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CIRCLE 2019 Participants : Meet Asia Der - "I Haven't Died"

Q: Please introduce yourself and your project briefly.

A: I’m a Hungarian documentary director working on my second feature documentary, called, I Haven’t Died. The film is about a middle-aged, successful man who gets pancreatic cancer and survives. The film explores how does a near death experience affect the life what comes after. What can one do with a second chance? The answer for these existential questions might be much less elevated as we tend to think, but definitely very human.

Q: What was the biggest challenge in making this film?

A: I’m in the middle of the process and right now we are facing the obstacle of the COVID19. Everyone is closed at home alone, which is a wonderful moment for documentaries…. if you can film it. We are trying to find creative ways how to cover this period of life, not everyone is set for filming himself. It will be exciting to see films in the next years, most probably they will all have at least a scene from these epidemic times with their protagonists. It will be part of the common past of us all.

Q: Can you compare your experience at CIRCLE with other similar platforms that you have been part of?

A: What was truly special about this workshop is the atmosphere. I can’t really tell what it is but having a full female group with female organizers have a special sisterhood feeling which made both the work and the evening drinks special. A very strong network was created there, which I hope we will keep for a long time.

Q: What were the most important benefits from being part of CIRCLE project?

A: The film made its first step to become part of the international industry awareness thanks to the workshop. We get to meet and talk with some experienced and influential experts from the industry.

But what was also a true treasure, this group of filmmakers who are my friends now.

Q: What advice do you have for other (female) directors?

A: I was at a discussion once about women in a film industry. There was a long talk about how women are oppressed, getting less money than men… etc., then a lady stood up from the audience, the head of a fund for documentaries in Germany. She said men always ask for the maximum money what can be asked, as opposed to women, who ask for the minimum, which many times is clearly not enough for their film. The lady looked at all the women in the room and said: I want to give you more money, but I can’t give more then you ask for, so please ask for more money. Let’s stop oppressing ourselves.

Q: Name your favorite woman-directed film and why.

Usually I don’t care if a film is made by a man or a woman, what is important to me is the honest point of view. But if I must pick one person it would be Judit Ember, a Hungarian documentary filmmaker who worked in the 70s-80s talking about topics which no one else dared to touch. She lived all her life poor and silenced, which somehow haven’t changed after the socialism ended.

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