Please tell us about the projects you worked on before making ‘HER'O’. How did you start, and how did you learn to make films?
‘HER'O’ is the first screenplay that I wrote and directed. It was also the film I created as my graduation project. During the first years of my studies, I participated in other student films as a member of the production team. I also worked in two feature films as a first assistant to the director in one and as a script supervisor respectively in the other. That gave me the chance to experience the shooting process, learn from it and be as prepared as possible for my own first film.
I would like to thank all the members of the film crew that believed in this effort and made a vision come to life. We all worked really hard for it. This is something that anyone can see, especially while taking into account the (low) budget that we had available for this film. We faced lots of difficulties but we also had passion and persistence and in the end, this is what I keep in mind; team work makes everything better, especially when you have passion for what you want to create.
-Maria Kasoli, Director & Screenwriter of ‘HER'O’
Tell us about ‘HER'O’. How do you describe it?
‘HER'O’ for me was the first movie I ever participated in. Back then I was at my first year in acting school. When I first read the script, I found it instantly a very interesting story. At the same time, it was quite challenging for me to impersonate the “bad girl”. It was a first time experience, which I embraced carefully and with pleasure. Our director and co-actress and actors were very helpful and had really warm personalities during this nice process of approaching our characters. ‘HER'O’ was, at the same time, a very educative procedure for me, because it was so professionally organized and implemented; regarding the timelines, costumes, shooting locations, etc. Elements which I appreciate a lot. Something that I find very interesting is that, when ‘HER'O’ was written and shot, I think it was a bit ahead of events, which very soon became very popular in the Greek media. I refer to the movement of “#metoo”, which brought to light many incidences of women who were sexually assaulted in their work environment or during their effort to find a job, a new career, a better future… as our female hero, Iro, is also trying to find. Last but not least, the values of the Greek family and the pressure of a patriarchal society, the bad influences from our social network around us and many other aspects of life are included in this short film in a very clear and straight-forward way. Thus, the messages this movie communicates to the audience are very important and it is always a pleasure for me to see that filming is a “window” which exposes those issues.
-Stella Tselepidi (aka Dimitra)
Please tell us about your favorite filmmakers.
Tim Burton is my favorite director. The whole atmosphere and almost gothic characteristics in his films give off a wonderful sense of ominous and medieval atmosphere. It's kind of obvious that concerning the lighting of ‘HER'O’ I was influenced from Burton's tone visually. In the process of lighting scenes we got to combine this medieval atmosphere with the modern greek countryside vibe. A very strong and distinct combination was created during this project and it's a lot promising for future films.
-Antonis Stamoulis, Director of Photography of ‘HER'O’
If you were given a good budget, what would be your ideal project?
With a good budget this would be a totally different film. Mostly concerning the screenplay because, actually, the story continues... This short film could be the first of an incredible trilogy. When I first read the original script I was mind-blown. I'm not gonna spoil it because maybe one day we will get the chance to actually shoot it. All I can say is that the audience would be shocked (in a good way I hope) by the rawness and brutality of this story in the modern society we live in. In conclusion, we had to cut out almost the 2/3 of the story because the rest of it demanded a variety of sets (or locations) and costumes that we clearly couldn't afford to buy or rent. Some of the scenes we shot for the finale were also cut out during the editing process due to the fact that they leave a huge hint about what happens after and we thought it would be best to hush up that part for now.
-Erato Zafiroudi, Producer of ‘HER'O’
Please tell us about your relationship with Lenia Kokkinou during shootin.
I first met Lenia during the initial rehearsals before the shooting. From the very first moments, without even having spoken or formally introduced ourselves, she seemed like a very approachable person. Given the roles we were about to portray in the movie, it was important for me to establish a clear line of communication and understanding with Lenia right from the beginning, aiming for the best result. Lenia made me feel very comfortable, both as a person and as an artist. During the filming, we had created a friendly atmosphere, which allowed me to work freely, even during challenging scenes.
-Platon Vasatis (aka Manos)
Describe how you would ensure that production is on schedule. What steps would you take?
It's been almost 5 years now since we started working on the pre-production of ‘HER'O’ and it feels like a century ago. Looking back we would change many things. One of them is definitely the production timeline. We were very flexible with the completion of this project because we wanted the best possible outcome but now I strongly believe that it still wasn't enough. The difficulty in this was that for most of us this was a side project or secondary activity, since eveyone had also their everyday jobs or university courses to attend. Also, when it comes to a low budget student film it is really hard to answer this question seriously. Ideally, we would lock everyone in a basement... and let them out ONLY to work on the film. I'm joking of course! Realistically speaking, to make sure we are within the limits of the timetable and the production runs smoothly it is important to take into consideration everyone's daily routine and schedules in order to arrange group meetings AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE during the free time of the cast and crew. For acting rehearsals, location scouting, discussions among the director and crew members, etc. On the bright side, I think everyone in this cast and crew (even our sponsors) was very passionate and willing to help us embark and complete this journey. This little gem was, after all, a team effort.
-Erato Zafiroudi, Producer of ‘HER'O’
What was the hardest part of making ‘HER'O’.
The hardest part of making ‘HER'O’ was to follow our time schedule. It is hard when so many different people have to find a way to work together and get the job done like we want to. We were lucky that all the members of this film wanted to make it all happen. Our director and creator, Maria Kasoli, is the main reason why it all happened and now we are at this point of answering questions for interviews about this beautiful creation. In order to solve problems, like the shooting hours and technical issues, she had to be constantly on guard and find solutions. But the problems didn't stop there. We also had many issues with the post-production process. That's where we had to solve all the problems that we couldn't solve during the shooting. We spend lots of hours working on this project but it was totally worth it. Now we can sit back and enjoy it even more.
-Despina Saroglou, Sound Designer & Mixer of ‘HER'O’
If possible, tell us about your next work. What plans do you have for your future work?
To tell you the truth, the team got separated due to many reasons, mainly because we all have different priorities and paths in life. Most of us now live in different cities or countries. We think we speak for most of us when we say that we would really like our paths to meet again with a common goal to complete this trilogy. It was a journey that started a while back but still has a long way to fulfill its purpose. We want to communicate with the world the message behind the original idea of Iro's story one day. It's something really important for us and we believe it will affect the lives of many women out there. We hope that we can generate a positive wave of solidarity between women and help many people make realizations about their lives ...across the globe if possible.
~Maria Kasoli & Erato Zafiroudi