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Csaba Perlenberg Interview


Tell us a bit about your background.

Oh gosh. I´ve done a little bit of everything, which I think is a good thing as a filmmaker. I´ve studied at film schools in New York and Prague, studied film science and history, worked at McDonalds, was a teacher for several years, and now I also work as an editorial writer in Sweden side by side with my filmmaking, so I have some good stuff in my trunk to draw inspiration from.


How did you get started with filmmaking?

I wanted to be an actor when I was a kid, but quickly realized I was a terrible actor. But I´ve always written alot, and after having written alot of short stories, I felt the urge to see them being shot and produced. And the only way for me to see that become a reality was doing it myself.


What are some of the things your enjoy about filmmaking?

Just the richness of it all. You´re not supposed to be an expert in every craft, but being able to formulate what you want and be fortunate enough to work with people who knows how to bring that to life is key. And every phase has its time: I love the pre-production phase when you´re trying to figure out how to plan everything and seeing it all come together. That moment before you shoot, when everything has this sort of magical potential. And then you come to set and you realize that you just have to roll with the punches. As soon as you arrive on set, the clock is ticking and you gotta keep up.

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What are some of the challenges?

The funding. Always. The rest, the creative and technical aspects, you tend to figure out one way or the other. But the funding is the foundation of everything. Now, you can use your limitations as a creative force, but at the end of the day, there has to be some kind of basic funding, even though its from your own pocket.


You have a film which will be screening at the Arohanui Film Festival. Tell us a bit more about it. 

Well, it´s my first feature film, and it ´s called ”Bitch”. It was shot both in New Delhi and in my hometown of Landskrona. It really came out of a practical reality: we didn´t have that much money, and I wanted to push the limits of what a cinematic device could be, so I just asked myself a very simple question: ”What would a feature film told entirely through the perspective of a dog look like, and what kind of storytelling would that lend itself to, and would that be something that audiences actually wanted to watch?” It was a huge risk, because as far as we know, it hasn´t been done before. So we´re excited to screen it in New Zealand, and see how audiences respond to it.


Why do you think film festivals are important for film and filmmakers?

Several reasons: as a filmmaker, you get taken out of your head space and see what other directors have done and if you´re lucky you get to meet them and talk to them and just trade stories. Being a filmmaker, a director, can be a very lonely thing, so just coming together can motivate you and give you new ideas and perspectives. But also, that a filmfestival curates a program and brings together different films from all over the world, it kinda shows what a physical fest can bring to an audience, as a shared experience, and that´s always cool.


Is filmmaking different in Sweden than it is in other parts of the world? Why/Why not?

That´s a good question, actually. I don´t know. I guess we are fortunate to have government film production support, but I think we as filmmakers have the same artistic and financial challenges to meet, no matter where you shoot. But ofcourse, Sweden is a very liberal country where you can basically tell any kind of story without the risk of persecuation – which has actually had the effect that most films in Sweden are very safe, very comfortable. There are no risks to take in Sweden, and that affects the artistic choices, not always for the better. We make very selfindulgent films in Sweden, unfortunately.

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