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Two Strangers Who Meet Five Times
Directed by: Marcus Markou
Country: United Kingdom
Synopsis: Two strangers meet at key turning points over the course of their lives. The initial conflict gives way to compassion and eventual friendship.
You wrote and directed the film. What inspired the idea?
After Trump and Brexit - here in the UK - and this sense of nationalist uprising across the world, I (and many others) noticed this new low level intolerance and prejudice of other people in ordinary situations: in the supermarket, in the bus queue at the gas station. This felt new. I had not seen this before. This was not about taking on white supremacists. This was about this sudden explosion of everyday bigotry and hatred at this almost domestic level. So I wanted to start the film there because it was something that was so obvious after Trump and Brexit. However, I then wanted to explore the bigger human story of what prejudice really means over the course of a lifetime. The truth is we are all food for worms one day. And this prejudice is a waste of energy and time.
What's the key to making other people excited about your short film project?
Passion is everything. Making films is the ultimate joy and privilege. I treasure every single moment and I love to collaborate and bring the best out of other people. It's so exciting to work with so many different departments of skill and knowledge - camera, sound, wardrobe, art department - and of course, the actors. The key to making other people excited about anything you do in life - is your own excitement at doing it.
How did you scout and pick your locations?
I worked with a location manager who made some fantastic suggestions--some of which were instantly perfect. I then personally scouted these suggestions, and as is always the case, I accidentally stumbled on a couple of ones we ended up using. This is how we found the shelter for the homeless scene. I was walking towards the park to check out the playground and there was this fantastic building that seemed perfect. And to have two story locations in the same spot makes the mechanics of scheduling easier and brings down costs. Sometimes there is no substitute for walking about.
This is a short film about a long period of time. How did you connect the long timeline into a coherent narrative for a short film?
I don't think big jumps in time are a problem for audiences. And I didn't really have to think around these jumps. They felt perfectly natural when I wrote them. The story works because the title of the short prepares you for the five meetings and each meeting is sign posted. Perhaps that's why it works well.
What message do you want people to take away from see the film?
I think it's the same message we are always trying to bottle as artists. At its core, we ask, what does it mean to be human?
You've made quite a few short films. What advice do you have for someone making their first short film?
Find a story that is close to your heart. Always. Write from the heart.
What is your definition of success?
There is only one true definition. Success is the joy you feel!