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Iza Aleksandrowicz, Kiyong Maeng: Inspiration is where the popular beliefs die16.09.2020

photo: Noemi Markwas

We asked finalists of Papaya Young Directors international contest about attentively listening, mimicking blockbusters, and directors’ stamina.

The awards ceremony of the 7th edition of Papaya Young Directors and the official premiere of the films took place on September 5. More information about the event can be found HERE.


You’re quite a unique duet – you are representing two different cultures. Is it helping you in your creative collaboration?

Iza Aleksandrowicz: There have always been noticeable cultural differences (I mean, try being a Polish girl meeting Korean parents-in-law, ten mishaps minimum guaranteed), then when it comes to working together at any creative project we undertake together. We surprisingly don’t feel that much difference. Our imagination, aesthetics and sensitivity work in similar ways. What’s definitely helping us in creative collaboration is the respect for each other’s ideas and the skill of listening. We believe it is a plus for any kind of cooperation.

The main element of your contest film is zombies. Why did you choose those creatures?

Kiyong Maeng: The main idea was to create a feeling of a big blockbuster movie that doesn’t give away is a commercial until the very end. To create that impression we knew we have to use a strong genre. Something that will allow the audience to identify what they’re watching within the first few seconds, so we can play with their expectations later. We could use cowboys or aliens but ended up with zombies since we thought it would be fun to roar and bleed a little bit on the set. The fact that we watched this Korean movie called Train to Busan (2016) a week prior to the contest deadline is probably just a coincidence. 

You didn’t only direct the film, but also acted in it. What did you learn while doing those things at the same time?

I.A.: First of all, that it’s possible. Second of all, it can be a lot of fun. Third of all, we should go to the gym more often if we want to do this again because it was physically exhausting. The most important thing tho: that filmmaking is truly teamwork and we have never felt it stronger than on this particular set. Without the support of our team, we would fail both directing and acting. It’s not only us who had to face the new challenge but them also. I bet the make-up artist never had to apply anything on a person's face while this person is running around and directing at the same time.

K.M: They were not only understanding (we were taking extra time after each shot to watch the scene) but also so encouraging and eager to help. Everyone got the chance to shout „action!” while our mouth was full of blood. 

What is your source of inspiration and ideas?

I.A: Kiyong is a born trickster. He always takes something that seems like an obvious truth of the world and asks the question „What if… it wasn’t true”. He plays with facts, beliefs, and stereotypes – getting his ideas and inspiration from destroying the generally accepted opinions. I am more intuitive. If something – anything – makes my heart beat faster I will go for it even if it seems like the most obvious story to tell. I have this deep belief that every story in the world has already been told – but what matters is that it hasn’t been told by me and that’s what makes it special.

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