They met in London. Perhaps in Spain it would not have been possible. But they felt the sort of connection that is only possible when you are removed from the familiar and open yourself up to the world.
They are Eva Nieto and Bea Poey, two Spaniards living in London, two people who believed in their project and, through crowdfunding and a lot of hard work, have made a short film called Ananke: a blend of reality and fiction that leaves no viewer indifferent. A story about destiny and the inevitable.
We spoke to them today to find out a bit more about how to create a story, a piece of culture and – as they are keen to stress – a great friendship..
Do you believe that destiny is already written and that you two were predestined to meet?
Eva: I like to believe in coincidence over destiny. I prefer to believe that destiny is not yet written and that we always have the power to change it.
Bea: Maybe there are some things in life that are predetermined. The fact that we met, a coincidence? Yes, but at some point in our lives destiny would have brought us together in one way or another…
Eva: You’re sure of that? You believe that you and I were destined to meet?
Eva: That’s so beautiful. (laughs)
When you are working, what does each of you have that the other doesn’t? Or, better put, what does each of you most like about the other?
B: Those are two different things. What do I like about Eva? I like a lot of things because, above all, she is my friend. But in terms of work… I don’t really know how to express what… There are lots of good things. It all sort of flows together.
E: We have a connection and we understand each other very well. When one of us talks about an idea, the other immediately finds herself in that world. We feed into each other’s ideas, if I can put it like that.
B: But it’s not something specific… it isn’t any one single thing. There are a lot of things. Like when we are writing a script, the easiest part for me is to be the writer and for her it’s the images… but we have the same vision of things. We share a passion for the same things and we are united by our way of understanding the world and life.
E: And about Bea I can only say that, in the darkest moments, she is the light that illuminates the path…
B: Oh! How beautiful! (laughs)
when we are writing a script, the easiest part for me is to be the writer and for her it’s the images… but we have the same vision of things. We share a passion for the same things and we are united by our way of understanding the world and life.
Do you think your connection and your work together would have been possible if you had met in Madrid instead of in London?
E: No. Not at all.
B: I agree. I think that London is London… It’s a bubble where anything can happen and you do things that you wouldn’t do in another place. It would have been completely different. London has changed both of us, there’s no doubt; it’s a totally new experience. We would probably have met at some point, I really think so, maybe in a bar somewhere, or doing some job or other… but I don’t think it would have led us to Ananke.
Although I know you were thinking of a full-length film, you ended up making a short. Do you think it’s important to think big?
E: It wasn’t exactly like that. We were writing a full-length film with different themes and a different story, when I suggested to Bea that we make a separate short.
B: Taking a break from the longer project and writing a short film which we could show people when we were trying to sell the full-length film. That was the idea.
E: We decided to concentrate on making a short, although in the end the ideas for Ananke would have been enough for something longer… and maybe in the future we really will make it into a full-length film.
B: And yes, you always have to think big. In fact the idea was to make a low-key short with a very small team and only two actors, that would be filmed in one afternoon… and look what happened… it escaped us…
How would we live if we knew exactly when we were going to die?
Every police film has a good cop and a bad cop. Which role would each of you take on, and why?
B: When we’re shooting, I’m definitely the bad cop. The one who spends her time arguing with makeup, hair stylists, or whoever it is. The one who is always shouting, that’s me. But always from a place of affection and professionalism. Why? Because Eva has too much on her mind. My job is to fight to filter out some of the problems before they get to her.
E: That’s the role of an assistant director, that’s all.
B: I deal with all the problems myself, so I’m the baddy in the film. But I have to say I do always try to be nice. Anything to add, Eva?
E: No, nothing more to add.
With Ananke, you created an imaginary world. How did the idea come about?
E: On one of the days we’d arranged to meet up to write the full-length film, I suggested to Bea that we write a short. As we were both itching to film something, it seemed like a good excuse.
B: We had the idea after about three hours talking about absolutely everything: about life, about things. Eva wanted to do science fiction, and when you talk about science fiction you get to talking about life, death and people’s backstories to give it that extra twist. How do you approach a reality that isn’t real, but that could be? So, as we were talking – I don’t know why – I started telling her about the time I went to see a fortune teller. That’s where the theme of destiny came from, that we deal with in Ananke. If my destiny was already decided or not, if what the fortune teller told me was coming true.
