Synopsis:

Anny wants to steal the most precious family heir loom -a porcelain service set from Kazakhstan- in order to punish her grandmother for her lack of care. However, a broken cup and a ringing cell-phone will turn girl’s world upside down.


A MOMENT OF CHANGE


> Where did the idea for this short movie come from?

The main idea actually came from my father. I had been working behind the camera for a lot of years, and my family was always like, “why don’t you do anything by yourself”? And my father texted me a few words with an idea for a story. The original story was not very interesting to me, but I ended up changing some things and using the idea anyway.

I don’t like the word “inspiration” though, I think that you don’t need anything special to work – you need to sit down and work. I have a lot of ideas, as many other people have, but I don’t believe in this concept of “waiting” for inspiration to come.

> Throughout the film, the protagonist (the girl) keeps changing her mind and behavior at every time. Why does she act in that way?

Because she’s a human being. The whole idea of the movie is that she’s not really mad at her grandmother, but herself – she wants to do this to punish herself, in a way. She’s just a girl, after all. It’s normal, she’s going through a mix of complicated emotions that she’d want to hide from herself. She only wants a normal family. She doesn’t feel safe. She’s growing up too early, etc. All of these things are going through her mind, and she’s having a hard time.

> What does “still life” mean for you?

You know, in art, there are this kind of paintings that are called “still lives”, it’s like a snapshot of something fleeting, something that will keep being that way for a very short period. Like something frozen in time, a point in time. In the short, you see this family that hasn’t changed the way they are for years – and now, they’re on the verge of change, in a moment of change.

 

> Speaking of change, what are your thoughts on the Bulgarian scene of short movies? Do you think they’re changing, and if so, is it a positive change?

Nowadays, I don’t have that much time to watch anything other than my own work, but along the years, I’ve always been very interested in the fact that Americans, for example, care a lot about narrative structure, and making the story itself interesting, even if the script is stupid. But in Bulgarian shorts, or maybe the European scene as a whole, you see that artists don’t care about the audience, having this attitude of “this is my story, and I want to show it to the world”.

I don’t know if that’s a better or worse approach, but I do think that it’s different. Regarding Bulgaria, I can say that I’ve met some very interesting your directors, and that I’m interested in what they’ll do in the future, but that’s about it. I don’t know. I think that if you work hard, you can do anything. I mean, come on, people have even gone to the moon.


Emmanuela declared that, at the point of the interview, she “didn’t feel the necessity” to tell any other stories just yet, so she’d wait for the right story to tell – and that, rather than winning an Oscar, she’d rather choose “a happy life”.