16th ÉCU – The European Independent Film Festival
9th, 10th, 11th April 2021
Maya Korn / Producer
After surviving assault, an enigmatic 17-year-old Mexican girl finds retribution through her untapped female power and local witch culture.
We talk with Diabla producer Maya Korn ahead of ÉCU Film Festival.
Hi Maya thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?
It’s been very trying for sure but in many ways I’ve also grown.
Has this time offered you any creative inspiration or opportunities?
I feel like having set work dry up due to COVID gave more opportunities for development, I started writing a script which I haven't done for years, reading more novels, drawing, all sorts.
Congratulations on having Diabla selected for the 6th ÉCU Film Festival in Paris, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?
It’s so cool as I interned for the festival as submissions coordinator nearly 10 years ago so it means a lot to have a film I’m a part of play.
Your award-winning short has already had an amazing festival run what do you think it is about Diabla that's connected with audiences so much?
When director Ashley and I were pitching it to people we always called it a universal tale. Unfortunately most women have experienced some form of abuse or moment where a man has made them feel uncomfortable so its very satisfying seeing Nayeli get revenge for all of us.
"Yes, the most interesting work to me has a socio-political undertone."
Can you tell me a little bit about Diabla, what was the inspiration behind the screenplay?
Initially I came up with the idea of a making a political piece that was anti trump after hearing his comments about women and Mexicans. When in Mexico, the statistic that 9 women die every day from femicide, gender based killing, came up every conversation, no one cared about Trump. So the story evolved.
How much do you personal experiences help to influence the films you make?
A lot of my films focus on feminist issues and female revenge so there’s definitely an angry woman inside me.
What where the biggest challenges you faced brining this film to life?
I think it was challenging not being in the same country as where we were shooting but really it all came together quite seamlessly.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
Describe your film in three words?
Female revenge brujas.
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
I think I was a bit of a TV kid. I’d stay up all hours watching random cult films and I knew I wanted to be a filmmaker of some capacity.
How much has your style and approach to your films changed since your debut short?
It’s more polished. I made my first short at 18 in a class. Now I’ve done a creative producing MFA at Columbia University in New York and been exposed to more films and the techniques of making them, they’ve definitely improved.
Is there any advice you have been given that has really helped you?
Read a lot, study the literary greats and learn how to tell a story. Story is key.
Do you think filmmakers should continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Yes, the most interesting work to me has a socio-political undertone. That’s what the horror I produce mainly centres around.
What tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
Don’t give up, it’s really hard to make it in this business.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from Diabla?
I hope it makes them ruminate on female strength.