E: And we started to think, “What if?” What if we knew the date of our own death?
B: How would we live if we knew exactly when we were going to die? And that is the central idea of Ananke.
What was the most difficult challenge once you set to work?
Eva & Bea (together): Money!
E: It’s always the money. It’s what puts on the brakes, that never-ending battle. You have an idea in your head and you have to make it a reality with few resources and little money. How do you make sure that everything comes to life as best it can with hardly any resources? We even had to limit ourselves when we were writing the script. There were some great ideas that we loved but we couldn’t put them in because of the production costs. We even cut whole sequences.
Tell me about your team. How did you get everyone together?
B: We were lucky because I had spent a year making contacts and I had pretty much got the team together already.
E: Friends, friends of friends… Basically, we counted on people that we knew. The only other thing was the actors, who we chose through auditions that we advertised online.
B: In London, there are a lot of talented people from all over the world. If they find the project interesting they are delighted, and even happy to work for free.
E: Unfortunately. Because we would have loved to be able to pay everybody for the great work that they have done, and that they are still doing..
When is the premiere?
B: There is nothing that we would love more than to have a premiere RIGHT NOW! We’re still waiting for postproduction, sound, music. And of course that isn’t down to us because it isn’t our field. We are depending on other people, on experts who are doing this in their free time just for the love of art. So we can’t really demand anything of anybody. We’ll just have to wait.
Are you thinking of entering the short for any prizes? How far do you think you can go with Ananke?
E: Yes, we’ll enter it for all the international festivals we can. We aren’t going to restrict ourselves to any one country.
B: And for the BAFTAs next year. (laughs)
¿El crowdfunding, me podéis explicar cómo funciona?
E: There are tons of crowdfunding pages and you have to choose one. Each one offers you certain conditions, and they all have pros and cons. Some take a higher percentage than others, give you longer or shorter time limits to reach your goal amount of money, and so on. In the end we went for Sponsume.
B: After that it’s all about making an attractive sales package. You have to present your product to sell it to strangers, not just friends and family. It has to interest the people who come to your page if they are going to part with their money. We also offer a sort of “reward”; depending on the amount of money they give, people get DVDs of the film, tickets for the premiere, a mention in the credits and so on. We also made a trailer, a comic, added some photos. It was all about getting people interested. And people really liked it.
E: Crowdfunding can work really well but you have to have contacts and you have to know how to promote your campaign.
What sort of people have backed your project?
E: Most of them are people we know, but there have been a few others. For example, an Irish woman who doesn’t know us at all gave £100.
B: But it’s also true that we didn’t have much time and didn’t ask for much money.
E: Yes, we took the safe route… We could have increased the budget, but we were lucky and we got a lot of things for free.
How long did it take you to get the funding?
E: It took 28 days of crowdfunding.
B: Like the film. (laughs)
Does success come from enthusiasm and self-belief, or from lots of contacts and a strong social media presence?
B: A bit of both. Enthusiasm and self-belief are all very well but you won’t get anywhere without contacts. It’s also true that believing in yourself helps you to gain contacts – to sell and to sell yourself – and in the end that turns into a network of people, which in turn translates to an online network.
E: Maybe we could have promoted it a bit more, made more contacts, and it would have given us more reach, but we didn’t really have time for that.
What are you going to do about the credits? Is it going to be a long list?
B: Incredibly long, yes.
E: Especially the people who supported us via crowdfunding, because actually the technical team, the actors and the extras is only about forty people.
B: And we’ve received so much for free that we have SO MUCH to say thank you for and SO MANY people who have lent a hand. So yes, the credits will be very long, but there will be nice music so they don’t get boring. (laughs)
Do you think it will be possible to make the full-length film you dream of using this same method?
E & B: No.
E: A full-length film with crowdfunding. Yes, it can be done, but we don’t think that will be our method in the future. We’d prefer to find a producer who is interested in our project.
B: Asking for so much money… it’s not unheard of but… I think it’s madness. No way.