As both director and editor of the project, Adrian Ursu won a Gold Telly Award for his creative efforts and beautiful execution of this PSA for the NAMM Foundation.
Short Film Selection Interview 2017
Hi Adrian, thanks for talking to tNC, how's everything going?
It's my pleasure. Things are very busy, I'm happy to say. Doing my best to keep momentum going.
Congratulations on having Hello part of this years short film corner, what does it mean for you to be able to share your film at Cannes?
There's a lot of built in name recognition with Cannes, so it's great in that it's quickly identifiable and a great piece of PR. When someone hasn't seen your film yet but they know that it's a part of something like Cannes, it immediately gives a positive association. Of course, ultimately you want everyone to see your film and it helps in that regard as well.
Are there any nerves setting in ahead of the festival?
Not really. I have more nerves as I set out to write the feature I'll direct next. Before the words are all down on the page there's still that thought of, "Man, will this be good?"
How did the project come about?
My wife and I were sitting talking about what to do next film-wise. We looked at something that wasn't going to be too crazy logistically speaking so we settled on something that would take place in one room.
That room happened to be impossible to find so we built a set on a soundstage. So much for simple logistics.
Tell me a little bit about hello, what can we expect?
I think the best thing I can say is expect to be thrown and surprised. It's a psychological thriller of sorts. You're dealing with a girl that's in a safe room in a psychiatric ward and certainly has problems. But you find that what you thought was the problem and what's happening, isn't the case at all.
What was the inspiration behind your film?
Believe it or not, it was the clean production design behind some of the great science fiction films like 2001. Combined with solitude and being betrayed and you have, "Hello".
What was the most challenging scene for you to film?
There's a moment when the recognition of identity happens and sparks the unraveling for the characters. It was a touchy moment of belief or corny. It could have gone either way but the actors were wonderful and it works well. I still get a bit choked up watching as an "outsider" sometimes.
Looking back is there anything you would do differently on this film?
Figured out how to give myself more time shooting. I feel ilke that's always my response after I finish a film or music video. I wish I had more time to execute some of the things I had to leave behind.
Have you always been interested in filmmaking?
Definitely. I love storytelling. My family got a typewriter when I was a kid, pre computer days, and I went to town and typed up a story. I still have that story stored away. Maybe I'll film it as a little fun exercise.
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have taken from making this film?
I actually went into this film wanting to execute things very precisely, from camera angles, to the actors blocking. I wanted to see if I could plan it all out so well in my head and on paper with shot lists, that what I intended, fully translated to the finished film. I didn't want to just get a ton of coverage and find the film in the edit. Not that it's not a valid approach, it's just not what I wanted with this film. It worked for me and I learned I could pull off what I had intended very closely.
Now you can be reflective what advice would you offer a fellow filmmaker?
Write. Shoot. Direct. And edit your heart out. I don't care if it's a zero budget film, just make it. One of my favorite films I made, I made for $100. There's a lot to be said for not being overly precious with your work as you build up experience. I've made that mistake and it paralyzed me. Be willing to fail. But be equally willing to succeed.
And finally what do you hope people will take away from your film?
A feeling that they had a nice ride for 12 minutes. Regardless of whether they love it or hate it, a strong feeling either way is a pretty good thing. But of course, I'd love for people to walk away having really enjoyed the film.