Hamy Ramezan and Rungano Nyoni
Finland & Denmark
Synopsis: Copenhagen. A police station. A foreign woman, wearing a burqa, is there with her young son to file a complaint. Yet, it seems the translator is not willing to report what she is telling.
You both wrote and directed Listen. Where did the idea come from?
It was over Skype. We started sharing stories and anecdotes. At first, we were determined to do something funny but then this idea came up and Hamy totally felt it so we went with it. My mother works for a domestic violent organisation which I sometimes volunteer for so the idea came from a real-life incident that occurred there. We then mixed it up with fiction and our own personal experience and came up with the idea. It grew over the course of a month of talking.
This is a Finland and Denmark Co-Production in conjunction with the Nordic Factory. What is the Nordic Factory and how did they get involved in the film?
The Nordic Factory is the brain child of Dominique Welinski. She did the same format with it in Taipei the year before and has now gone on to Chile. The idea is to get four directors from a host country--in this case it was Denmark/Finland--and partner them up with four directors from around the world and see what happens. You have four months to write, direct, shoot and post-produce. It's a fun experiment of shared experience, stress, life lessons, etc.
Is this film about religion, borders, countries, or is this film ultimately about a teenager becoming a man?
We usually avoid telling people what a film is about so they can get what they want from it. It's such a personal thing. However, we can say that our intention wasn't to make it about a boy becoming a man.
How did you go about the casting for this film?
It started with online video submissions and then street casting and generally getting desperate. In the end it's a mixed cast of professional and unprofessional actors.
What do you want people to take away from this film after watching it?
Our main target was always for the audience to put yourself into the shoes of a woman whose eyes and face you never see. That was our only goal: to put the audience in her shoes and for them to feel her frustration.
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