Three questions for arthouse director and producer Anca Damian

Arthouse powerhouse Anca Damian can’t be pigeonholed. She trained as a cinematographer in Bucharest and started out as a DOP before moving into animation direction, production and writing. As an allrounder, she can’t be pinned down to a genre, style or subject. Anca gave a masterclass for NFF, which you can watch untill the 31st of October. We asked her some questions about her work.

In your masterclass, you talked about transcending genre and form, which got us wondering about your creative process. If a genre isn’t your starting point, then what is?
For me the creative process is inspired by the reality, that gives me a vision of the film I want to make. The story is in close connection with the theme I am personally obsessed with, as a human being - as my evolution as an individual goes together with my art. I try to stay faithful to the vision I have and develop the theme and the story. From here on I use my intuition in finding the best language for building the film. A genre is a tool for the distributors, not a tool for an artist, who is allowed to use any cinematographic language that serves the story best.
You’ve stated that animation gives you the tools you need to tell your story. Which aspects of these stories cannot be told via live action, and need to be told through animation?
The animation allows me to empower the meaning of the reality, and not just to see its apparence. The space of the film can take the shape of an inner space, and you have all the creative freedom to make visible the invisible.
As one of the few European female directors who enjoy international success, do you have any tips for female filmmakers?
I can tell you what I do: If I have something to say, this is my guide. I try to find people with the same vibration, for film is an art that is done in a team. It is not an easy road, but every problem should make the project stronger, and I think that these challenges shine a light on the weaknesses that might not be noticed otherwise. And of course, it\'s a long run, I am prepared to keep the same energy for years.
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