As a makeup artist I often get a chance to take a look behind the scenes. I meet incredible people. This time I chose to interview power women: Cintia Taylor (director) and Anna Palffy (production manager). I was super curious about their drive and motivations.
An ambitious woman living in Amsterdam but originally from Portugal, who directed the movie and invested a lot of time and money in this project. I was impressed by her drive to produce this movie and her capacity to recruit a whole team of volunteers.
Trained as a journalist, Cintia spent over a decade working as a reporter and producer for international media such as the BBC, The Daily Beast, France24 and others, before making her shift towards fiction. Ironically enough, it was a film that she watched when she was 13 years old that inspired her to pursue a career in journalism. She now works as a writer for film and theatre. When the Waves Break is her directorial debut.
I asked her: Cintia, what is the film about?
“When the Waves Break follows Marie who wants to be a better mother to her daughter than her own mother was to her. In a wider message, it’s about breaking away from our parents, learning from their mistakes and trying to beat them.”
And where did the idea come from?
“The thing about us and our parents is that we often find ourselves doing the exact same thing they did and which we vowed we would never do or become. I saw myself acting like my dad or my mom and got frustrated by it, because it were the things I liked the least about them that kept resurfacing. So it got me wondering how much do genes matter, how much can we actually break free from our parents’ ways? That was the starting point of the story. I shared my thoughts with Amélie Onzon – the main actress in the film – and realised this was a universal matter.”
So why exactly did you want to make this movie?
“From a story point of view, it was like a cathartic process for me. Film producer San Fu Maltha once told me he could understand a lot about a director from their films. When he saw my mood board he told me he saw mystery, sadness and secrecy. He got it right. That pretty much sums up my inner turmoil. People often say they never get to know me. I guess it’s that mystery inside of me.
The reason I decided to direct it myself is because not only I feel it is a very personal story to me, but I also because wanted to take control over my stories. As a writer, you pass on your work to a director, who then translates your ideas visually. I wanted to do that. I had worked with director Rudolf van den Berg and was inspired by how he approached his work from writing to directing and that drove me to also wanting to do it.
But I would like to add that none of this would have been possible without the amazing support of the cast and crew. Amélie Onzon is a huge driving force in making this happen. Her talent and drive are very inspiring to me, and she really put all her trust in me and in this film. It’s not an easy role but she just went for it, and I am so grateful for that.
Anna Palffy is the production manager and she has worked really hard in helping me produce this film while keeping her full-time job. I will not name everyone in the crew but I must say each one of them has played a crucial role in making it happen. Without their support and trust, I could have never come this far. And that goes to you too, Vandana.”
Well that certainly made my day! It was a pleasure to work with you and your crew. I met so many interesting people. It was a wonderful experience.
I concluded by asking her: So what is next for you; what are your ambitions?
“After the film is completed – somewhere in March, April this year – it will be sent to several film festivals across the world. That’s the point of making it: to promote the work we made. I’m already in pre-production for another film called ‘Three is the Perfect Number’, which also features Amélie Onzon as the main actress. And I am currently writing a third short. All of which will be directed by me. Yes, the directing bug struck me. In addition, I am researching a theatre play which I would like to write and direct soon – either this year or next. It’s a love story set during World War I. I’m hoping to be able to direct my first feature film within the next two years.”
Having now got to know Cintia better, I was fortunate enough to spend time with Anna. Anna’s drive to work so hard next to her demanding fulltime job truly amazed me. Originally from Hungary, Anna has lived in Amsterdam for 1 year and 4 months now during which we became friends! How wonderful is this?!
I asked her: How did you end up living in NL?
“I never really planned to live in the Netherlands, but you never know what life brings you. Previously I have lived in Hungary, Denmark, Austria and Australia and it is for professional reasons why I came and finally stayed here. A year and a half ago I felt that I was not at the right place doing what I was doing in Austria and as English had always been my working language rather than German, finding another job proved to be a hard and long process. When one of my best friends got a job in Haarlem she offered that I could stay with her for a couple of month and try my luck here. So I did, and it turned out to be a good idea.”
Why did you decide to volunteer as a producer in this movie?
“I have always been interested in visual communication in every form. I loved to draw as a child, then turned towards photography, and did a short course in graphic design. My interest in film is more recent, when I discovered that a producer is the role that pulls together everything I am good at and like to do. I like to work with people and coordinate projects and I love it when there is a creative outcome. So I’m very excited about this film and very curious about the end result!”
I felt that was great, and when on to ask Anna: What are your ambitions?
“I think one of my biggest ambitions in life is to love the work I do and to be able to live from it! I know that no job is a fairy tale 100% of the time, and that everything has a downside, but if most of the time I love what I do, then that would already make me very happy. I wouldn’t mind being able to make a transition into filmmaking but I am also realistic about the chances of this happening. So for now I mainly pursue it in my free time, and am willing to see what will happen.”
What a great message! I then concluded the interview by asking her: What do you hope will come out of this movie?
“I hope that When the Waves Break can successfully run on film festivals and that the audience will like it. Whether that is because they find a meaning in it that they can relate to or because of its visuals, it doesn’t matter. But I hope people will like this film as it is the first film project for me as a producer and there is just so much work going on behind the scene. So we all want to be proud of it, and make those who helped us making this film happen proud as well.”
Thank you both so much for your time for this interesting interview.
To Cintia: I think I have a different understanding about the person behind this movie, and it made me so curious. Please reveal more about your personality, or will you refer to your films instead? You fascinate me.
To Anna: Your hard work and work ethic inspired me so much. Well done. You are only in the Netherlands for such a little time but I know you will reach far!
I have learned so much from you. But above all, I got inspired!
With love Vandana
Pictures made by: Jaqueline Reboir (day 1) en Melanja Palitta (day 2)
First day of filming (with pictures of Jaqueline Reboir):
Second day of filming (with pictures of Melanja Palitta):