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Short Cuts To Hell 2 Finalist Interview: Stanislava Buevich - Geoffrey's Heart
By James Whittington, Saturday 4th October 2014

s HeartThis year’s Short Cuts To Hell competition saw some incredibly inventive entries.

Here we speak to one of the finalists, Stanislava Buevich who is behind the atmospheric tale Geoffrey’s Heart.

To vote for Geoffrey’s Heart click here.

HC: Where did the idea for Geoffrey’s Heart come from?

SB: You know I always come up with ideas in my dreams. Always. I have a dream and then I try to interpret it and make sense of it, and that's how my films come about. This was no exception. Of course dreams are never a coincidence and they are always about something deep routed in your psyche. And Geoffrey's Heart, I think is, as strange as it sounds, inspired by my experiences as a child. By the relationship I had with my parents growing up. When I was 13 my whole world changed as I got very ill and that was a turning point in my life and what inspired the premise of Geoffrey's Heart. My parents became completely different people. They were very young when they had me so I didn't get a lot of attention from them growing up, but after my illness it all changed. They became extremely overprotective and they still are. It's too much sometimes. But that shift in our relationship is what inspired Geoffrey's Heart in a way. Although it wasn't straight away apparent even to me. Geoffrey's Heart is much more than just that, but that's where it takes off.

HC: Did it take long to write?

SB: The short didn't take long at all. Couple of hours at most. I think because I had the idea for a while. I actually had this idea for the previous Short Cuts To Hell competition, but then I realised that I don't want it to be a short, I want it to be a feature film. So, I started thinking about the plot and over the course of a year I developed it in my head. I started writing the script as well but it’s far from finished.

HC: How much of the restricted budget did you use?

SB: We actually had almost exactly £666, as per the rules of the competition. We had a great camera and that's where most of the money went. But we did keep the crew well fed too.

HC: It is incredibly atmospheric with a very disturbing payoff, are you a fan of gruesome horror?

SB: First of all thanks very much for that, I was going with atmospheric. I am a big fan of smart horror and films that are made very well in the sense that they are aesthetically pleasing. Like The Shining, like Rosemary's Baby, like Let The Right One In, like hauntingly beautiful Japanese films, Battle Royale is probably my favourite film; and of course Korean horror films, Old Boy for example now that's a horror film that has everything, also like Dario Argento horror… I really don't like what's been coming out lately though, it's all just either remakes or very flat, uninspiring films that all basically have the same plot with slightly different dressing. And most of those films are really not about anything. They don't have any substance to them, and horror is such an amazing genre. It's very story oriented and you have no limits to what you can do, no rules, no right or wrong. You can really let your imagination unravel, but unfortunately few filmmakers actually do. And there is nothing more wonderful I think than actually talking about something very real through a genre that bends reality. I am also a huge fan of comedy horror and fantasy horror like many of Tim Burton's films that's another direction I like to take with my films, but not this one obviously.

HC: Did it take long to shoot and edit together?

SB: We had one day for the shoot. The last scene was especially challenging, because we were losing light very quickly but we just couldn't get the mother's reaction, camera movement and big reveal combination that I wanted. And we actually didn't get it quite right (I think it still needs a few takes) In the feature I'll make sure we get it. And I am very passionate about this project and I really hope to make it into a feature film regardless of the outcome of the competition. But it would be so great to win I've never made a feature before and looking for funding and for producers to take it on is a very challenging process. Oh, and the editing took me couple of hours. I edited it myself and all my shots were planned very carefully in advance so it was quite easy. Although, all of the shots were very long and involved camera movement. I love telling a story in as little takes as possible. And it was torture for me to cut them all up so that the film would fit into the three minute limit of the competition. But I am happy I managed it without cutting up the last shot in the end.

HC: What was the hardest part of creating Geoffrey’s Heart?

SB: It was definitely figuring out how to tell a story in just three minutes. So in the end I decided to keep it a little bit obscure, so that there is no conclusion to it. So that the viewers would hopefully be curious to see what happens next. The special effects are always challenging but so much fun. We weren't sure how we were going to go about it with the last scene at first. We actually considered real guts from the butchers, but then decided against it as it would be extremely unhygienic. So Lara Myles, who is my business partner at our production company, and also a brilliant make-up artist, created guts from kitchen rolls and silicone in the end. I thought they were great. We really don't like resorting to CGI. I really like all the effects done in camera on set as much as possible.

HC: What did it feel like seeing your work on the Horror Channel?

SB: It was really great. I just turned on the TV and there is was. I have never had anything shown on television before and that was definitely a very special moment. I even recorded it.

HC: Do you have a plan as to how to extend this idea if it wins Short Cuts To Hell 2?

SB: Yes, as I mentioned this was never a short film and the challenge for me was to shorten it not expand it. So I definitely have a plan, but I still need to work out the details. The films is essentially going to be about what a mother is willing to do in order to keep her son safe and well-fed, so she has to start somewhere not too far out of the realms of her comfort zone and then escalate as the film progresses to something she'd never thought she'd be capable of doing. Right now I am figuring out all the supporting characters so that they are all interesting and multi-layered in their own rights.

HC: Are you working on any other projects at the moment?

SB: At Clockpunk films, our production company, we've just finished shooting a long form music video, and we are still working on it to get it into shape. And I always write little ideas down that I come up with and I have tons of potential short films that I'd like to shoot sometimes soon. I am applying for various funding for those ideas.

HC: Stanislava Buevich, thank you very much.


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