Mark Kuczewski has directed and worked on many short films over the past few years. Many of them are now making their way around the festival circuit. Ready or Not received a ‘Best thriller’ award and the ‘No Limits Award’ and was screened at Eat our Shorts at the BFI and Exposures.
Below is an interview of him about Women's Annex and Afghanistan, Central and South Asia.
FA: What are some of the recurring themes you explore in your films?
MK: I think some of the recurring themes in my films are strong powerful women. If you look at Playground, it is the woman that comes out on top. Again in I'll call you back. However this is never the case in the beginning of the story. There is always a shift in power from what seems like a strong male to the female, therefore leaving the male role weak. I think most of my films have that shift in the narrative where something is revealed towards the end that the audience did not know.
FA: Generally, approximately how many women do you work with on your productions (cast and crew)? Can you tell us about the dynamics of working with women and whether it's different from working with male co-workers?
MK: I always work with women on shoot be that in the crew or cast. I actually just did a shoot yesterday where we had a sound woman and a female in the crew. I don't really find the dynamic changes that much, generally most people on the set are there because they love working in film and it's always a pleasure to work with people who are passionate about their craft whether they are male or female.
FA: How can women be empowered through fine arts, especially a medium like filmmaking?
MK: I think women can be empowered through filmmaking and film through the topic of what you are shooting. For instance, I think sometimes women can be seen as being friendlier and easier to talk to which could be a huge benefit in documentary and interviewing subjects. Also through the story of the film for instance, my films all have strong female roles and maybe that was due to growing up with strong females in my life. But equally a story can empower someone if they can see a similarity in the story or character.
FA: What do you think of Women's Annex and its operation in Afghanistan, Central and South Asia?
MK: I think it's great, anything where a person can go to be empowered is a possessive thing. I think it's encouraging people to make content and for woman to share this with not only the world but this network created by Film Annex specifically for women.
FA: Can your work be used as a source of inspiration for filmmakers in Afghanistan, Central and south Asia? If yes, how so? In other words, do you consider yourself a “Thought Leader”? If so, what do you think your influence is on your audience?
MK: I think the brilliant thing about film is that for the right person, any film can be an inspiration because film is an art form which means it's open to an individual's interpretation. I watched a short film once that was in a different language with no subtitles. Even though I didn't know what they were saying, I still understood the film. I think that's the sign of a film that is also telling a story visually. In the same way, I can watch films from around the world and be inspired. I believe people from around the world can watch mine and be empowered.
FA: Where do you see the future of developing countries like Afghanistan? Do you think filmmaking and social media can help improve their economy and education system?
MK: I think in this day and age, social media is a very powerful thing because it is taking the middle man out of things like the news. Social media allows you to go straight to the source, to the voice of the people or the individual. So I think it does have the power to improve things like the education system.
Below is the Playground movie of Mark Kuczewski: