Interview with Michal Ďuriš
Despite being raised in a family strongly rooted in theatre, Michal Ďuriš (1993) decided to study film instead. After four years of education in film photography, editing and sound design at Private Secondary Art School in Košice, he worked as camera operator, grip, assistant director and director of photography on short promo videos, commercials and music videos. In 2014 he got accepted to the Academy of Performing Arts in Bratislava, where he is currently studying for a Master's Degree in Film and Television Directing; he also collaborates with several theatres as freelance director.
Your Bachelor Degree Graduation film Warm Comedy About Depression, Madness and Unfulfilled Dreams is a very unconventional work when compared to other live action student films produced in Slovakia. What inspired you?
The biggest influence for me were theatre plays by alternative Slovak theatres, such as Theatre S.T.O.K.A, Theatre Disk, Theatre Pôtoň, DPM and SkRAT. I really admire their work.
The film deals with marital problems, personal struggles of each of the family members, and their impact on the whole family. Why did you choose this topic?
At the origin of every story, there is always the topic. It´s crucial to me that the topic of my films touches me personally; it must be something which I have experienced. It is the personal experience that motivates me the most to share the story with the world through my work.
In this particular case, the title of the film represents the topic itself and its frame. I wrote down my own experiences and situations I was involved in and discussed them with the actors. Together we fused the experiences, theirs with my own, and transformed them into the final draft of the screenplay.
European Film Promotion´s Future Frames programme is an important platform for emerging talents. What does it mean for you to have your film premiered within this competition section and what are your expectations?
My expectations are mainly local. If I gain wider international attention, that´s great, but for me the most important thing about being selected for the Future Frames programme is that it kind of legitimizes my actor-director driven approach. At the same time, the success of the film proves institutions that decided to support this unusual project without screenplay, solely based on the story sketch and the director´s vision, that competitive projects can be created outside of the usual ways.
Is there anyone in the Slovak audiovisual community whose work influences you, to whom you look up to?
Unambiguously my professors, who not only help me as professional consultants, but most of all they are there for me on the personal level; they motivate me and give me moral support. I must name notably Stanislav Párnický, Martin Šulík, Palo Korec and Teodor Kuhn.
What upcoming projects can we look out for in near future?
At the moment, I am rehearsing a theatre play with Braňo Mosný, actor from the new Theatre S.T.O.K.A. It´s a cynical monodrama about the downfall of a character and the search for a new identity. Apart from that I am working on a film entitled Opulentná Psota, set in the nostalgic, post-revolutionary period of the 1990s. It tells a story of the members of a multi-generational family living on the periphery of a bigger city. The film is psychologically mapping each one of them in their specific attempts to find their own happiness.