HENCE WE HAVE TO DEFINE OUR OWN “WARS” - WHICH WON’T BE THE SAME WITH OTHERS - AND THE LIMITS OF “FIGHTING”
Screening Session: BLOCK 3
3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival Online
22-28 Feb 2021 | Tickets £5 / £10 Full 7-Day Pass: bit.ly/PRFF-Tickets
Marriage, especially between LGBT+ persons, becomes the most common means to secure one's place i.e. one's "possible future" in another country. However, the inequalities and the conflicts of powers can be found in their private sphere. This simple story within one household - about spatial territories, gastronomic practices, personal memories, camouflaged identities and the coercive need to "integrate" into the dominant host culture - offers a quirky means of political resistance.
Hi Sarnt thank you for talking to TNC, how are you holding up during these very strange times?
I’m doing fine. Germany has entered official second wave and second hard lockdown. I’m rather excited how “possible” next year can become, rather than lamenting about the “impossible” 2020.
Has this time offered you any creative inspiration?
Strangely I have managed – knowing well it is sort of privilege – to find lots of reflective and decisive moments this year. It forced me to stop not just travelling, but about “moving” in general and asked me if really matters; any actions to take can lead to consequences (health and so on); therefore I take actions only when necessary. I also thereby “refuse” to follow whole “digital creativity”, which appears to me as not sustainable.
Congratulations on having your film selected for the 3rd Papaya Rocks Film Festival, what does it mean to you to be part of such an amazing lineup of short films?
Thank you so much. Because if without COVID, this would my first opportunity to enter UK-territory (being migrant from Global South). Although sadly everything becomes digital, I’m excited to get to know others through their films – which might shift the festival vibe (usually about networking and business), from contacts to films – which hopefully will lead to some positive outcomes (yet I have no idea).
Can you tell me a little bit about your film, how did this film come about?
It is the first time (again) I decided to tell (my, as well as of others) queer migrant experiences through my film. I have been informally gathering stories from people I met in Berlin from different paths, who mostly share similar stories – of forceful/violent cultural assimilation, of financial/bureaucratic dependency, of complex masculinity issues. The choices of (story taking place in) “Italy” and (the migrant being) “Vietnamese” were purely due to collaboration with these actors (who are although cis-males – I have to say). As much as representational politics matter, my fostered relationship with these actors made me more comfortable to “project” mine onto them; as friends rather than as representations).
What where the biggest challenges you faced brining your film to life?
Financial situation (universal answer). The production took place in early 2019 and it took two years - although as short film – to finish postproduction because I was lacking money; since it’s my own production.
Looking back is there anything you would have done differently on this film?
Not really. I’m (not completely yet still) satisfied with the outcome – 2 years of re-editing and pushing the post were enough. Perhaps I could develop series of short films based on “food” and queer migrant experiences in the future.
Describe your film in three words?
FUCK INTEGRATION POLICIES
Where did your passion for filmmaking come from?
The failure of trying to become a writer or a musician.
What has been some of the best advice you’ve been given?
Being yourself is enough, no need to explain or elaborate anything, but just embrace the beauty of “just being”
Should filmmakers continue to push the boundaries of the films and stories they want to tell?
Each of us has different “contexts” and “boxes” we are stuck / bound inside; be it white-gaze or social institution or cultural conditions etc. Hence we have to define our own “wars” – which won’t be the same with others – and the limits of “fighting”. Fighting doesn’t necessarily lead to progress; “pushing” things too hard can break them, instead of expanding their powers.
"What Europeans see as “foreign Others” are just mere humans like them..."
Do you have any tips or advice you would offer a fellow filmmaker?
I think I said/typed too much already about this :D but I am not expert; I am excited to learn more from life and things to come.
And finally, what do you hope people will take away from your film?
Again, FUCK INTEGRATION POLICIES. What Europeans see as “foreign Others” are just mere humans like them; their culture as beautiful; their wishes as same. There is absolutely to need to change or put someone into new labels; or even to label someone in the first place. And if that person refuses, listen – carefully - to their refusal.