17th Berlinale Talents | 2019
Katrin Vankova is a Spanish based actress working across theatre, film and television.
Hi Katrin thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the Berlinale?
Thank you for being interested in doing this interview, for me is a big pleasure! And yes! I am ready and still preparing some of the work stuff we have to do once we are there. I am very excited because apart from all the network that you can find in festivals, we are going to do some acting workshops which are really motivating and inspiring.
Are there nerves ahead of the festival?
Yes, a little bit. I am going to spend six days surrounded by new people and sharing new experiences, I am really looking forward to seeing how everything looks like and can't wait to meet all the people.
What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?
First of all, I feel very grateful to have my work and talent considered by such an important festival. For me it's a big opportunity and gift to be part of it. I feel very happy and excited to share my work and vision of the industry with so many other people from it. I think it's a big gift to experiment and creating relations with so many interesting artistic people. The Berlinale has always been a very inspiring and fulfilling festival for me, so it's a big honour to be part of it this year, not just attending, being really part of the essence of network, learning and working.
How important are opportunities like this for an actor?
This is a great opportunity for actors...and I would also say a big chance for learning. I think in our profession is really important to achieve new experiences, they make you grow, have more self-confidence and the fact that you are surrounded by so many different people from all the fields of this industry, make you have a whole and clear view of the state of it, and in my case, that helps me to know where I am and where I want to be. It's not about selling you as many people think and do, it's about sharing your work and talent with other very talented people, and that's amazing! It's a shot of inspiration and motivation!
Can you tell me a little bit about your work, have you always had a passion for acting?
I started acting when I was eight years old, and I remember when I was on the stage for the first time and I felt all the butterflies in my belly I thought...Oh my god, this feeling is amazing, I want to be an actress! I was a kid and recently moved with my family from Bulgaria, I joined a really nice theatre company so I spent all my childhood and teenage acting with it and also another one. Then, at the age of eighteen, I started studying drama in Barcelona and also started being part of different professional audiovisual projects until nowadays. There is a saying in Spain, "A poco a poco y con buena letra", which means "Step by step and making good lyrics", that's how I would define my professional trajectory. I think as an artist, is very important to identify your style, once you know it you realise in which kind of projects you want to be involved and which not, maybe because they don't make you feel fulfilled or just because you don't feel like telling that story. Acting for me has always been a passion, it's amazing being able to tell stories, to live them and discover so many things in you and about you through them, and the experience, while you are performing, is SO gratifying.
What was your first ever audition like, how did it go?
Oh...I still remember the cold and shaking of my body hahaha. It was for a very know Spanish series and during that time I was represented by an agent who was very cold and serious, and it was my first audition with him. So, I remember he wanted to take me there, the travel by car was the longest ever in my life, such a tension and he wasn't very good at breaking the tension, I was so nervous!
I don't know, I was just a kid and still very new in all of this. I remember once I was inside the auditioning room I just couldn't stop smiling and laughing because of the nerves and while I was doing the scene I could feel all my organs shaking inside of me and my vision being absolutely white. Sounds really dramatic but they called me for a second audition! Even though, I didn't get the role but it was a curious starting experience in the auditioning world.
"I love moving image I think it’s the ultimate art-form."
Are there any plans to move behind the camera?
Actually I love being behind the camera! I am a big photography fan and I always try to spend time with my camera. I love taking portraits and trying to capture the essence of people. People really inspire me, that's what makes me feel more touched and moved.
I like combining cinematographic language into photography and also play with improvisation and creating random stuff. I haven't done much video, but what I've done is more crazy and random clips. Even though, I need to by a new recording camera! The one I have doesn't film so I really feel like trying to experiment more with film. I am really bad at creating things with order and continuity, I love just expressing feelings, try to capture an emotion, a mood, a state...things with spark, power and sensitivity at the same time. But actually what I am planning to do in a future maybe is directing, but before that happens, I need to learn and experiment so many things with acting first, but it's a thing I would really love to do.
Do you ever find yourself getting too attached to your characters?
It depends on the character and the story. If I feel very connected to the story I would say yes. When I'm preparing a character I like discovering everything about it, how it looks, moves, walks, talks...as much you go deep into it, you better know it, and in my case also feel more attached to it. Sometimes also the shooting experience can be so strong and deep that once is finished I still feel that I'm taking part of the character with me at home. Two years ago I was part of a movie based on a true story about two girls with eating disorder. I was performing one of the girls and maybe that shooting for me was the one which I felt more attached to it. The process was very deep...during the preparation we had talks with the girls to know more about their story and that was the first heartbreaking thing. Then the girls were during the whole shooting process and that was quite impacting too. Once we finished I spend a whole week like in an emotional hangover. It was like something was missing in me and for me was a little bit difficult to leave that story behind. But it can also happen the opposite...there are so many characters that I really don't feel connected to them! And I try to, but at the end you just have the technical thing in you to be grabbed, so for me it really depends on the connection you have with the story and the character you are performing.
What are some of the challenges an actor might face on a project?
I would say showing our vulnerability as a main one. Of course there are so many other difficult aspects that you have to work on them, more technical ones as preparing the text, rehearsing...but for me the biggest challenge is to be able to discover the character in it's entirety, connect your body and mind to it, and just be able to live it. For me it's also very important to connect with the director. I don't enjoy at all when a director just commands what he wants to achieve without having consideration of what I can give. The projects I've enjoyed most are the ones which directors want to play with me, it's a thing about both of us, I trust his or her story, way of thinking and viewing things, intentions, feelings and desires, and he or she trusts in my way of doing things, in my soul and body, my emotions, my experience, my sensitivity and when we combine both worlds, that's when magic happens
How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?
For me, this career is about being always there, being constant and have clearly in mind what do you want to achieve from it and where do you want to be. That would make you have a goal and motivation to create your own process and way. At the beginning when I started with all of this, I had the feeling that I was just a little small granite of a big desert. You really don't know how to start with everything and how to be able to be part of the projects. But in the end, everything is summed up to try and work. If you don't ask, try, work and get wrong, you don't learn how all this industry works. And things don't work out from one day to another. It's a whole process of knowing yourself first because you are your own instrument, so it's very important to know how this instrument works, physically and emotionally. Then as soon as you get more experience with everything, you start knowing your place. For me, the desire of acting has always been my motivation, and nowadays I am very grateful to all the "no" I've received and all the obstacles I've been through because these are the things that make you grow and be aware of yourself in your own career. It's all about doing. If you want it, you can do it, you just have to do it.
What are you currently working on?
Right now I'm finishing shooting for a daily series for the Catalan television, which was a big training and learning for me, and after that, I have some other Spanish audiovisual project confirmed which I can't wait to know more details about it and start working on it. Let's see what will happen!
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any thinking about getting into acting?
I would say that the clue of all this is passion, persistence, patience, hope and joy. I think it's very important to have clear in mind that you really want to do this and really believe in it. For me having hope is the thing that gives me constant energy to keep working every day, and every experience is a new step and new knowledge. If you believe in yourself you really can do everything. Things won't come to you if you wait for them to come, working on them is so necessary. And also the most important thing is to enjoy all the process, sometimes we are so blind and obsessed with what we want to achieve that we forget to enjoy all the way, which is one of the coolest parts of all of this. Aaaand, also another important thing is to ignore all the opinions that discourage you to do it and that advise you should get into something more "serious".