17th Berlinale Talents | 2019
Award-winning filmmaker Joshua Magor is the founder of "Other People", a creative studio and production company that works across a variety of mediums including film, photography and installation.
Hi Joshua thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the Berlinale?
Yes, all set and ready to go.
Are there any nerves ahead of the festival?
No, just exciting at the prospect of meeting some interesting people and getting the most out of the Talents Lab.
What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?
It is an exciting prospect to be a part of a program that has seen its many of its alum go on to so much success. It feels like a good step to take.
What do you hope to get from this experience?
I think it will be a great learning experience with so many people coming from a great variety of places. I hope to meet some people whom I connect with and who connect with my work. It would be great to meet some distributors and sales agents for my current feature “Siyabonga” that just came out at Locarno. It would also be good to meet some producers for the next feature I am developing, “Sea Within A Sea”.
Can you tell me a little bit about your work, what was it about filmmaking that interested you so much?
I feel like making films is a way for me to make sense of the world. I am very moved by places and people. The inherent dignity of people and how they find ways to live in places that oftentimes seem so immutable. This moves me to make work. I feel free when I am working on a film, writing, shooting, editing whatever it is, there is an electricity in the process. Right now find myself compelled to make work that is between states. Between fiction and documentary, reality and dream, intimate and distant. Finding the unifying threads between these disparities excites me.
What was the first film you were part of?
When I was about 8 years old, my father bought a small DV camera out of curiosity. I was very drawn to it and start making films about the trees in our neighbourhood and the birds that lived in them. It was very dramatic stuff.
"I love moving image I think it’s the ultimate art-form."
What are some of the biggest challenges a filmmaker might face?
I think on a practical level finding the funding to make personal work can be difficult. On a personal level, I think it is a challenge to maintain the energy to be rigorous with yourself and not become self-deceptive. To be both ruthless and kind to yourself, the balance can be precarious.
Have you always had a passion for filmmaking?
When I was very young I wanted to be a palaeontologist. I would excavate chicken bones that my dog had buried in the garden and think I had found Archaeopteryx remains. I would write letters reporting my findings to "The National Dinosaur Museum of American" hoping they would verify my discoveries. I was always shocked that I wasn't more popular at school. I arrived at filmmaking via my love of art and literature, but in some way, I think the principles of excavation apply to filmmaking in a similar way to how they do in palaeontology.
How important is the collaborative process in filmmaking for you?
As a director, it is at points completely collaborative, to a point of total surrender almost. At other times, however, it is important to be dictatorial and a retain complete singular control of a situation. I feel that filmmaking is about balance. Knowing when to let go and knowing when to hold firm.
How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?
Yes most certainly, my first short film I made was terrible. I'm sure it would be very amusing to watch now. But I believe filmmaking is a lot like learning a language and through making you gain fluency. So I think I have got a bit better since then. I look forward to continuing to make films.
What are you currently working on?
I am in the early stages of developing my next feature project, "Sea Within A Sea". It is set in Morocco, Mali and the South of Spain.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any thinking about getting into filmmaking?
Don't listen to everyone who gives you their opinion. Interrogate one's own point of view and then once satisfied, not be afraid to make films from that perspective. Pursue truth, it is king.