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The Dreamer Saniari - Left Eye Blind by Matt Maude

on Wednesday, 29 May 2013.

dreamers lefteyeblind-2

How did Left Eye Blind begin?

When we first started Left Eye Blind it was a collective of filmmakers all working under the same name. We signed to a London based commercial agency called Academy Films in early 2009 and created music videos and promos for bands and clients all over the UK. It wasn’t until late 2010 that Jamie Donoughue and I started Left Eye as a production company. Since then we’ve shot two feature films, a couple of short films and A LOT of music video content. It definitely beats going to work…

What inspired you to make a film about sleepwalking?

I was lucky enough to attend the European Summer Film School; a week-long master class that invited eight directors from across Europe to a seven day intensive workshop in Belgrade, Serbia to learn new skills and meet other filmmakers. While we were there we were told we had to write, shoot and finish a film in under three days. Each director was allocated a small team of university students, (producer, DOP, editor, sound designer) and given the theme of ‘a Kiss’ to structure our films around.

Belgrade is an incredible city. Like a lot of ex-Communist capitals, it’s really well lit at night. The practical light sources there were just incredible. And the whole city is beautiful. It’s architecture is just insane. I wanted to shoot something at night that showed off the space there is there and I loved the visual idea of having people wandering through the city alone. The idea sort of came together from that image. I’ve always loved stories based around sleep and dreaming… I just thought ‘what if our dreams were so powerful that they sleepwalked us towards the subject of our subconscious’ – what that film would look like

 Were you struck with any difficulties in the development of this film?

I think the organizers of the European Summer Film School were looking for pretty containable films that were easy to produce and shoot. When I told them about what I wanted to do, seven actors, multiple locations, shooting at night etc - I was told point blank it wouldn’t work. It was too ambitious, would take too much time and couldn’t be done on the scale that I envisioned it. I told them it could…

I was blessed with the best crew possible. Sara Andrejevic - the producer was just unbelievable. She called in every favour, every friend. We argued about everything, locations, timings, actors… but she backed me up constantly to everyone else. At the time she was just 19…

Miksa Andjelic, the DOP was one of the best cinematographers I’ve ever worked with. His eye for a shot is incredible. And he worked quickly. Breathtakingly.  We shot the entire film from 5PM till 6AM the next morning. We had this massive argument on set… Twice.

And Bojan Kosovic, my editor was unreal. We had 20 hours to cut the footage. I hadn’t been to bed so he was working with this sleep-deprived British director. We argued all the time… We cut the story together. He’s as much the writer as I am. 

Serbs like to argue. I was told once that they only argue about everything to agree about something. So we argued about everything to agree about this film we made together. It was one of the best times of my life. Those three days I felt like I was a director. I can’t wait to work out there again. 

How did you select the main couple? 

We street cast all the couples as couples. I didn’t feel like doing it with acting students would work. I wanted the kisses to feel real. Familiar. Ones only that couples could really do with the time we had available. Sara suggested the leading guy, the husband in the film. I watched his work online, met him and said he was the guy. Mladen, has this incredible face. He’s so capable of expressing emotions without dialogue. I didn’t know two things though until we started shooting with him.

1.He was Serbian’s Postman Pat (they shoot it live action rather than stop frame over there) – which was mental 2.He was Sara’s Dad… And he’s a very famous actor out there.

How would you best describe the film in its entirety? 

Sleep deprived…

What advice would you give to budding new filmmakers?

Find a small team of people you respect, trust and like. You need all three of those qualities. Miss one and it won’t work. You have to be able to feel confident in their abilities, in trusting their judgment and respecting it… And you have to be able to spend a lot of time in one another’s company. You have to be able to argue about your passions passionately, what’s best for the film, all without it hurting your friendship. Once you find them… shoot with them. All the time. It doesn’t matter on what. But keep on creating. Keep making. Keep pushing the envelope. The technology to create is cheap now there’s no excuse not to.

Are there any intriguing projects in store for us, future or current?

I’m back to writing again which is an absolute joy for me. The whole of last year felt a mad blur of Blind Club after Blind Club shoot. It’s something I’m massively proud of. Both of the projects, The Blind Club and Left Eye Blind as whole… but I’m dead excited about the narrative stuff I’m writing. With new people working here having a bit of space and time to write is just awesome.

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