17th Berlinale Talents | 2019
Selman Nacar he produced The Pillar of Salt in 2018, which premiered at 68th Berlin Film Festival in Forum Section and Belonging in 2019, which will premiere at 69th Berlin Film Festival in Forum Section.
Hi Selman thanks for talking to TNC, you all set for the Berlinale?
Thank you! I’m all set and excited about it!
Are there nerves ahead of the festival?
Actually, no! But of course, I know it will be really busy, considering the fact that I have a film at the festival too.
What does it mean for you to be part of the 17th edition of Berlinale Talents?
I believe collaboration between artists is very important. You get inspired by many talented people. I think Berlinale Talent is a great place to share knowledge and experience with each other. I hope to find some people whom I would like to work in the future.
How important are opportunities like this?
It’s really important, because of the many advantages that you might have there, and it makes many things accessible for you... But I have to say that it’s not a must. At the end of the day, if we really want to make films, it’s not important if we have this kind of opportunity or not, but we just should make it.
Can you tell me a little bit about your work, what was it about filmmaking that interested you so much?
I actually graduated from law school in undergraduate and now I’m doing MFA Film at Columbia University. The shift from law to film was not easy for me. I really liked studying law, but I fell into love with the cinema. I’m of course interested in visual storytelling, but also in the process of making films. From having an idea until the screening of a film, I love everything in between. For me, the pre-production is always the most stressful part of making a film and post-production is the easiest. However, I most love being on set. I normally cannot wake up early. If I have a film set, it doesn’t matter how much sleep I have, but I’m always there on time.
As a director and producer, what draws you to a film project?
As a director, I always made films that I also wrote. That’s why writing and directing go together for me. When I start to write a project, there is generally an image in my mind. I sometimes can see a full scene, but sometimes not. I start to think about why I’m interested in this mise en scene. The answer generally lays down under character. I love character driven films. When you first start to think of the plot, then you’ll have limited options. But, when you start with the character, you’ll have many story options.
As a producer, I only make my friends’ films. That’s why the idea of helping a friend who cares about the story so much is enough reason to produce even though if I’m not fully interested in that story. That’s why it’s not so possible for me to produce something that I don’t have a connection with the creator.
What was the first film you worked on?
My very first short film is The Well. It’s online now and you can watch it here.
Do you ever find yourself getting too attached to a project or are you able to walk away once it is done?
I’m generally too attached to my project, but I’m trying to learn to walk away. That happens especially if there is still something in my mind that I was not happy. For example, I recently got a sound revision of a film that I shot years ago because something was really bothering me and I needed to go back and fixed it. However, if I’m really happy and there is nothing else I can do, of course, I just move on to the new project, which really excites me.
"You should kill whatever you don’t need..."
What are some of the easy mistakes a first-time producer/director might make?
On writing: They try to write everything that they know and want to tell.
In pre-production: Generally, they don’t prepare enough, or they never trust themselves enough and postpone the project a lot.
On set: They might not be open at all to other ideas or they might lose their voice. It should be something in between.
In post-production: You should kill whatever you don’t need, but it’s difficult since you wrote and shot them already. However, now you’re at the new stage and you should forget the before.
How important is the collaborative process in what you do?
So important because when we look at the credits, there are many talented names there. We mostly know either directors or actors, but I think cinematographers, editors, production designers, colorist…. are also so important. From the beginning to the end of the process, you do need people!
"I often think that making films is really crazy!"
How much has your approach to your work changed since you started out?
I started to make films in Turkey and now I live and make films in New York. But, going to the States actually didn’t change my approach so much since my style is always more European. However, like everything in life, you change too. That affects your film style. For example, I was not interested in a shaky hand-held camera at all, whereas I now really like that movement.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on a feature film called Lacuna that I wrote and will direct. It’s a story of a Turkish character in New York.
And finally, do you have any advice or tips for any thinking about getting into filmmaking?
I often think that making films is really crazy! Even though it seems pretty compelling from far away, it’s really crazy. So, I think the most important things to have our passion and courage if anyone really wants to make films.