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17th Berlinale Talents | 2019 

David Clay Diaz 



David Clay Diaz's diploma movie "Agonie", which he wrote, produced and directed, premiered at the 66th Berlinale – International Filmfestival 2016, where it was nominated as "Best First Feature". 


Hi David thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the Berlinale?


I'm happy to be interviewed by you guys and yes I'm ready for the Berlinale talents!


Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?


No, not at all. 2016 my movie "Agonie" (Agony) actually premiered at the Festival and that was nerve-wracking in a beautiful, exciting way. But this time it's "only" workshops and meetings, etc. 


What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?


Considering the fact that I'm selected out of almost 4.000 people from all over the world makes me very proud and thankful. It gives me the feeling that if I continue working as hard as I do there might be a bright future in front of me.


What do you hope to get from this experience?


I want to learn as much as possible from the workshops. And if there are one or two good connections to make, also good. But I'm not a big "connecter". If it happens naturally I'm happy to meet other filmmakers.


Can you tell me a little bit about your work, what was it about filmmaking that interested you so much? 

Ever since I can remember I wanted to do film. Ok, well, maybe ninja fighter was the first thing I wanted to do before film, when I was 5 or so...but other than that it has always been film. When I was younger I wanted to act because movies meant actors to me since it's what you see. But when I found out there arere's people behind the camera that actually make this all up and come up with the ideas I wanted to do that. I think what interests me the most about film or, in general, is the exploration of the human condition. 


What was the first film you were part of?

My first film job was my first internship at the viennese production company Coop99 - a company I'm currently preparing my next feature with.

David Clay Diaz 4.jpg

What are some of the biggest challenges a filmmaker might face?

On a professional level: writing a good script, raising money and directing actors.

On a private level: making your family and friends believe that you're not wasting your time.

"Filmmaking is real work."

Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?


It has always been my dream.


How important is the collaborative process in filmmaking for you? 


I find it beautiful but also very stressful. And it is super important since there are people that know much more in other fields than me, and together we can put our knowledge and also ideas together and make something good even better.


How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?


This is a hard one since I'm still in the process of finding out how I work and who I am, as a filmmaker and as a human being. But to be honest I think it hasn't changed at all: I always was very in love with the writing process (so I still write my scripts myself), I always loved and feared the work with the actors (and I still do) and I always was very obsessed in preparation, leaving as little as possible to coincidence - I just think that everything I always used to do I still do but better.

David Clay Diaz 5.jpg

What are you currently working on?


My film "Agonie" that premiered at Berlinale 2016 opened many doors and since I've been developing many scripts. One of is "World's Shortest Poem" which we just fully funded and I will shoot July/August with Coop99. Another one is "Gracias a la vida" which I'm developing with Coop99 and Walker+Worm, ZDF (German TV) is already on board. We're gonna shoot that one end of 2019/beginning 2020.

And some more scripts in developing status.


And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any thinking about getting into filmmaking?


The biggest advice I can give is: don't smoke, drink coffee and wait for the inspirational muse to kiss you. This is not a bohemian joke. Filmmaking is real work. Writing a script is real work, everyday work. You should consider it as a 9-5 office job. That's what I do.

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