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Raindance Film Festival 2021
Music Videos

Zuzanna Plisz
I Died

raindance.org

A pregnant girl comes under the care of a group of nuns. After her illegitimate newborn is sold to a mysterious clergyman, the girl suppresses her emotions, making her vulnerable to an evil lurking just around the corner. I Died is a horror-themed narrative story shot in black and white.

Hey Zuzanna, it's great to talk with you, how have you been keeping during these strange times?

Hi! Thank you so much for inviting me to this talk. It’s a pleasure. During these strange times I had my ups and downs as probably everyone but fortunately it didn’t affect my professional life much so I could focus on work. 

Has this time offering you the chance to find some new inspiration or opportunities?

I focus on telling stories that aren’t based on reality. I create unrealistic worlds and characters so these strange times didn’t inspire me directly. However, every story that I write and every character that I develop goes through my sensitivity and experiences. In this way, for sure, everything that is happening in the real world has some influence on what I create. But I wouldn’t write a script about the epidemic or other contemporary problems. Not because I think it’s not important. It is just not my style of writing and I have my own world of imagination. I consider my scripts tales for adults and I like to think that they convey universal truths through the stories. 

Congratulations on having I Died at Raindance 2021, how does it feel to you to be back at the festival?

Thank you. Being back at the festival means a lot to me. Not only because Raindance is a prestigious festival appreciated in our industry but also because it gives a chance to show our video to the public in London. It’s fantastic. 

In 2018 you won the Jury Prize for Best Music Video for Drekoty: Troskliwy at Raindance, what did winning this award mean to you?

The music video Troskliwy for Drekoty is one of my favourite music videos. I always wanted to tell a story about giants and thanks to the band Drekoty and their beautiful song I could do that. We did this music video with a group of friends, we didn’t have a big budget and we were really happy with the results but I didn’t expect it to be received so well at the festivals.

 

Winning the Jury Prize at Raindance was a great honour.  

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Can you tell me a little bit about I Died, what inspired this music video and what was it about Kuba Kawalec song that connected with you as a filmmaker?

Main inspiration was the song itself – its atmosphere and beat were perfect for telling a dark story about women. Of course, also the lyrics, about a woman severely hurt, about her fears and struggles, were extremely inspiring. I connected the emotions that evoked in me while listening to the song with my world of imagination and this is how the story was born.


When writing your script did you always envision that you would shoot it in Black & White and did this offer any particular challenges for you when you started filming?

When I write a story, I always do a mood board consisting of very different photos that inspire me to write and develop characters. Somehow all the photos in the mood board of this project were black & white. And it stayed with me. When we found the right film locations for the video and with DOP Kacper Fertacz decided on the way of storytelling we were pretty sure that shooting in b&w would go together with this story.   

How important is the collaboration between a director and the artist on a music video like this?

When writing a script for a music video I usually work individually. Then I present the script to the musician and if the artist likes the idea and believes it will be good for a song, we do a video. In Poland budgets for music videos are very low so in order to make a better video I always give up my salary. For this reason, I consider it fair to make an author music video. 

"It doesn’t matter if it is a movie or a music video. If I can tell a story I’m satisfied."

Where did your passion for filmmaking and music videos come from?

I’ve always loved cinema and that’s why I became a filmmaker. As simple as that. And in general my interests in filmmaking goes more to telling stories than creating conceptual videos. It doesn’t matter if it is a movie or a music video. If I can tell a story I’m satisfied. 

How much has your style and the approach to writing and directing music videos changed since your debut?

When it comes to my individual style and preferences probably it hasn’t changed much. But I have certainly gained experience since the debut and I have better skills in this craft now. 

Finally, do you have any advice or tips you would offer fellow directors?

I consider myself a young director so I wouldn’t dare to give advice. Also, I think that generalisations do not really help because in the case of a movie it all depends on the idea and also the approaches to making movies can be very different.