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Eva Lanska: “Take your time choosing a manuscript”

Be sure to spend some time with each key member of the team. Make sure that you work together and that you have a common understanding of the structure of the filming process, and the same general attitude towards discipline and self-respect. It’s important to remember that one fly can spoil the whole barrel of honey. […]

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Be sure to spend some time with each key member of the team. Make sure that you work together and that you have a common understanding of the structure of the filming process, and the same general attitude towards discipline and self-respect. It’s important to remember that one fly can spoil the whole barrel of honey.


As a part of our series about “Filmmakers Making A Social Impact” I had the pleasure of interviewing Eva Lanska.

Eva Lanska is a London-based director and screenwriter. After graduating from the London Film Academy, Lanska has focused on producing both documentary and fiction films. She has directed several award-winning films recognized throughout Europe and America.

Across her films, Lanska studies the concepts of acceptance and love in challenging circumstances. She poses pressing questions to direct her audience to reflect on the choices to be made, putting themselves in the shoes of her protagonists.

Her previous film, Little French Fish, starring British actors Jonas Khan and Devora Wilde, draws attention to the global stigma against interracial marriages through the relationship of an Orthodox Jewish woman and a Muslim man. The film follows the lives of an intercultural couple falling in love while dealing with the pressure of historical conflicts and strict social codes.

In 2020, Little French Fish was selected by one of the world’s oldest and largest Jewish festivals, the Washington Jewish Film Festival. Lanska’s previous picture Okay, Mum, won Best Picture at the Los Angeles Film Festival and was selected for the Short Film Corner at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival.

Art, literature, cinematography, the Parisian lifestyle and ambiance have been significant influences and inspiration sources throughout her work. Lanska is also actively involved in child protection movements and continues to bring awareness to alarming social issues through her films.https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/50e9c2fc32b116068e8d82b32399781f


Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to get to know you a bit. Can you share your “backstory” that brought you to this career?

My childhood was spent in Russia. In those days, the only thing for which there was no need to stand in line for was your dreams. There was a shortage of all products in the country. For example, to get good books, one had to wait a long time for each one, but I really loved reading. Since the age of five, books have become my closest friends. In my life, not one evening has passed without a book in my hands. Good books blur the boundaries of the impossible.

When I read Theodore Dreiser, I was finally convinced that many restrictions are conditional, and the most important thing is to follow your dreams My dream had already emerged by then. I wanted to become a stage actress, devote myself to the theater and perform at the world’s best venues.

Then, being in the harsh Post Soviet atmosphere during my youth, I still did not know exactly how to implement my plan, but I already had a firm goal. The goal is what defines a person, and later your social circle. Ayn Rand also wrote about this during the time in which she lived.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are
working on now?

I was fortunate enough to spend several years in Paris in early 2000. During this time, I wrote songs and started filming my first videos. A French music producer suggested that I record an album of Serge Gainsbourg’s works, among which were some songs performed by Brigitte Bardot. Working on her songs, I began to study her work more deeply and noticed that the depth of this magnificent woman’s aspirations stretched far beyond the film career. That is when I first began to think about making a film about her, and only now have I finished the script for the feature film “I’m Not An Actress,” inspired by the philosophy of Brigitte Bardot.

Who are some of the most interesting people you have interacted with? What was that like? Do you have any stories?

I am actively involved in charitable work and interact with many foundations. I have always admired people who are not indifferent to charity. Among the interactions with well-known people include a supportive evening with former U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and last year a conversation with Former New York Mayor Rudolf Giuliani. It would seem that those with such different political views suddenly find they have much in common when they have a shared cause, such as a charitable mission.

Which people in history inspire you the most? Why?

I would name three completely different women who all possess qualities that inspire to preserve inner dignity, fortitude in any situation, and the belief that women can really change the world. They are former U.K. Prime Minister, Baroness Margaret Thatcher, fourth Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir, and Princess Diana.

We are very interested in diversity in the entertainment industry. Can you share three reasons with our readers why you think it’s important to have diversity represented in film and television? How can that potentially affect our culture?

I think that based on the experience of film industry workers in 2020, there will be many alternative companies to Netflix in the near future, and Netflix will very soon share a place in the market with other new avenues of equal value. Also, I suppose that at last, there will be more film projects led by women executive producers and directors.

In 1994, a study based on 2,000 films revealed that of all aspects of filmmaking, only costuming and casting employed the majority of women, while the on the top positions, women accounted for only 13% of editors, 10% of writers, and a meager 5% of directors.

However, when this study was revisited twenty years later in 2014, the numbers had actually dropped. The report showed that rather than improving over time, the number of women working with blockbuster film crews had declined to a new low of 21.8%. Even more startling, of the top 100 grossing films, fewer than 2% of the directors were women. (source: Ellis-Petersen, 2014)

Unfortunately, in 2020 there were no significant changes, key positions in the film industry still belong to the majority of men. However, today it is the women who are able to diversify the world of cinema and showcase their talent and artistry. Now is the time for men to open the door and let women go forward.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

1. Listen to your intuition and implement the ideas in which you really believe.

2. Take your time choosing a manuscript. The script is your foundation on which you will build your house. At the beginning, no one will bring you a good script on a silver platter. The secret is that if you cannot write yourself, you can distinguish talent from mediocrity, and in the end, you will find a talented novice screenwriter with whom you will grow professionally together.

3. Time is the main resource on the set, as discipline and maximum concentration from each member of the team are needed. Every minute should be productive in its own way. It’s necessary to show firmness in the management of any project, and conviction in artistic correctness.

4. Don’t give a chance for fear to take you over. You should not be afraid of failure because fear can destroy even great talent.

5. Be sure to spend some time with each key member of the team. Make sure that you work together and that you have a common understanding of the structure of the filming process, and the same general attitude towards discipline and self-respect. It’s important to remember that one fly can spoil the whole barrel of honey.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC
funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person
in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private
breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. 🙂

I would like to meet and chat with producer Jerry Bruckheimer. I have watched a lot of his interviews and in many ways, his thoughts on filmmaking are very similar to mine. He once said, I don’t want to make a show that I wouldn’t watch. This one line says a lot about the process of creating a movie. I think I could learn a lot from Jerry, and it would be interesting to work with him. Every artist wants his or her works to have a place in history and I can relate to people who share this approach.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like to place the spotlight to an important problem that has faded into the background on the pages of the media in 2020, but after all, everything that happens in today’s world is inextricably linked. In the summer of 2020, www.researchgate.net published news about microplastic found in a human placenta. Few people connected this monstrous news with the main events and epidemics that shook humanity this year. But how can humanity be on a healthy planet, while simultaneously killing nature by its actions? It is known that more than 260 species of animals either accidentally swallow plastic or get entangled in it. The bodies of 90 species of seabirds contain plastic.

We can tell our children about this and teach them to use natural products. If you think about it, saving these animals, we help not only them, but, above all, ourselves. To begin with, all that is required from us is to refuse to buy products packed in plastic. Stop getting your wallet in the store, paying with your money for a potential poison. If there is no demand, there will be no supply. The state can provide grants to support producers with eco-packaging. I suggest holding a flash mob on social media, every time you make a choice of a product in a store in natural packaging, put a hashtag — I choose environmentally friendly packaging. The sustainable lifestyle must become fashionable.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you
share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Margaret Thatcher said, “I usually make up my mind about a man in ten seconds, and I very rarely change it.” This rule fits well with my experience. Every time I have given the opportunity for additional information to influence my initial opinion about a person, I am convinced later, that it was a mistake. The first impression is the most correct one.

How can our readers follow you online?

@becomingeva
www.evalanska.com

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